iain McLaughlin's Product Reviews

  • Kinnaird Carbon Fibre Drone Reeds Great Sound and Very Stable, April 20th, 2012
    I've been using them with a Ross Canister system and after an easy setup and a brief break in period they have become incredibly stable and trouble free. If you want a great sound but don't want to have to fiddle around with your drones much then I would recommend these.
  • Piper's Pal Always Ready To Go, April 20th, 2012
    Nice to have a few reeds ready to use at any time. Saves time getting the pipes from the case into playing shape. It also seems to make the break-in time for new reeds a little shorter (although that may just be my imagination).
  • Mouthpiece Protector Save Your Teeth, April 20th, 2012
    I confess... I'm a biter. Before I got these my dentist saw the wear on the back of my top front teeth and said "there's a bit of wear here... I have another patient with the same thing - he's a bagpiper." Busted. They protect your teeth, and the black ones look nicer than the yellow tubing which you'll often see. Cheaper than new teeth.
  • Suede Ross Canister Bag with zipper Great Moisture Control, April 20th, 2012
    In my continuing quest for the most trouble free pipe setup I have found the Ross Canister System fits the bill. It's a beautiful thing. Low maintenance and reasonably durable. The bag has a really great feel to it and plays the way I think a pipe bag should. Plus it's red. Good stuff!
  • Dunbar P1 Bagpipes Solid Pipes, April 20th, 2012
    I was looking for a good, forgiving instrument for a student, which could take a little abuse from time to time, was low maintenance and really stable regardless of the weather. These pipes are exactly that. Very nice tone, and you can't beat the price.
  • Dunbar Practice Chanter Trouble Free, April 20th, 2012
    When I first started learning bagpipes I didn't want to have to fight with my gear. I went to the Dunbar practice chanter because of its reputation for being durable and reliable. I was not disappointed. Another fine Canadian product. I never have to fiddle or fuss with it. I chose the full size which translates quite well to the bagpipe chanter. I highly recommend getting a water trap in there as well. Saves a lot of hassles.
  • Waxed Black Hemp You Need This, April 20th, 2012
    If you don't already have this in your pipe case, why not? The day WILL come when you will need it. The black waxed hemp is perfect for things that need to stay put. I use it on my Kinnaird Drone Reeds and it works like magic... Black magic.
  • Waxed Yellow Hemp You Also Need This, April 20th, 2012
    Sooner or later you will need some yellow waxed hemp for your pipes. This is just the thing for hemping your chanter reeds, or your drone stocks, or your chanter, or maybe even your neighbours cat... who knows? A spool of this should be in every piper's case.
  • Hearing Protection Ear Plugs Worth Every Cent, April 20th, 2012
    Yes, you can get cheaper ear plugs, but these allow you to hear far more clearly while still reducing the volume. They can be a little tricky to insert, I find I need to grab the top of my ear while inserting these, and it helps if they are moistened before insertion (condensation from a cold beverage is enough). They took a bit of getting used to as they are a little more snug in my ears than some other kinds, but totally worth it for the clarity.
  • Drone Stoppers Plug Your Drones, April 20th, 2012
    They will plug your drones. Just about anyone can benefit from a set of these in their pipe case, makes tuning a lot easier and can take some of the stress off of the lungs during long practice sessions. Just get them, they will come in handy at some point.
  • Shepherd Chanter Reed A Decent Reed, April 20th, 2012
    Currently my favourite reed. It has a pleasing sound and after a brief break in period it plays quite well in my Dunbar Poly pipes. I have other reeds, but I still find myself using this as my go-to reed.
  • Rhythmic Fingerwork by Jim McGillivray Unbelievably Good, April 20th, 2012
    If you have any problems with technique (and who doesn\'t?) the exercises is this book will help you overcome them and take your piping to a new level. I honestly don\'t think that there is any piper who couldn\'t benefit from this book in some way. I have found it so useful in improving my technique that I almost want to keep it a secret and NOT tell other people about it.
  • Piper's Choice Backpack Case A Decent Case, April 20th, 2012
    Good value for the price. I use this with a large bag and Ross Canister system with no trouble at all. It would be nice to have a little more room for music and such, but everything I need fits in nicely if it is carefully packed, and is easy to carry. I have poly pipes, so I\'m not sure I would recommend this case if you have blackwood or other more valuable and delicate pipes as it doesn\'t afford a great deal of protection for them. Overall I am quite pleased with this case.
  • Ross Chanter Reeds Big Sound, April 20th, 2012
    Big sound indeed. As a beginner I found this reed to be a bit of a gut-buster, and it's taken plenty of TLC to get it to the point it's at now. Already I am being rewarded with some beautiful tones and have no doubt that I will get a great deal of use from it in the future.
  • Complete Pipers Handbook A Great Reference Book, April 20th, 2012
    I've found this to be extremely useful reference material for all my bagpipe maintenance concerns. It is extremely well written and the material well presented with accompanying pictures. An excellent addition to any piper's library.
  • Piper's Third Hand It Works. That much is true., April 20th, 2012
    I find that I don't tend to use this very often. Has a "gee whiz" factor. It's fun to pull out when people haven't seen one before, and yes it does exactly what it's supposed to, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth and spends most of its time in my pipe case.
  • Reed Absorb Not My Thing, April 20th, 2012
    I have found that both myself and others gave up on these in favour of water traps in our practice chanters. While the sponge works for a while, if you are a really wet blower they tend to fill up and then cause as many problems as they solve. They do work well for some people, but others will just wind up fussing endlessly with the things. Your mileage may vary.
  • Clanrye Synthetic Chanter Reed Guilty Pleasure, April 20th, 2012
    I must confess to really enjoying this reed. It\'s just a lot less trouble than cane reeds, and while it doesn\'t sound as good as cane to my ears, it\'s actually a little bit fun to play. A cane reed it is not, and it can be extremely unstable on F and high G depending on how it\'s set in the chanter seat. It makes a bit of a challenge when it comes to playing in tune. The \"easy\" reed is also kind of scary easy. Wouldn\'t use it for anything important, but it\'s fun to mess around with.
  • Goose Adaptor Not For Me, April 20th, 2012
    While others may have made these work for them, I haven't really used mine at all. I found that the pressure from my pipe bag was way too much for the poor little practice chanter reed, and it sounded awful at best. Because of the difference in airflow it really didn't feel at all like the full pipe chanter and I felt that it was of little to no benefit in working on my pipe technique. Rather I would be concerned about picking up bad habits from using it too much.