Over the years we have gradually established
a solid reputation for rich, warm & stable tone, created with
incredible craftsmanship, and instruments of heirloom quality and
When you order a MacLellan bagpipe, you join an elite group of
discerning pipers who desire more than the ordinary, mass produced
bagpipe, but choose to own and play the best, and most unique
instrument available today.
Our research has enabled us to stay true to the sound created by
late 19th century pipe-makers in Scotland. We have captured that
warm broad mellow tone, producing an instrument that is stable and
easy to tune even at today's higher pitches.
The MacLellan bore was originally based on a
set of 1880's Henderson bagpipes belonging to my Grandfather from
North Uist. Some changes have been made to the tenor tops and bass
drone, and now gives us the big, rich and complex sound most people
have come to know as " the MacLellan Drone Sound."
All of our wood is Air dried only, kiln
drying can burn off some of the natural oils which are so
in musical instrument use.
The wood is selected by color and figure and divided into sets to
air dry. It will be rough turned and pre-bored and allowed to dry
further. Although 3 months or so may pass before you receive your
pipes, work was started on the wood used in them as much as two
MacLellan bagpipes was first company in the modern era to look at
woods other than African Blackwood, such as Cocobolo and recently
Mopane. Before the Great War in 1914, it was not unusual to find
some of the best sounding bagpipes made from woods other than
Blackwood or Ebony. Cocus wood from Jamaica & Brazilian kingwood
were used regularly. After that war, the woods from German East
Africa, now Tanzania, became widely available.
Both Blackwood & Cocobolo come from the Dalbergia family (
Leguminosae) of Exotic hardwoods. Both have a high oil content and
are dimensionally extremely stable. Blackwood has a specific gravity
of about 1.08, Cocobolo 0.85 to 0.95. Mopane 0.90
The Cocobolo sound is rich & mellow. The wood is slightly less dense
that African Blackwood, which allows the drone to absorb some of the
higher sound frequencies. This damps or removes some of the
harshness & "buzziness" which some synthetic reeds can produce. The
result is warm and full, MacLellan Cocobolo Drones produce that room
filling envelope of harmonics that can embrace the player & his
audience. The Mopane drones are bright and similar in character to
the Blackwood sound, they are a light brown color.
As modern makers use more and more computerized machinery, finding
an instrument of unique character becomes almost impossible. Our
bagpipes have always been especially distinct, from the trend
setting use of alternate woods and unusual materials for projecting
mounts, to custom metalwork on ferrules and tuning slides. We have
been using Cocobolo, Mopane, African Blackwood and other exotic
woods for over 25 years now.
All of our bronze ferrules are made of alloy
230 Bronze. This material has a rich reddish color, not to be
confused with the yellow color of regular brass. All of our
ferrules are threaded onto the wood for a secure and lasting fit.
We take on a lot of custom metal work and
design. If you don't see exactly what you want, call and we'll
design and build the set you dream of.