An interesting new business venture caught my eye last week. World-renowned piper Willie McCallum announced the launch of a new pipe chanter, the McCallum McCÂ², designed with soloists in mind.
The development of the cleverly-named chanter is the result of a collaboration between Mr McCallum and the highly successful pipe makers McCallum Bagpipes, of Kilmarnock, Scotland. You can read about the chanter on Willie’s new website. I’m not sure if there is a direct family relationship between the two parties, but either way it seems like a match made in heaven. Willie took the new chanter out on a very public (and potentially risky) road-test the week of the World Pipe Band Championships, where he played it unannounced at the Lochaber Gathering. Willie cleaned up that day, winning all the events he competed in – this surely doesn’t hurt potential sales!
I have played McCallum bagpipes since I started piping (admittedly not that long ago), and I have always been impressed both with Stuart McCallum’s bagpipes and his customer service. His chanters have become the benchmark for pipebands around the world (both bands I have played in so far used them), and it is interesting to see him expand so positively into the solo arena.
I wish both sets of McCallums success in this new venture, and you know where I’ll be shopping when I need a new solo chanter!
Update – 8/23/2007!
I wrote Willie McCallum after writing the above, to confirm I had gotten all my facts straight. Willie replied today, and here, in part, is what he said:
…thanks for the article which is good and does not misrepresent the product at all.
The new chanter is quieter and slightly lower pitched than the previous model which was mainly designed for the pipe band market.
As you say it is designed for the solo market. The main characteristics we tried to achieve were stability, good harmonic and volume balance with the drones, reedability, clarity of notes and embellishments, projection without too much volume. The stability of the piobaireachd high G was a major development priority.
Hope this information is helpful. Let me know if I can provide any further.
Thanks again for the feature on the website
Hope to meet up one of these days
Thank you Willie – I think this is going to be a popular chanter.