About the pipes
I make Uilleann Pipes, primarily in the key of D ie Concert Pitch.
The main timber I use is ebony. Ferrules, rings and end plugs can be made out of ebony to match, or of a complementary timber, such as english boxwood, rosewood or cherry, depending on availability.
All sets are made to order, and some details of the design can be modified to suit customer requirements, e.g. personal attributes (body size and shape), and playing style.
Chanters are available with up to four keys, to produce the notes C natural, F natural, G sharp, and B flat.
About the reeds
All the reeds in any set of pipes I make are handmade by me. I use Spanish cane from Medir. I make the staples (onto which the cane reed head is mounted) from brass and copper tube, and I make the bridles from copper. All components of the reeds are made by me from excellent quality raw materials.
In my opinion, cane reeds are superior. I think they have a wonderful vibrancy, which so far I haven't come across in synthetic reeds.
I reed up the chanter so it plays effortlessly in both octaves.
Regarding the volume of the pipes, I like to reed up a chanter so that if I were playing in my kitchen with a fiddle, box and bouzouki, the chanter would blend with, and be at a similar volume to, the other instruments, and not sit above or below them. If, however, you like your chanter reeded for a different playing situation, eg louder or softer, then this can be done too.
About the bags and bellows
I used to make bags and bellows when I first went into business as a pipemaker, but today I buy in the bag and bellows from a specialist supplier. This allows me to focus on my core skills of making the pipes and reeds, and the tuning and balancing of the instrument. However, I do make the bag fittings, e.g. neck stock, and inlet valve components.
Instruments available to order :-
Practise Sets (bellows, bag and chanter) in D
Half Set (Practise plus drones) in D
¾ or Full Set (Half set plus 2 or 3 regulators) in D
Chanters in Eb and C natural
Chanters in other keys.
I also now make chanters in Eb and C natural.
Eb chanter – details :-
Eb has always been popular in traditional Irish music, but seems to go in and out of fashion. However, in the last few years, I've noticed a number of musicians (not pipers) releasing albums in Eb, and it got me thinking that there wasn't anyone making an Eb chanter today. So I set about designing one, and I'm very pleased with the result. It takes it's design inspiration from my D chanter, ie scooped note holes, and a free and vibrant sound.
If you are using the Eb chanter with D set, so you can sit in with an Eb session, it is possible (if the drones sliders are out on the pins and not pushed fully up) to push the sliders up so the Tenor and Baritone drones sound an Eb. However this is not possible with the bass drone, as it would have to push up a long way, so I also produce a shorter bass drone lower section which allows the bass drone to also sound an Eb.
C Natural Chanter – details :-
I've always liked C Natural as a key, and have always wondered what a chanter in C would be like that took it's design cues from my D chanter – scooped note holes, and a wide bore, rather than the more traditional narrow bore that is commonly seen. The result is a chanter that has a wonderful depth and colour to the sound, with a good strong tone, but which is not over loud. I'm very pleased with this one!
Chanter Stop Key
I make two versions of Stop Key for the chanter :-
Traditional type - with a long key down the front, activated with the index finger of the top hand.
Concealed type - this is very neat, where the valve is concealed in the chanter top, and is activated by twisting the top plug, a bit like turning a tap on and off.
Bass regulator options
Crook style, or Straight Bar. The default option (and my personal preference and recommendation) is the Crook style, it has many benefits. The Straight Bar version is only available by special request. Please see the Gallery for pictures of the two types of Bass regulator.
Please note ...
I'm constantly working to improve and fine tune every aspect of the instruments I make. As a result I therefore reserve the right to change the specification as I see fit, and features and design details of newly made instruments my differ slightly from those shown in the Gallery.