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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Ted and PJ bring up some interesting thoughts. I think I'll go with the "no compunction" of Ted's and throw a wee bit of PJ's un-patented intellectual property in there. I'll be expecting that McCallum'll put out whatever they wanna!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:12 pm 
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I only assumed Fred's set was a copy of Paddy's. I know it was one of five copies, according to Fred, of whatever set his was copied from. Could easily be an earlier set. The piper here said that a couple of months ago, Fred was playing a Koehler chanter. I will be calling Benedict soon and ask him if he has made more than one chanter for Fred.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:38 pm 
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I'd be curious to hear his take on the McCallum story. He always has good insights into ... well, just about everything.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:15 pm 
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One caveat about CNC machines making dozens of chanters per week. Various makers have told me it takes about as long to reed, tune and voice a fully keyed chanter as it does to make one. The best can do maybe three a week, but often less. A CNC machine can do some quick work of the outside of a chanter and a CNC mill maybe can make keys. The fitting of the keys can be done more quickly if they are precisely made and the key slots are CNC cut. That is only half the story. Reaming the bore is not automated. The metal work still must be buffed. Tuning and voicing as well as reed-making is where the bottle neck will be in chanter production. That cannot be done by one who does not play the uilleann pipes, and is the difference between a passable chanter and a good one. I should be seeing one of these in a week or so, if McCallum/Fred deliver on time.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:55 am 
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It's worth making the point that although MacCallum are a business whose model works on scale, they are not just churning out bits on a machine. I knnow they've been interested in Uilleann production for a while but haven't been happy with their development up till now, with the reedmaking in particular being the bottleneck.

Also, although MacCallum dominate in terms of scale of production, they don't seem to have done much damage to other decent pipemakers. The ones that struggled are the ones that were turning out tripe to start with. All they've done is expanded the whole market.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:56 am 
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Ted wrote:
McCallum/Morrison had no compuction about copying Hamish Moore's design of border pipes and reel pipes, without acknowlegement, and selling them as the "Morrison model" reel-pipes.


Not sure on the drones but the chanter is definitely not a straight Moore copy, though that was the starting point. Apart from anything else, it works properly.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:50 am 
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I wish them great success.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:58 am 
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Calum wrote:
It's worth making the point that although MacCallum are a business whose model works on scale, they are not just churning out bits on a machine. I knnow they've been interested in Uilleann production for a while but haven't been happy with their development up till now, with the reedmaking in particular being the bottleneck.

Also, although MacCallum dominate in terms of scale of production, they don't seem to have done much damage to other decent pipemakers. The ones that struggled are the ones that were turning out tripe to start with. All they've done is expanded the whole market.


Yes. Continuing on that angle, Its seems a safe assumption that their target market is GHB pipers who want a taste of uilleann, I still seriously wonder if the research theyve done regarding this market is really going to prove itself cost-effective. As evidenced, look at how healthy the market is for resale of existing UPs. Seems to me, there are no shortage of folks unloading pipes, nor existing makers lacking orders.

On another tack, McCallum GHB's, to my ear, excell beyond all others at one thing: projection.

I own a McCallum chanter, and use it when this application is called for. Again, to my ear, it;s not a subtil, woody, dark, sweet, pungent GHB tone, that I generally prefer. Having in recent memory heard live & in person a McCalum Borders pipe in A, I;m here to tell the board that it was head &tails louder than any other border pipe in the room: same McCallum 'projectile' timbre, bright and ballsy, and brimming with straightforward clarity. Im not slagging them, nor praising them, merely describing it as a McCallum sounds to me.

What concerns me is how much of that sound will be a desireable outcome for their uilleann venture.

Could we find ourselves faced with a cadre of GHB-style uilleann pipers, gracenoting all over the place with a strident, piercing tone? Or will the profit margin be insufficent to make more than a handful of McCallum Uilleann Pipes?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:12 am 
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I don't think there's any intent to create a particular sound across the range. The borderpipes (sorry, reelpipes) are simply what Fred told them was best, and without doubt they are a fine instrument, whether or not you prefer that tone - and I know there's plenty don't.

I agree they will probably sell well to the GHB market (people like me, in other words), simply because they are a trusted brand and it's difficult coming in cold to make sound judgements if you don't have someone you can trust to get advice from.

I doubt they'll ever turn out 40 sets of Uilleann pipes a week but if someone picks up a practice set that otherwise might not have done, that can only be a good thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:29 pm 
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Calum wrote:
....... but if someone picks up a practice set that otherwise might not have done, that can only be a good thing.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:46 pm 
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I'm the guy who ordered a practice set from Fred. I hosted the first ever Pipes & Whistles On Lake Tahoe in October with Fred Morrison. Fred brought along a one of the first practice sets that he and McCallum will be producing and let us all have a go. Everyone in the class were GHB/SSP players and ranged in experience to as little as 8 yrs. (me) to a G1 piper. The work shop was 3 full days and at the end Fred sold the practice set he let us try out and took orders 2 or 3 others including mine.

I can't tell you what chanter they are copying but it was the same as what he was playing at the time. I may have video of Fred playing that same chanter...If I do and can figure out how to post it I will. What I can tell you, Fred spent an evening working with the new reed until it met his satisfaction. The tuning wasn't the issue as much as the tone...The reed was brighter then what he liked. When he was done you could not tell the difference between the two chanters...At least I couldn't.

As was mentioned, I am one of those GHB pipers who always loved the UP but shied away from even thinking about giving them a go. All the horror stories I've heard as to learning such a difficult instrument and the fact it takes half a lifetime to learn, have prevented me from even considering a UP. In 3 days Fred helped overcome this intimidation and sold me a practice set. I'm hoping I will be getting it before Christmas. Fred said they were done back in November. Fred said he was going to be on tour for a few weeks and will have McCallum ship only after he checks them out.

The chanters they are making at this time are not keyed but I would expect if things progress well, they will be offering a keyed chanter. They are doing things in baby steps and Fred is greatly involved. I placed my order Oct. 11th and the practice set was ready in 6 weeks. While at the workshop
I was not comfortable with the bag he was using at the time so he measured me for my bag. The bellows that will come with the practice set are the same bellows he uses with his RP and SSP. As much as I like these bellows, to save money I ordered it without the bellows. I play my SSP with a Simon Hope bellows which I really like and will use these with the practice set. Fred seems to think they will be fine with the practice set and if need be I can always order his bellows later.

I already have a tutor who is waiting in the wings for when they arrive and I intend to give it an honest try and right now feel confident I'll stick with them.


PS: After the 1st of the year, Fred and I will be discussing a second annual Pipes & Whistles On Lake Tahoe for 2013. We even have a FB page https://www.facebook.com/PipesWhistlesO ... hoe?ref=hl

Frank


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Welcome aboard, Frank! Sounds like you're off to a good start. :party:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:34 pm 
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Hi Frank, can you tell us what was the price you paid for this practice set?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:19 pm 
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PhilD wrote:
Hi Frank, can you tell us what was the price you paid for this practice set?


I can't tell you what I paid or Fred will kill me but I believe a practice set will be going for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200.00 US but don't quote me. I believe they're hoping for a turn around time on an order to be about 6 to 8 weeks.

Frank


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:06 pm 
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I think that McCallum's are putting their toe in the market because they can see the number of younger pipers in Scotland that are taking the GHB - Scottish bellows pipes - Uilleann route.

Their bellows pipes already use an Uilleann style stock, and I have no doubt that at least some of their Reel pipes drone parts could be interchanged with a Uilleann half set. A Uilleann style bass drone would be the only thing, other than the chanter, that they would need to set up from scratch.

McCallums already have the production equipment needed to produce a half set with minimal outlay on things like reamers, so I think that they are not taking much of a risk, initially, moving into UP manufacture.


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