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  • Melvin Reeds

High and Dry in New Mexico.

"We are just now getting back together face to face as a band (the street band) so this is a great time to get the reeds and try out the chanter. This is a great chanter and reed so use as you see fit! Well done." - Nate Lorenz, Mac-Tire of Skye Pipes and Drums

Suzanne “Aden” Lumb, left, and Nate Lorenz, both of Mac-Tire of Skye Pipes and Drums. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

I am not a professional, but a piper in the US with a difficult high and dry climate always looking for help.


We contacted Adrian Melvin with a request to help with our street band with reeds and the variations…needing reeds that ranged from very easy to medium (read: about 18-35 inches of water at our climate). We have a hard time…


Adrian said he could help and said we might get the best results if we could store (and maybe even ship) the reeds with some sort of system that kept them from drying out like a bone and risking losing some of the original integrity. We agreed to get a Tone Protector Humidified Reed Case to ship and store the band reeds.


The reeds are great. We found a strength that produced a good sound for each level within the band. We stored the band reeds in the Tone Protector Humidified Reed Case and issued as needed. There is a minimal warm up time required. Additionally, each piper purchased a Tone Protector to store the reeds so they maintain some moisture in between playing sessions. This cuts down the warmup time and everyone is happier with this system.

When it came time to order another batch of reeds, I noticed the new chanter on Adrian’s website: the Roddy MacLellan Elevation pipe chanter. I am a bit of a gear head, but was genuinely interested in a chanter that noted it has North American climates in mind…especially as Adrian has been working to make a reed to accommodate. So I decided to order a chanter to try and we agreed to order a set of the new reeds. They are a red/ruby wrapped reed to distinguish from his other blue reeds. I believe they have a brass staple.

I have been playing these new reeds in the Elevation pipe chanter for about a week. I think this is a great combination. MnM…MacLellan and Melvin! This has a good sound as well as a lot of other things. I have the round holes version of the chanter and the bagpipe warmed up quickly. It wasn’t hard to start with and it stayed pretty stable in terms of strength so I didn’t ever feel the need to shave it down or pinch it. I added a dental band just to raise the C and F which some new reeds need (I suspect it won’t be needed for too long). The chanter feels good in size of holes, hole spacing, and the thin upper hand – comfortable. I needed a little tape on a few holes, on high-G the most, much like every other chanter for our climate. Even after, high-G sounded like a quality note. I noticed a little tape went a long way so a sharp note only needed minimal adjustment.

I am happy with this chanter and reed combo. I look forward to heading to practice with something to share with he band. We already like the reeds and it will be interesting to share with the other pipers what this chanter-reed combo does!

Well done on the reeds and the chanter.


- Nate, high and dry in Albuquerque, NM, USA

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