Updated: Jan 17
In January of 2017, members of Wake and District were privileged to be a part of a project Roddy MacLellan embarked on; the quest for sustainable bagpipe solutions in response to the CITES restrictions placed on blackwood.
While CITES laws and regulations continue to change and impact many of the woods currently used in the manufacture of bagpipes, Roddy looked to alternatives. For those wishing an instrument made of “natural” materials, Roddy still offers African Blackwood and cocobolo with CITES papers. He also offers Mexican Royal Ebony which is proving to be an excellent alternative and does not fall within the restrictions imposed on CITES protected woods.
Roddy also recognized Delrin, (also known as Acetal or Polypenco) is widely used in the manufacture of chanters and have proven themselves at the highest level of competition. Delrin drones, however, can be more challenging because of lackluster tone (loud and undefined) and of course – moisture control.
In order to address this, Roddy looked for uncommon solutions. After months of research and development, he created a Delrin instrument with an internal design which overcomes the short-comings of traditional bores. He found by changing the bore sizes and by lining the bores with a cellulose polymer sleeve, he was able to produce an instrument with all the structural benefits of Delrin while producing a refined harmonic “wood-like” sound.Many hours were spent experimenting and fine-tuning the bore dimensions and bell design.
Roddy’s patience and persistence has been rewarded with a subtle and warm drone sound, rich in harmonics and stability. An added bonus of the polymer sleeve is that it absorbs moisture, helping to keep your reeds dry and stable.
One of our members had the chance to test and evaluate a set of the Revelation bagpipes for 5 months. The set-up: MacLellan Revelation drones, Bannatyne hybrid zipper bag, Ezee Drone increased absorption drone reeds (made from a similar cellulose polymer as the sleeves), McCallum poly band chanter and a G1 platinum reed.
The pipes were played in a variety of regions and weather conditions — including Le Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec where they were played during a rather long and cold parade (15°F) — and from pub to pub where temperatures and humidity levels bounced all over the place. There was very little movement in pitch as compared to other pipes that day. Tuning quickly settled in at 481 and budged very little throughout the day and into the night. The sound was solid and the drone reeds (or chanter reed) didn’t experience any catastrophic moisture problems (nothing shut down).
The pipes were played in Washington D.C. during police memorial week under sunny skies with temperatures in the 90s - coupled with high humidity. Once again, the pipes settled quickly with very little drift. No moisture problems condensing in the drone bores, stocks or on the reeds.
The Revelation has the strength, durability, and sustainability of Delrin coupled with the sound, tone, projection and stability of the best wood bagpipes, produced anywhere, anytime.
We are proud to have ordered the first production set of MacLellan Revelation bagpipes — and have recommended these pipes to all of our students as the pipes provide the sound of wood and the durability of Delrin.
Gabriel Nierman posted a few sound files of the Revelation pipes — give a listen and distinguish for yourself if these pipes sound harsh and loud like most other Delrin pipes on the market today — or have a much softer and mellower sound like a wooden instrument. Sound files @ https://soundcloud.com/maclellan-revelation
You can design and order your complete Revelation bagpipe at Roddy’s website with prices starting at $1375 for a complete bagpipe setup (including pipe case).