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From Malcolm McLaren Brisbane Australia


In the last “Common Stock” was the wonder- ful article by Colin Ross about the Chanter Reed for Border Pipes.. he is to be congratu-lated for this. One thing I have noticed is that for some chanters it may be necessary to make the staple from a size smaller brass tube eg : 4.00 mm. Metric sizes are available in good hobby stores, and are very handy as they allow for smaller increments between the inch sizes.

Also I have found a good way to “stabilise” cane (as in chanter reeds) and make it less susceptible to climatic change... simply spray it from a spray pack of Automotive Silicon. You don't have to put that much on that it drips, it will soak in to a certain extent, and you can carefully direct the spray into the cavity between the lips of the blades. I have been doing this for about 12 months now, without any apparent change to the tone or volume of the reed. I do think it makes the reed resist moisture ingress, which can be particularly noticed in smallpipe chanter reeds at times.

From Richard Evans Cumberland


It would seem to be a good idea to have some sort of standard dimensions for bel- lows outlets, allowing interchange between makers. Standardisation is not a new idea of course, having been mentioned several times in Common Stock [Vol 7.1 pp 8-11; Vol 14.1 p16. Ed].

Julian Goodacre recently supplied me with the dimensions he uses, with a request to pass them on. His bellows outlet consists of a wooden block with a tapered socket. The connecting tube remains attached to the bag and has a matching tapered end. The only critical dimensions are those of the taper itself. This is 60mm in length and tapers from 17mm down to 13mm over that length. My only observation on the measurements is that the taper is a bit long for convenience - I would prefer about 45mm. The answer to that is to use a rather shorter length, measuring from the wide end. This will maintain compatibility, since a longer plug will simply protrude slightly into the bellows, through the socket. I am told that these dimensions are used by Jonathan Swayne and Hamish Moore as well as Julian; we will also use them in future. As compared to the traditional Northumbrian-style system we have used up to now, there is a further advantage: the bellows will lie flatter in the pipe case.

I hope this information is useful and I am sure Jock would welcome comments.

From David Stevenson Edinburgh

 1 do not know of ‘Glen Kabul’ or ‘Trip to Pakistan’, but if Robert is interested in tunes linked to that region I have noted down and arranged for my own playing a melody played by the Azad Kashmir pipe band of the Pakistan army. Also, when in Kabul and Pe- shawar three years ago I was trying to recall the old English(?) tune ‘Fortune my Foe’ and came up with a number of variations or developments which are playable along with the original. The original is said to have been popular at executions, which may have an ironic link to bloody events which occurred near where I had been staying in Kabul shortly after I left, when the Taliban took the City. I could probably find and post photo- copies of these tunes to you or Robert if you wish. The ‘Scottish Poetry Library Jig’ on page 31 is not exactly as I wrote it - though it works! [Apologies; correction is printed on page 29 - Ed].


From Frank Klawonn Emden Germany

1 have recently joined the LBPS and Simon Munro has just sent me the latest edition of Common Stock (Vol 14 No.1). Robert MacDonald asks in his letter to Common Stock for some tunes. I guess many others have already answered, but in case he needs the Easy Club Reel I can supply a copy of the notes that I got from a friend who found them somewhere on the internet. There is also a recent recording of this reel by a German group called DeReelium.