Category Archives: Great Highland Bagpipe Solo

People playing solo great highland bagpipes.

Ackland 480 Overtone Drone Reeds

Over the last few years I have been giving Terry Ackland feedback about prototype drone reeds he has been making. We settled on a design for 440 drone reeds and have since shortened those reeds to play at 466 Hz / Bb and 480 Hz. So you’ve heard the 440 reeds and also the Bb reeds before if you’ve dug into some of the more recent posts on the blog (not that I’ve been active much lately). I’ve raved about the reeds so figured I better put my money where my mouth is and record the 480 reeds, having just put them in my Gellaitry pipes yesterday. This is significant because while I’ve played, but not really recorded the 480 reeds in all my other pipes, my Gellaitry’s are my solo set, my rock, my sound. And I really like the results with the Ackland reeds! I find them bold and harmonic, but in that they are easy to tune. Sometimes reeds with prominent harmonics are hard to tune because it’s hard to lock in the harmonics even though the beat frequency seems absent. This is not the case with Ackland Overtone reeds.

They can be ordered direct from Terry at

Here they are with the mic on the drone side (so the audio is a bit drone heavy).

Here they are with the mic on the chanter side:

Here’s me walking around (this is the very first set of this recorded series):

Here are some small strathspeys, reel, and a hornreel or reelpipe:

Here are some MSRs:


January 2020 Tune of the Month: The Big Rab Show + Ackland 466 Hz, Bb drone reeds

Eric E. Evenhuis wrote a tune for The Big Rab Show. They put out a call on Facebook for someone to record the tune. So I “took up the challenge” with my Hendersons featuring Ackland Bb drone reeds. My chanter isn’t quite Bb / 466 Hz, more around the low 470s, but my Bb chanter is out on loan right now. I think the drones sound quite nice. Also very stable.

The Big Rab Show by Eric E. Evenhuis – pdf of sheet music

The Big Rab Show

Edit (2020-01-29): Someone asked me how these reeds work in David Glen bagpipes, both of us having noted in the past that D. Glen drones can be a little reed picky. Conclusion: Ackland 466 reeds, and therefore Ackland 440 and 480 reeds also because reed length is the only difference, work great in D. Glen drones. Here’s a 30 minute practice session. I think I’ll leave them in. I’ve left the entire practice session intact for transparency; I think I made a goof in every selection anyway. You get to hear me tune too, muahahahahahahahahhaha.

Whole Session