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Andrew's Tips: Gordon Speirs Bagpipes Reed Making Paper

In the Spring of 2001, I chanced across an Internet bagpipes archive that contained a number of files encompassing a paper written by Gordon Speirs in 1979 for use in his Great Highland Bagpipe chanter and drone reed making clinic. There was 19 files in the group: the main document, 17 slightly spotty images and a companion e-mail message file, all very generously typed and scanned by Stephen Pegler in 1994, the year that Gordon died. Not the most user friendly format, but functional for the technology at the time. I downloaded the files, looked them over a bit, removed spots from a few of the image files and tucked them away on my hard drive.

In August of 2002, I rediscovered the downloaded files and figured they'd be appreciated by pipers wanting to make their own cane chanter and drone reeds—provided the information was presented in an easy-to-digest format. In an effort to make the whole thing more palatable, I spent some time cleaning up the images and formatting everything for the creation of a easily downloadable and visually pleasing PDF file.

In October 2009, I managed to track down a Gordon Speirs heir, his son Ross Speirs, who gave his blessing to this project.

By the way, if you are looking for a cane supplier, Medir S.L. is one. (If you happen to know of more, I'll be happy to add links to them.)

So, without further adieu, I now present the resulting PDF (166K) file:

Gordon Speir's Bagpipes Reed Making Paper

Don't have the free Acrobat (PDF) reader?

Additional resources:

While it is for Northumbrian pipes, there is a video available online of Colin Ross demonstrating chanter reed making. The video was made by Stephen Douglass and is broken up into four parts each approximately 10 minutes in length. These are hosted at YouTube.

Colin Ross Video - Part I

Colin Ross Video - Part II

Colin Ross Video - Part III

Colin Ross Video - Part IV

Michael Dooley has a page covering Uilleann chanter reed making which may also be helpful.

If you have suggestions for this page, please contact me.

This page last updated Sunday, March 14, 2010.
Page first created in August 22, 2002.

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