I just received my set of Skye pipes with the blackwood RJM solo chanter. My first impression without even picking them up is that the craftsmanship by Naill is superb. The hand-engraved silverwork is so intricate and detailed you can (and should) spend a lot of time appreciating the work that went into it. Likewise the antiquing of the imitation ivory is all done by hand, and the gradient in the color looks great.
As for the drone sound, they’re full and rich and you can hear them lock in right away when you start to tune them. The volume of the drones is louder than my other set of pipes, and they should be able to fill any room you play in.
And now the RJM solo chanter….I’ve played a Naill blackwood solo chanter almost exclusively for the last couple years and have been very happy with it. But the RJM chanter is more refined in so many ways. I ordered the engraved silver band, and it’s a much sleeker design than the larger bell on un-banded blackwood chanters. The holes appear to be slightly closer together and/or just closer to the reed seat. The sound, as could be expected, is excellent. With the McPhee reed I put in, it was very close to in tune already before taping. The top hand notes (especially high A, high G, and piobaireachd high G) are clear and stable and sound great against the drones. The high A cuts through the sound of the drones in a good way, and sounds bright and resonant. I’m very happy with this set of pipes.
I have been playing a Roddy MacLeod (RJM) blackwood solo chanter for the last three years. Its pitch settles in beautifully at around 480/481, producing an amazingly bright and well balanced scale. Rich bottom hand harmonics and an incredibly stable top hand are hallmarks of this superb chanter. I have never had a chanter with such stability on ‘f”, high ‘g’, and piobaireachd high ‘g’, requiring a minimal amount of top hand tape. An additional plus for this chanter is that it works equally well with a wide variety of reeds. A significant number of my own private pupils have made a move to this chanter, all with first rate results. Two thumbs up for the RJM blackwood solo chanter.
Bob Worrall, Canada – September 2020
I purchased the RJM Solo Chanter in 2017 and it has been an absolute joy to play and compete with. I have slightly thinner fingers and the hole sizes and spacing are just right for my hands. I particularly enjoy that the holes feel “on top of” the chanter rather than recessed “in” the chanter. The tone is both sweet and refined, and the chanter’s stability allows for confidence in every performance. I heartily recommend it to any piper looking for that next level of quality to their sound.
Derek Midgely, September 2020
I have played RJM chanters since they came onto the market, changing from the original version to the newer version with slightly closer bottom hand a couple of years ago. Both are really comfortable to play, although the newer version suits my hand size better. The tone, volume, pitch and balance have been super in both, with a rich, crisp bottom hand and bright, resonant top really highlighting the sound quality with a sheepskin bag. I’ve tried one or two other chanters but have always found myself coming back to the RJM for its all-round performance; going by comments I’ve received from judges, competitors and audience, it is very at home on the biggest solo stage.
Jamie Forrester September 2020
The chanter sounds great. Piob HighG very nice & steady.
Herve Le Floc’h, France
I’ve been playing an RJM chanter for a while now and have had a lot of success in solo competitions. In fact, it’s without a doubt the best chanter I’ve played.
Calum Watson, Scotland
The chanter arrived intact 5 days ago and I have had a good chance to try it out. All I can say is WOW!! It really has a glorious sound. Very comfortable to play, and truly does everything you promised it would. Wonderful workmanship on it too. Thanks so much for developing what might be the very best chanter on the market.
Ralph Ballard, Australia
I received this chanter yesterday, I played it last night. I put my current reed in it and within 10 minutes had this balanced and playing, another 10 minutes for my drones to settle and played Mary’s Praise. I don’t know how you did it but this chanter is probably the nicest sounding chanter I have ever played, it does have your trademark High A. It has been years since I had something that was as comfortable and sounded this good within the first 10 minutes of playing. Again thank you. This has inspired me to practice more and I actually enjoy playing and not struggling with my sound.
Steve Tripp, Canada
Very quickly: the chanter arrived on Saturday. In one word- excellent! Well done to you and everyone involved.
Martin Kessler, Germany
I played with the reed a bit and achieved very good results. Sounds great. Yes, I’m using the flat-bladed Troy reeds, they sound the best of all the reeds I’ve tried so far. Excellent top hand especially.
Hugh Metcalfe, Canada
I purchased your solo chanter the moment it was available through a local supplier and it is without THE FINEST chanter I’ve played or heard. Hearing your recordings using the chanter sold me and they blend fantastically with my Duncan Soutar pipes! I have never needed to tape it which is a miracle in the tropics of Florida and this chanter is without a doubt a chanter I will be using for many years to come. The chanter is everything you said and more, thank you Mr. MacLeod for sharing your experience and high A.
Robert Larcom, USA
I believe this band chanter is quite unique as it’s almost tape-free. The high G has always been a problem for me with other chanters but although the overall pitch is relatively high, the high G pitch is still good. I also find the chanter sound to be pleasant (seems to be pitching at 481 with this reed). So, I think you have a real winner here. Well done.
Iain Currie, Denmark