We introduced our Reel or 3/4 pipes in A, early in 2011. The idea was to have a set of pipes in between the volume of GHB, and border pipes (Or our Session pipes), which would be better for bands where there were louder (Often electric) instruments. These pipes would avoid the volume of GHB which can be a bit overpowering for other members of the band, but give enough signal to avoid any feedback problems in the monitors. They are already being used by Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton in "The Treacherous Orchestra", and (The chanters) in "The Gordon Duncan Experience". These pipes have a similar feel to GHB but play at a slightly lower pressure, and at a volume which, if comparing them to border pipes and GHB is around 2/3 of the difference louder than border pipes. Of course both pressure and volume depend on how they are reeded up. The softer reeds can give an almost full range of accidental notes in addition to the standard scale.
Background:- What's in a name? In the mid 19c MacDougalls of Aberfeldy advertised "Half size or Reel pipes". The term "Reel pipes" is though to be because they were designed for playing for dancing, where the lower pressure would benefit the piper who had to play for long dance sets. They were available in mouth blown or bellows blown options, however we have not come across any surviving MacDougall bellows blown sets, and it looks like most of their sales were of mouth blown pipes, we have seen a few of these over the years. In the early part of the 20c the term "Reel pipes" seems to have fallen out of use, and the term 3/4 pipes became used more regularly for pipes that were a bit smaller and a bit less loud than GHB. Whilst these pipes do vary in size, none of them are anything remotely like half the size of GHB, which is probably why the term 3/4 pipes came into being and that's what we prefer to use. It has been said that you can tell whether it is a half or 3/4 set from the diameter of the bass drone top so approximately .....GHB 3/4 pipes and 1/2 pipes ….2inches, 1 3/4, and 1 1/2 across the top. However there appears to be some confusion nowadays, one man will call a set a 3/4 set, and another a 1/2 set.
The term "Reel pipes" has been revived quite recently for some bellows blown pipes that would have otherwise have been called Border or Scottish Lowland pipes. However as it appears that the majority of pipes originally called "Reel pipes" were mouth blown we have used this name for ours.
More pictures and sound samples will be added soon.