PP Ed’s Blog: Grainger Chanter/ Grampian League/ SPA/ Gen. Smuts/Piper of the Year/ Strathallan

Steve Rooklidge of the Shasta Piping Society in California has sent the picture of the above chanter. Steve writes: ‘Is this a Grainger chanter of your era?  It seems a bit chubby but the fingering is more modern. What were they pitched for? I have yet to reed it up. This was from a set purchased I think, from the House of Scotland PB in San Diego in the 80s sometime.’

I am sure it is a Grainger chanter of the 1980/81 vintage Steve. When Patrick Grant and I took over Grainger & Campbell from P/M Donald MacLeod in 1980 we set about working on the chanter. 

I won a few prizes round the games playing it and one occasion sticks in the mind. It was the games at Mallaig and Morar with Norman Matheson and Norman Meldrum on the bench for the piobaireachd.

I played Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay and was fortunate to be placed first – playing the new Grainger chanter. It was very similar to the one above and it was pitched roughly the same as my old Hardie chanter of the time with its huge egg-shaped, gouged finger holes. 

When I got back to the workshop in Glasgow someone had mucked about with the jig for boring the holes and the winning formula was lost. We made them from ebony which was a lot cheaper than African blackwood but harder on the tools.


Patricia Grant of the Grampian Games League: ‘I have been trying to contact James MacPhee as his son [Angus] is due funds from the League – all to no avail. Does anyone  have a contact for him? p.grant18@btinternet.com



The Scottish Pipers Association have their monthly meeting tonight at the NPC Otago Street at 7.30pm.


Re the enquiry from Nicholas Taitz in South Africa for the tune General Smuts. Roddy Livingstone responds: ‘In answer to Nick Taitz’ query, this tune was published in the book ‘The Kilberry Letters’ edited by John Shone and published circa 1980.

‘I have mislaid my copy of the book but may have a copy of the tune somewhere but cannot guarantee finding it quickly! ‘Robbie’ was stationed in South Africa with the Scots Guards for a period during World War 2 and in his latter years, when I was receiving tuition from him, occasionally made reference to this period of his life with fondness.’

In the interval Northern Ireland’s Harry Stevenson has kindly supplied the necessary from his copy of ‘The Tribute’ the book by Rev. Cecil Tee:

Thanks to both Harry and Roddy and here is a PDF of the tune for download: Gen. Smuts


Kenny Stewart has written reminding everyone that the Northern Ireland Piper of the Year contest takes place next Saturday, October 13, in the Adair Arms Hotel, Ballymena. Adjudicators are Glenn Brown and Lenny Browne. The piobaireachd starts at 12 noon and the MSR at 7pm. The picture above is of Andrew Carlisle now Professor of Piping at Carnegie Mellon University on Pittsburgh, USA. According to our records Andrew is pictured after winning the NIPotY in 2008….ten years ago!


Strathallan School are looking for a part-time piping and a part-time bass and tenor teacher for the school band. Only one day a week to begin but with growth potential as numbers increase. Full job description and other details here.


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