Highland Chanter Reeds

Synthetic reeds have been available in recent times for a variety of woodwind instruments. Until the introduction of the McLaren Synthetic Reed, development to suit Highland Bagpipe chanters to obtain the correct tone and response has been difficult.

The advantages of McLaren Synthetic Reeds over traditional cane reeds are their ability to play in conditions where cane reeds can be unreliable, particularly in severe weather condition, such as humidity, heat and cold.

Because they are almost instantly in tune when correctly set up, there is very little "tune up" time, and they are very useful in situations when they are needed to be playable “straight out of the box".

McLaren Synthetic Reeds are not intended to be a replacement for a good cane reed in the competition scene, but because these reeds are almost indistinguishable in performance and sound with a cane reed there are many pipers who use them to get the most satisfaction from their playing without the manipulation that is required at times on a cane reed.

Testimonials from satisfied pipers confirm the McLaren Synthetic Reed is a viable alternative that allows more pleasurable playing.

McLaren Synthetic Reeds can be played at a much lower pressure but still retain good volume and because of this it is possible to play an easy set of pipes with satisfactory results.

For beginners and older pipers the McLaren Synthetic reed offers a usable alternative to the sometimes troublesome cane reeds.


More specific information and set-up information is available on a downloadable PDF file - McLaren Synthetic Reeds.pdf

Pricing and ordering information

NEWLY ADDED: Reed Selection Guide (PDF) courtesy of Larry Whittle, USA.

Range comparison chart showing how McLaren reed strengths align with Inches of Water or MM of Mercury

Border Chanter Reeds

As a development of the Highland chanter reed, it is now possible to have a very low pressure McLaren Synthetic Reed that plays very well in Border Pipes in either the key of A or G.

These reeds have a vibrancy and tone more like Highland Pipes, but with most of the characteristics of a Border chanter.

They can be played by bellows or mouth blown, with consistent and reliable results.

For outdoor or stage playing these reeds offer a sound and tonality that enhances combinations with other instruments.

The performance of the reed overall, particularly on the bottom hand, allows Highland gracing without any problems.

All in all, the McLaren Synthetic Reed is a very good alternative to a cane Border chanter reed for reliable performance.

Pricing and ordering information