by Terry Ackland

Bold and Harmonic Drone Reeds for Great Highland Bagpipes

Low A = 480 Hz
Low A = 466 Hz, concert B♭
Low A = 490 Hz
Low A = 440 Hz, concert A

What makes Overtone reeds different from the rest?

  • An angled bed with a flat tongue provides lift giving the bridle a freedom of movement not obtainable with a curved body or tongue.
  • The tuning pin is an airtight piston rather than screw threads which are not airtight.
  • They are bold with more harmonic support for the chanter resulting in a distinct and unique blend of chanter and drone on each note

What our customers are saying:

  • “They’re big, bright and stayed locked in tune once set…I’m going to recommend them to other pipers.” & “The more I play these reeds, the more impressed I am.” – KJ
  • “I really like the deep bass sound your reed produces, and the blend with the tenors is also quite pleasing. Overall, the drones are fairly loud and vibrant, but still maintain a very good balance with the chanter. Your reeds are also air efficient, which is always a plus at my age!” – AM
  • “Your bass reed…was set perfectly…The sound was rich and powerful.” LB
  • “the 480’s are amazing…I have told everyone about these reeds.” – PH
  • “They were rock solid. The bass is very strong without booming and the tenors have a lot of warm harmonics” – JD
  • “I just [put] them in my Naills and all [I] can say is WOW! A fantastic set of reeds you designed.” – RC
  • “I love my reeds” – KP
  • “I have given the new reeds a good try and am enjoying the sound that they produce…The bass was a challenge at first but the more I played and adjusted it now tunes even better than any of the other bass reeds I have tried” – BM
  • “for the third practice in a row I was told how great my pipe sounded and how steady they were.” & “I really have to say I have been trying with all kinds of reeds, balance tone, mg, kinnaird, ezee, selbie, original ross with cane tongues (look like can croziers) and NONE of them compare.  These are easier to blow, sound better, and strike in and shut off easier.” – Steve Shepherd
  • “I want to get another set. I really like the harmonics.” – EK
  • “Well, these are really quite amazing.” – CH
  • “The reeds I received from you sound better every time I play them. I want to try them in my other sets, but they are playing so good, I do not want to readjust them to suit the other sets.” – TP
  • “[They’re] great the best drone [reeds] I have played” – Robby Campbell / mudmen.ca

Which set should you buy?

  • 480 Hz – If you play a standard, modern bagpipe chanter
    • Shepherd
    • McCallum McC2
    • Colin Kyo
    • Naill
  • 466 Hz – If you play a concert pitch, B♭ chanter
    • Shepherd Orchestral
    • McCallum B♭
    • MacLellan B♭
    • G1 B♭
  • 490 Hz – If you play a chanter that pushes 485 Hz
  • 440 Hz – If you play a concert pitch, A chanter
    • McCallum A
    • MacLellan A
    • Hamish Moore A
    • Michael MacHarg A

$70 CDN with free shipping to North America, $10 CDN shipping rest of the world. To order, please email Terry Ackland:

Designed in collaboration with Patrick McLaurin. Many recordings of Patrick playing Overtone reeds can be found on his blog. Below are three select recordings from his blog. Keep in mind these recordings are made with one microphone and are unedited, so the chanter drone balance is heavily influenced by the microphone position which is biased toward the drones in most of Patrick’s recordings.

480 Hz (low A = 473 Hz in this recording in Atherton Legacy drones)
466 Hz (low A = 466 Hz in this recording in older Henderson drones)
490 Hz (low A = 487 Hz in this recording in Colin Kyo drones)
440 Hz (low A = 441 Hz in this recording in Kron standard drones, EJ Jones A 440 chanter)

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