Moisture Control System

(6 customer reviews)

Moisture Control System (MCS4) reduces moisture before it hits your drone reeds. The Moisture Control System has been designed and developed with you, the piper, in mind. This is the most versatile system on the market because it is:

  • Lightweight
  • Sits at the top of the bag
  • Easy to adjust
  • Equipped with removable drone valves

It also offers the following benefits:

  • Keeps reeds drier so that your pipes stay in tune and you can play longer
  • No tonal change
  • Consistency of air pressure to drone
  • Easy to install, remove and maintain
  • Non-bulky, lightweight system

The removable drone valve has a flexible connector for connection to the drone stock. It also features a screw adjustable quick stop drone valve to regulate the air flow.

Drone valves are included within the system. These are removable if not needed, however they will regulate the air flow to the drones giving a steadier drone sound.

SKU: MCS4 Category:



Moisture Control System (MCS4) reduces moisture before it hits your drone reeds. The Moisture Control System has been designed and developed with you, the piper, in mind.

Product Data

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Product Code




Moisture Control System Instruction 1 Moisture Control System Instruction 2 Moisture Control System Information 3

Fitting the (MCS4) System:

1. Pull the stocks out through the collar on the bag. (Do not push the stocks back into the bag as this may tear the collars or the bag).  Figure 1.

2. Fit the rubber cup into the groove at the bottom of the drone stock; if necessary tape to secure a good fit. Figure 2.

3. Re-fit the stocks as normal, pushing through from the inside of the bag until the rubber cup rests against the collar. (See your bag manufacturer’s recommended instructions for refitting the stocks.) Figure 3.

4. Insert the complete MCS3 unit (cartridge and connector) into the rubber cup, pushing firmly home. Figure 3.

Moisture Control System Instruction 4

Alternate Method of Fitting (not using the Rubber Cup)
1. To install the connector to the bottom of the drone stocks, through the zip in the pipe bag. To do this, apply an even wrapping of waxed hemp to the entire threaded portion of the connector. Test the fit as you wrap by inserting the connector into the bottom of the drone stock, adding waxed hemp until there is a secure fit. When correctly installed, only the plastic end with 2 O-rings should be visible.

2. Then insert the cartridge firmly onto the connector.

IMPORTANT – The system should always be removed from the bagpipes before placing into the pipe case

Drone Valves
These Highland Reeds drone valves are designed to give you greater control over your bagpipe by regulating the consistency of airflow to your drone reeds and ensuring clean and easy strike-ins and cut-offs. They are situated within the connector and are easy to remove if not required. The unique, easy to adjust screw valve enables small, fine adjustments to the air flow to the drones. This is far superior to the elastic variety as those valves fluctuate with uneven pressure (bad blowing) and have to be removed to make adjustments.

The drone valves come preset for medium strength pressure. However, you may need to adjust the tension on the valve to suit your blowing strength. The screw can be adjusted down the drone stock using a long screwdriver making it very easy to set the required pressure. You will have to experiment to get the balance that suits the general strength of your bagpipe.

Moisture Control System Instruction 5One way of finding the correct pressure for you is to close the valve clockwise so no air is coming through. Then release anti-clockwise the pressure in small increments until you obtain your ideal/optimum pressure.

Turning the screw clockwise will increase the tension on the valve giving you a more effective strike-in and cut-off but a more mellow drone sound.

Turning the screw anti-clockwise will decrease the tension on the valve resulting in freer airflow and greater volume but less effective strike-ins and cut-offs.

Should you wish to remove the valve, use the white tube to push the valve out of the connector as shown.

If you need to re-fit the valve, use the white tube to push the valve into the connector as shown.

Cartridge and Granules
When you start to get a build up of moisture on your drone reeds, it is time to change or dry your granules.

The amount of playing time you get from your system will depend largely on the climatic conditions you are playing in and how wet of blower you are. The cartridge contains silica granules. Silica is tough and hard and drinks up moisture by attracting and holding water molecules in its pores. Even when saturated with absorbed moisture, silica granules look and feel dry to the touch however you may notice an increase in their weight. Silica can absorb about 40% of its weight in moisture. Once the granules are saturated, you can get rid of the moisture by drying or regenerating them.

The system should always be removed from the bagpipes before placing into the pipe case.

An easy way to dry the system after playing is to place the cartridges still filled with granules onto or near a heat source (e.g. a radiator or drying cupboard) and leave for a considerable amount of time until the granules are dry. Then store appropriately. If this method is used regularly the granules will stay in a good condition. It might however become necessary to completely regenerate the granules occasionally using the method below.

Granule Regeneration
Regeneration is achieved by heating the silica granules to drive off the absorbed water as steam. For greatest efficiency of regeneration, expose as much surface area of the granules as possible.

Put a thin layer on a metal or glass (1/4” Pyrex) tray and heat them at 250-280 degrees Fahrenheit or 150-160 degrees Celsius. (Use a tray specifi cally designated for the granules as they may absorb residues from baking or cooking trays.) Depending on how wet the granules are, experiment with what time works for you, it could be up to 30-50 minutes or much less. Silica granules get very hot during the regeneration process. When regenerated, allow the granules to thoroughly cool before refilling your cartridges.

Granule Storage
Store dried/regenerated granules and cartridges in a zip-lock bag or airtight container, until required for further use. Try to limit the amount of moisture coming into the area of the granules as the silica absorbs moisture from the outside air. If the granules are not completely dry when starting to play your pipes the system will not act as efficiently and playing time will be reduced.





One Click Purchase via Distributors:

Achiltibuie Bagpipe Specialists – Scotland

Hendersons Ltd – USA

Kilts and More – Germany

McCarthy Highland Services – USA

The Bagpipe Shop – Scotland

Other Distributors:


Highland Supplies – Singapore

Highland Supplies – Hong Kong

Australia / New Zealand

Bryce’s Bagpipes – New Zealand

Celtic Affairs – Australia

Easton Bagpipes – New Zealand

St Kilda Retail – Australia

Central Europe

D&M Shop – Belgium

Kroashent-tro Rond-point Karamporiel – France

Scottish Bagpipe Centre – Netherlands

Scottlandliebhaber – Germany

The Piper’s Corner – Germany

North America

Ben Bhraggie House Ltd – Canada

J Higgins – USA

Pipeline – USA

Scott’s Highland Services – Canada

Tartantown – Canada


Beatstreet – Northern Ireland

Cabar Feidh Bagpipe Supplies – Scotland

Kilberry Bagpipes – Scotland

Kingdom Thistle – Scotland

R.G. Hardie & Co – Scotland

Wallace Bagpipes – Scotland

Reviews (6)

6 reviews for Moisture Control System

  1. Samuel Peoples

    What a difference! Played my pipes tonight with your mcs installed. Great starts, stops. Drones steady and reeds dry after playing. Cheers Bruce, well chuffed with this product!

  2. Richard Winslow

    This system is highly effective and easy to use. For ease of use, I do not used the rubber cups. Tonal achievement has been outstanding.. In my environment: I change tubes every 45 minutes. As I have extra tubes, my stable playing time is very considerable. Thanks for another well thought out and well executed design!

  3. Dominic Murphy(Regimental Pipe Major Ret)

    I have tried many of the MCS on the market over the years, I started using this system about 10 years ago,and it does exactly what is stated about the system. I took over teaching a local pipeband in Germany 6 years ago and do far I have fitted 15 of the MCS so easy to install,adjust and maintain and completely lightweight and unobtrusive in the bag,I have also fitted one to a young piper that I have bern teaching in Romania. The attacks and cut offs are always 100% which is an added bonus and the drones stay in tune for much longer periods

  4. Russell White

    I had been playing another well know system for a number of years without many issues just one thing that I did noticed was how heavy they were in the bag and sometimes felt uncomfortable when marching after changing to the MCSII Iv had no such problems with my tone or balance and my strike in and cut off were spot on, I’m very please with the product would highly recommend as Cameron has said above in his review my pipes have never sounded or performed better.

    • Bruce Hitchings

      Hi Russell, thank you very much for using my system and for taking the time to leave your kind review. My system is about one third of the weight of other systems.
      Thanks Bruce

  5. Cameron Drummond

    The Balance Tone HR3 Reeds are fantastic. They have a great tone, lovely harmonics and a sweetness that lasts as long as I can play. The pipes are easy to tune, beautifully balanced and extremely steady. Along with the Highland Reed Moisture Control System my pipes have never performed better.

  6. David Johnston

    I thought I should just mention to you that all the points written in your newsletter are 100% correct. I have also been using your MCS in my pipes now for over 10 years and they have certainly helped my instrument stay steady for longer thus allowing for a longer playing period before having to retune the drones. I do remember that one of my concerns with moisture controls systems was the possibility that they would make my instrument harder to blow and I was very pleased to learn that this was not the case with your system.

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