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McGillivray Piping
Jim McGillivray
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Why McGillivray Piping?


Glenfiddich MSR Champion
Receiving the Redfern Glass Trophy from the late Duke of Atholl for winning the March, Strathspey and Reel at the Glenfiddich Championship at Blair Castle in 1986.
Bagpipes of any kind are not like a trumpet or a piano. You don't just buy them and they 'go.' They need to be 'set up' so that they fit you and are efficient to blow.

Setting pipes up well takes a great deal of skill and experience with pipes and pipers. My 40+ dedicated years as a piper — many at the highest international levels as a soloist and bandsman — and my 30+ years teaching workshops, summer schools and privately, combined with my training and experience for 15 years as a professional communicator have provided me with a set of skills very few bagpipe suppliers and teachers can match.

My travels and my network of contacts in the world of piping mean that I know almost all of the suppliers I work with well and can talk frankly with them about any concerns I have. I am fortunate in that they respect my opinions, so we work well together. As a result of this I can provide the best instruments in the world and am always abreast of new developments and such important facts as what reeds go well in which chanters and pipes!

I'm proud of these skills and I'm proud of the instruments I send out. I'm proud to be a piper, so I always send out instruments that uphold my pride in the bagpipe.

This is why pipers come to me. Those shopping for the lowest prices alone will go elsewhere, but those who understand the subtleties and intricacies of one of the most challenging instruments in the world stay right here with McGillivray Piping.

I hope you will too.

Below is some of the feedback I've had from some customers over the years.


"You're one of the piping world's true gentlemen, and a practical, honest ambassador for the piping supply biz too....  I've never been mislead by you; everything I've purchased lives up to what you say it will do. I trust your advice and recommendations Jim."
Avery McFarland, Holladay, Utah

"I've lost any fear I had about the mechanics and set-up of the pipes, due in no small part to your two DVDs.  Amazing works those are.  I think that what you contributed to the piping community by making those DVDs is hugely significant.  And the RF book?  I'll tell you more about how it's made a big difference in my learning some other time, but the short story is that I consider it to be indispensible."
Doug Walton, Marquette, Michigan

"I am writing to thank you for the quality of your teaching material.  I am PM of a new band, here in Israel, which is quite a trial for us.  There are only about ten pipers here, and we are literally creating a piping scene here from scratch.  Needless to say, we have the challenge of adult learners in the band, and of the self-taught who are in the process of being stripped-down and rewired.  The idea of timing of doublings and other embellishments is nicely covered in your exercise book, so my pipers finally know that I didn't just make that one up. Your material fits my ideas of teaching a band perfectly.  We have a rule, 'blow tone, or go home.'  I stress making the pipes sound good.  We have two (legal!) copies of your tuning CD, and it is great.  Musical expression and technique seem inseparable, and to this end your Rhythmic Fingerwork excercises are a stupendous help.  I think I will make new students get a copy with their first chanter purchase.  Since my nearest student is a 100+ kilometre train ride away for me, great educational material is important to me.  Having your visual and printed instruction sure does help to that end.  Especially for tuning.  I am not a pipe major who incourages the myth of tuning difficulty--as your video shows, most pipers can learn to be self-sufficient tuners. In any event, before I end up giving you my complete life history, let me just say 'thanks.' You are a pivotal figure on the Israel piping scene." 
David Siegal, Israel

"I recently purchased your series and I can't tell how pleased I am with what I have learned. I have owned my new set of  pipes since March of this year. Prior to learning from your series I had no idea on how to ready and tune my pipes. I followed your instructions on tuning the chanter reed with excellent results.  I am blowing an easy reed.  I found that the high A was flat, so per your directions, I added hemp to the reed base. Sure enough, the adjustment brought high A into tune with low A. The lead tenor drone was coming into tune too low on the tuning pin.  Per your directions,  I turned the drone reed screw in until the drone came into tune towards the top of the tuning pin.  This process also revealed that the hemp was turning on the tuning pin.  I completely replaced the old hemp with yellow pre waxed hemp and then put teflon tape over that.  Made a big difference. All of my drone reeds were flat.  So, per your directions, I turned the tuning screw in on the drones until they came into tune. For this initial setup I was using a Korg Orchestral Tuner OT-12. Now that I have a reasonable degree of confidence that my pipes are in tune I will begin concentrating on how to tune with my hear, per you directions in Pipes Up. I also found that my Blowpipe valve was leaking.  I redid this per your directions and the leak stopped.  Now my pipes are easier to blow and much better sounding. You have created an everlasting personal legacy with the Rhythmic Fingerworks series.  It is a great benefit not only to the piping community but also to mankind.  Thank you!"
Gary Ross, Speedway, Indiana


"The reed sent with the chanter was beyond what you would get from another supplier, the reed was playable the first 10 minutes and sounded better than the reeds I have taken 3 weeks to break in. The combination of the Kron Medallist and McCann reed you sent me was beautiful out of the box. You have made a believer of me, both in the Kron and your Chanter reed selection!"
Rob Hessinger, Spring Valley, Ohio

"'Pearls before swine'is a great analogy, Jim. I'm not a wealthy man (at least not by worldly US standards), but I was raised by parents who taught, 'one get's what one pays for'. The little bit of free time I have is far too valuable for me to spend experimenting with a box full
of reeds. I typically bought as many as two dozen reeds and found 6 or fewer usable ones. Amortized, those reeds were more expensive than yours! I consider the reeds I purchase from Jim McGillivray a bargain!
     "I'm not a virtuoso player of the great pipe, but I'm solid and my audiences always express appreciation for my performance. Audiences appreciate a good melody played with expression, and in tune, by one with a professional bearing and appearance - regardless of the instrument played. I play several instruments. I've toured much of the world as a professional musician. Regardless of the genre of music, or type instrument it's played on, if the quality of the instrument isn't first class - with the best strings, reeds, amplification, cymbals, heads, etc., one can never achieve their very best tone and tuning, and never realize - achieve their best performance. A great instrument helps to bring out the music in one's soul. The instrument is the vehicle that get's a musician 'there' - the place where, when you're 'on' and the notes are flowing magically from your fingers and your heart with apparent ease, no one can touch you, you're in 'the moment'. Man, that's a great high - and what you charge for your outstanding reeds is a small price to pay for that kind of experience.
     "I appreciate your fine service, and the great products you offer James. I have never gotten anything approaching garbage from you Sir; and in the piping market, there's a lot of useless crap for sale . . ."

Arvey McFarland, Holladay, Utah
"Thank you, Jim!  Your help has been a godsend.  I can't express how much you have relieved my anxiety over going into comps this weekend with an 'iffy' old plastic chanter.  You can bet that I will tell every piper I know about the high quality of your service and your cheerful willingness to help a piper in need."
Eddie Selden, League City, Texas

"Hello Mr. McGillivray, I hope you are well. Telling you that I love my pipes doesn't seem to really express how I feel. Ever since I started squeeking on the pr. chanter almost three years ago I had a very good idea of what I wanted my pipes to look like and wanted to have a set that I knew was of excellent quality. My pipes are now Exactly how and what I had always dreamed they would be. It is a real comfort knowing that I play the same set of pipes as Jim McGillivray. Now my goal is to make them sound as wonderful as they look. Thank you for all that you have done for me, I look forward to the next time we should meet again."
Nelson Bendall, Toronto, Ontario 

"Hello again. Just to say a big thank you for sending my chanter out so quickly. I didn't expect to be playing it so soon!  I've gone from having six holes taped to none at all. It's  a pleasure to play, and the reeds are perfect!"
Joanne McIver, France

"You have a lot of happy customers!"
Dave Atherton, C.E. Kron Bagpipe Maker, Dobbs Ferry, New York

"As an educational and professional reference publisher of almost 20 years' experience, I wanted you to know that your Pipes Up presentation, which I just purchased and viewed last week, is easily the best educational video I've ever seen. It is well organized, easy to understand, beautifully produced, and truly helpful, even to a 35-year veteran of the bagpipe like myself. Nice work! I hope you're doing well with it and your other materials. I am on my third already rather battered copy of Rhythmic Fingerwork, having literally used up one copy and given another to a young student."
Thom Moore, Haddonfield, New Jersey

"On behalf of the BC Pipers' Association, I want to let you know that the adjudication seminar delivered by Jim McGillivray two weeks ago to members of the BCPA Adjudicators Panel and prospective adjudicators was a tremendous success. It was the most well-attended adjudication seminar in the three years that we have run these programs.
     "Many attendees commented that Jim's seminar was well prepared, well presented and intellectually interesting throughout. Jim encouraged a lot of thought provoking discussion among attendees and his discussions on the PPBSO score sheets, PPBSO adjudicator certification system, professional development, and other adjudication related initiatives pipe band associations should be focussing on has provided much for our Executive to consider.
     "Jim was also one of the adjudicators at the BCPA Annual Dinner and Professional Knockout Final. His presense certainly elevated the evening and it was fitting that he presented the Davie Moore Memorial Trophy to the winner, highlighting the special relationship that has existed between our two associations for decades.
     "While Jim wasn't officially representing the PPBSO during the weekend, he was an excellent ambassador for your association. During this time, when many other North American pipe band associations will be considering the same adjudicator certification and professional development issues as we currently are, you can be assured that Jim is an excellent resource for the PPBSO when they turn to your association for guidance on this new and
challenging path."

Rob MacNeill, President, B.C. Pipers' Association

"At the urging of my instructor, I purchased Rhythmic Fingerwork.  I must say, that after only a couple of weeks my playing has improved.  Great book, Jim!"
Phil Smith, Willoughby, Ohio
"I very much enjoyed your performance on the second Thursday of the piping summer school. I said to my instructor that you are in a class of your own.  As you say in your video 'let us be musicians' and I would keep going on about it but for fear of embarrassing myself. Still your degree of musicianship by any standard, on any instrument, in any style was something to behold. Of course you've won everything, but then so have some of the other performers, but above that, you communicated the spirit of the music and so your audience felt that. In the end for me it's the beauty and spirit of the music. It is what we long for and so the reason why I write these words."
Juhan Puhm, Barrie, Ontario

"Chanter arrived today, in good condition. It is exactly what I wanted to purchase. Reed is perfect. I examined it with high interest, trying to grab some of your secrets about the art of scraping .Thanks for the efficiency and advice."
Jean Carvin, Orange, France

"I just received my order. It's perfect. What a beautiful sound!  Thank you, I'm really pleased."
Christian Haerinck, Charlesboug, Quebec

"I am the P/M of the local street band here in the central coast of California. I just wanted to let you know that the two video works of Pipes Ready and Pipes Up are, bar none, the best pieces of bagpipe understanding ever put into ANY media. I require that all my players view your excellent work, as well as to 'obey the doctrine' of  Rhythmic Fingerwork. Thank you so much for spending the time and energy to put forth these works. You will remain a legend in the piping world for your contributions in advancing the art."
Paul Andrew Dunn, San Luis Obispo, CA
"Thank you so much for the difference you have made to my piping!"
Sam Goodwin, Toronto, Ontario

"The smallpipes arrived yesterday afternoon.  It's great fun getting to know them, bit by bit.  My superficial, initial reaction is that they are fantastic.  First off, they look beautiful, finely crafted.  It's the look I've wanted from the start.  The sound of the drones is very warm, mellow, balanced.  That too is exactly what I was after.  The tuning options are a dream come true.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I did I ran threw some tunings I've wanted to experiment with for years.  Fantastic.  These are the best smallpipe drones in the world."
John Dally, Seattle, Washington

"I am starting to work in the new chanter reeds you sent me.  They are easy to play yet stable.  Looks like I may have a shot at performing with tone, execution, expression without having the instrument control me.  Thanks for picking out good reeds."
Colin Meagher, New York City

"Today I got to play the new reeds you sent me. Let me be the first to agree with what you say on your website: your reeds are more expensive, but you do more work on them and they are better reeds to start with than elsewhere. The McCanns were like nothing I've put in this chanter before and they were PERFECT strength-wise. I've been ordering reeds for my band from another source and every batch gives me problems. You've not only won me over for my solo reeds, but you've now gained another band as your client as well. Thanks so much for your help, and you'll be seeing a lot more of me as well as my bands' business in the future."
Tim Tokazewski, Southampton , New Jersey

"I received the bagpipes and chanters four days ago in good order. They are a beautiful set. Great sound and great workmanship! You did a great job on the chanter reeds: easy to medium as promised! That Kron Long-Short practice chanter is superb in looks and sound. Thanks for all your efforts!"
Ian K. MacDougall, Miles, Queensland, Australia
"Many thanks for sending me the two DVDs and for autographing them. They're terrific. Education and fun: that's the sign of a great teacher! They arrived here in Scotland just five days after I ordered them – quicker than I get from a Glasgow shop 15 miles away!  Many thanks again Jim for a fantastic service and a most helpful attitude!"
Robert McDonald, East Kilbride, Scotland

"I wanted to thank you for your prompt reply and quick delivery of the chanter and reeds. Everything came just fine, and the chanter is a real joy to play. I'm a competent piper even though I've been out of piping for almost 20 years and it is only recently I've gotten back into playing. I'm having a blast and am looking forward to competing this year, especially against all the young pipers as I'm 62!"
Ray Morrison, Tinley Park, Illinois
"Your quick response just blew me away!!"
Ron Crawford, Santa Fe, New Mexico

"Just wanted to let you know the chanter arrived last week and it is a winner! The reed you picked out is great, just the right strength and plays a very good piobaireachd high G. It is nice to have someone like you in the business, especially when buying reeds and chanters. You sell only quality stuff and it makes a big difference when I can count on it. "
Hope Oaks, Kokomo, Indiana