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Vintage/Remarkable Pipes

 

Vintage Bagpipes from McGillivray Piping:
Carrying piping's past into the future

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Donald MacPhee, circa 1870s
This set of ebony pipes mounted in ivory and engraved silver was made in Glasgow by Donald MacPhee in the 1870s. His shop would be taken over by Peter Henderson in 1880.

There is something in the mystery of the old instruments that captivates and motivates us. Is the old wood really better? Did the old makers know something we don't? Do musical instruments improve with age? Why do most of the great players play vintage pipes? Who was the greatest maker of all time? How did they do it with no electricity??

These questions and others continue to occupy the thoughts of vintage bagpipe afficionados.

I take pride in acquiring great old pipes. I take great care in their refurbishment and in playing them to determine their musical worth.

I also go to great lengths to make sure vintage bagpipe buyers know exactly what they are getting in terms of make, quality and repairs that have been undertaken.

If you're looking for an old instrument, I hope you'll trust me to help you as those who have written testimonials below have trusted me. If you're not looking for an old set, then please take the time to enjoy my photos and descriptions of bagpipe history below. If you have an old set you would like to part with, please email me.

If you would like to read my comprehensive article on the vintage bagpipe trade, published on pipes|drums in 2010, click here. You may need a subscription to view the article, but a pipes|drums subscription is well worth the modest price."

Scroll down for vintage pipes currently available



About McGillivray Piping Vintage Bagpipes


Working with vintage bagpipes is as much a hobby as a business for me. I enjoy the process of turning up old pipes and making sure they will be played for years to come. I think it is a good thing for piping. As such, I take great care in purchasing, examining and restoring old pipes.

My refurbisher is J. Dunbar Bagpipe Maker.  Not only do they do masterful restorations, they have eagle eyes for examining 150-year-old wood and discovering replacement pieces and flaws that should be addressed before you play the pipes. If a set of pipes has a replacement or repaired piece, you will know about it before you buy.

It is important to note that repairs to cracked pieces are not the bad news one might think. The two greatest woods from which pipes can be made are ebony and cocuswood. Both are tonally superior to blackwood, but they are much less resilient, so it is becoming rare to find pre-1900 pipes in these woods without cracks. An old set that has not been played in years dries out and existing cracks close up and become almost invisible to the average buyer. Thus, when people say they bought a vintage set and a piece cracked when the pipes were played, chances are the crack was there when the pipes were bought. Playing them puts moisture back into the wood, and the crack opens up. By removing the finish from virtually all pipes I acquire, I can uncover and address these problems before you have to! I make sure cracks are found and fixed before the pipes are sold.

"In short, I am delighted with the old pipes. They shall be fine company through the winter, as we prepare for the spring solo season, when I expect they will turn more than a few heads. Thanks again for your help with them, Jim.  Their tone is everything you said it would be."
Eddie Selden, Seabrook, Texas
(circa 1905 silver and ivory cocuswood Hendersons)

While some cracks can be sealed, fixed and rendered nearly invisible by proper  gluing, this is not always a reliable or long-lasting repair technique, particularly with cocuswood and ebony, which don't glue well.

I often employ a traditional and very effective technique called invisible whipping to fix cracks. This entails turning down some of the combing groups on a lathe, gluing the crack, then wrapping it with strong, thin cord that binds that crack closed forever. A mixture of blackwood dust and glue is then applied over the whipping. When this dries, the repairs are turned down, re-combed and polished. The crack will not open again, and there is no effect on the tone of the pipes. The repaired combing is only slightly noticeable as different from the original. The technique is virtually foolproof.

While I have all sets examined carefully for flaws and integrity, I keep my restorations to a minimum. Mounts are reafixed as required, and the wood is stripped and refinished as required. I do whatever is possible to retain all original pieces. I feel it is far preferable for the tonal and historical integrity of the pipes to repair a piece than to replace it.

It is still possible for an otherwise sound vintage pipe to crack once you start playing it. Again, while a disappointment, this is not a tragedy as the pipes can almost always be repaired to their original tone and steadiness. I cannot guarantee vintage pipes against new cracks, but if it happens I will work with you to see it repaired effectively.

If you have any questions about these techniques or would like to talk about vintage pipes available or some of the "coming soon" pipes listed above, please email me.

For more photos of vintage pipes and more information on them, you can go to Ron 'Ringo' Bowen's Bagpipe Museum site. Ron and I have pipe band connections that go back about 30 years and we consult quite closely about pipes.

For even more information on old pipes and pipemakers, consult Jeannie Campbell's superb book, Highland Bagpipe Makers, which I use constantly in my research and descriptions here. Click on the link to purchase it from the shopping cart.

One note about old pipes....  Over the years I've acquired and sold vintage pipes, I've noticed buyers gravitating toward the big names: Henderson, Lawrie, MacDougall. While these are great pipes to be sure, I frequently find 100+ year-old vintage sets that I won't put a name to because I'm just not sure. (Other sellers would do well to be less sure!) Many of these sets are absolutely outstanding instruments, yet they will sit on the site for a year because I haven't put a great name beside them. Finally some adventurous soul will snap them up and is blown away by a gem nobody else wanted. If a set looks attractive to you, and the description suggests they are a great set, email me. Tell me what you propose to use them for and I'll let you know if I think they are suitable. Don't let a real find pass you by just because it doesn't have an obvious pedigree!


"Jim: it was a pleasure working with you and purchasing my vintage pipes. I am also very pleased on your set-up selection that allowed me to play them as soon as I received them. I can't put them down! Your new poly JMcG solo chanter and the reed you selected for me is bright and crisp. I have never played a high A so cleanly and with such little effort. Your advice and patience was very much appreciated. You truly are in the business because of your love for piping!
Hoping to do business with you again."

John F. Shattuck
Andover Ma

 
Invisible whipping
These restored ebony MacDougall drone pieces are from the same set. Distinguishing the invisible-whipped combs from the untouched sections is almost impossible. They are almost perfect.


 

 

Moisture-control for vintage pipes
Moisture control is crucial when playing old pipes.
See the shopping cart at the bottom of this page for more information on these items.

Pipe Case Humidifer   The MP Watertrap
Pipe Case Humidifier
and Hygrometer
  The MP Watertrap



 



Pipes currently in stock...

Coming soon, or currently in refurbishment:
~circa 1910 Duncan MacRae, ebony, ivory, nickel
~circa 1920 nickel and ivory Duncan MacRae
 

Henderson, engraved silver and ivory, hallmarked 1915-16
Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natura;l

This set was very nearly on the site in February of this year, but was purchased after it was listed on "Coming soon." It is a silver and ivory set of Hendersons in ebony, hallmarked 1915-16.

The buyer has since purchased a siimilar set but with a significant historical pedigree and has decided to pass this set on. All photos below were taken last January. The photo at left was taken by the current owner.

There are two difference in the bagpipe since January. First, the original engraved silver sole has been removed from the original chanter and installed onto a new Roddy MacLellan blackwood chanter. This combo is included with the pipes, as well as the original chanter stick. Secondly, the entire blowpipe has been replaced with a brass-lined blackwood blowpipe with the original projecting mount, and a with a moose antler bulb and silver-plated sleeve with thistle engraving added.
 
The set was missing three silver stock ferrules. David Davidse of Truehand Engraving created three perfect replicas, indistinguishable from the originals, but for the lack of hallmarks. These are visible in the photo of the four stock ferrules below.

The blowpipe is not original to the set, though the ivory mount is.
Two of the projecting mount beads had gaps that have been filled

If you are looking for a classic WW1 silver and ivory Henderson, this could well be it.

I have decided to leave this set in the hands of the current owner, so the set is being sold as shown -- sticks, stocks, chanter -- and will be shipped by the owner.

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $8,850 plus shipping (approximately US $6575)

 

Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural
Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural
Henderson, hallmarked 1915, engraved silver and natural

 

 

 

Circa 1930 Hendersons, blackwood, ivory, nickel
Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel

This blackwood Henderson is thought to have been made in the 1930s and is mounted in ivory with nickel ferrules.

All drone pieces are original. It appears that the blowstick stock and one tenor stock might be replica replacements with the original mounts. The original blowstick had a pencil-thin bore and the stick cracked when it was being bored out, so a replica, poly-lined blackwood blowstick has replaced it. 

There are a few tiny nicks on the caps and bells, but nothing out of the ordinary for an old set. The pipes were stripped and refinished and the tuning chambers gently reamed to even up the tuning action. 

Blackwood tends to be more robust than ebony or cocuswood, and this set bears this out. The tone is extremely full and rich, and they locked into tune perfectly with my Ezeedrone reeds. This would be an impressive an reliable vintage bagpipe on any stage.

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $4,150 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165(For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $4,875  plus shipping



 

Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel
Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel
Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel

 

 

Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55
Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55

SOLD - This stunning set of Robertson pipes, mounted in Sterling silver and ivory, is hallmarked 1954-55.

It is in remarkable condition for a bagpipe made the year I was born — probably better condition than me. All pieces are original except for the mouthpiece bulb, which is new imitation ivory and an excellent match for the ivory on the pipes. The silver mouthpiece sleeve is original. Even the original hemp stops are still present on the four tuning pins.

The pipes were stripped and refinished and required two minor whippings under two of the silver stock ferrules where hairline cracks were just beginning.

I'm always raving about the remarkable consistency of Robertson pipes, both in terms of tone and manufacturing standards. This bagpipe is no exception. The tone is robust and the drones are steady and easy to reed. And the instrument is gorgeous.

This is as nice a Robertson set as we've ever had on the Vintage page.

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $6,350 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $7,050  plus shipping

 

 


Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55 Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55 Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55 Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55
Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55 Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55 Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55 Robertson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1954-55
 

 

Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, new imitation ivory
Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory

The scribe lines in the middle of the nickel ferrules on this Robertson set suggest a manufacturing date sometime in the 1920s. The bagpipe is made of ebony. The original ivory was removed and has been replaced with convincingly accurate replica imitation ivory projecting mounts and ring caps.

The blowpipe stock is new, poly-lined blackwood, and it's possible that the chanter stock is not original either. Unfortunately, the bass drone split apart on the lathe during repairs and has been replaced with a blackwood replica The tuning pin on the bass bottom was also replaced. A of cracks were invisible whipped, and the entire bagpipe has been stripped and refinished. Repairs of this extent are not unusual in a 100-year-old ebony instrument

James Robertson took over the John Center shop in 1908 when the Centers moved to Melbourne, Australia. Though Robertson himself died in 1948, his company continued until the mid-1960s. I know of no other bagpipe making company that maintained such a high standard of tone and manufacturing during its entire run, even after the passing of its founder.

Robertson pipes are robust and full in the Henderson tradition, easy to reed and extremely steady. And the "mushroom" style mounts make them one of the most recognizable bagpipes in the industry. Why we don't see more Robertson pipes played at elite levels has long been a mystery to me. They are superb, and this instrument follows in that tradition.

In addition, the fact that this bagpipe contains no ivory means it can travel freely the world over. It is, as my good friend Donald Lindsay calls it, a "border pipe."

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $3,450 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $4,150  plus shipping

 

 


Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory
Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory Robertson, circa 1920s, ebony, nickel, imitation ivory
 

 

R. G. Hardie, hand-engraved silver and ivory, hallmarked 1956
R. G. Hardie, 1956, silver and ivory


This set was sold on this set some years ago and has returned as the owner wished to upgrade to another set. The photos were taken at the time of the first sale.  Unfortunately, the mouthpiece in the photographs was lost, so the set will be sold with a plain, plastic mouthpiece. The set also had its original lacquer finish stripped and replaced with a natural oil/wax finish.

Bob Hardie was a lovely, quiet, modest man and an icon of 20th-century piping. He was a leading soloist in the 1940s and 1950s, and his band, Muirhead and Sons Ltd., won five straight World Pipe Band Championships in the 1960s. In 1950 he and John Weatherston founded one of the most successful bagpipe making companies of the time. The company continued until 2005, though Bob died in 1990.

This Hardie bagpipe was made in 1956. It is mounted in hand-engraved Sterling silver and ivory. All parts including the chanter are original except the mouthpiece bulb, as mentioned above

Hardies were renown for using well seasoned, high quality wood. Even after more than 60 years, all pieces in this set are straight and true. The set has been refinished.

The drones are mellow, steady and easy to reed. The chanter is flatter pitched and a little more difficult to reed becasue of its age, but the Hardie chanter was the chanter for both top bands and soloists during the 1950s and '60s.

This is the one of the loveliest early Hardies I have seen.

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $5,150 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $5,8755  plus shipping


 

Hardie drones, 1956 Hardie tenor ferrules, slides, projecting mounts Ivory projecting mounts Bass drone slide and hemp stop
Bells, drone tops Caps, chanter sole Stocks Combing

 

Henderson, circa 1920s, ebony, blackwood, Sterling silver, artificial ivory
Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory

This unusual set of Hendersons dates from the 10 years around 1920. They are made from very open-grained ebony, though the stocks came with blackwood replica replacements.

The plain Sterling silver is not original. It is hallmarked 2016. One unusual feature of the silver is that the stock ferrules are beaded, while the drone ferrules aren't. Hallmarks are the same on all. 

The caps may originally have been casein, but came to me with artificial ivory replacements. The bushes, however, are casein, and likely original.

The pipes have a beautiful, rich, vibrant, old Henderson tone, quite classic.  So while it does not display a "nornal" vintage Henderson appearance, the set certainly plays a classic, vintage Henderson sound.

 

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $4,050 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165(For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $4,775  plus shipping



 

Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory
Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory
Circa 1920 Henderson, ebony, silver, artificial ivory

 

 

Henderson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1963
Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural

This gorgeous set of Hendersons is hallmarked 1962-63 and displays a stunning Zoomorphic hand-engraved silver pattern.

The pipes have been stripped, checked for flaws, and refinshed. The original ivory mouthpiece bulb was cracked, as most older bulbs are, so a replacement was made in artificial ivory. The rest of the pipes are entirely original. The ivory has aged with lovely character, save for one very minor stain on one tenor projecting mount.

The pipes played beautifully and locked into tune immediately with the Ezeedrone reeds I play in my own Hendersons. They are robust and vibrant and formed a fantastic blend with the chanter.

Not much more to say about this set -- the photos say it better than I can, and the sound matches the shots!

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $6,050 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165(For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $6,825 plus shipping



 

Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural
Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural
Henderson, hallmarked 1963, silver and natural

 

 

Circa 1930 Hendersons, blackwood, ivory, nickel
Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel

This blackwood Henderson is thought to have been made in the 1930s and is mounted in ivory with nickel ferrules.

All drone pieces are original. It appears that the blowstick stock and one tenor stock might be replica replacements with the original mounts. The original blowstick had a pencil-thin bore and the stick cracked when it was being bored out, so a replica, poly-lined blackwood blowstick has replaced it. 

There are a few tiny nicks on the caps and bells, but nothing out of the ordinary for an old set. The pipes were stripped and refinished and the tuning chambers gently reamed to even up the tuning action. 

Blackwood tends to be more robust than ebony or cocuswood, and this set bears this out. The tone is extremely full and rich, and they locked into tune perfectly with my Ezeedrone reeds. This would be an impressive an reliable vintage bagpipe on any stage.

Email me about this set.

As shown, sticks only
CAD $4,250 plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165(For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $4,975  plus shipping



 

Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel
Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel
Henderson, circa 1930, blackwood, ivory, nickel

 

 

REPRODUCTION: "The MacPhee" by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray
Donald MacPhee reproduction

I acquired the original for these pipes some years ago as a Henderson. They had been so identified partly because the tonal qualities were very much Henderson, and partly because the engraved stocks were marked with a PH stamp. The stocks, hallmarked 1952, were clearly later replacments. After I acquired them I noticed the barest remants of a stamp on the chanter. After viewing it under all kinds of lights and magnifiers, I finally deciphered enough letters that the only possible named that filled in the blanks was "D McPhee Glasgow."

Jeannie Campbell tells us that Donald MacPhee was born in 1842, made pipes in Glasgow from 1872 until 1880 and that when he was at his zenith as a player in the early 1870s, Pipe Major Robert Meldrum described him as the best piper in Scotland. As a young man, John MacColl heard him play in 1876 and then saved up money for a year so he could go live in Glasgow and take lessons with MacPhee for three years. MacPhee compiled four seminal books of pipe music -- a tutor, a book of light music and two books of piobaireachd.

Original Donald MacPhee bagpipe
The original Donald MacPhee bagpipe, made in ebony in the 1870s, was long owned by Pipe Major Hector MacLean.


It is not known where he learned pipemaking, but existing examples of his pipes are outstanding.

Unfortunately, he died in 1880 at age 38 of "general paralysis of the insane" -- dementia. His shop was taken over by Peter Henderson, marking the beginning of that fabled pipemaking business.

The original for this reproduction is unusual in appearance for a MacPhee set and may have been made as a presentation or prize set. It is mounted in lightly engraved silver-plated nickel and sports massive ivory projecting mounts and cord guides. It had been owned for many years by Pipe Major Hector MacLean, a stalwart of the Scottish Pipers Assoication and a frequent judge in Scotland during the 1950s and 1960s.

The tone of the original bagpipe is, not surprisingly, very much in the Henderson tradtion -- robust, seamless, with superb bass/tenor balance, excellent chanter blend, and steady as a rock. I believe we have very much captured the essence of this sound in our reproduction, as well as producing a very distinctive looking instrument.

The reproduction pictured here is made in African blackwood, with aluminum alloy ferrules and caps and non-chip artificial ivory projecting mounts.
The preferred wood now is Mexican Royal Ebony, or Katalox, which you can see in the picture of the "Edinburgh," above. A lighter coloured wood, its tone is reminiscent of pre-1920 pipes made of cocuswood, now unobtainable in instrument grade.

The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are polypenco. (For a poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock, add CAD $165.)
 

Email me about this reproduction.

 

Sticks and stocks only:

Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $1,825 sticks and stocks only, plus shipping
African Blackwood: CAD $2,075 sticks and stocks only, plus shipping

Set up to play:

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (For a Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $175.) (For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $2,490 plus shipping
African Blackwood: CAD $2,750, plus shipping

 

Donald MacPhee reproduction Donald MacPhee reproduction Donald MacPhee reproduction Donald MacPhee reproduction
Donald MacPhee reproduction Donald MacPhee reproduction Donald MacPhee reproductions Donald MacPhee reproductions
 

 

REPRODUCTION: "The Robbie" by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray
Robertson reproduction

This line of pipes is a reproduction of a set of Robertson pipes made in the 1940s. The original was made of African blackwood and mounted in elephant ivory. It was acquired from former Toronto Police Pipe Major and double Gold Medallist Ian K. MacDonald. I remember well Ian playing these pipes when I was teaching him as a teenager.
 

Original Robertson
This is the original 1940s Robertson cocuswood bagpipe owned by double Gold Medallist Ian K. MacDonald and used for this reproduction.

This reproduction is made from African blackwood. The artificial ivory is non-chip delrin (polypenco). The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are polypenco. It is made by Dunbar Bagpipes in St. Catharines, Ontario. A superb maker, the company undertakes all of my vintage refurbishments and I value their work and professionalism immensely -- a vastly underrated pipemaker. The preferred wood now is Mexican Royal Ebony, or Katalox, which you can see in the picture of the "Edinburgh," below. A lighter coloured wood, it's tone is reminiscent of pre-1920 pipes made of cocuswood, now unobtaining in instrument grade.

James Robertson made pipes in Edinburgh from 1908 until his death in 1948, though the company continued until the mid-1960s. His pipes are easily identified by their distinctive 'mushroom' projecting mounts. He is one of the most consistent pipemakers I have enountered in many years of dealing in hundreds of sets of vintage pipes. Pipemakers today speak highly of his superb workmanship.

His pipes are full, rich and extremely steady in the Henderson tradition. 
This reproduction uses the exact tonal measurements from the original Robertson set.  These replica sets come with a one-year guarantee against cracking. 

The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are polypenco.


It should be noted that the Peter Henderson/R. G, Hardie pipemaking company owns the rights to the Robertson name. The name is used here with permission, and the pipes have no connection to those made by the Glasgow firm.

Email me about this reproduction.
 

Sticks and stocks only:

Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $1,825 sticks and stocks only, plus shipping
African Blackwood: CAD $2,075 sticks and stocks only, plus shipping

Set up to play:

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (For a Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $175.) (For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $2,490 plus shipping
African Blackwood: CAD $2,750, plus shipping

 

Robertson reproductions Robertson reproductions Robertson reproductions Robertson reproductions
Robertson reproductions Robertson reproductions Robertson reproductions Robertson reproductions
 

 

REPRODUCTION: "The Edinburgh" by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray
Glen reproduction

This line of pipes is a reproduction of an exceptional David Glen bagpipe made in the 1890s. The original was made in cocuswood (David Glen's favoured wood) and mounted in elephant ivory. The reproduction pictured is made in cocobola.

Unfortunately, since this set was made, cocobola has become unavailable. 
The preferred wood now is Mexican Royal Ebony, or Katalox. A lighter coloured wood, its tone is reminiscent of pre-1920 pipes made of cocuswood, now unobtaining in instrument grade.

The artificial ivory is non-chip delrin (polypenco). The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are polypenco.

The reproduction is made by Dunbar Bagpipes in St. Catharines, Ontario. A superb maker, the sdcompany undertakes all of my vintage refurbishments and I value their work and professionalism immensely -- a vastly underrated pipemaker.

Glen original
This is the original 1890s David Glen cocuswood bagpipe used for this reproduction.

David Glen (1853-1916) came from a family of pipemakers that included his father Alexander (1801-1873) and uncles and cousins who formed the J&R Glen pipemaking firm. David's meticulous manufacturing standards and tonal excellence, and his prolific work as a compliler of pipe music have earned him monumental status as a piping figure.

His pipes are rich and steady, and slightly more subdued than the Henderson and Lawrie sets that were coming into form in the late 1800s. This reproduction uses the exact measurements from the original 1890s Glen set. I'm particularly pleased with how steady and easy to reed it is.  
These replica sets come with a one-year guarantee against cracking. 

Email me about this bagpipe.

Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $1,800 sticks and stock only, plus shipping
African Blackwood: CAD $1,950 sticks and stock only, plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (To add Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $165)
Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $2,350 plus shipping
African Blackwood
: CAD $2,500, plus shipping
 

Glen reproduction Glen reproduction Glen reproduction Glen reproduction
Glen reproduction Glen reproduction Glen reproduction Glen reproduction
 

 

 
REPRODUCTION: "The Breadalbane" by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray
The Breadalbane reproduction of a Duncan MacDougall bagpipe


"The Breadalbane" is a reproduction of a bagpipe made by Duncan MacDougall around 1880. The name comes from the stamp he used on his pipes during the time he lived on the Breadalbane estate at Taymouth Castle during the 1870s and early 1880s. Pipes he made at this time were stamped "D McDougall, Breadalbane."

I purchased the original bagpipe from a well known Scottish piping figure, the late Allan Beaton. He actually purchased it from the Taymouth Castle estate where it had resided for as long as anyone can remember.

This reproduction is made by Dunbar Bagpipes in St. Catharines, Ontario, a superb pipemaking firm founded by Jack Dunbar in the 1960s. Jack learned his trade at the Henderson shop in the 1940s.

These sets have made from blackwood, but the preferred wood now is Mexican Royal Ebony, or Katalox, which you can see in the picture of the "Edinburgh," below.
A lighter coloured wood, it's tone is reminiscent of pre-1920 pipes made of cocuswood, now unobtainable in instrument grade.

The projecting mounts are of imitation ivory (holly mounts have been discontinued), the metal mounts are aluminum, hand-engraved by David Davidse of Truehand Engraving. Both craftsmen have captured superbly the lines and shapes of the original pipes.The pipes are also available with no engraving.

Like the original, the tone is rich and subtle -- neither booming like a Henderson pipe nor subdued like David Glen's. The classic, enveloping Duncan MacDougall bass drone sound has been captured beautifully.


"The Breadalbane reproduction arrived. It is the best sounding pipe that I have ever bought. Odd, I've been experimenting with pipes for a while and were told that my sets sounded similar to MacDougalls. I now see what people meant.  Great sounding set. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for a sound that is a cut above the rest. My hat is off to Rick Pettigrew at Dunbar and Jim McGillivray for bringing this into existence."
Stephen Anderson, Louden, TN


As pictured below, the bagpipe can also be fitted with closed, beaded aluminum ferrules, beaded ring caps and plain aluminum slides. ("Beaded" refers to the metal ring encircling one end of the ferrule or the bottom of the ring cap.) 

Original 1880s Breadalbane MacDougall
This is the original 1880s Breadalbane MacDougall bagpipe used in this reproduction.


Note that holly mounts have been discontinued in favour of imitation ivory. Photos will be updated in due time.


Email me about this set.

Sticks only:

1 -Full imitation ivory mounts, sticks only:
Mexican Royal Ebony:CAD $1,885
African Blackwood: CAD $2,185
(For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.)

2 - Open-ended, un-beaded ferrules, engraved, imitation ivory and no metal slides (closest to the original), sticks only:
Mexican Royal Ebony: Engraved - CAD $2,400 .... No engraving - CAD $2,000
African Blackwood: Engraved - CAD $2,520 .... No engraving - CAD $2,170
(For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.)

3 - Closed, beaded ferrules and caps, engraved, plain aluminum alloy slides, sticks only:
Mexican Royal Ebony: Engraved - CAD $2,350 .... No engraving - CAD $2,085
African Blackwood: Engraved - CAD $2,550 .... No engraving - CAD $2,270
(For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.)


Set up to play:

1 - Full imitation ivory or holly mounts, set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (For a Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $175.) (For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $2,550.
African Blackwood: CAD $2,860

2 - Open-ended, unbeaded ferrules, no metal slides (closest to the original), set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (For a Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $175.) (For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
Mexican Royal Ebony: Engraved - CAD $3,075 .... No engraving - CAD $2,675
African Blackwood: Engraved - CAD $3,195 .... No engraving - CAD $2,845

3 - Closed, beaded ferrules and caps, plain aluminum slides, set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (For a Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $175.) (For poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock instead of polypenco add CAD $165.) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
Mexican Royal Ebony: Engraved - CAD $3,025 .... No engraving - CAD $2,670
African Blackwood: Engraved - CAD $3,225 .... No engraving - CAD $3,945

McGillivray Piping Inc. is not associated with Mr. David Atherton or Atherton Bagpipes, and neither company sponsors or endorses the products of the other.
 

Breadalbane drones, end view
Breadalbane drones, side view
Breadalbane drones, bottom view
Bottom projecting mounts
Breadalbane tenor drones Close-up of hand-engraved aluminum ferrules
Bells and drone tops
Projecting mounts close
Engraved drone caps with holly bushes Stocks Wood and combing close-up  
Below are photos of the Breadalbane option with beaded, closed drone ferrules, beaded ring caps, and plain aluminum tuning slides.
Breadalbane, Mexican Royal Ebony, imitation ivory, beaded, plain slides Breadalbane, Mexican Royal Ebony, imitation ivory, beaded, plain slides Breadalbane, Mexican Royal Ebony, imitation ivory, beaded, plain slides Breadalbane, Mexican Royal Ebony, imitation ivory, beaded, plain slides
The Breadalbane in full artificial ivory.
Breadalbane artificial ivory

 

 

REPRODUCTION: "The Duncan MacRae" SL4 model by McCallum Bagpipes and Stuart Liddell
McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction

Duncan McRae made bagpipes in Glasgow from 1897 until 1930, though his son James continued the company until 1952. Not a pipemaker himself, Duncan enlisted advice from knowledgeable pipers, particulary Pipe Major Willie Gray of the World Champion Glasgow Police, a man also at the top of the solo piping tree in the 1920s. Gray was a man of ideas and MacRae was willing to be convinced. Hempless slides and extendable bass drone bells were two of their most memorable and mostly successful innovations.

The bagpipes MacRae made are historic tonally as well. The German silver and ivory set played by Stuart Liddell is legendary. MacCallum Bagpipes has measured and reproduced Stuart's bagpipe as it is, right down to slight differences discovered between the two tenor drones. The MacRae sound is full, resonant and steady.

McGillivray Piping is pleased to stock the SL4 model of the Liddell-MacRae reproduction. It is mounted in thistle engraved aluminum alloy and imitation ivory, and includes a matching mouthpiece bulb and engraved sleeve. The pipes are beautifully made, particularly affordable, and produce a superb, steady sound.

Email me about this reproduction.

As shown, sticks only.
CAD $1,795, plus shipping

Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, Aurora JM or MCC2 McCallum poly chanter, Ezeedrone drone reeds, Highland Gear bag cover, plain coloured silk drone cords, plastic chanter cap. (For a Ross or Bannatyne Canister system and Ross valve/watertrap, add CAD $175.) (For an African Blackwood chanter instead of polypenco, add CAD $175.)
CAD $2,470  plus shipping

 

McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction
McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction McCallum Duncan MacRae Reproduction
 

 

 

"These pipes are a revelation to me.  I've heard pipes described poetically before; about ease of play; about drones "locking in" and staying tuned, and so on. But I never really understood until now. These pipes WANT to be in tune. They're easy to tune and they stay that way. I'm not the steadiest blower (yet) but these drones stay solid. The sound is beautiful and the vibration on the shoulder is great. They are everything you said they were."
Bruce Landay, Andover, Massachusetts
(early cocuswood Thows)

 

"If you recall, a few months back I purchased a vintage set of David Glen pipes from you. The warm and mellow tone is exactly what I was hoping for. They are easy to play and I'm able to concentrate on blowing tone. Once I have them locked in, they really do sing. Comments on my score sheets have gone from 'harsh tone' to 'excellent harmonics', 'excellent instrument for this grade', 'bright and consonant pipe'.  As a player, I now feel that the onus is on me to improve my playing up to the level of the instrument, something that wasn't happening with my old setup.  This is the kind of motivation I was looking for. So thanks for the transaction. It was easy and I'm thankful for the great communication that we had via email throughout the process.  It was a pleasure doing business with you."
Matthew Wilson
Averill, New York

 

"This is the 5th set of silver and ivory pipes I have had and by far this is the nicest set, Jim!!! They are stunning!!!"
P/M Bill McFarlane, Ft. Lauderdale Highlanders Pipe Band, Florida
(1935 silver and ivory Lawries)


"I just played the pre-1916 Thows.  Outstanding set.  Very warm.  I had a set of Rocket reeds that SFU plays and plugged them in.  It brought the tuning right at the hemp line.  I must say they are one of the best sets I have played."
Evan Mackay
Carlsbad, CA


"You have definitely become the world's number one source for anyone looking to sell or acquire vintage bagpipes."
Troy Guindon, St. Andrews West, Ontario
(1914 silver and ivory Lawries)

 

"I must say that doing business with you has been a real pleasure.  In dealing with something as unique as vintage bagpipes  there’s always some degree of uncertainty involved. However, I can say without  any reservations that the two sets I have purchased from you have been top notch. I couldn’t be more pleased. You have been most helpful and very knowledgeable.  I’m sure we will do business again in the future."
Tom Bauman, Fallbrook, CA

 

 

 

Robertson, circa 1920s, engraved, hallmarked silver 2006, ivory
Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006

SOLD -This Robertson set was manufactured sometime in the 1920s, probably as a full ivory bagpipe. In 2006 a previous owner had the hallmarked Sterling silver installed onto the ferrules, slides and mouthpiece sleeve. As you can see in the photos, the silver is spectacular.

The tone is equally spectacular. James Robertson is, I think, the most consistent bagpipe maker I know of, both tonally and in his commitment to manufacturing excellence.

There were cracks in both tenor tops that have been invisible whipped and will give no more trouble. The age of the ivory resulted in some open cracks that have been filled beautifully by my refurbisher, Dunbar Bagpipes.

The ivory mouthpiece bulb is original, with a couple of slight cracks repaired. As with all Robertsons, the tone of this set is full, steady and full of blend with the chanter. 

 

 

 


Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006 Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006 Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006 Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006
Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006 Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006 Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006 Robertson, 1920s, silver 2006
 

 

 

 

Henderson, circa 1890s, ebony, full ivory
Will you

SOLD - This is one of the older sets of Henderson pipes we've had on the site for a while. They likely date to around the 1890s or earlier as suggested by the narrow beading and the much finer bead on the ferrule. The pipes are ebony, with ivory mounts that are in excellent shape except for a couple of rice sized chips. 

There are a couple of anomalies with these pipes. The two tenor bottoms appear on closer inspection to be Lawrie pieces rather than Henderson, though the vintage of the pieces looks quite similar to the Henderson. I double-checked my own knowledge of Henderson and Lawrie pipes of that era with Rick Pettigrew, who runs Dunbar Bagpipes and is my refurbisher. He confirmed that back in these days Henderson and Lawrie were making pretty much exactly the same instrument except for cosmetic differences. They were known even to job out to one another.

Rick measured up the two tenor bottoms and they match up perfectly with Henderson tenor bottoms from that era. The bass drone stock and blowpipe look like they may be Lawrie as well through the mounts appear original.

As is usual with ebony that is more than 100 years old there were a couple of cracks that have been invisible whipped and will give no trouble again.

The slight differences in pieces have no detrimental effects on the tone of this instrument, which is classic, refined, bold, seamless Henderson.This is a lovely set for any level of serious piper who would like a vintage bagpipe with character and tone.


 

 

 

 


Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory
Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory

Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, ivory

 

 

 

Henderson, WW1, cocuswood, nickel and casein
Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein

SOLD - This set of cocuswood Hendersons is tonally exceptional, to the point where I have enjoyed it myself for the past several months, giving my number one bagpipe a rest.

It was likely made in the years around WW1, perhaps a bit earlier. It has nickel ferrules and casein projecting mounts, ring caps and bushes. Unlike the chalky and discoloured casein we often see on old Robertson pipes, this material is white enough to be mistaken for modern imitation ivory. So the pipes are ivory-free and can be transported across borders without a certificate.

One piece of casein has a small brown discolouration on it, and the bead on one projecting mount has a tiny split that has been filled.

The blowstick was too badly cracked to repair so the projecting mount was installed onto a replica polypenco blowpipe.

The cord guides on both tenor drones are stamped "P Henderson." Although there is no stamp on the bass drone, there is no doubt it is original to the pipes.

I was extremely impressed with the seamless, robust sound of these pipes and their exceptional steadiness.

 

 


Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein
Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein Cocuswood Henderson, circa WW1, nickel, casein
 


 

R. U. Brown Hendersons, cocuswood, full ivory, circa WW1
Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915

SOLD - This is one of the most historic and well authenticated bagpipes we have ever had on the Vintage page. Robert Urquhart Brown (aka R. U. Brown, Bob Brown) was one of the great players and piobaireachd authorities of the 20th century. A pupil of John MacDonald of Inverness and one of the famous "Bobs of Balmoral,” he made his living along with Robert Nicol as a gamekeeper and Royal Estate Piper at Balmoral Castle. He and Nicol are immortalized in the "Masters of Piobaireachd" CD series released some years ago. Very few taught as many great pipers as the Bobs.

This set of cocuswood Hendersons was owned by Bob Brown throughout his life and remained in the family afterwards until I purchased them about three years ago. The history of the pipes is documented in a letter written by Bob's daughter that has been with the pipes since 2002. It reads, in part:

These bagpipes were the first bagpipes owned by my father, the late Pipe Major Robert Urquhart Brown, M.B.E. of Balmoral. He was piper to H.M. King George V, H.M. King George VI and H.M. Queen Elizabeth.

These bagpipes were a gift to him as a boy after winning the first major Piobaireachd competition he entered, which was the Argyllshire Gathering Junior Competition. Thereafter he played them for about 10 years until he won the Inverness Gold Medal Competition in 1928. He was then given a set of silver mounted bagpipes which he played until his death in 1972. These bagpipes have remained with the Brown family since then….

We don't know if the pipes were new or not when Brown acquired them, but they are certainly WW1 or earlier.

I have played this set as my #1 bagpipe for the past three years, not just because it was Bob Brown's bagpipe, but because it is one of the best sets of Hendersons I have ever played. I always said I would never sell it, but I've said that about other amazing instruments I have acquired, and when a new remarkable set comes up (this time a lovely full ivory Donald MacPhee set, circa 1870s) I pass the previous set on and get to know the new one. It's a pattern I'm sure I will continue. I'm not one to hoard bagpipes.

No repairs were required to this set when I acquired them, and as far as I know the finish is original.

If it looks like it's been played recently, that's because it has. I removed the bag minutes before these photos were taken.

 

 

 

 


Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915 Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915 Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915 Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915
Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915 Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915 Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915 Bob Brown Henderson cocuswood Hendersons, circa 1915
 


 

Products 1 - 2 of 2 Page: « 1 »

This is the best pipe case humidifier I have found. I use it in my own pipe cases, and I use one in each of the individual storage boxes in which I store my stock of vintage pipes. It measures about 4 inches long and requires additional refilling every week or so, depending on conditions. More information.....Humidifier, hygrometer and replacement gel, CAD $54.50.
Moisture control is crucial for pipers, and especially for pipers playing old wood. This is a specially constructed tube watertrap made to fit in the bottom of the blowstick stock. More information.... Cdn $35
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