Circa 1920s Robertson, silver and ivory, in Brazilwood/cocuswood mix
This unusual set of Robertsons was long thought to be ebony or cocuswood, and played with a rich and steady tone typical of these woods. However, after the pipes were stripped, the wood was discovered to be a mixture of cocuswood and Pernambuco Brazilwood, a superb musical wood used for the highest quality violin bows. The heartwood of this wood is quite red, thus the different coloured stocks.
The silver is hallmarked 1938. However the wood used, the shapes of the projecting mounts, and the slight ballooning in the shape of the stocks are evidence of a much earlier Robertson set — likely the 1920s or even earlier.
The bass drone top was cracked and has been whipped. This repair is undetectable. The tuning pin on the middle joint of the bass drone had an immense bore that was almost certainly a replacement. It left the bass slightly unsteady and difficult to reed. A blackwood replacement bored to proper specs eliminated this problem and the pipes play beautifully.
The Robertson drone sound is bold and steady, particularly with this wood, and this distinctive set could be played at the highest levels.
I’ve never seen another set of old Robertsons quite like this one. This is a superb and unique instrument