Reproduction Bagpipes

After many years of dealing in vintage bagpipes, I discovered that there are many pipers out there who love the look and sound of classic instruments, but can’t afford the price tag.

Thus was born this line of reproduction Highland Bagpipes. They have been made as true as possible to the original instruments that I acquired and played.

An important thing I want you to know:  I am not a pipemaker or bagpipe refurbisher. I have worked for many years now with Rick Pettigrew at Dunbar Bagpipes in St. Catharines, Ontario, about two hours from me. Rick is the son-in-law of the late Jack Dunbar, who learned his pipemaking trade in the Henderson shop in the 1940s before emigrating to Ontario.

The quality of the work this company does for me on vintage refurbishments, and in making the reproductions of which I demand such a high standard, continues to amaze me. I’m quite sure this line of bagpipes would not have happened without them.

Woods used
Recently, the CITES organization has begun to regulate African blackwood. Though it is not illegal to cross borders with it, importing and exporting it requires an additional level of administration that makes it more expensive and bureaucratic to acquire and ship.

While we are still offering this line of reproductions in African blackwood, we are also using Katalox, also known as Mexican Royal Ebony. It comes from southern Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. It is extremely hard and high density, and is more and more being used to make instruments that were at one time exclusively made in African blackwood or ebony. It makes beautiful pipes and practice chanters, and I have yet to perceive a tonal difference between the two woods.

Good piping.

Jim

  • REPRODUCTION: “The Breadalbane” by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray

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

    “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, pictured at right, from a well known Scottish piping figure, the late Allan Beaton. He acquired 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. This company undertakes all of my refurbishment work and in my opinion is a vastly underrated pipemaker.

    These reproductions are available in Mexican Royal Ebony or African Blackwood. The photo at left and those directly below are of a Mexican Royal Ebony set. The projecting mounts are of imitation ivory, and the metal mounts are aluminum alloy, hand-engraved by David Davidse of Truehand Engraving. David matches the engraving on the original nearly perfectly. Both craftsmen have captured superbly the lines and shapes of the original pipes.

    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.

    Click the arrow below to hear Matt MacIsaac play John McLellan of Dunoon’s classic World War 1 retreat march, “The Bloody Fields of Flanders” on a set of Breadalbane reproduction pipes made in Mexican Royal Ebony:

    This bagpipe is offered in several styles:

    1) The closest match to the original has with open, un-beaded ferrules and caps, (“Beaded” refers to the metal ring encircling one end of the ferrule or the bottom of the ring cap.)

    2) It is also offered with closed, beaded  ferrules, beaded ring caps and plain aluminum alloy slides.

    3) Either of these models can be offered with no engraving for a more affordable price.

    4) The bagpipe is also available with full imitation ivory mounts.

    Note that the blowpipe  and blowpipe stock are made in polypenco, both pieces can be upgraded to polypenco-lined wood. These replica sets come with a two-year guarantee against cracking.

    Email me about this reproduction.

    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 $2,610.
    African Blackwood: CAD $2,910

    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 $3,245 …. No engraving – CAD $2,810
    African Blackwood: Engraved – CAD $3,245 …. No engraving – CAD $2,895

    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 $3,070 …. No engraving – CAD $2,810
    African Blackwood: Engraved – CAD $3,275 …. No engraving – CAD $3,995

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

     

    Below are photos of the Breadalbane option with beaded, closed drone ferrules, beaded ring caps, and plain aluminum tuning slides.

    The Breadalbane in full artificial ivory.

  • REPRODUCTION: “The Robbie” by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray

    This line of pipes is a reproduction 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 well remember well Ian playing these pipes when  he was coming to me for lessons as a young teenager. He got them from his father John, long-time Pipe Major of the Toronto Police Pipe Band well before Ian.

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

    The bagpipe in the photo is made from African blackwood, though our preferred wood is Mexican Royal Ebony.

    These reproductions are 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.

    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 encountered in many years of dealing in hundreds of sets of vintage pipes. Pipemakers today speak highly of his superb workmanship, and players speak highly of his tone.

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

    Click the arrow below to hear Matt MacIsaac play the air “The Fair Swan” on a set of Robertson reproduction pipes made in Mexican Royal Ebony:

    The blowpipe and blowpipe stock on these pipes is polypenco. (Add CAD $165 for poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock.)

    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 any pipes 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 $2,550 plus shipping
    African Blackwood: CAD $2,800, plus shipping

     

     

  • REPRODUCTION: “The MacPhee” Donald MacPhee, circa 1870s by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray

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

    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 replacements. After I acquired them I noticed the barest remnants 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 all the 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.

    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 Association 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 tradition — robust, seamless, and with superb bass/tenor balance and excellent chanter blend. It is steady as a rock. I believe we have very much captured the essence of the original in our reproduction, as well as producing a very distinctive looking instrument.

    The reproduction pictured here is made in Mexican Royal Ebony, with aluminum alloy ferrules and caps and non-chip artificial ivory projecting mounts. The bagpipe can also be made in African blackwood. It comes with a two-year guarantee against cracking.

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

    Click on the arrow to hear Matt MacIsaac play James Scott Skinner’s air “Hector the Hero” on a set of MacPhee reproduction pipes made in Mexican Royal Ebony:


    Email me 
    about this reproduction.

    As shown, sticks and stocks only.
    Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $1,825 plus shipping
    African Blackwood: CAD $2,075, 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 ponlypenco, add CAD $175)
    Mexican Royal Ebony: CAD $2,550  plus shipping
    African Blackwood: CAD $2,800, plus shipping

  • REPRODUCTION: “The Edinburgh” by Dunbar Bagpipes and Jim McGillivray

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

    This line of pipes is a reproduction of an exceptional David Glen bagpipe mmanufactured in the 1890s. The original was made in Caribbean 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 bagpipe will now be available in Mexican Royal Ebony, very similar in appearance and with an exceptional tone, as well as in African blackwood.

    The artificial ivory is non-chip delrin (polypenco). The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are polypenco. (Add CAD $165 for poly-lined wood blowpipe and blowpipe stock.)

    The reproduction 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.

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

    His pipes are rich and steady. They are slightly more subdued than the Henderson and Lawrie sets from the turn-of-the-century. 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 two-year guarantee against cracking.

    A sound file of this bagpipe will be available shortly.

    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 $2,575 plus shipping
    African Blackwood: CAD $2,650, plus shipping

     

     

  • REPRODUCTION: “The Duncan MacRae” SL4 Model by McCallum Bagpipes and Stuart Liddell

    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

    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 $2,510