Vintage Bagpipes

Scroll down to see vintage pipes available.

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 so many great players play vintage pipes? Who was the greatest maker of all time?

Jim McGillivray playing an ebony and ivory set of circa 1850s pipes thought to be made by Duncan MacDougall’s father, John. Photo by Paul Mosey.

These questions and others continue to occupy the thoughts of vintage bagpipe aficionados. 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 any repairs that have been undertaken.

If you’re looking for an old instrument, I hope you’ll trust me to help you. If you’re not looking for an old set, check out my new offerings or just take the time to enjoy the photos and descriptions of bagpipe history below.

If you have an old set you would like to part with, please email me.

 

Coming Soon or Currently in Refurbishment

Watch this space for instruments on their way to the vintage page.

~circa 1890s cocuswood Henry Starck
~circa 1900 cocuswood, button-mount David Glen
~2011 Atherton MD
~circa 1860 Alexander Glen, ebony, full ivory
~hallmarded 1959 silver and ivory Lawries
~R. G. Hardie, circa 1970, imitation ivory and nickel
~1972 full ivory Gillanders
~WW1 ebony Lawries, imitation ivory

Vintage Pipes Currently Available

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

    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 $4,750 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 $5,475  plus shipping

  • Henderson, ebony, circa WW1, full ivory, plain Sterling silver slides

    SOLD – This lovely Henderson set has been reacquired from a customer who purchased it from this site in March, 2016. At that time the pipes were stripped, a hairline crack was invisible-whipped in the bass top, a small opening in the bottom projecting mount of one tenor bottom was filled, and the set was refinished. All pieces are original, and the plain Sterling silver slides were added at the previous customer’s request.

    The set saw limited use since it was refurbished and purchased three years ago, so it is in superb condition. The ivory shows age staining common to 100-year-old pipes, I would say adding character of age more than detracting from appearance.

    Tonally, the set is absolutely superb, locking beautifully with both my Kinnaird Edge and my Ezeedrone drone reeds. The drones are bold, vibrant and steady in the classic, vintage Henderson tradition. You would be hard-pressed to do better tonally.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $4,450 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 $5,195  plus shipping

  • Circa 1920 3/4-size cocuswood David Glen & Sons

    SOLD – This is an interesting little number:  a classic “3/4 set,” often called in the old days a “lady’s set” or a “child’s set.” They are cocuswood with nickel ferrules and rings, and are stamped “David Glen & Sons, Edinburgh” on the chanter and bass drone stock. They almost certainly date within 10 years either way of 1920.

    The 3/4-sized chanter is pitched pretty close to Bb (466). The pipes are in good shape, though the combing has been scraped in several places. There are no cracks and all pieces are original. A plastic bag containing two sets of cane 3/4-size drone reeds came with the pipes, though the Ezeedrone folk also make drone reeds to suit pipes like these.

    I have done no work on this set except to rehemp them (after the pics were taken). They are priced to sell and are being sold as-is:  sticks, stocks, chanter and drone reeds only. Some people play these as “session pipes” in Bb, though perhaps they are more suited these days to getting a tiny, young piper started. Bruce Gandy told me he started his son Alex on a 3/4 set.

    Email me about this bagpipe.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $950 plus shipping

  • Henderson, circa 1900, full ivory, previously owned by John MacDonald, Inverness

    SOLD – In 2009 my friend and piping judge Neill Mulvie noticed a pipe case in a Scottish auction house. On further investigation he discovered John MacDonald of Inverness’s 1903 Northern Meeting Clasp for Piobiareachd tacked onto the lid, and a lovely set of full ivory Hendersons complete with original chanter inside. Neill donated the case and Clasp to the College of Piping — where it still resides — and I acquired the pipes. Many years ago, Donald P. MacGillivray, a pupil of John MacDonald’s, told me that he recalled old Johnnie having four sets of Hendersons:  one silver and ivory, and three full ivory. The vintage being certainly correct, there is no reason to doubt that this was one of the latter sets.

    The pipes have had two owners since then. One passed away two years ago, and the second landed a silver and ivory Henderson set of similar historical importance and allowed me to reacquire this set.

    The pipes are in immaculate condition, having been stripped, checked for cracks in refinished in 2009. All pieces are original and the ivory shows minimal staining. Tonally they are as good as any Henderson set I have ever played. They appear to be African blackwood, and the natural finish allows the lovely grain of the wood to show through to full effect. The presence of the original chanter maintains the instrument’s all-original integrity and is the icing on the cake.

    This is both a wonderful piece of history and a superb instrument.

    Click here to read the Piping Times article on the discovery of this bagpipe.

    Email me about this bagpipe.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $5,850 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 $6,595  plus shipping

  • Robertson, hallmarked 1959-60, silver and ivory

    SOLD – This stunning set of Robertson pipes originally came from a Scottish piping family by the name of MacHardy. James Shearer MacHardy (1899-1985) served with the Gordon Highlanders in WW1, was a friend of the great G. S. McLennan, and purchased the pipes in 1960 for a student who subsequently passed away as a young man. MacHardy reacquired the pipes and they were sold to Russell MacKenzie, another MacHardy student, who emigrated to Canada and played the pipes for more than 50 years, much of this in the Ottawa, Ontario area. MacKenzie was the most recent owner.

    The pipes sport three silver plaques. One on the bass drone commemorates MacKenzie’s time as Pipe Major of the Lanark and Renfrew Scottish Rifles from 1960-68. One tenor stock plaque commemorates his teeacher, the aforementioned James Shearer MacHardy. The plaque on the other tenor stock commemorates Hardy’s father, also James, who lived from 1863 until 1933 and who served for a time in his early teen years as a piper in the employ of Queen Victoria, where he was known as “Little Jimmy.” All of this history is well documented on several documents that accompany the pipes, including a book of “Little Jimmy’s” memoirs.

    The pipes themselves are gorgeous and in remarkable shape. The blowstick stock was badly cracked and has been replaced with a poly-lined blackwood replica with the original silver mount. The original ivory mouthpiece bulb was cracked beyond repair and was replaced with an imitation ivory bulb. The original silver sleeve remains. The chanter stock has a three-inch gouge probably made by someone trying to cut it out of a bag. It would not be visible once tied in. The drone and chanter stocks are tapered, a common practice of the Robertson company at this time. The original finish on the pipes was in good condition and has been left as is.

    The original sole is mounted onto a blackwood chanter made by the Hugh MacPherson firm of Edinburgh. It is unknown when it was made.

    James Robertson’s company made pipes in Edinburgh from 1908-64, having taken over the Center shop when that family emigrated to Australia. I know of no other company that maintained such high standards of tone for so long. Each of the many sets I’ve played over the years has been the same: bold, rich and steady. The tone and distinctive Robertson appearance make this company’s silver and ivory mounted sets among the most desirable on the market.

    Email me about this bagpipe.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $6,650 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 $7,395  plus shipping