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 1920s Henderson, nickel, ivory
~circa 1910 MacRae, blackwood, nickel and natural mounts
~circa 1890s possible Center, ebony, full natural
~circa WW1 cocuswood Hendersons, new engraved Sterling silver, imitation ivory
~circa 1890s cocuswood Henry Starck
~circa 1900 cocuswood, button-mount David Glen
~WW1 ebony Lawries, imitation ivory

Vintage Pipes Currently Available

  • Circa 1950s Lawrie (?), American rosewood, nickel and imitation ivory mounts

    This flat-combed bagpipe is a bit of a puzzle. For all intents and purposes it is a button-mount Lawrie, but the wood may well be Amercian rosewood, and there are no other known Lawries made of this wood. However, it may also be particularly rich-coloured cocobola, which would be more in keeping with pipemaking.

    The ferrules are nickel and the ring caps are imitation ivory which replaced orange catalin at some point in the past.

    The pipes are in excellent shape, with a full (but not booming) and quite warm tone that locked in nicely with my Kinnaird Edge drone reeds. The pipes are slightly lighter in weight than a blackwood set.

    This resilient little number would make an excellent starter pipe, or a work-a-day, foul weather or travel set.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $2,225 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, 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, request add-on price.)
    CAD $2,995  plus shipping

     

  • Circa 1950s Lawrie, full imitation ivory mounts

    This is a slightly unusual set in having artificial ivory material I have never encountered before. It varies in clarity — some mounts polished up brighter than others — and has the texture almost of porcelain. The bottom projecting mount on one tenor piece was broken on arrival, but I was able to replace it with an old ivory mount that matches quite nicely, to the point where you would have to look very, very closely to know it’s ivory.

    The wood is a rich, reddish-brown. It almost looks like cocuswood, though I think it is African blackwood. The pipes needed a polish and the reedseats needed opening out, as many Lawries of this vintage do. But they cleaned up beautifully. The cork on the tuning pins instead of hemp is perfectly sized, and with a little cork grease (supplied) provides quite a lovely tuning action.

    Tonally the drones locked in from the get-go with a rich, mellow sound not as voluminous as earlier Lawries: quite a Hardie-like tone.

    Like another set recently put on this page, these would make an excellent starter pipe, or a work-a-day, foul weather or travel set.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $2,225 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, 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, request add-on price.)
    CAD $2,995  plus shipping

  • Circa 1930 Henderson, African blackwood, nickel and ivory

    SOLD – This old Henderson came to me in spectacular condition. It had been refurbished some years ago and needed no additional work. Profiles suggest a manufacturing date close to either side of 1930, and the exquisite drone tone would confirm that they are from the great Henderson years.

    The wood colour suggests cocuswood, and although we can’t be sure without stripping the wood, I believe the pipes are African blackwood.

    The tuning pins were recently fitted with cork joints. The fit is absolutely perfect provided a bit of cork grease is applied. Cork grease is provided with the pipes. The sound is robust, seamless, rich and steady as a rock with my Kinnaird Edge drone reeds — what the old Hendersons are renown for.

    This set is classic Henderson and would do well on any competition stage in the world, including the major gatherings at Oban or Inverness.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $4,425 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, 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, request add-on price.)
    CAD $5,195  plus shipping

  • R. G. Lawrie, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1959

    This lovely silver and ivory Lawrie set is hallmarked with RGL and the 1959 symbol on every piece. Every piece is original except for the mouthpiece bulb. Ivory mouthpiece bulbs rarely service, though the engraved silver sleeve is original.

    This set was made at a time when the shapes of the Lawrie bells had departed somewhat from the original design — much more square rather than the rectangular shape on top of a sloping fountain. When I acquired this set from a well known professional player, the drones were fairly flat in pitch and tuned low on the tuning pins. However, this was a fairly simple fix with a couple of bore adjustments by Dunbar Bagpipes and the drones now tune in their proper positions.

    It’s a typically robust Lawrie sound:  bold, rich and steady.  This is a beautiful instrument for someone in the market for a great combination of tone and aesthetics.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $6,225 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, 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, request add-on price.)
    CAD $6,995  plus shipping

  • Atherton MD, 2014, holly mounts

    SOLD – This is a rare, button-mount, Dave Atherton MD (MacDougall bores).

    Made in 2014, the profiles and bores of this instrument were modelled after a circa 1870s Duncan MacDougall bagpipe owned by the late Roddy MacDonald of Wilmington Delaware. (Roddy’s bagpipe did not have button mounts.) I was working with Dave when this model of bagpipe was developed and can attest to the incredible quality of craftsmanship and wood that went into his pipes. The tone is a superb reproduction of Duncan MacDougall’s sound:  full and rich, with a bass that cradles the entire bagpipe sound. They are remarkably steady, and in recent years Athertons have won prizes at the highest levels, including the Gold Medal at Inverness and the M/S/R at the Glenfiddich Piping Championship.

    This instrument came to me with small fissures in two stocks. These have been invisible whipped superbly by Dunbar Bagpipes and will never present another problem. The blowpipe is brass-lined blackwood, and the blowpipe stock is polypenco.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $3,625 plus shipping

    Set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, polypenco chanter of choice, 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, request add-on price.)
    CAD $4,395  plus shipping

  • 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

  • Kintail, 2008, blackwood, nickel, imitation ivory

    The Kintail pipemaking firm was founded by Greig Sharp in the early 1970s and still operates today. Sharp learned his trade during the latter years of the Henderson firm before it was sold to R. G. Hardie in 1971. Greig Sharp passed away in 2009.

    Though Kintail is rarely ranked in the top tier of pipemakers, Sharp’s pipemaking pedigree produced a solid and reliable set of pipes with a bold, steady sound. This set is a substantial set to hold in your hands: no skimping on wood.  It locked in nicely with my current set of Kinnaird Edge drone reeds. The set has been well taken care of and is in superb shape, with nickel and imitation ivory mounts in pristine condition. The original Kintail poly pipe chanter plays very well.

    This would be an excellent set for a new piper or an adult hobbyist looking for a reliable instrument at an accessible price. I played a set of Kintails in the early years during my first couple of years as a professional competitor.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only, with chanter
    CAD $1,425 plus shipping

    Set up to play set up to play by Jim McGillivray with Ross or Bannatyne bag, original Kintail 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 $1,995  plus shipping

  • R. G. Hardie, circa 1970, blackwood, mounted in nickel, imitation ivory

    This Hardie bagpipe came to me in superb condition, well taken care of, and as far as I know with the original finish. I’ve become a big fan of the old Hardies. Bob Hardie and John Weatherston used superb, well-aged wood, and made consistently good pipes that are steady and easy to reed. Smaller-bored drones, they are more mellow in tone and are an excellent choice for young beginners or adult hobbyists.

    The reedseats in these drones have been opened out slightly and threaded to better latch on to the drone reeds.

    Hardie pipes of this vintage and older have frequently appeared on these pages and are always well received. Bob Hardie was a gem of a man, a superb player and pipe major of Muirhead & Son’s Ltd. Pipe Band when they won five straight World Pipe Band Championships in the mid-1960s. The company was dissolved after its two principals passed in the 1990s, though the name has been revived again in recent years.

    The pipes come with their original Hardie chanter. When it was made this was the premier chanter of the day. It will still play well with the right reed, though the lower pitch would be out of place on today’s competition boards.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $1,625 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 $2,375  plus shipping