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 1910 David Glen, cocuswood button mounts, engraved silver slides
~Sinclair-MacPherson, 1942, plain hallmarked silver and ivory
~Lawrie silver and ivory, hallmarked  RGL 1952-53.
~circa 1955 Robertson, full ivory.
~Robertson silver and ivory, hallmarked 1933-34 – SOLD

 

 

Vintage Pipes Currently Available

  • Robertsons, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1933-34

    SOLD – This complete Robertson set came to me in superb condition, requiring only a clean and polish on the lathe. The tuning chambers were gently reamed to recalibrate the tuning action, and the massive blowpipe was shortened by two inches.

    The 1933-34 hallmarks make it the oldest hallmarked Robertson set on this site, though we’ve had non-silver sets that were older.

    The set played as all Robertsons do: robust, seamless, and as steady as you might like.

    James Robertson made pipes in Edinburgh from around 1908 until his death in 1948. The company continued with quality unabated until it ceased operations in the mid-1960s.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $7,500 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 $8,200  plus shipping

  • Henderson, circa 1920, full ivory

    This is a Henderson bagpipe from the 1920s with two major alterations and two minor ones. One tenor drone bottom is not a Henderon but a Lawrie in imitation ivory from the 1930s. The bottom joint is a modern replica with the original mounts. The Chanter stock, blowpipe and blowpipe stock are replacement pieces mounted in imitation ivory. The  blowpipe and stock are polypenco-lined.

    One odd feature about this set is that the two tenor top ferrules are quite different, yet the wood pieces are absolutely identical.

    These pipes played very well for me with the robust, steady and seamless sound characteristic of Henderson bagpipes of this period.

    The pipes are priced with the above-mentioned compromises in mind.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $3,150 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 $3,895  plus shipping

  • Unknown Edinburgh bagpipe, circa 1890s, ebony, nickel, ivory

    It can be difficult to determine the make and age of button-mount pipes because projecting mounts are such an important visual identifier.  This set came to me with no known maker, but a distinctly Edinburgh appearance.  Guesses as to maker have included Hutcheon, J&R Glen, and possibly Thow, but this may just remain a mystery set.

    The pipes are ebony, with nickel ferrules and ivory rings. Being ebony, we had the pipes stripped, and being ebony, there were some hairline cracks to be invisible whipped. The blowstick and blowstick stock are poly-lined replacements. The pipes have been refinished.

    The pipes played nicely:  extremely steady with what you would call a mellow sound in the Glen tradition: not robust, but rich.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $3,250 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 $3,995  plus shipping