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 1900 cocuswood or blackwood Hendersons, full ivory, previously owned by John MacDonald of Inverness
~circa 1920 full ivory Hendersons with plain silver slides
~1958 hallmarked silver and ivory Robertsons

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

  • Duncan MacRae, circa WW1, ebony nickel, imitation ivory

    SOLD – This set of Duncan MacRae pipes came to me with the original MacRae “hempless slides” on the tenors. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the sprung nickel slats had lost their spring and their seal, so the ends of the nickel slides had to be removed and the tuning pin ends combed to take hemp. The original hempless slide was a patented feature of many of Duncan MacRae’s pipes, and the patent number is still clearly visible on the bottoms of all of the nickel slides.

    The pipes had some damage so several pieces have been replaced:  the bass top, one tenor top, both tenor stocks and the blowpipe stock. Dunbar Bagpipes made replica pieces using the original pieces for exact measurements. However, the original robust and rich MacRae tone has been preserved. MacRae pipes display the fullest drone sound I know of, and this set is no exception. They were extremely steady with my set of standard Ezeedrone reeds.

    All ferrules are original.

    The ivory ring was missing to the original tenor top, so it was decided to replace the remaining ivory on all rings and bushes with imitation ivory. So this in a ivory-free vintage bagpipe of very high tonal calibre.

    One tenor stock ferrule is inscribed: GLASGOW HIGHLANDERS, 9th BN HLI.  The 9th Battalion was a volunteer force, part of the Lowland Division of the Highland Light Infantry, with its HQ in Glasgow. It saw a great deal of action in the Great War. Whether this set of pipes saw battle is not known.

    Although MacRae pipes flew under the radar for many years, they have enjoyed a rebirth due to the playing of solo and band phenom Stuart Liddell. MacCallum bagpipes makes a reproduction that you can see offered lower down on this page.

    Email me about this set.

    As shown, sticks only
    CAD $3,950 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 $4,675  plus shipping