If you are on the lookout to purchase a Bagpipe for professional use or to pursue as a hobby, there are several factors you would need to consider.
You would be surprised to know that bagpipe manufacturing is just as complex as any other musical instruments – you would find a one-man operation or a large corporation who churn out these instruments under different names and specifications.
It is said that the world imported this culture from Scotland; bagpipes are said to be a large part of their heritage and culture. They capitalize on this instrument to fire up their billion door tourism industry that is always facing a high. If bagpipes are new to you, there might come a point where you would be confused by its vernacular.
They often cost a lot and it’s important that the Piper understands what is included in it. An avid piper will tell you that there is no set specification and that each is an individual creation of its own. The materials that go into its creation are unique too. For instance, most of the bagpipes incorporate solid wood or hardwood. They all have mouth-blown or bellows.
Unlike guitars or drums, one must never purchase a set of bagpipes on a whim. That does not happen without a deep desire to excel in it. Before you proceed to purchase it, make sure that you have a thorough understanding of why you are buying it and stand resolute in your decision to use it.
What to Consider Before Getting Started
To begin with, you can start practicing on a chanter which is not as expensive. Should you lose interest, this would not be of any significant waste. As a beginner, you can evaluate how far your interest is willing to take you. To start with, you can start practicing using one style of reed and chanter.
You may want to take classes or consult an instructor who would be able to guide you on how to play the instrument at first. It may not be one that can be self-taught so having an expert guide you can make all the difference. Normally, for a beginner, it may take anywhere from three months to one year to get the complete hang of it. As a rule of thumb, pipers must network to that they can share great advice and tunes. This may be the best way to remain focused until you are passionate about it.
You can look at sources online that would be able to guide you to a group of Pipers in your neighborhood that would share the same level of passion with you – not everyone will have the same level of passion, but at least it would be a start.
23 Best Bagpipes and the Best Bagpipe Brands
1) McCallum Modern Chalice Bagpipes
If you love anything Scottish, this should be one of them. The McCallum bagpipes are a typical premium quality set for the ardent professional. The bagpipes features a Blackwood material construction that excels in rendering warm, overlay of rich tones. The design also includes a Mopani projection mounts that ensure you have the best in intonation and stability.
The combination of silver-plated metal design together with its wooden construction offers a classic chalice profile. The inclusion of the Mopani adds superb contrast and color, providing a perfect balance. The lustrous finish of the Blackwood adds a natural, smooth and lustrous finish. The blow-stick also features a Blackwood construction, completing a top quality design.
With the McCallum polypenco pipe chanter, you can conveniently hold down on the bagpipes holes and generate the tunes you want.
Say ‘hi’ to the alloy tuning slides that simplifies the experience. The inclusion accessories like a synthetic pipe bag with high-grade zippers, drone reeds, and silk drone cords, the sky is always going to be the limit for what you will experience playing this instrument.
2) Gibson R110D Bagpipes with Imitation Horn
For bagpipes enthusiasts who are looking for authentic bagpipes that imitate the quality and rendition of a horn, the Gibson R110D bagpipes is the right answer.
This is a good quality bagpipe for the professional who wants something nice and sturdy to play with. The tuning slides and ferrules on this model feature stainless steel design, thereby providing dependable feel and reliability across all levels of note renditions.
Maintaining these bagpipes is a breeze, thanks to its stainless steel design, which is lower in maintenance cost compared to nickel or steel plated options.
The Gibson polypenco pipe chanter is a household name in terms of quality sound. Its pipes also function similarly and are widely respected. The addition of fully beaded and combed African Blackwood further solidifies the authenticity of the material design.
The telescopic blow-stick and gives you excellent tone creativity while accessories like synthetic drone reeds, silk drone cords and carrying bag with zippers, all define the quality of this beautiful instrument.
3) MacLellan Waterloo Bagpipes
Experience one of the most historic feel and quality of craftsmanship from the MacLellan bagpipes series. This model comes with a design to suit the needs of the intermediate and professional player. The bagpipes features excellent Blackwood and solid Maple that gives an aged, warm look to the pipe, however, the sound it renders is modern. Moreover, the solid African Black has a perfect combing and tuning effect that gives you an all-around performance.
Parading a distinct sound, the MacLellan Waterloo bagpipes is a classic option for the ardent and upcoming bagpipes player. To ensure you have the comfort that you need, the manufacturer added a Bannatyne sythentic pipe bag that is durable and has zippers to keep everything in place.
Synthetic drone reeds from the very best of EzeeDrones are also included to give you the best in bass and tenor tunes, creating the right vibrations that set your sound apart from a host of others.
With the Delrin pipe chanter, you can produce the different notes you crave by covering the holes.
4) McCallum student edition with Blackwood Drone
If you are looking for top quality bagpipes set for the practicing needs of a student, you have come to the right place.
These bagpipes are designed to suit the needs of a beginner, and the edition features good qualities that bridge the gap between Blackwood and poly set bagpipes models. The drones on the student edition feature a Blackwood design that produces recognizable low and continuous sound.
The mounts on this edition also feature the same Blackwood design while appearing small and classic. The ring caps and alloy ferrules create a simple style and nice profile.
Considering that the chanter, blowpipe and stocks are poly-made, cracks are solidly prevented, which is good, since the bagpipes are highly sensitive to moisture. The poly features also help in reducing the cost of production, thereby making the product more affordable to the average student and for those on a budget.
Accessories included in the set are a piping bag with zippers, which is ideal for bagpipes players that frequently hit the road; a silk drone cord and deluxe velvet bag cover sums up a quality product.
5) McCallum P3 Poly Bagpipes with Imitation Ivory
Produced with the best quality from the UK, the P3 is yet another excellent bagpipe from MacCallum, a company renowned for quality and superior craftsmanship.
The P3 features a full mounted, regulation style design bearing the very best of imitation ivory. By using imitation ivory, the company adds rich and many decorations, which surprisingly demands very little in terms of maintenance. The reason is that, unlike the majority of other metals out there in the market, imitation ivory doesn’t tarnish, which means you can trust its ability to remain durable for a very long time.
The P3 set features a solid, black acetyl plastic construction that further adds to its durability. It is easy to maintain and keep in top condition for all-around use.
Of course, as you would expect, this model also features the famous McCallum Poly pipe chanter that enables you to produce 9 different notes on your instrument.
You can adjust the blow-stick to suit any style and comfort of your choice. Drone reeds, bag and silk drone cords are the accessories that accompany this design.
6) Gibson R111 Bagpipes
Gibson returns with another good quality bagpipes design—the R111. This time, the look on this one is simple and well refined. The quality of the accompanying Blackwood is depicted by the plain, tuned design of the drones. Like its predecessor, the R110D, this model also features a stainless steel ferrules design that doesn’t just reduce the cost of maintenance, but also add an appealing look to its overall settings and appearance.
It is always going to be hard to not fall in love with bagpipes from Gibson, considering the top quality features it demonstrates. For instance, this model features a special telescopic blowpipe that handles playability for the bagpipes player. The Fast-Trap, WaterTrap together with the poly blowpipe stock all contributes their standard durability and convenience when using the instrument.
Gibson as a brand is famous for the rich tone its bagpipes generate. All Gibson’s bagpipes are made in the US, complying with expected quality while delivering excellent sound rendition.
A zipper bag with velvet bag cover that also has zippers, plus their silk drone cords make up the good array of accessories that come with the package.
7) Dumbar P1 Poly Bagpipes
You won’t find a better starter or beginner bagpipes than the P1 Poly bagpipes from Dumbar.
Dunbar is a company that is located in Canada and is remarkable in the quality of their wind instruments, one of which is this bagpipe set.
Featuring a poly material construction, this bagpipe has no metal material in its overall design. As a result, some folks are quick to raise eyebrows concerning its ability to remain durable, since metals are known to be more durable.
However, Dumbar seems to have pre-empted this fear and consequently slap the product with a lifetime warranty, meaning you can rest assured that it will deliver the said quality and expectation. If it doesn’t, you know you can always return it for another one. So, this is one of the reasons why people are investing in this bagpipes.
The first thing you will quickly notice about this bagpipes is the antique style design. The polypenco material from which the Dumbar P1 is made is also durable in its own right, not susceptible to cracks or warp. They are also well hardened to withstand humidity or temperature changes.
The P1 features the same precision and care for which their Blackwood counterparts are famous. You can use as a supporting set of bagpipes outdoor/parade performance.
8) MacLellan Original Bagpipes with Hard Maple
This Blackwood designated bagpipes with solid special touches give it a recognizable look. The hard maple mount and the drone silhouette give this model that distinct MacLellan quality that the professional class always desires.
From the design of the thistle ferrules, you can tell this is a top quality piece of bagpipes. The bagpipes feature 4 hand-engraved ferrules with solid aluminum material created by the pipe maker himself on the drones of the bagpipes.
The ring caps on the projecting mount helps in maintaining stability and reliance. The Blackwood material that is featured in the blowpipe has a brass-lined design that adds a satisfactory feel to the glamour of filling the bag with air continuously.
A Bannatyne synthetic pipe bag with good quality zippers is one of the accessories that accompany the product. A silk drone cord, elegant velvet bag with zippers and chanter reeds are other nice quality accessories that accompany the bagpipes.
9) MacRae SL1 Bagpipes
A productive collaboration between two renowned companies—MacCallum and Start Liddell and the result is a nice quality, dependable bagpipes.
If you want a bagpipe that has a simple and refined look, search no further but place an order for the Duncan MacRae SL1. This model comes featuring great quality imitation ivory ring caps. Silver plated alloy metal ferrule defines the new touch brought about by Stuart Liddell top quality design. The projecting mounts also have a Blackwood material construction to provide increased durability.
The MacRae SL1 distinctive features allow the user to easily find his or her way around the bagpipes. For instance, the manufacturer marked the middle tenor top ferrule with the letter ‘M’ for easy accessibility. Also included is the MacCallum famous polypenco pipe chanter, which gives you that tonal difference during practice, when compared with a host of other instruments on the market.
To verify you are getting the genuine collaboration model, the SL1 features a Stuart signed authentic signature. The bass top cord groove also carries a serial number for further identification of the brand. So if you are in doubt of the quality you are buying, these should put your doubt to rest.
Typically, the SL1 features cute quality accessories like a synthetic pipe bag with quality zippers, EzeeDrone reeds, and chanter pipe complete the components that make up this model.
10) MacRae SL4 Engraved Bagpipes
The MacRae SL4 series is the hallmark of the SL series of bagpipes by the manufacturer. This model boasts a special thistle engraving ferrules, ring caps, and slides. The SL4 model is designed to conform to the quality of Stuart Liddell bagpipes set. It incorporate the African Blackwood material design that is thoroughly combed and beaded to deliver better intonation.
Imitation ivory projecting mounts adds to the ability of MacCallum to precisely replicate Stuart’s quality set. Just like its SL1 sister version, the SL4 also features an ‘M’ marking on the middle tenor top ferrule. The same popular, MacCallum polypenco pipe chanter to create the 9 different notes you can get from your bagpipes is also available.
Like you will expect from most of these bagpipes, the SL4 also features a nice set of accessories like chanter reeds, a Bannatyne bag with zippers, and synthetic drone reeds and a luxurious velvet bag cover sums up a nice quality.
In terms of sound, the SL4 delivers a warm, enduring sound and perfect intonation while maintaining a continuous bagged airflow.
The MacRae SL4 attached a 10 years warranty to the bagpipes, which means you can conveniently invest in this bagpipes, knowing you can always get help against any form of manufacturer’s defect.
11) Naill DN2 Bagpipes
The Naill DN” Bagpipes offers one of the most exquisite and appealing looks in the market. The nickel plated design and imitation ivory craftsmanship offer a shiny, perfectly balanced style and projection mount.
The bagpipes body also features the popular African Blackwood material. This Blackwood material is hand-beaded and combed, made by the best artesian in England. The ferrules are perfectly beaded, adding to the octave designation of the instrument. The ring caps are also beaded and are highly reliable.
The tuning slides are made of nickel material, and such other features make it possible to have a good playing session.
One thing that makes these bagpipes unique is the simplicity of the design. You can play it straight out of the box and enjoy the great sound it renders.
The bagpipes come with a synthetic bag with good zippers, which make the instrument durable and playable. Naill popyupenco Chanter and chanter reeds are also included for people that want to practice. A velvet bag cover further elongates the durability of the Naill DN2 bagpipes.
No doubt, the DN2 is one of the most reliable professional and intermediate bagpipes you can get for the right price.
12) RG Hardie Poly P01 Bagpipes
Reliability is everything that matters in a bagpipe, and this model sure excel in that regard. The RG Hardie bagpipes produce excellent performance during use, whether in a parade or any outdoor functionality.
Crafted in Glasgow, Scotland, the RG Hardie bagpipes offers extreme durability by its imitation project mounts. Maintaining it is easy, and you can keep it looking great all the time.
One of the best features of this instrument is the adjustable pipe, which gives you the grace of customizing your fit and style of play.
While there is no touch of metal on this design, the combed and beaded acetyl plastic is sure going to last for many years. That is why the manufacturer included a 5 years warranty in the package. So, you can rest assured that you wouldn’t be investing in a defective product.
With the stick telescopic blowpipe, as mentioned earlier, you have superior flexibility with different fit and style, while using the included Hardie’s poly pipe chanter to practice an hone your playing skills.
Accessories like a Bannatyne bag, drone reeds, velvet bag cover, and silk drone cords define the completeness of this beautiful bagpipes meant for the professional and beginner alike.
13) Roosebeck’s Bagpipes
Manufactured in Pakistan, this elegant full-sized bagpipe from Roosebeck includes a number of benefits for its owners. The bagpipe set has a full black finish, two pipe chanters made of cane, hemp, and reeds. In addition, this will also include a one set of drone reeds (aluminum), a velvet protection cover and a rexine bag for added protection.
The set of aluminum drones has a hemp and tongues (carbon fiber). Although there is a misconception that the bagpipes have Scottish origins, it can be traced back the Middle East. Roosebeck’s set of complete bagpipes do not need any further accessories and can be played when bought. The wind instrument weighs 5.7lbs and measures 23.2” x 7.6” x 7”.
14) Professional Bagpipes by McWilliams
This bagpipe by McWilliams weighs approximately 5.5lbs and measures 21.5″ x 5.8″ x 5.8″. These professional-scale Highland Bagpipes come ready with a complimentary bag from Mount Royal Stewart. The terms and conditions of the warranty will depend on the individual retailer.
This wind instrument uses enclosed reeds that are constantly fed from a reservoir of the supply of air in the bag pipes. They have been used for about a millennium and are popular forms of music Northern Africa, Europe, Asia, as well as the Persian Gulf. It is a full set of bagpipes that can be ordered with free shipping in most continents.
15) The Beginner’s Bagpipes from Dany Music
Are you a beginner looking to gain some experience in playing the bagpipe? Or are you simply gifting it to a hobbyist? This beginner’s Bagpipes make an excellent gift for a child or an amateur, being a full-sized Bagpipe that comes with a wooden set as well.
The bagpipes have a natural finish to it, unlike the solid black ones that are available in the market. You can also benefit from the wooden mounts that come as a part of its package. For those who purchase this bagpipe set, they will receive a medium-sized airbag (synthetic), a cover bag made of velvet, and another carrying case for excellent mobility.
Players will also receive three types of drone reeds (synthetic), a pipe chanter, and two spare chanters to practice on. This is made out of Rose Wood for practicing. The packaging will be complete with a starter’s guide and starter kit for amateurs. The weight of shipping will be 12lbs.
16) Mini Bagpipe Set by AAR
This is a toy set of bagpipes that are ideal for beginners from AAR. It also includes a Cover from Rosewood Royal Steward and Cord from Free-2-Reed. The sole is manufactured from imitation ivory; it’s ideal for children who are pursuing their musical interests with the bagpipes.
It comes readily installed from package to play; this also includes Reeds, Cover, and Cord from Royal Stewart. As it is most suitable for children, the toy weighs 1.2 lbs and measures 14.4” x 6.3” x 4.7” – lightweight to carry around at a young age.
17) Highland Bagpipes from Equinez Tools
This elegant set of bagpipes is perfect for someone who is interested in pursuing this wind instrument beyond a simple hobby. For the professional player, it comes ready with a set of silver (full nickel) mounts; reeds and drones (synthetic) complete in a leather and chrome bag.
If you need a mobile solution to transport the bagpipes, this includes a complimentary carrying case for touring and transporting to different locations. It’s also a great way to store the bagpipes. Equinez Tools’ bagpipes will give you a set of complimentary cane drone and reeds, as well as a cord and black tartan.
For those who are learning the art of bagpipes, they can refer to the free tutor’s guide provided in the case. In addition, the packaging will include one rubber valve, joint hemp, and one chanter for practice complete with two reeds. The bagpipes weigh 20lbs, and the packaging measures 20” x 20” x 20” each.
18) Professional Bagpipes from McWilliams
This professional bagpipes manufactured by McWilliams is made for professional who wish to deviate from its usual sombre colours of black with its distinct natural-coloured finish. For the discerning professional who would need to tour, play in several venues, and be more mobile, the McWilliams’ bagpipes also include a set of FNS Mounts.
Not satisfied with the music? Not to worry – the bagpipes are completely tunable by the owner. If you need added protection while you are transporting the bagpipes it comes with a complimentary carrying bag.
Weighing 6.9 lbs, the bagpipes measure 21.5″ x 5.9″x 5.4″, proving that it is not too heavy or bulky to take around with you. The set will include a black tartan. The products are manufactured and shipped from Pakistan.
19) AAR’s Highland Bagpipes
AAR’s range of bagpipes is great for mobility – weighing 7lbs, the instrument measures 8.3″ x 2.8″ x 2.8″. It comes in a glossy black finish giving a hint of a professional player, a carrying case that measures 40 x 20; the synthetic bag is 30 x 12.
The outer finish of the product is a high-definition gloss and has a hole polish to project ring cap, Ferrule, Silver Mounts Sole. Each set is made out of silver, plated with nickel, with a Tartan cover and a cord to match.
The complimentary accessories that come with the package include a drone reed set (synthetic and cane); it also has a chanter reed made out of cane. The carrying case is padded with extra cushioning for extra protection. You will also find a tutor’s guide, assembly guide, and a selection of Tartans to choose from such as the Mackenzie, Black Velvet, Royal Stewart, and Black Watch. It will also include a joint hemp.
20) MacCallam’s African Blackwood Bagpipes
This beautiful wind instrument in manufactured out of African Blackwood, and comes with accents of ivory mounts. It also includes ring caps, slides, and Nickel Ferrules. This instrument is recommended for beginners who are looking to pursue this professionally or experiment with their musical prowess.
For the owner, the MacCallam comes ready with a range of accessories that enhance its value and mobility. This is a recommended model as it includes a complimentary copy of Learning to Play Bagpipes by Shepherd as a well as a guide to get started with the instrument.
Other accessories include chanter reeds made out of cane, a soft carrying case, and a velvet cover for added protection. For a Piper, this is all you need to get started – whether you are new to the type of music or instrument. The instrument looks great with its African Blackwood finishing that is accented with faux ivory mounts. The instrument weighs 20 lbs and measures 20″ x 20″ x 20″; there could be an added weight for shipping.
21) The Bagpipe for Children from the Lark in the Morning
This is an excellent toy for children who show a natural ability to appreciate classical music. It will serve as a prompting to follow it as a profession during a later stage. The great thing about it is that looks like an average full-sized bagpipe, unlike other beginner’s bagpipes.
It also comes with a chanter so that young pipers can practice their breathing and control how their fingers and patterns trace the ornament. There are three dummies that don’t function but gives them a sense of understanding how a bagpipe works.
22) Grover’s Toy Bagpipes
Do you plan to purchase a gift of bagpipes for a toddler? This colourful set has an authentic Scottish feel to it and comes with a comprehensive instructions sheet. The cloth is genuine plaid and the bagpipes are made out of wood to be used as a lasting gift.
23) The Junior Bagpipes from TrophyMusic
A perfect gift for children over the age of 12 years to pursue their hobby or talent in bagpipes, this set weighs 1.6lbs and measures 15.5 x 5.7 x 2.4 in dimensions.
Choosing the Best Bagpipe from the Best Bagpipe Brands
As you have looked at how to select your bagpipes from these eleven models, your purchase may take place soon. Once again, we stress the importance of quality. As evident, there are many brands that you can purchase. Do your research ahead so that you aren’t completely clueless of the price range you are looking at.
Invest in good quality with your set of bagpipes; there are many reasons however the first being that it would go to complete waste if you invest in one that does not last long or play well.
As a final word, ask the supplier details of the manufacturer – this way, you can evaluate how good they are and if you want to make your purchase. Look out for immediate giveaways such as not having a warranty, having very shabby manuals and guides, or being very stiff. These are tell-tale signs of looming disaster. Start your investment small if you aren’t sure and then once you decide to pursue it as a passion, invest in the bigger brands.