Pictures showing plain chromed ferrules, hand engraved silver and Reid style decorated ferrules.
Scottish Smallpipes are an amazingly sweet and mellow-toned instrument providing an absolutely ideal alternative for the player of the Highland Bagpipe. Not only is this a beautiful bagpipe in its own right but it provides the perfect quiet and sweet alternative to the rather dull and uninspiring 'practice chanter'. The Scottish Smallpipe will give you the completely authentic sound and feel of a real bagpipe which will allow you to hear just exactly how your playing technique is developing, while also giving anyone listening a degree of pleasure.
However, the Scottish Smallpipe is not simply an alternative practice instrument because it is also perfect for playing with other instruments such as the fiddle, amongst others, which will immensely broaden your enjoyment and participation in the world of traditional music.
Scottish Smallpipes are available in A/Bb/C & D. However, in reality the most popular pitch is 'A' for a couple of reasons; 1) the finger spacing is almost identical to the finger spacing on the chanter of the Highland Bagpipe giving those players of the GHB making the transition to Smallpipes that familiar feel. 2) being pitched in concert 'A' it is perfect for playing with other instruments as mentioned above.
'D' pitch is the next most popular as it means the player can join in traditional sessions playing tunes in the keys of G major and D major. However it must be said that players of the GHB may find the finger spacing quite uncomfortable as the chanter is relatively small with very 'tight' finger spacing necessitating playing the chanter with the finger 'tips', quite a different feel for GHB players.
Buying a set in 'A' pitch with a chanter having a plug-in chanter stock means it is possible to buy a chanter in 'D' separately, which will play with the 'A' drones as 'A' is the harmonising 5th of 'D'. It is also possible to buy a combination A/D set with the appropriate drones for correct harmony with both pitches.
So, if you want a recommendation to buy then 'A' is the pitch most often chosen.
Circa 1990 I was probably the first Smallpipe maker to line all of my drone sliders with fine gauge brass sleeves giving a lovely smooth action for the movement of the tuning pin. This also reduces the need for maintenance through wear.
The typical drone arrangement of Scottish Smallpipes is Bass - Baritone - Tenor, (A/E/a) but can be Bass - Tenor - Tenor as with the Highland Pipes. You can also have x4 drones playing Bass - Baritone - Tenor - Alto (A/E/a/e).
The pipes are completely hand-made by me using the finest materials. Nothing is bought-in except the raw materials which means that I retain complete quality control over everything I make. This ensures that you receive a finished product of the highest standard. Amongst other things my reputatuon is built upon my attention to detail and finish and together with my unwavering commitment to customer care and service this guarantees you the customer a first class product.
My standard wood is African Blackwood generally thought of as 'the' wood for Bagpipes. You can however order your pipes made from any wood, such as Cocobolo, which is a beautiful deep red with a lovely pronounced grain, Ebony or indeed any wood of your choice. If this is what you require please enquire with me for price and availability.
Mounts can be made from imitation ivory (ivorine), black Buffalo Horn or contrasting woods e.g Cocobolo or Boxwood. Mammoth Ivory is also available to special order. Please enquire with me for price and availability.
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Standard sets: 1,100 Euro : African Blackwood and plain Nickel ferrules, unpadded bellows: Reid style decorated ferrules, Drone end mounts in other materials such as imitation ivory and Bellows pads can all be added at little extra cost; please enquire with me to discuss all your requirements.
Fully mounted sets: 1,430 Euro : African Blackwood, Reid style decorated ferrules with choice of Ivorine/black Buffalo horn/Cocobolo or Boxwood mounts. Fully padded bellows. Mammoth Ivory and Hand engraved silver can be supplied - please enquire for price and availability.
All sets come with a copy of my best selling maintenance manual: 'The Smallpipes Survival Guide' All sets are name stamped and delivered complete with bellows and set up ready to play 'out-of-the-box'.
Prices reflect the fact that a case is not provided. Cases are not provided for a very important reason. In recent years as a result of increasing airline fuel levies the cost of shipping has become extremely expensive. Shipping handlers such as DHL, Fedex & UPS now operate what they laughingly call 'volumetric pricing'. This is a way of charging you more for shipping. Instead of charging by weight of package - which is expensive enough - they take the size of the package and calculate a 'weight' based upon the size rather than the actual weight so that if the 'volumetric weight' is more than the actual weight - and of course it always is- that is what they charge. With the addition of a case shipping charges would be astronomical. Taking this into consideration it will be better for you the customer to source your own case if one is needed
Special orders can be made and so if you have any ideas for that extra special set then I will be happy to discuss all of your requirements. All pictures above are from a special order set for a client using Mammoth Ivory, hand engraved silver metalwork and African Blackwood.
Bellows wood is dependant upon availability. At the present time Honduras Mahogany is being used. If you want a special wood for your bellows then please let me know and I will always do my best to find it for you. Bellows for 'Standard' sets will come without pads but these can be added at a little extra cost. Bellows for all other sets come with pads on both sides in with the quoted price. All bellows have my garment-proof inlet valve as standard.
Bags are made from the best quality leather that is just the right thickness to be sturdy yet supple. Guaranteed air-tight.
Reeds are of course crucial to the peformance of any set of pipes. I have developed my reeds over 30 years of pipe-making experience and can assure you of the very best sound and performance available anywhere. My drone reeds are my own design of 'composite' reeds being constructed from copper bodies with cane tongues - the same cane as that used for chanter reeds i.e Arundo Donax. 'Composite' reeds are very much more stable than pure cane reeds and are steadier in performance when temperature and humidity change, as when playing in sessions. I source my reed cane from the French company Rigotti, one of the main suppliers of reed cane for wind instruments situated in Cogolin.
Pictures below show - left: Standard Smallpipes with added Imitation Ivory End mounts & right: Standard Smallpipes: drone detail
The Smallpipes Survival Guide.
This book has sold over 1,000 copies and is now available to purchase as an e-book. In seven sections it guides everyone from the beginner to the accomplished piper through all of the various problems associated with playing and Smallpipes maintenance. Although the book focuses on Scottish Smallpipes the general maintenance and reed issues are equally applicable to the Northumbrian Smallpipes. There are sections on History, making drone reeds, general maintenance and tuning, as well as many references which will be of interest to all Bellows-Pipes enthusiasts. The text is backed up throughout the book by comprehensive and easily understandable diagrams, in addition there are useful fingering and Troubleshooting Charts. The book has been previewed, reviewed and proof-read by some of the worlds top Pipers, including: Jim McGillivray of Canada, Rab Wallace of Scotland, and Chris Ormston of Northumberland. The cost is 12 Euro (payable only via PayPal) and upon payment the x7 PDF files will be mailed to you. Please cointact me for details: firstname.lastname@example.org
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