About Pipemaker Ray Sloan

Ray Sloan Uilleann Pipemaker

Bagpipe maker, Ray Sloan

I vividly remember the day I first heard bagpipes – other than the ubiquitous Great Highland Bagpipes. It was in 1964 as an 11 year old at school in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne when my Art Teacher emerged from the store room strapped-in to an instrument driven by a flapping arm attached to bellows, that instrument was the Northumbrian Smallpipe. I remember being absolutely smitten by the sound of the pipes at a time when the Beatles and Rolling Stones were the preferred sound of my generation, little did I know that 16 years later history would repeat itself when I myself became an Art Teacher and later a Piper/Pipemaker. That experience as a young boy never left me but it was not until as a young man of 24 that I was financially able to achieve my dream and buy a set of pipes – thanks to a tax rebate !

It was as a maker of Northumbrian Smallpipes that I first established myself as a Pipemaker building my first set in 1980. I went on to send pipes to many International destinations, but it was simultaneous with developing my Northumbrian Smallpipes that I also continued to develop the Scottish Smallpipes and later the Lowland Pipes.

Having established myself as a maker sending pipes to many national and international destinations I decided to take the plunge and gave up Teaching to pursue my passion for piping/pipemaking and became a full-time professional Pipemaker in 1988. Never one for ‘sitting on my laurels’ to this day I continue to develop my style and design in pursuit of ‘perfection’ and so no two sets are the same.

The importance of my experience and training in Art & Design cannot be underestimated when it comes to making Pipes as visual skills and attention to detail and design are applied to every aspect of my work. I like to feel that my pipes and their design are uniquely my own and I approach each set of pipes as completely individual and different in some small way to the previous, which means that you as a client will receive a set of Pipes hand-made for you personally.

"Ray Sloan is one of the foremost makers of Smallpipes. His range of instruments demonstrate a fine blend of workmanship combined with a distinct flare for the traditional. His smallpipes represent an instrument well-suited to the Highland Piper making the transition to the bellows-blown pipes"
Pipe Major Iain MacDonald
Glasgow, Scotland
"No-one who plays a Ray Sloan Smallpipe will be disappointed." Rab Wallace is a highly regarded and prize-winning player of the G.H.B. His skill extends into the playing of the Scottish Smallpipes which he uses extensively on recordings with the internationally known Trad' music band 'The Whistlebinkies'
Pipe Major Robert (Rab) Wallace
Glasgow, Scotland
Ray’s pipes respect the long-standing tradition and standards of manufacture set by such great makers as Robert Reid, yet incorporate tasteful refinements of style and technique that only a master maker, as Ray Sloan certainly is, can convincingly achieve.
Alan Jones - Collector and Historian
Montreal. Canada
"Dear Ray, I am writing to thank you for my Bb set of Scottish Smallpipes and the extra 'A' chanter that you made for me. After many hours of trying to blow instead of squeeze and vice versa on the bigpipes, I'm starting to get the hang of it. I'm also beginning to appreciate the quality of sound that your pipes produce. Having listened to sets by several other makers, I now realise the time and effort you must have spent to achieve such a fine sound. They are a joy to play. keep up the good work !"
Pipe Major Robert (Rab) Mathieson
Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipeband