Thoughts on Buying Pipes
Buying pipes can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those who are just starting out. Here are a couple of things to think about:
First off – be sure to ask your instructor (or an experienced band member, etc) what they would recommend.
This is one of the major expenditures you make as a piper – more than your reeds, or your bag, or your Ghillators!!! Don’t go in blind.
Next – don’t buy a fancy set at first.
Most makers of pipes have a simple, economy option. In pretty much all cases, the only difference between the economy option and the expensive option is how they look! A good looking set of pipes is vital to your “World’s Greatest Pipers” CD cover, but not vital in terms of reaching a high level of musicality. At the DoJo, we recommend starting simple, and upgrading once you’re sure you’re ready to swim with the big fishes.
Learn to play a little bit before you buy.
One of the biggest tragedies we come across as teachers is when a new student shows up with a set of inadequate pipes. $150 eBay pipes may look appealing to you now, but after a few lessons, and after you’ve seen some good pipers in action, you’ll see that buying a proper set is vital to making good music.
Pipers need an instrument that can help them achieve their musical goals. For instance, if you want to compete solos, and hopefully progress through the ranks, you need an instrument that will help you – probably a set made of blackwood (Maybe McCallums, or Naills). If your main goals are less ambitious (maybe you just like playing in parades and spending time with your band), the right set for you might be a Polypenco set (maybe Dunbars, or Poly McCallums).