Alternative Pipes Image Gallery
Quite apart from the amazing sound that bagpipes generate, they are fascinating objects in and of themselves. Bagpipe makers are both artists and craftspeople, the best of whom turn raw materials into things of beauty and elegance.
Below are a series of photographs of some bellows blown bagpipes I have had access to. In particular, they represent contemporary makers for whom I have not found high resolution images available on the web. UK Small Pipe and Uilleann pipe maker Ray Sloan may have pioneered the idea of publishing high resolution close up images of his work on the web in the 1990s, followed later by Great Highland Bagpipe makers Charley Kron, and David Atherton. A few bellows pipe makers, Nate Banton, Richard and Anita Evans and John Liestman come to mind, have followed suit. In some cases there are no web sites, for example the great Northumbrian Pipe maker Colin Ross, or English pipe maker Jon Swayne. In some other instances, the photographs on a maker’s website may not show enough detail for one to really be able to judge the workmanship.
I am not a professional photographer, nor am I suggesting that all of the pipes in my gallery were made by the greatest living pipe makers (though some may well be). I have simply made the gallery in the hope that curious pipers will enjoy looking at the images. I plan to add additional sets as time and opportunity allow.
Many more images are available on the individual pipe makers websites. Links to makers, mostly located in North America, may be found on our links page.
Colin Ross Northumbrian Smallpipes
Colin Ross, Whitley Bay, Northumberland, is one of the finest craftsmen currently making bagpipes. These 2010 Northumbrian Smallpipes are of African blackwood, with silver plated keys and ferrules and artificial ivory mounts. The bag is leather, the drone reeds brass bodies with cane tongues. Tom Swinney makes bellows for Colin’s pipes.
Hamish Moore Border Pipes
Hamish and Finn Moore, Dunkeld, Scotland are among the best known and most highly regarded makers of Scottish smallpipes and border pipes. This border pipe in A is made of ebony, with gold plated ferrules and cocobolo mounts. The common stock is of sycamore (presumably Acer psuedoplatanus) darkened with stain. The drones were made in 2000 and currently have EasyDrone synthetic reeds. The chanter, ebony with boxwood sole, was made in 2010. The wood on the bellows attachment tube is also boxwood. The replacement bag is by Michael MacHarg of Vermont. The bellows are the same vintage as the drones, I am not sure what the wood is.
Heriot and Allan Scottish Smallpipes
Heriot and Allan Scottish Smallpipes from 1989 in African Blackwood, artificial ivory and brass. Robbie Greensitt and Ann Sessom, formerly of West Monkseaton, Whitley Bay, England, made this customized set with five complicated drones and three chanters (A, pictured, C and Bb). Bellows cheeks are made of bird’s eye maple. A and C chanters have 4 keys each the Bb has five.
Hamish & David Moore Scottish Smallpipes in A
Hamish and David Moore, Dunkeld, Scotland, crafted these A Scottish smallpipes in 1988 of permali (resin impregnated beech wood) with brass ferrules and boxwood mounts. The common stock is of an unknown wood (possibly cherry). All cane reeds in drones and chanter. The bellows have elm cheeks and were completely refurbished with new leather by Jonathan Warner, Connecticut, in 2007. The replacement bag is by Michael MacHarg, Vermont.
MacHarg Scottish Smallpipes in D
Michael MacHarg, The Wee Piper of South Royalton, Vermont has been building a wide variety of types of bagpipes for 40 years. This set of Scottish Smallpipes in D from 1999 features cocobolo drones, stocks and blowpipe, with an African blackwood chanter. The ferrules are brass and the mounts are moose antler. Apologies for not polishing the brass for the photo shoot.
Seth Hamon Swedish Bagpipe
Seth Hamon of Arlington, Texas made this mouth blown, E/A, kingwood bagpipe in 2009. www.swedishbagpipes.com
John Burke G Border Pipe
Border Pipes in the key of G by John Burke, County Durham, England. They were made in 2005 of Madagascan rosewood with buffalo horn mounts and a brass ferrule on the common stock.