Reasons to own a set of bagpipes
A set of bagpipes is not just something you see played on every street corner in Scotland. They are also an instrument that has been gaining popularity with musicians around the world playing traditional Scottish, medieval music, or even as an addition to rock and roll tunes. Moreover, learning to play bagpipes can be a very rewarding hobby for adults and children alike. And, who knows, maybe one day your friends will ask you to play them at special events!
Features to consider when choosing bagpipes
No matter the reason you may want to purchase a new set of bagpipes, you need to make sure you find an instrument that suits you. From the type of bagpipes to the dimensions and weight, there are multiple features to think about before parting with your money. Below are all the factors you should take into account when buying a new set.
Type of instrument
When you hear the term “bagpipes,” you might automatically think about the kind of bagpipes popularized in the movies, which are Great Highland bagpipes. Most commonly seen in bagpipe bands, at Scottish games, or in rock bands, these bagpipes are generally the type everyone wants to learn how to play. However, other types exist as well, such as the Uilleann bagpipes, which are the national bagpipe of Ireland. This type is inflated by a small bellow strapped around the right arm and the waist. Other types include Scottish small pipes, Border pipes, and Great Irish Warpipes.
Bagpipe construction materials
Bagpipes were traditionally crafted from animal pelts from sheep, goats, cows and even dogs, but these days, the materials used are most likely to be synthetic. Some models, such as Dany’s Great Highland Bagpipe or the AJW Bagpipes Set have rosewood blow sticks and tubes, while others such as the McWilliams Professional Scottish Highland Bagpipes have wood and FNS mounts.
Different brands of bagpipes have different dimensions, so you need to make sure the ones you choose are appropriate for the player’s body. Multiple size charts are available on the internet, but as a rule of thumb, you need to consider the height and length of the instrument, as well as the diameter of the bag. Some of the factors that affect the appropriate bag size include chest shape, overall arm length, and blowing technique. The bag size may affect the tone of the pipes, so it’s important to choose the right dimension based on your body and playing style.
The length of the blowstick needs to be proportional to the height of the player to be comfortable.
If the blowstick is too long, the bag might start slipping and result in an awkward playing position and may even hit the roof of the mouth. A blowstick that is too short may also result in an awkward playing position with the head too far down.
Before buying the bagpipes, make sure the blowstick is proportional for the player by using various sizing charts available on the internet.
From extra reeds and valves to covers and practice chanters, there are multiple accessories available for your new set of bagpipes. Some models come complete with various accessories, such as Dany’s Great Highland Bagpipe, for example, but others you may need to purchase separately. A carrying bag is an essential accessory, because it allows you to store and transport the instrument safely, so make sure a quality one is provided with your new set or look to purchase a separate one to fit your instrument.
The weight of the bagpipes set you choose is important because it is related to comfort. You don’t want the set to be too heavy, so as not to make your arms hurt, but it shouldn’t be too light, because you need it to be stable when playing.
The initial cost of a set of bagpipes is a straightforward one, but there are other costs to think about as well when buying this type of instrument.
It goes without saying that a quality instrument retains its value best, so you can get most of your money back if it turns out that you don’t want to follow through with your hobby after all.
Moreover, you should think about the cost of any lessons you may want to take, as well as that of accessories, such as a storage bag and extra reeds.