Recordings – Preparing for the ASPD Robbie Burns 2024 performance

In preparing for the Airdrie Scots’ 2024 Robbie Burns performance, I recorded some of the tunes.

Banjo Breakdown


79th Farewell to Gibraltor March-Strathspey-Reel


Birkhall Hornpipe


Mist Covered Mountains – Paddys Leather Breaches

Longueval – Steam Train to Mallaig

New Recording: Hallelujah

I recorded a 6 track (5 voice) rendition of Hallelujah on my pipes today, using the built in mic on my laptop.  This is a work in progress that my band is working on for our upcoming Robbie Burns dinner and performance.

How not to buy a set of Bagpipes

On the following link, Matt  unboxes a set of bagpipes he purchased off of Amazon for $150USD.  Out of the box, they aren’t worth playing.  He promised a 2nd video to see if they could be made play-worthy. Note: he intentionally purchased this set to compare against professionally made pipes.

Over the last few years I’ve had a number of students who had purchased a set of pipes online from either E-Bay, Amazon, or even “a store in Scotland” who then come to me for lessons.  I’ve been in those stores on the Royal Mile; They are selling “budget” pipes almost identical to those in the video.

The short form of the story is, only purchase professional pipes if you playing the bagpipes is more than a passing fad.  Purchase from a manufacturer who is involved in the Piping scene.  There are a couple dozen names.  Off of the top of my head some of the big ones would be (in alphabetical order) Dunbar, Hardie, Henderson, McCallum, Naill, Shepherd (my apologies to any I missed).

Performances are still available during Covid-19!

Now that Public Health Order restrictions have been eased a bit, performances are available.

Following the PHO restrictions in place on the date of the performance, I am available.

Preferred performance location is outdoors.

For indoors locations, you will want to have a large “clearing” where I may pipe and be outside of contact with others.  Since the bagpipes are 100dB, most people won’t want to get too close while the bagpipes are being played anyways…

Normal fees and rates apply.

Evolution of Bagpipe Sound

The History of Bagpipe Sound

Something to note is that the technical quality of current recordings is much higher than in the past.  
Some of this is due to technology such as computers rather than vinyl.
  • The pitch of tuning was lower in the past
  • Each note has different harmonics
  • The D was a bit sharp. Even today, top players will be a shade sharp on the D. You will never hear a flat D.

Bags were solely leather pipe bags, reeds were only cane, chanters were hand carved.

Now we have synthetic bags, synthetic reeds, machined chanters.

Also, with modern zipper bags with moisture control systems, there can be less moisture differences on the reeds today.

Plastic chanters came out in the 70’s.


Years ago the pipe band tunes were very quick compared to today.

Todays bands seem to be more about the expression of the tunes.