This Bagpipe ID site was developed by Gordon MacDonald, owner of Island Bagpipe located on Canada’s Vancouver Island. The goal of this site is to provide an online resource for pipers to use in the identification of great highland bagpipes. Feel free to use the comment section of each page, and contact us if you have any questions.
We have a team of experts around the world that assist in the identification of highland bagpipes. The team includes-
Thomas Doucet – Ontario( Owner of Thomas Pipeworks - one of the world’s leading vintage bagpipe restorers)
Yann Le Lan – France - antique bagpipe collector, restorer and one of the world’s experts in identifying bagpipes
Dougie Forsyth of New Zealand(one of the World’s top authorities on vintage bagpipes, particularly MacDougalls)
George Hannah – Australia – a piper and Piobaireachd player with a keen interest in the ID’ing/restoration of vintage pipes and harmonic theory/scales of the pipe.
Ronan Maguire from Ireland(a top solo and band piper, currently playing with SLOTPB)
Charley Kron – pipemaker and owner of CE Kron Bagpipes – NY USA
Tim Gellaitry – pipemaker, owner of Gellaitry Bagpipes – Stirling, Scotland
PM Brian Donaldson – Owner of Inveran Pipemakers
Barry Shears - Owner of Cape Breton Piper and the world’s leading authority on Cape Breton piping, pipers and pipemakers.
Iain Sherwood – Owner of Cuillinn Craft
We’re also happy to refer you to Ringo Bowen and/or Jim McGillivray, long time friends and students of antique bagpipes. Ringo is the owner of www.thebagpipeplace.com and if you are looking to buy a vintage bagpipe,contact Jim McGillivray through his business at http://www.piping.on.ca/browseproducts.asp?catID=146
Bagpipe ID is a very grey science and Ron Bowen may have put it best - “Dear Gord. Congratulations on the launch of your new Bagpipe ID website. I think it’s important to remind your visitors that this is sometimes science and sometimes art. It’s risky to take any one feature out-of-context with the whole instrument. I generally add up the clues and try to make an educated guess. It’s often easier to say what a bagpipe isn’t rather than what it is. Wrong identification hurts us all and muddies the waters for everyone including future generations. Better to say “I see this or that, but until strong evidence is brought forward, let’s say “possible” rather than provide a definitive answer.” It’s also important to remember that a good turner can make any bagpipe identical to the original.” ` R.B.
Wherever possible, we have used bagpipes of which we are certain the age and maker of, however as one expert put it, “bagpipe identification is that even perfectly authenticated pipes from a same maker can vary considerably, though common features may be more or less consistent.”
Fortunately, some of today’s makers are putting their stamp and year of production on every set.
We are always adding information and pictures to the site, if you would like to contribute pictures of your own set, please contact us. We would be happy to oblige.
Here are links to some other great sites -