If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we may receive a commission but at no extra cost to you. Learn More

Best Bagpipes – Best Beginner Bagpipes Reviews

Best Bagpipes

Whether you're a beginner player who would like to learn how to play bagpipes or an experienced player who wants to broaden your horizons, choosing a new bagpipe set seems like a daunting task. The bagpipe may seem like an unusual instrument. Still, it can quickly become a new and rewarding hobby, especially if you are in love with everything Scottish. Besides, the bagpipe is not only something for adults - you can find it in children's sizes too, so your little one can start a hobby that will set him apart from his friends.

Quick Answer - Best Bagpipes To Buy


1. Best Beginner Bagpipes - AJW Bagpipes Review

 These are best far the best bagpipes for beginners, and the best beginner bagpipes for sale today. Our best all-round selection, the AJW bagpipe set, is a professional bagpipe set that is well suited for both aspiring musicians and professionals. One of the main things we really loved about this set is that it comes with a textbook that makes it very easy to learn the instrument, even if you've never touched a woodwind before. It is a classic Great Highland bagpipe set that comes complete with an elegant carrying case and a complete accessory set with two chanter pipes, synthetic and drone reeds.

The baton and the tubes are made of rosewood and have silver with nickel-plated fittings, while the bag is made of synthetic material and has a traditional Scottish Mackenzie tartan cover. Users rave about how this bagpipe set produces a powerful, impressive sound. The AJW bagpipe set has made it to the top of our list because it is a complete kit that comes ready to play, with many accessories for almost every level.

The bagpipes come with a black carrying bag for easy transport, and two practice pipes are also included. The tutor manual mentioned above is one of the most comprehensive we have ever seen for a musical instrument, and users have often mentioned that the instructions must be followed very clearly, no matter what level. Overall this is the best starter bagpipes for you today!


2. Best Bagpipes For Kids  - Kids Bagpipes Review

This is a miniature bagpipe set for children, designed as an introduction for a small child to the instrument. It is more fun than a serious bagpipe set. However, it works, and the bagpipe can be inflated with the blowpipe. Once there is air in it, the bagpipes play with the chanter in the usual way.

Some efforts have been made to create an authentic design. The pipes are made of wood, and the bag is made of a robust material in the Black Watch tartan. The colors and decorations are dark by nature, but they are vibrant and gain the authenticity of the instrument. It is an amazing way to introduce a child to the bagpipe, and it works in this respect, either as an instrument or as a cultural asset.

Not exactly the real thing.

It is a great opportunity for a young person to have their first experience with "the pipes." Remember, however, that this is more a toy than an instrument. They can reproduce a sound that sounds a little bit like the original. But if you expect it to sound like a real bagpipe, you will be disappointed.

If you wish, it can be used as a decorative piece. But the thought is that it is given to a child as the first pipe set.

Beautifully made with authentic colors and woods, it is a great gift and a first instrument. Overall these are the best children's bagpipes and best junior bagpipes for sale.


3. Best Cheap Bagpipes For Sale - McWilliams Bagpipes For Sale

 Back to McWilliams for another one from their range. This bagpipe is very similar to other bagpipes in the higher ranges. However, there are some differences to this instrument, including the impressive Black Watch tartan bag.

This instrument is full size, but a bit heavier than some models. This set of bagpipes weighs seven pounds. That wouldn't be much of a problem. If it were for a young beginner, maybe an adult, we don't think so.

Built to last...

As with the Royal Stewart tartan instrument that we have already looked at, this one is also made of high-quality wood. It also has FNS mounts. High-quality building material makes the bagpipe tend to sound better. But they definitely make them more durable. Like the Royal Stewart version, this bagpipe is tunable. This is, of course, a big advantage.

The sound is appropriate considering its price. You will not get professional sounding bagpipes at low prices. However, you will get adequate sound, especially for beginners and advanced players. The drones do work well, and the chanter is easy to play.

Supremely authentic-looking...

But the big plus of this bagpipe set is its visual appearance. As we have already said, it wears the tartan of the famous Black Watch. This gives it a historical authenticity and importance for those who prefer it to the Royal Stewart.

It comes with a synthetic carrying case and reed. As an entry-level instrument in original size, it is inexpensive. It should be considered as one of the best beginners' bagpipes.


4. Best Professional Bagpipes - McCallum Bagpipes Review

If you are looking for high-quality bagpipes tailored to the practice needs of a student, you have come to the right place.

These bagpipes are designed to meet the needs of a beginner, and the edition has good features that bridge the gap between Blackwood and Polyset bagpipe models. The drones on the student edition have a Blackwood design that produces a recognizable deep and continuous sound.

The passepart outs in this edition also feature the same Blackwood design but appear small and classic. The alloy ring caps and sleeves create a simple style and beautiful profile.

Considering that the chanter, the blowpipe, and the shafts are made of polyethylene, cracks are firmly prevented, which is good, as the bagpipes are very sensitive to moisture. The poly features also help to reduce production costs, making the product more affordable for the average student and for people with a limited budget.

The set includes a zippered piping bag, ideal for bagpipers who frequently travel, a silk bourdon cord, and a luxurious velvet bag cover combine to make a quality product.


5. Best Mini Bagpipes - 5th Gibson R111 bagpipes for sale

 Gibson returns with another good quality bagpipe design - the R111. This time the look of this bagpipe is simple and sophisticated. The quality of the accompanying Blackwood is represented by the simple, tuned design of the drones. Like its predecessor, the R110D, this model also features a stainless steel sleeve design that not only reduces maintenance costs but also gives the overall settings and appearance an attractive look.

It will always be hard not to fall in love with Gibson bagpipes, considering the quality features they have. For example, this model has a special telescopic blowpipe that ensures playability for the bagpipe player. The Fast-Trap, WaterTrap, and Poly-Blastpipe shaft all contribute to its standard durability and comfort of use.

The Gibson brand is famous for the rich sound that their bagpipes produce. All Gibson bagpipes are made in the USA and meet the expected quality with excellent sound reproduction.

A zipper bag with a velvet bag cover, which also has zippers, and their silk border cords make up the good selection of accessories that come with the package.


Bagpipes Buying Guide

bagpipe price

You may think that if you walk down a street in Scotland, there will be a bagpipe shop on every corner. But this is not the case. You must know where to look. But Scotland doesn't have a monopoly. There are bagpipe shops in many countries.

Since we are English, we hope that our Scottish friends will not hold it against us if we bring something up. The bagpipe is an instrument that, in most cases, has gone completely out of control. For this reason, they have found their way into rock music and with some effect.

Peter Gabriel, Wizzard, Nazareth, have all used them. McCartney, of course, but the main one was AC/DC. Can you imagine that? Bon Scott, but also Malcolm and Angus Young were born in Scotland, that's at least part of the reason.

Bagpipes are therefore not only intended for ceremonial purposes in different countries of the world. 

Kinds Of Bagpipes

There are several types of bagpipes that you should consider when you are thinking about buying a set. There is, of course, the instrument we are most familiar with, the Great Highland Bagpipe. But then there is the uilleann, the official pipes of Ireland. They are inflated by carrying the bag under your arm and inflating the bag like a bellows. Maybe you've seen them on television.

Then there are the Scottish Small Pipes, the Great Irish War Pipes, and the Border Pipes. All different variations of the original idea and each with their very own traditions and sound.

Materials

The production has shifted over the years. At the start of the bagpipes, the bags were made from animal skins and other parts, usually from sheep, cows, or goats. This has now changed to synthetic materials. They can still maintain the original style, and some professional bagpipe players still use them. Drones and chanter and many other parts are made of wood. Some come with nickel and silver-plated fittings and FNS mounts.

But what are the best bagpipes?

The consideration of what could be considered the best bagpipe was an interesting journey. We saw that the real professional instruments cost an awful lot of money. Therefore we will choose a set that is suitable for a complete beginner.

Our choice for the best starter bagpipes is the...

McWilliams Professional Scottish Highland Bagpipe

Nicely done and good to start learning this complicated instrument. But our choice was influenced by another reason.

This one wears the tartan of the Black Watch. As part of the 51st Highland Division, they led the formations that attacked Beaumont Hamel when the Battle of the Somme raged in November 1916. We won't give you a history lesson, but it's worth reading about the heroism behind the lone flute player who led them. This is probably why you will buy these bagpipes.

Today the trenches in Beaumont Hamel are just like they were in 1916. Some say that on winter nights, you can still hear the Piper playing when he once again leads the Black Guard.

scottish bagpipes for sale

Choosing the best bagpipes: What you should know before buying

There are many things questions you need to ask yourself before you decide on the best bagpipe. First, why do you want to play bagpipes? If your answer is: "Because they are fun and easy to play," bagpipes are not for you. The bagpipes are fun, but they are not easy to play. In fact, the bagpipe is one of the most difficult instruments to play.

They must be able to maintain a constant air volume in the bellows. You must also be able to place your fingers on the pipes accordingly. The next question you gotta ask yourself is: "Do I know how to play the bagpipes? If the answer is "no," you should learn a few lessons before you purchase your bagpipes.

Buying bagpipes before you know how to use them is a waste of money. There is the possibility that you buy new pipes and try to play something only to find out that it sounds terrible. It's not a good way to spend your hard-earned money. If your answer to that question is yes, then do your research. This article will help you to find the best set of pipes because there is a lot to know.

First, you must have to know what kind of bagpipe you are looking for. Are you looking for a Northumbrian small pipe or a small Scottish pipe? Or are you looking for a shuttle pipe or a set of Irish pipes? Whatever type of bagpipes you are looking for, here are some general guidelines that you should follow.

used bagpipe

What should be considered when choosing bagpipes?

When choosing a bagpipe, it is best to first know what to look for. According to Dan Sheppard, a bagpipe major, and pipe teacher, there is a lot to think about before buying. One of the very first things to think about is whether you have time to practice the bagpipe as you should. Read on to learn about other considerations that you should think about before buying your pipe set.

Quality of a bagpipe

"You get what you pay for," Dan Sheppard says to anyone who asks him what the best pipes are. Most bagpipes on Amazon or eBay are made of plastic, with the bellows covered with cloth. This means that pipes can easily break or warp due to extreme heat and easily torn bellows covers. Dave Shaw bagpipes are made of hardwoods and leather, which allows them to be durable.

Sound of your bagpipe

The best quality bagpipes mean getting the best sound out of your bagpipe. You might think that all bagpipes sound the same, but this is not the case. Each bagpipe has a unique sound, which is the result of the length of the pipes, and the widening of the pipe ends. Also, the bellows should keep their shape and strength. This means a much better-sounding pipe set over a longer period of time.

bagpipe prices

Bagpipe Price - Bagpipe Cost

Like most people, when choosing the best possible bagpipe, you probably look at the price of something first. Then, depending on your budget, you decide whether to buy it or not. With bagpipes, you look for quality and sound. The better they both are, the more expensive the pipe set will be. You get what you got to pay for, so why not pay for the best?

After researching many different manufacturers of bagpipes, they went beyond expectations. The best bagpipe on this list is the bagpipes that Dave Shaw creates. For over 25 years, Dave Shaw has worked lovingly to create the best possible bagpipes for your money. He strives to try and get his customers the most beautiful sounding pipes available. Dave uses his many years of pipe making and pipe playing to create a quality product.

Dave Shaw makes all his pipes to the specifications of his buyers. He makes all his pipes by hand, carving and drilling each piece individually. Dave Shaw uses traditional hardwoods such as African blackwood and boxwood. He also uses naturally processed leather, which he sews over the bellows by hand to make the bellows covers.

With all this manual work, the only downer with this manufacturer is the waiting time for the pipes. On average, you might have to wait two to three months for your bagpipes to arrive. But because of their quality, they are worth the wait. All Dave Shaw bagpipes have hand-forged brass keys and brass fittings with imitation ivory trimmings. 

He equips all keyboards with excellently balanced suspension. Dave also skilfully tunes each pipe set to the characteristics of the respective instrument. This makes sure that the sound quality is the best available. The Bagpipe Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation of bagpipe making, has recognized Dave Shaw Bagpipes. Here is what the people and others have said about Dave Shaw's bagpipes

are bagpipes hard to play

Honorable mentions - Best Bagpipe Brands

As we have already mentioned, we have investigated many different manufacturers of bagpipes. There were some close competitors in the selection of the best bagpipes. In the following, some good bagpipe manufacturers are listed in no particular order.

Iveran

Iverian bagpipes are of good quality, but not the best. The prices are also a little steeper. One set of bagpipes will cost you well over $8,000. 

Ian Murray

Ian Murray produces quality pipes with hardwoods and brass fittings. However, they do not manufacture these pipes to customer specifications. Instead, they are produced in the same way over and over again. 

MacMurchie

The reason why this manufacturer is not the best is that the waiting time is more than six months. Moreover, the production of the pipes is slower than average. 

Hamish Moors

Hamish Moore is a good pipe maker and will sell to people outside Scotland. However, they prefer to keep their business locally. If you want a set of pipes, you should be prepared to pay for it. 

Magnus Hogfeldt

Magnus Hogfeldt is the last manufacturer on this list. On their own website, it says: "The easiest - both in construction and in the game." And they were right. They construct these bagpipes from "Polypenco," a term to describe plastic with instrument quality. But plastic can easily warp, tear, and break.

Moreover, these bagpipes have only one drone or one pipe, and they set them to the same note as the chanter. So they have a drone and a chanter. This means that you only get one sound. If you choose the best bagpipes, they are not worth the money. 

Type and size of the bagpipe

Most people think of only one type of bagpipe when they hear the name of this instrument, and that is the Great Highland Bagpipe, a type that is often seen in movies and rock bands or at Scottish games.

It is true that this is the most popular type used by players all over the world, but you will also find other types such as the Uilleann bagpipe, the Border pipes, the Great Irish Warpipes, and the Scottish little pipes.

There are some differences as far as their design is concerned. Therefore, you might want to start with this. Find out about the different features of each type and choose according to your preferences. Once you have decided on the type of bagpipe you want, you must also consider the size of the instrument.

Different brands offer different bagpipe sizes. With the help of a size chart, you can get an instrument suitable for your body. As a rule, you should pay attention to the height and length of the instrument, as well as the diameter of the sack.

Also, the length of the baton should be proportional to your height, because if the baton is too long, the bag could slip and cause an uncomfortable playing position. The same applies if the stick is too short. Also, consider your chest shape, blowing technique, and arm length and choose accordingly.

Materials

The materials used for the bagpipe you intend to buy should offer you durability, and the way the instrument was made should ensure long use and high sound quality. These instruments were traditionally made from animal skins, but many of the units found today use synthetic materials.

You might have to consider an instrument that is equipped with rosewood blow sticks and tubes and a bag from which no air can escape. The materials used also contribute to the weight of the product. If the instrument is too heavy, playing it for a long time could become very uncomfortable. If it is too light, you may not enjoy the stability that is necessary for good playing.

There is one more thing quick to think about, and that is the environment in which the bagpipe is to be used. Variations in temperature and humidity can cause damage that will affect the functioning and sound of the item. The materials used should, therefore, be able to withstand various conditions.

Accessories and other considerations

If this is not just a hobby or a whim and you intend to improve your bagpipe playing skills, you should also consider the accessories that come with a model. A complete set usually includes additional reeds, valves, practice singers, and covers. High-quality accessories last longer, so it is part of your bagpipe playing experience to purchase such items.

You might even find products that are linked to a tutor book to make it easier for you. A carrying bag is also essential as it ensures easy transport and protection. However, if you buy it separately, the final price will increase, so it is desirable to get a complete set that includes it.

how hard is it to play the bagpipes

Conclusion

Was this information helpful? I hope it will help you a lot in your decision to choose the best bagpipes. Think about how much you want to play the bagpipes and also your budget. Make sure you do the research so that you are better prepared when choosing your bagpipes. Many of these bagpipes were almost the best, but some were not good enough. Some bagpipes never made it onto this list.

The Dave Shaw bagpipes were the first choice due to the quality of design and construction. They also offer a first-class sound quality. Although they are expensive, they were not as expensive as others of lesser quality. But in the end, the decision is yours. Check out our other guides on PlayTheTunes