The bagpipe is a wind musical instrument, an aerophone, which uses a bag-shaped air tank. It is an instrument with a long history in Europe, the Persian Gulf, and North Africa. However, internationally valid, the bagpipe is seen as a typical Scottish musical instrument, although the largest producer of bagpipes is Pakistan. The bagpipe is used by blowing, or by squeezing that bellows with air.
It was not until the 16th and 17th centuries that the last changes of the bagpipe’s principle took place, improvements that consisted in the use of the bellows as an air bag. In addition to using the bagpipe in folk music, in the 1960s it was used by rock names like Paul McCarney, AC/DC, and continues to be used today, especially by Celtic rock bands.
How Much Do Bagpipes Cost?
Usually, the bagpipes can be bought from the local specialty Scottish store or online because these are not found at the local music stores.
The bagpipe’s price is influenced by many factors including the producer, the materials it is made from, the engraving, the ornamentation, the place where it is bought from, and the overall design.
For example, bagpipes made of plastic can be bought for $630 to $1,450, which is not that expensive compared to the bagpipes made from African Blackwood, which is a popular bagpipe material. Depending on the factors already mentioned, the price of one of these bagpipes could be anywhere between $2,200 and $6,500. In the table below you will find the price estimates for some of the most popular types of bagpipes.
|Type of Bagpipes||Average Price|
|Imitation ivory with engraved silver set||$5,500 to $7,000|
|Hardwood like African Blackwood (the highest quality and may have nickel-plated tubing on its sides)||$2,200 to $6,500|
|Basic Set (Often made of plastic, but it may have no projecting mounts)||$1,200 to $1,900|
|Cheaper Set (wood shaped like a bagpipe but will have poor tonal quality and craftsmanship)||$250 to $500|
According to Henderson’s, depending on the engraving and ornamentation, the price of Polypenco plastic pipe is anywhere between $680 and $1,200, while the price of a new, high-quality set of blackwood pipes is anywhere between $1,100 and $6,300. The costs would increase considerably if the pipes are hand-engraved gold and silver.
Stanford University notes that the cost of a brand-new set of good-quality pipes is around $1,350.
From the CCBagPiper.com website, we found out that a good quality set, even if used would cost anywhere between $650 and $1,100.
In the table below you will find price estimates for the most popular brands of bagpipes.
|Brand||Average Price Range|
|Boderiou||$2,200 to $3,000|
|Atherton||$3,200 to $15,000+|
|John Walsh||$2,300 to $3,500|
|David Naill & Co.||$1,700 to $2,300|
|Peter Henderson||$3,400 to $11,000+|
|McCallum||$1,900 to $3,100|
|Shepherd||$2,200 to $3,400|
|R. G. Hardie & Co.||$1,500 to $2,600|
The bagpipe is composed of the air tank, the air discharge tube, the melodic pipe, and the burdonic pipe. For the air tank, a polychlorinated cushion with a size of 50/40 mm covered with a decorative cloth is applied.
Usually, the material used for manufacturing the bagpipes is the African blackwood, but there are also other related tonewoods used, like Mopani, boxwood, cocobolo, cocuswood, and rosewood. However, the most used is the African blackwood thanks to its particular characteristics, that produce a greater-than-average tone. According to Lyons Bagpipes, it has the tendency to cost much more because of its availability, maturity, and seasoning time.
What are the extra costs?
If you purchase a new bagpipe, you can add extra features to it like the engraving of the mouthpiece, ferrule, and chanter bowl. You should budget around $45 to $80 for engraving each piece.
When you buy a bagpipe some of its accessories might not be included, so you should consider purchasing a mouthpiece, pipe bag cover, a blowpipe valve, or pipe cords.
It is recommended to buy a pipe bag for protecting it against wear and tear. The price of a good case is anywhere between $120 and $270.
It would also be a good idea to buy a maintenance kit, that is composed of Teflon tape, stock stoppers, a drone, and a bore tape. You should budget anywhere between $40 and $60 for a good kit.
Depending on where are you purchasing the bagpipe from, import and export charges might be applied for the bagpipes made of African Blackwood because this tree is on the CITES Endangered Species List.
If you are new to this musical instrument, budget for the learning lessons.
Important things to consider
According to the Henderson’s retailer, you should avoid buying any bagpipe that costs less than a few hundred dollars as these instruments are of low quality and are mostly designed for ornamental purposes. The right tone is hard to be produced by these instruments.
Some of the most popular bagpipe producers from the United States are Dunbar and Gibson.
How can I save money?
Buying a used bagpipe on eBay is not the best idea for beginners. The tone of a bagpipe can actually be altered by how often it’s played, so until you master this instrument (which should come before buying), save up and buy something that will last longer. You can learn how to play with the help of a practice chanter, which comes with instructions and costs around $50.
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