Bagpipes might seem like an unusual instrument to decide to learn. But that’s for those who aren’t in love with all things Scottish like you. The truth is that playing the bagpipes can be a truly rewarding experience as long as you’re ready to put in the work.
So, if you’re one of those looking to broaden your musical horizon with bagpipes, then your first task would be choosing one. And as daunting as that may seem, we have overly simplified the process by preparing you this comprehensive article.
This article contains a buying guide for the newbies and also contains a thorough review of our 7 best bagpipes. We’re pretty sure that at the end of this review, you’d have found the bagpipes for you. So, ready or not, here we come!
- Top 7 Best Bagpipes On The Market 2020 Reviews
- 1 Lark in the Morning Children’s Bagpipe
- 2 Tiny Tots Bagpipes
- 3 AAR Scottish Bagpipe
- 4 McAndrew Scottish Full Set of Bagpipes
- 5 Roosebeck Full Size Sheesham Bagpipe
- 6 McWilliams Professional Scottish Highland Bagpipe (Royal Stewart Tartan)
- 7 McWilliams Professional Scottish Highland Bagpipe (Black Watch Tartan)
- Buying Guide For Best Bagpipes
Top 7 Best Bagpipes On The Market 2020 Reviews
As the name suggests, the Lark in the Morning Children’s Bagpipe is a bagpipe for the kids. It’s quite attractive with a perfect size that’s usable by kids. So, if you want your kids celebrating their rich Scottish heritage, this is a great way to go.
Although this resembles a typical full size Highland bagpipe, this is still children practice size. So, while the bagpipe is suited to their size, they still don’t feel like they are playing on a toy. This is important to drive motivation.
As a beginner, a couple of techniques might understandably be quite difficult. Such techniques include breath control, scales, and finger patterns. So, it’s great that this bagpipe comes with practice chanters to help the user gain mastery of such tough techniques a little easily.
Besides function, it’s also cool that this bagpipe comes in an attractive design. The bag looks really cool in the traditional plaid material and the blowsticks are also beautiful with their natural wooden finish.
The designs of the bag and blowsticks work together to give this bagpipe and impressive and authentic look.
Altogether, this is a great bagpipe for beginners. It won’t knock your socks off but it will suffice for the kids and they’d enjoy having it.
Here’s another pretty interesting bagpipe also for kids. We love the looks of this and playability of this and we’re pretty sure that it’s something your kids would love too.
Firstly, this bagpipe looks really cool, authentic and Scottish. One look at this and you’re transported to the Scottish world already. It’s a good looking set.
The bag is made of cloth, 100% cotton plaid to be precise. As you know, plaid is traditional Scottish design. The blowsticks are also stunning with their natural wood finish.
Now because this bagpipe is so eye-catching, it can totally work as a decorative piece. So, when your kid isn’t playing this, don’t tuck it away in some dark place. You can place this on your in your living room and add a unique touch to your living space.
As for sound, this is a smaller bagpipe designed for the kids to have some fun with. So, while it might not exactly sound super incredible, there’s no denying that the sound is pleasant. Your kid is going to enjoy playing this for sure.
We also love that this comes nicely weighted, it’s just a little close to 2 pounds which makes it perfectly suited to kids still learning the ropes.
Small issue though, the bag here does not hold air and some kids might find this a little difficult to play on this. Well, the manufacturer recommends this for kids that are 12 years old at least. Even at that though, this might still be a teeny bit difficult to play on.
The AAR Scottish Bagpipe scores huge points in three major departments. In looks, performance, and quality of build, the AAR Scottish Bagpipe does wonderfully and many customers are impressed by it. Plus, it also comes with several accessories which make the purchase totally worth it.
Let’s begin with the looks of this thing. It’s obvious that the makers chose only high quality materials with which to make this bagpipe. But besides great quality materials, construction here is also quite unbeatable. This will last a very long while, that’s for sure. So, your investment in this is safe.
Now, the AAR Scottish Bagpipe is a little pricier than our other bagpipes. And that’s understandable cos this isn’t for children. It’s not even for adult beginners, it’s actually pro level.
But even though this is pricier than the other bagpipes on our review, we can’t deny the value this delivers. Besides, in its category, it’s still one of the more affordable bagpipes.
But back to the value this gives… In one package, this bagpipe comes with several accessories. They include: silver plain mounts, a free tutor book, a padded carrying bag, drones, reeds, and a joint hemp. Yeah, you should be able to play this right out of the box.
Another thing we love about this bagpipe is the fact that it comes with a synthetic bag. In bagpipes, synthetic bags are very beneficial as they increase the durability of the instrument.
Plus, they also ensure that your bagpipe remains playable even under different levels of humidity. As you know, humidity affects the playability of your bagpipe.
Altogether, great bagpipe for the price.
Next up on our reviews is the McAndrew Scottish Full Set of Bagpipes. It is a beautiful bagpipe that’s a little different from the other ones we’ve reviewed so far. Well, it’s a green tartan set which is representative of Ireland unlike the other Scottish sets we’ve seen so far.
Now, to all the review proper…
This is a pretty solid instrument and the fact that it is made from quality materials is quite obvious. If you need something that is going to last you a very long time then you can bank on this bagpipe.
And to further ensure durability, as part of the freebie accessories you get with this bagpipe, you also get a hard, padded case. This will ensure that your instrument remains safe either in transit or in storage. You can confidently travel with this knowing that sudden bumps won’t hurt your bagpipe.
It also looks really beautiful. This green tartan set is reminiscent of Ireland and also makes this bagpipe uniquely eye-catching.
That said, we think the biggest pro that this bagpipe offers is its “in tuneness”. This bagpipe is fully tuneable. That is to say that you can completely tune this bagpipe to give a real impressive sound quality.
What’s even lovelier, its beautiful intonation shines through while you play it. We can assure you that you’re going to love it.
The Roosebeck Sheesham Bagpipe is a great bagpipe that we’d specially recommend for those at the pro level of bagpipe playing. It’s a high quality, traditional bagpipe, and in the right hands, it can produce really amazing sounds.
Despite the fact that this bagpipe is made of high quality materials, we like how the makers keep this lightweight so it remains comfortable to play even for long hours at a time.
As part of the accessories you get with this, you get 2 cane pipe chanter reeds and hemp, 1 set of aluminum drone reeds with carbon fiber tongues. Plus, this comes with a synthetic bag which also helps to improve sound quality.
The black velvet cover plus the included bag help to keep the bagpipe safe and protected during transport. And as for looks, this bagpipe seems to be killing it as loads of customers have praise for it.
Lastly, this bagpipe comes ready to play right out of the box even though it’s a pro level instrument. This means that a beginner would still be able to use this despite the skill level it’s made for.
So, if you’re a beginner and you want to invest in a bagpipe that you won’t outgrow too quickly, then this makes a beautiful choice.
McWilliams is a well-known brand and this time, we review its traditional bagpipes. These are made from wood and FNS mounts which is a small change from the more ubiquitous rosewood we’re used to seeing.
With this choice of materials, the makers ultimately improved the sound quality of this bagpipe. And in addition, it also makes the bagpipe stand out looks wise.
One thing that customers completely loved about this bagpipe is the fact that it comes completely tunable. This is a benefit you don’t come by every day. So, we totally appreciate that.
Furthermore, the design of the bagpipe gives a really Scottish feel and at 6 pounds, it’s one of the lightest adult bagpipes in the market. Everyone would feel at ease playing this cos it feels stable without being too cumbersome.
We also love the fact that this comes with a hard box which gives you a place to store your bagpipe and transport it.
And lastly to sound, this is quite good but we’re not sure it’s good good like pro level good as it’s advertised. Trained ears will definitely pick on that and might not be impressed. But since it’s tunable, professionals who are on a tight budget can still get this.
Last but not least, we have the McWilliams Professional Scottish highland Bagpipe. It’s about the same thing as the last product we reviewed. However, there are a couple of differences between this and the former.
Also a professional instrument, this bagpipe comes in an adult size. However, it’s slightly heavier at 7 pounds. We do not think it will have a significant negative impact on the overall playability of this bagpipe, though.
This comes in a Black watch tartan design which is different from the Royal Stewart design of the previous product we reviewed. But both products come with wood and FNS mounts which make this bagpipe both durable and better sounding.
Just keep in mind that this might not deliver pro level sound the way you’d expect. But then again, its sound quality is sufficient enough to work for beginners, though. Plus, it’s tunable, so it’s still possible to make this sound pretty good.
With the carrying bag included in this package, you’ll be able to move and store this conveniently. Overall, this makes a really great bagpipe.
Buying Guide For Best Bagpipes
Bagpipes aren’t very common instruments hence, making a choice can understandably be tough. With our buying guide though, we’re pretty sure you’ll get all the information you need. But first, let’s see why you should consider owning bagpipes.
Why You should Consider Owning Bagpipes
Contrary to what people might think, it’s not like you find bagpipes on every street corner in Scotland. But then, they are gaining increasing popularity among musicians globally. Aside, using them for traditional Scottish medieval music, bagpipes are also gradually making an entry even into rock and roll.
And even if you don’t decide to go pro, bagpipes are still great to take up as a hobby. Children also can take up this rewarding hobby as there are bagpipes in smaller sizes specially made for the kids.
Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll get the opportunity to play for your friends at their special events!
Factors To Consider When Getting Bagpipes
Here are all the features you need to check out before paying for a set of bagpipes.
Type Of Bagpipes
The bagpipes that most people know are the ones they see in the movies. These bagpipes are actually the Great Highland bagpipes and the most common of all the bagpipes types. Plus, they are the ones most people take up when deciding to learn the bagpipes.
Nonetheless though, there are other types of bagpipes.
There are the Uilleann bagpipes which are the official bagpipes of Ireland. You inflate them using the small bellow which comes strapped around your right arm and waist.
Besides the Uilleann bagpipes, there are the Scottish small pipes, Great Irish Warpipes, and the Border pipes too. Of course, each of them has its own feel and attributes.
Traditionally, the Scottish made bagpipes from animal pelts obtained from goats, sheep, cows, and sometimes dog too. However, in modern times, manufacturers now choose synthetic materials over animal pelts.
You can find some with rosewood blow sticks and tubes and some others in wood and FNS mounts.
Because bagpipes come in different dimensions, some are large and others are not so large. The commonsensical thing, therefore, is to get something in the size of the player’s body. You can find size charts on the internet to help you decide on a size that’s right for you.
But generally though, the rule of thumb is to consider the height and length of the bagpipes with the diameter of the bag as well.
Now, the diameter of the bag is determined by a number of factors such as the blowing technique, chest shape, and overall arm length. Plus, the size of the bag also affects how your bagpipes sound.
So, besides your body size, another factor you need to consider is your playing style when deciding on a size of bagpipes.
If your bagpipes are going to be comfortable for you, then the length of the blowstick must be proportional to your height.
Beware because, if too long, the bag might start to slip resulting in an awkward playing position. The blowstick might even hit the roof of your mouth.
But a too short blowstick isn’t ideal either since you’ll need to bend your head way down to be able to play.
Some brands give you bagpipes complete with accessories, others will not. If you get bagpipes without accessories, then you’d need to make a separate investment in accessories such as reeds, valves, covers, and practice chanters.
You should also make sure to get a carrying case as well to allow for convenient and safe transport and storage.
Ensure that your bagpipes come in a size and weight that’s good enough to be stable without being cumbersome.
Taking Care Of Your Bagpipes
This is as simple as maintaining air pressure in the bag such as there are no leaks. Also, you have to ensure that the bagpipes are always clean except you want your instrument to constitute a health hazard.
Lastly, try to swab the chanter once you’re done with each performance. This is especially important if you love in damp, cold climes else you could experience a condensation buildup.
For our best bagpipe, we would give this title to the AAR Scottish Bagpipe. It’s a pro level instrument with several features that make the bagpipe perform excellently. The best part? It’s decently priced and yet packs loads of accessories which makes this a fantastic value purchase.