Bagpipe Care Information

The first essential is that the bag should be in good order and air-tight. If the skin bag is found to be dried up, it can be softened with bag seasoning (of which there are various makes). The modern synthetic bags do not need seasoning but should be washed out occasionally with a weak disinfectant solution.

Care should be taken to see that the tartan cover on the pipes is not too small - this always gives the impression that the bag is leaking. A bag will not function properly unless it can be fully extended.

The joints of the pipes should be lapped with yellow hemp and not with ordinary linen sewing thread as this tends to harden and seize up. This is a common fault in joints, which have become stuck. Also, the use of parrafin wax (a candle) rubbed onto the last layer of yellow hemp will help to prevent sticking.

The reeds must be selected for strength according to the individual and his ability to blow. The drone reeds also should be selected to balance with the chanter.

Special care should be taken when the pipes are placed in the carrying case, as follows:-

The proper method being to grasp the blowpipe, chanter and the bass bottom joint, then the bag is lowered into the case followed by the two tenor drones; place blowpipe and chanter in next (a cloth placed in before blowpipe and chanter helps to keep them from moving and gives added protection). Then the bass drone is separated leaving the top and middle joint together, this is reversed and made to lie at the side. All parts are made to lie parallel, taking care that the chanter does not lie across any other part and is kept nearest to the handle of the case. This prevents the weight of the instrument falling onto the chanter when the case is picked up. If any of the parts become stuck through the joints being too wet, leave the pipes aside for a little while when they will dry off and then can be easily separated.

When removing parts of the pipe always hold two hands together and twist in a clockwise direction. If this precaution is not taken the weaker section may be split. Never remove chanter by grasping the sole at the base.

Anyone learning the pipes should make it their business to memorise one tune at least on the practice chanter, so that when they go to play on the pipes concentration can be made on the blowing of the pipes.

Copyright Wm Sinclair & Son © 1906 --

Pipers be wise, Sinclairise!