Meet Our Staff
My Instruments
Why I Play the Bagpipes?
Photo Gallery
Sample Music
Media Articles
Compliments and Accolades
Performance Venues
Performance Events
Learn to Play the Bagpipes
The Parts of a Bagpipe
Bagpipe Humour
Favourite Links
RabbinicalTartan Information
Eilean Donan Castle
Wedding Celebrant
Contact Us

The Parts of a Bagpipe


The photo below shows how a bagpipe is constructed and the names of its various parts.  Please note that there are numberless of variations to the illustration below, but generally, this picture shows the most common parts of a Scottish Great Highland Bagpipes.  For education purposes, the bagpipes on this illustration have no bag cover. 
A Bag cover can be fashioned of tartan, velvet, denim, corduroy, or any material the piper wishes.

The Various Parts of the
Scottish Great Highland Bagpipes

The illustration above depicts a bagpipe made of African Blackwood (without a bag cover) and the diagrami, although easy to understand, requires a few commentaries to aide someone not yet acquainted with this instrument understand how i functions.  African Blackwood is the traditional hardwood employed to craft Scottish Highland Bagpipes, althout I have seen excellent bagpipes, made of Maple, Iron Wood, Teak and other fine hardwoods.  I have also seen lesser-quality pipes employ woods such as rosewood, cocobolo wood, cocuswood, plastic, polypenco and just about anything that can be made into a bagpipes.

The blowpipe is used to fill the bag, which serves as a air reservoir for the air that make the reeds vibrate and the instrument produce its sound.  A combination of blowing and squeezing the bag with the left arm, regulates the air pressures that it's required to produced a balanced, yet nice and  melodious, even and powerful sound.

You will notice that at the inside end of the blowpipe plastic and rubber valve.  Traditionally this would be piece of circular leather with a piece of the valve, fashioned into a "flap tie" or "leg, which is  tied into place at the base of the blowpipe and held together with hemp thread. Other blowpipe valves have a rubber flap and a brass "leg".  The combinations and options are many. 

The blowpipe valve in this picture is one preferred by many pipers for its reliability, called "Lil Mac".  It is made of plastic and has a rubber flap on the end, and it's carefully inserted into the blowpipe itself, being careful not to crack the blowpipe.

The drone reed shown is a synthetic reed.  I prefer to make and use my own cane drone and chanter reeds, as I am a "traditionalist".

natural look which resemble bamboo.

The bag shown is made of cow hide bag. Sheepskin, cow, deer, elk, and even kangaroo hide bags are also used (good for those pipers needing excessive moisture to escape the bag quickly), as well as Gortex, Banatyne, rubber bags and hybrid bags (hide bag with a synthetic inside).

The traditional way of sealing a bagpipe joint is using hemp string, either waxed or unwaxed, and they are yellow or black in colour.  Newer methods include plumber's teflon tape and other concoctions.  You can see some of the plumber's tape on the joints.  Plumber's tape comes in white, pink, yellow, orange and blue colours.

Music of Elegance and Distinction

by Dr. Raphael Pazo, Highland Bagpiper 


2004-2019 All Rights Reserved.