Carrying the Bagpipes

When you see a bagpiper playing live, you might sometimes wonder about some of the finer details. Where did they get that kilt? What's that funny purse thing hanging around their waist? Is that a knife stuck in their sock?? And here's a question you probably never even thought to ask-how in the world did that piper get their bagpipes here in the first place?

There are all sorts of fancy carrying cases for bagpipes. There are cases that come as backpacks, with shoulder straps, and on wheels. There are hard shell cases made especially for airplane travel and monogrammed cases for the styling piper.

But let's face it, bagpipes and all the things that make me into Piping Girl, cost a fair amount of money. I went the quality route where I needed to, my pipes are quality, as is my uniform.

But I found that I could be cheap in the case I carried my bagpipes in. This is a lovely yellow tool box that I bought for about $15 at Menards. As you can see, my bagpipes fit into it very nicely. I could add some extra padding, but I don't really need to. The bagpipes are a pretty sturdy instrument, the stocks are made out of African Black Wood, and the only thing you really need to be careful with is the chanter (where you put your fingers), and of course the reeds.

It would be nice to have a shoulder strap as I have walked several blocks carrying my case a time or two, but for now it works.

Plus, the expression on a person's face when I pull a set of bagpipes out of a big yellow tool-box is absolutely priceless. I will probably continue to carry my pipes in my big yellow case purely for the "face" value.

Pipe on!


Christopher said...

Love the sticker on the case -- "Cute but psycho. Things even out."

Reminds me of when I walk into the newsroom wearing a three-cornered hat.

Pipe on!

Anonymous said...

Funny case indeed ! Could you please tell us what material is used for the white parts of the pipes ? Ivory ? Thank you for your answer.

Piping Girl said...

Thanks for stopping by Christopher. Kudos to you for noticing the sticker, I forgot to mention it in my post, it's one of my favorites.

Piping Girl said...

Anonymous, thanks for visiting. The white parts on my pipes (called ferrules) are a synthetic ivory. There are a lot of different types of synthetic ivory so I couldn't tell you exactly which one mine are made out of.

I do know for sure that they're not ivory.

You are quite right though, many ferrules are made out of ivory. However, ivory is a controversial material to use these days and it's a scarce material.

Additionally, over time ivory discolors. My pipe major has ivory ferrules, his pipes are 20+ years old and they are a dark yellow color due to discoloration.

Thanks for asking a great question!

Dan Hanosh said...


I have been desperately searching for the bag pipe tune that is usually piped at funerals, any idea? Once I attended a beautiful funeral, up on a hill was a lone piper . . . So beautiful and teary eyed. Not Amazing Grace. Thanks.

Dan Hanosh

Dreams Are Yours To Share
Warriors and Wars
The Moon Also Rises

Piping Girl said...

I have actually only been to one funeral where a bagpiper has played. And I am too much of a novice piper to be playing at funerals myself. Plus, there are a lot of tunes that can potentially be played at funerals.

I have found a few good websites that might answer your question, they have clips from several tunes commonly played at funerals.

Hopefully this helps, and let me know what the tune was if you figure it out:

You might also consider trying to get in touch with the piper who played at the funeral you attended. Many pipers have web pages so they might just be an e-mail away.

I hope this helps and thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the information about the ferrules !

Piping Girl said...

You are very welcome for the ferrule information. I'm so pleased that there are such good questions and discussion going on here at my blog :)

Iain said...

OOPS! I'm a bit late. Never mind.

Traditionally (in Scotland at least) it's Flowers of the Forest that are played at funerals.

Heard it played at memorials and the like in Northern Ireland too.

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