Bagpipes are Big!

Bagpipes are a big instrument, certainly not the biggest instrument out there...when I was trying to figure out what the biggest instruments in the world are I stumbled across The Oddmusic Gallery. A fluba, the serpent, a Harpsichord made out of LEGO's, this site has it all and than some.

But back to my point, the bagpipes are big and awkward to carry around. I have to be really careful when moving with my pipes from room to room because even though I am a mere 5 foot 4 inches, I can still knock my drones against the top of the doorway if I'm not careful. On that same note (no pun intended), the bagpipes are also a sturdy instrument, they're meant to be played outside so it has to stand up to the elements. So even when I do occasionally hit it against a doorway I don't worry too much. I do however live in fear of rooms with ceiling fans, I fear a fan vs. bagpipe battle would not end well for the pipes.

When carrying my bagpipes I have to break down the bass drone and carefully fit them into my styling yellow Menards tool box that I have fashioned into a bagpipe case.

I bought this case right after I bought my bagpipes. Like any quality musical instrument, bagpipes are expensive and at the time I didn't care to foot the bill for an expensive case as well. This case has worked really well up until this point but since it looks like I'm going to be playing this instrument for the long haul, I think it's time to invest in a long term case. Besides, I've seen my husband eyeing my big yellow tool-box, I promised he could have it if I ever upgraded. And I think I've had my fill of tool-box related jokes.

So I've been doing a lot of research. I want a sturdy case that has lots of pockets for storing all the little things a piper finds themselves accumulating, extra reeds, corks for my drones, ear plugs, and the like. I also really want a case that can accommodate my hard cover binder filled with my piping music. If I arrange everything just so, I can fit my binder into my yellow toolbox, but it'd be nice to have a special music binder pocket. Finally, I want to have flexibility in how I carry it.

So, after much research, including a discussion thread over on the Bob Dunsire Forum, I've narrowed it down to 3 options.

The first is the Bag Piper Case:

This one has 10 carrying points, it's airport friendly, and it has a lot of storage pockets. A couple of people in my band have this case so I have actually seen it, and they have nothing but goods things to say about this case.

Next up is the Piper Bagpipe Case:

It's similar to the first one, it's cheaper but shipping would cost more.

Finally there's the Bandpack Case:

I am impressed by how compact this case looks. It's designed for people that have to carry their pipes with them on the subway or bus, or I suppose on great rambling hikes into the woods. This case's sleekness intrigues me, I guess I like to think of myself eventually hiking off into the hills with my pipes...but for my immediate purposes it's probably not as practical. Plus, it seems like it wouldn't protect my pipes quite as well as the other cases. that I've narrowed it down to these 3, what do you think? I am leaning towards one of these cases, but I'd be curious to see what everyone out there thinks.

I've set up a poll for you to vote for your pick in the upper left corner of my blog.

And don't worry, I'll be sure to let you know what I end up with.

Pipe on!


Eric said...

I have a BandPack and love it. Like you, I did my due diligence on BobDunsire and eventually decided on the BP.
I carry a very expensive set of D Naill DN5s in the BP wherever I go in the world and have never, ever had an issue or concern about my pipes being damaged. There are a couple of things that you can do to mitigate any possible damage, like taking a piece of cloth and S-rolling the drones when they're in the case. I do this regardless of which case that I use.
The BP has room for other "stuff" which is a big selling point to me. I can get a plethora of books, music, a laptop, power supply, metronome, digital sound recorder, etc in there with no issues. Remember, we carry a lot more around with us than just pipes. Yep, all of that weighs a bit, so the fact that you can comfortably sling it all over your shoulder is the final coup-de-grace.
Just my thoughts. Your mileage may vary.

kammler said...

The Bag Piper Case seems to me as your best option. It has lots of pockets, protects the pipes, and looks a lot cooler than a yellow toolbox.

BagpipingBlonde said...

I have the Piper Bagpipe Case and I love it. It was actually purchased at the same time as my pipes so I've never had experience with anything else but so far it's been wonderful. I can fit my practice chanter, electronic bagpipes, and music book in the front pocket. As for the inside, it's well padded, fits the pipes, and has room for a myriad of reeds and cord. I also know of some of my old band members using luggage. As long as you can find one that's compact enough to provide good support and padding, this really isn't a bad (cheap) is definitely airline approved and the wheels make it so much easier to move across large competition sites (those shoulder bags can get really heavy). Hope that helps!
PS-This is my first time posting on your blog but I have read some of your posts before and am so glad to see other women getting into this instrument!

RMinor said...

Hi Bagpipe Girl!

Wondering if you have a new case yet. I've been playing for 30 years, the same pipes, so I may be a bit more casual about them than you are. However, I wanted to say that I now use a Lowe's Kobalt toolbox for my pipe case. It is big and roomy on the inside, with an upper level tray, and even better, the lid has a carrying compartment that has sections that are perfectly sized for practice chanter, rolls of hemp, etc., which means you can get at it without opening up the main lid. I love it, and all for under $20!

If I had a brand new set, I would probably see if I could line the inside with foam, and would at least get the drone rack separator things that are foam or styrofoam, not sure which, but aside from that I would have no problem using it forever. I'll bet it's sturdier than most purpose-built pipe cases too, for that matter. Oh, and I have seen other pipers at games carrying similar cases, so you needn't feel awkward about it. Oh and in all fairness, the only issue I have at all is that it won't carry a rigid binder comfortably, like your band music might be issued in, so I had to get a soft folder that rolls. Other than that, I would call this the equal or superior of most any regular pipe case out there.

Anyway. Just a few words on behalf of thrift. Oh, a woman in my band carries hers in an old shotgun case! Please tell us what you've ended up with!

Anonymous said...

I do not have scottish pipes or blood but I do play the irish uilleann pipes, real Geoffrey, not from Pakistan, but from Ireland, (no knocking Pakistan pipes but,there is a difference and some are selling Geoffrey pipes from there and not telling buyers that they are from Pakistan). I am Native American and of Welsh decent and I love the pipes, so I know what you went through finding a proper case. The Uilleann pipe case for a full set is huge and sometimes looks like it is still not enough when trying to put it away. So I had to make my own softbag with a lot of padding and handles for traveling. So please keep on piping and may the blessings of the Gods and Goddesses be with you...

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