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Sinclair pipes - Your Thoughts?

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  • Sinclair pipes - Your Thoughts?

    Very long, long..long story short...really short. I plan on purchasing a set of Sinclair pipes and BW Chanter. I would value the thoughts and opinions of those here concerning that decision. I don't plan on playing with a band but I'm not ruling that out either. Assume cost is not an issue.

    22 years ago, my bagpipe teacher recommended a set of DN3 Naill pipes (full imitation ivory) as a starter set. Over that time, I've come to really want the same mounts..only by Sinclair.

    I'd appreciate everyone's feedback.

  • #2
    Sinclair makes a sold pipe.
    You don't have fun by winning. You win by having fun.


    • #3
      Sinclair ABW is still my favorite chanter, partly because it does well with a variety of reeds, and mainly because it's just got such a good sound.
      Before you start fixing problems with your reeds, check to see if the bag or stocks are leaking.


      • #4

        Sinclair... has always...
        had a fine name...
        and they have it still. :-)

        My friends all know,
        With what a brave carouse...


        • #5
          What vintage are you seeking?


          • #6
            Be aware that the story of "Sinclair pipes" is complicated.

            The two William Sinclairs (Senior and Junior) opened their pipemaking business in 1931. These were stamped "Sinclair Leith".

            These early Sinclair drones had big bores and normal ring-caps and bushes.

            Hugh MacPherson began selling Sinclair pipes in 1946 which were described as "the Sinclair-MacPherson Model".

            Around this time Sinclair drone bores got narrower. In the early 1950s Sinclair was said to have begun using their distinctive one-piece flat drone tops.

            William Sinclair Sr died in 1955. In 1957 William Sinclair Jr sold the pipemaking business to Hugh MacPherson, and worked at MacPherson 1959-1962. The pipes were now stamped "MacPherson Edinburgh".

            Willie Bryson, Sinclair's shop manager, Jimmy Tweedie and Jimmy Frame, two of Sinclair's turners, all moved to Hugh MacPherson in 1957.

            In 1962 Wm Sinclair Jr and son Allistair Sinclair bought back the pipemaking business from Hugh MacPherson. Sinclair pipes were now stamped "W Sinclair & Son".

            Willie Bryson and Jimmy Tweedie stayed at Hugh MacPherson and operated the MacPherson pipemaking workshop. Tweedie returned to Sinclair around 1965.

            In the mid-1990s the Bass drone bore was widened again.

            In 2006 the Bass midsection was given a Cord Guide.

            Caveat: None of this information is from my own experience. It comes from Highland Bagpipe Makers and posts by former Sinclair employees on this site.

            proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte


            • #7
              Good history lesson from panceltic, but I wouldn't let 'complicated' deter you.

              Either way - Sinclair pipes are definitely worth pursuing. I've had a few over the years, currently a late 50's ish set. Depending on your preference, there are several older ivory mounted sets I've seen for sale online at a UK vintage pipes dealer. Sinclair are making new pipes again as well, they have some full imitation sets listed on their website, check it out!

              "Don't think; it can only hurt the ball club." Crash Davis


              • #8
                I've never heard a Sinclair set from any time-period that wasn't great-sounding.

                Hugh MacPherson pipes are another story, I've played a couple of those that were odd. One set had the most unstable bass drone I've encountered in a non-Pakistani pipe. It was a gorgeous full-ivory set but that bass would have to be re-bored to proper specs. Too bad I didn't measure the bass specs, I might have seen what was amiss. (Sometimes it's obvious, like a bass with fairly big bores but a narrow midsection upper bore, which I encountered on a 1950s FrankenLawrie. Reaming out the bass midsection upper bore to normal Lawrie specs saved the day.)
                proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte


                • #9
                  Originally posted by EquusRacer View Post
                  What vintage are you seeking?
                  Oh these are new, the shop informed me they had 2 sets with full imitation ivory ready to go.