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  • Bagpipe ID help?

    Greetings, this is my first post here. I've been piping since 97, and play a set of Fletchers, and also have a set of Walsh small pipes that I enjoy playing when I want something a little quieter.

    I recently acquired a set of pipes that I am trying to identify. The Gentleman that I purchased them from stated that he got them used when he was in college a very long time ago (He was in his 70's), and thinks they are MacPherson's. They are mounted on a leather bag, which is something I haven't used before as mine is synthetic with a moisture control canister inside. There is a wood chanter that has the large sole that he stated is what came with the pipes, I cannot make out the lettering on the top row of the chanter, but the bottom row is "Scotland" https://i.imgur.com/JKDpAtt.jpg and https://i.imgur.com/l9HVgsS.jpg (The sole is whiter as compared to the drones that are more yellow, which makes me think that the chanter and drones are from different makers) https://i.imgur.com/WgaZiVf.jpg and https://i.imgur.com/0FPM3zV.jpg

    The Gentleman also stated that the group he played with bought custom wood chanters from K. Murchison of Buffalo NY (Which is what is marked on the chanter), which is also included in the set that I acquired. https://i.imgur.com/nOpsjF4.jpg and https://i.imgur.com/YFpAKRd.jpg
    Cane drone reeds https://i.imgur.com/JaTfA4b.jpg

    The original bagpipe case has no markings inside or out, but appears to be old https://i.imgur.com/dkD6XMl.jpg and https://i.imgur.com/XOshz6S.jpg and https://i.imgur.com/0TcubmQ.jpg Inside the case are several more cane drone reeds as well, and it also has a wood Hardie practice chanter (cracked, but has been repaired).


    Drone pics
    https://i.imgur.com/X1e1rGS.jpg .

    https://i.imgur.com/1koUIxV.jpg .

    https://i.imgur.com/lI8Bhtj.jpg .

    https://i.imgur.com/W6ScTSy.jpg .

    https://i.imgur.com/gKfEoL7.jpg .

    https://i.imgur.com/2VmGvxH.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/jBCSXlo.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/sFwBBRb.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/aSbb0NV.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/X1e1rGS.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/vLtNGSE.jpg



    Thank you to all for any info in advance!!!

    McKay
    Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 06-03-2021, 08:38 PM. Reason: Fixed link.

  • #2
    Hi McKay, welcome to BDF!

    The sole on that chanter is ivory. I don't think it'd be too much of a stretch to find an ivory soled chanter sold with a set of pipes with synthetic mounts. I'm not an expert on historical practice, however.

    My first thought when I saw the drone tops was Sinclair. They are very unique with the solid tops. But there's some information about MacPherson pipes here:
    http://www.bagpipe-id.com/?page_id=286
    which states that MacPherson never made his own pipes, but branded Sinclair pipes as his own . . . hence the resemblance and my puzzling.

    Ringo's site also provides some insight:
    https://www.thebagpipemuseum.com/the...cpherson-hugh/

    There's a comment on the bottom of the first link from Ken Eller—great guy, by the way—who might be able to help if you decide you want more information. Or Ringo. But others may chime in here.

    Regardless, MacPherson's would be consistent with the pipes that you have there. Either that or Sinclairs. But that's about it for your options with those drone tops.

    Andrew
    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
    BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

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    • #3
      The chanter stamp is Kintail, a chap called Greig Sharp who died a few years ago. The drones could be by him - he made many different styles and types of mount and would happily copy anything you asked for. I don't recognise them as anything specifically, I agree they look like Sinclairs but probably aren't.
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Calum View Post
        The chanter stamp is Kintail...
        I'm glad your eyes are sharper than mine, Calum!

        Andrew
        Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
        BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Andrew Lenz View Post
          Hi McKay, welcome to BDF!



          My first thought when I saw the drone tops was Sinclair. They are very unique with the solid tops..

          Andrew

          I’m thinking MacPhereson....mainly because the combing is not the classic 8 peaks/9valleys of Sinclair.
          Also the caps appear a bit too tall...and the scribe lines on the ferrule do not produce a distinctive ‘D’ profiles ala Sinclair.
          The other Sinclair trait of a radiused cord guide is present....but lacking the other noted classic details I’ll go with Hugh MacPhereson-ized Sinclair’s.
          I know from Alister Sinclair that Hugh took over the Sinclair works lock stock and barrel from William ..and some employees...from ..’57 -? ‘64 ...when Alister joined his father at age ~16 to reopen the Sinclair works.

          As an aside....the close up pictures seem to show a less than first class finish. I think Sinclair pipes had better...
          if MacPhereson,....maybe Hugh didn’t know the secret sauce Alister said he and his father took a wee while to develop.

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          • #6
            Thank you to all for the input. I spoke with the person I purchased them from. Found out that he broke the original wood chanter, and replaced it with the one that Calum has identified as a Kintail.

            Does anyone have an idea of MacPherson ever marked their drones? I haven't found any markings on them, but I am wondering if there would be possible markings on the base of the drones where it is tied into the leather bag.


            McKay

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            • #7
              Did you look in the drone cord grooves? Drone marking is far less common than I would have originally expected.

              Andrew
              Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
              BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

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              • #8
                I can find no markings on the drones, to include under the cord areas. That's why I am wondering if any maker would mark them at the base of the drone where it is tied into the bag.


                McKay

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                • #9
                  No, I wouldn't expect to see a stamp down there. Drones are more often than not unmarked, but the two places you do see markings are on the cord grooves and less commonly on the tuning pins.
                  http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
                  -- Formerly known as CalumII

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                  • #10
                    Yes pretty sure they're by Hugh MacPherson. (Not to be confused with the modern pipemaker Doug MacPherson!)

                    Hugh MacPherson had a Highlandwear shop in Edinburgh, at which he began selling Sinclair pipes in 1946.

                    In 1957 Hugh MacPherson bought Sinclair, and several Sinclair workmen began making pipes stamped MacPherson.

                    That's why MacPherson and Sinclair pipes look fairly similar.

                    However as far as I know MacPherson pipes had the beads around the openings in the drone tops while Sinclairs were flat across the tops.
                    proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pancelticpiper View Post
                      However as far as I know MacPherson pipes had the beads around the openings in the drone tops while Sinclairs were flat across the tops.
                      Thanks!!! I have done a lot of internet searching for pics, and solid drone tops with the beads point me to MacPherson, where the Sinclair's are flat, so I agree with your thoughts. I paid $200 for everything, so I am happy. I will get them a new set of drone reeds, and see how they sound. I am still undecided as to leave the leather bag on them, or dress them up in a synthetic like my other pipes.


                      McKay

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