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Interesting Border/smallpipes at auction

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  • Interesting Border/smallpipes at auction

    On Ebay now a number of interesting pipes, Borderpipes and Northumbrian pipes etc.

    First is this set, unusual and artistic turnery, seem to be blackwood mounted in maple perhaps. From the openings at the drone ends they appear to be smallpipe drones, though the chanter is not seen enough to tell much. They have the chanter stuck into the blowpipe stock, quite usual for Ebay!

    Vintage Bagpipes / Smallpipes African Blackwood, Sticks & Stocks Bellows Blown | eBay

    These interesting-looking Northumbrian pipes mounted in Catalin perhaps


    And these Border pipes from an unknown maker

    bagpipes, border pipes | eBay
    Last edited by pancelticpiper; 05-04-2021, 05:17 AM.
    proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

  • #2
    If anyone is looking at that NSP set - pay close attention to the key arrangement. It appears to be a left handed chanter with b, c# and D on the left and a and E on the right - most unusual but not unheard of.

    No criticism of the seller who is clear they are not knowledgeable. I have no connection with the sale.



    • #3
      I was the lucky purchaser of the NSP set . Great to know that they're lefties (I'm ambidextrous so, no a new challenge).

      I do not believe that the mounts are Catalin, rather of the same wood (Box? Maple?) as the stocks.

      The bag is not vintage, and the chanter reed was marked "Angus 1990", I presume the last person to service the set. I guess that the bag dates to that period of maintenance too. It's still tight, though the flapper valve on the air inlet was an aging piece of leather (it needs to be greased, if not replaced). The bellows function well and the leather of the bag is not terribly old either. I don't presume that they're original to the set.

      The seller, as you point out, was not familiar with the items characteristics (I'm a little miffed that there was no mention of the chip missing out of the top of the chanter where it meets the stock, but whatcha gonna do? It won't interfere).

      It certainly needs maintenance. Some keys are sticky with grime, and sorely need to be cleaned, and I'm sure outfitted with new pads. Most springs under the keys work. It's unclear yet whether they don't spring back because of lack of springiness or the accumulation of grime.

      I'd appreciate any advice on their restoration. I'll be happy to post a thread on that journey, though. Naturally too, it needs to be rehemped, and I have not gotten all the drone reeds to sound yet (just got it in the mail today).


      • #4
        There's a fairly new group on Facebook specifically devoted to NSP fettling:

        Very friendly bunch, so I'd recommend getting stuck in there.
        -- Formerly known as CalumII


        • #5
          Originally posted by EdwardsvillePiper View Post
          I was the lucky purchaser of the NSP set . Great to know that they're lefties (I'm ambidextrous so, no a new challenge).
          I have it from another piper that this is an 'early' set by David Quinn - I don't know when 'early' might be but definitely much much later than the seller's estimate - possibly '80s ?

          In terms of setup - the auction pictures look like a bit of a hybrid (and this suggests it might have been modified after it was made). The bag is right handed - that is played under the left arm with drones across the chest but the chanter is clearly left handed. For a left handed chanter you have to hold the chanter with the right hand above the left hand - which ergonomically is really quite odd in combination with a right handed bag.

          For reference - it is not really possible to play a left handed 7k chanter with a right handed hold (L above R) - the little finger (pinkie) on the upper (left) hand won't be able to play the C# key cleanly (or at all) and the low D may not be reachable. The right thumb could play the high A and low E keys - and probably could reach the low D as well but none of the keys are set up for this.

          In order to set the instrument up as a true left handed set you would need a new bag with the drones on the other side: bag then goes under right arm, drones across chest, and then play the chanter with right hand above left as a mirror image of a right handed player.

          Sticky guys may well just be down to gunk - which might just be accumulated oil if the set has not be touched in a long time, and a good clean may resolve everything. The springs can be fragile and are quite precise - it's not really a user serviceable part - they may have been maladjusted by the previous owner at some point which would need proper fettling.


          • #6
            I greatly appreciate the information.

            For now, I need to get the reeds tweaked and a few other things arranged (the longest chanter arrived with the mount unattached and the stopper out), I'll check the ergonomics of a right-hand-top and bag-under-left-arm arrangement first. It'd be kind of like a mirror image the arrangement for a Bohemain Bock (right hand bottom, bag under right arm)?

            Many thanks once again!


            • #7
              I almost cant believe someone bought that set of mouth blown Border pipes for $800. Bagpipes Galore plastic chanter.


              • #8
                I nabbed the smallpipes. They're made by John Burke, and were originally an A/D set. I'll likely have him re-make me another D chanter.