Published: September 30, 2010

New device for pipers attempts to solve an age-old problem

The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention, so after hundreds of years of Highland pipers struggling to stop their bag from slipping using all manner of patches, pads, Velcro and even cutting away their jacket and shirt to keep it tucked under the arm, father-and-son team Ian and Colin Roddick are trying to do something about it.

They’ve come up with the Bagpipe Harness, a device that they describe as “simple but effective,” that is essentially a strap worn over one shoulder and diagonally across the player’s front and back. Clips at each end lock on to the player’s kilt or clothing waistband, and an adjustable ring attaches to the stock of the bass drone, allowing the pipes to pivot but not to slide down.

The product is priced at £14.95 and is available directly from the makers and various dealers around the world. The Bagpipe Harness comes in three sizes and a multitude of colours for “maximum subtlety.”

Ian Roddick, the former Pipe-Major of the Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band in the 1990s and Pipe-Sergeant of the Grade 1 Power of Scotland and Polkemmet bands in the 1980s after serving as a member of the World Champion Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia band in the late 1970s and early-’80s, had been working on the concept several years ago. Parkinson’s disease unfortunately forced him to retire from work and judging on the RSPBA circuit, but he and his son have pursued the project, bringing it to market last month.

“The pipe bag slipping under my dad’s arm was his pet hate,” said Colin Roddick about the Bagpipe Harness. “He always intended to come up with something to solve the problem – it’s a simple solution but is surprisingly effective.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Pardon the ignorance of a drummer…. but surely, this will be a problem when you plod up to the line and get the command. Pipes down” ….do you unclip

  2. Hi all, thanks for your comments. I’ll try reply in brief to each query. You can contact us via bagpipeharness.com with any other questions. Firstly thanks to pipes|drums for covering the harness. when you plod up to the line and get the command. “Pipes down” ….do you unclip” Yip. The buckle is quick release and simply clicks back together by pushing. Grip the pipes by the bass drone and click them into place. “how does it work if you are wearing a jacket?” See “bagpipeharness.com/faqs” for a picture in action under a jacket. Although it can also be worn over the top of the jacket if preferred. “I would be interested to read a third party review of this harness.” For reviews from some buyers see the reviews section on the Bob Dunsire Forum. Also

  3. to herecomethedrums. Looks simple enough to march up to line unclipped, pipes down, pipes up, clip in and away you go. A good one for long parades or practise sessions too. Smart idea!

  4. re pipermike: i like the idea of using this kind of thing for long parades, massed bands that last hours, or other performances where the piper is playing over a long period of time. or even for individuals who really need a sling/harness to keep the pipes in position. but to become reliant on this kind of thing, say as a young piper or a new student i think could over time become detrimental to the left (or right) arm’s endurance

  5. This seems like a decent enough idea, but I can’t wait to see the person who forgets that he has to undo his clip at the line for pipes down at Maxville, oh it’ll be a viral video for sure. On another note, cheers for taking a chance.

  6. Not required and not allowed are two different things but for the sake of everybody giving up on it, I take my viral video to the Worlds, and Rob Mathieson does it in his first year as a rank player.

  7. Well, its offering an option and solution to those who wish to take it up. Good luck with it. I’ll just stick to selecting the right bag shape/size, a patch of Dycem, and a clear idea of how to get the pipes up during an attack.

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