pipes|drums’ 2020 holiday gift guide: piping and drumming businesses you can support this season
If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that we’re all in this together and supporting piping and drumming businesses is vital to the future of the art. Here are pipes|drums’ inspired picks from across our universe of advertisers. Merry, merry!
You you’re not learning, you’re not living, and we’ve learned that learning is life, especially during these crazy times.
The new BagpipeLessons.com Membership has everything you need to take your piping to the next level, with instant access to:
- BagpipeLessons.com Studio — the exclusive online library of hundreds of lessons, tunes, exercises, demonstrations, and videos on nearly every piping topic imaginable.
- BagpipeLessons.com Inner Circle — the new online community with weekly LIVE video group classes with world champion guest instructors, weekly challenges, where you can get answers to your questions, and where you get ongoing motivation, inspiration, and support.
Special offer for pipes|drums subscribers: sign up for a year membership and receive a FREE Tone Protector™ Digital Chanter Cap with Two-Way Humidity Control — pipes|drums Product of the Decade Runner Up for 2010-’19 (value US$70). Sign up and then email them to get a FREE Tone Protector™.
BagpipeLessons.com Membership + free Tone Protector exclusively for pipes|drums subscribers, US$29/month for one-year membership.
You might think of pipe bags first when you hear “Begg,” and why not? But they make bagpipes, too, and the JCB 3 model has handmade flat-combed blackwood drones with imitation ivory caps and nickel mounts – a great entry-level instrument. Those beauties are normally £770, and now priced at £720, including postage. In stock on a first-come basis.
JCB 3 blackwood pipes from Begg Bagpipes, £720, including postage.
Imagine the unbridled glee on the face of your fortunate piper when they receive a brand new Blair Digital Chanter from Blair Bagpipes. The electronic instruments promises to turn “everyday piping into an extraordinary playing experience,” and features authentic bagpipe sounds, a free instrument library and PC app, and realistic-feeling finger holes. The instrument is updatable, expandable and packed full of features. The Blair Chanter has been heralded as a historic product for piping.
Blair Digital Chanter, AUD$$849-989, direct from Blair Bagpipes.
The holidays are about sharing, right, and master piper Bruce Gandy has shared his insights into the techniques he uses to elevate his performance to the next level. Performance: Delivering Your Own Awesome is his book that was recently released to critical acclaim. Pipers, drummers and anyone who needs to perform in public will benefit from Gandy’s teachings.
Performance: Delivering Your Own Awesome, by Bruce Gandy, from Bruce Gandy Music, CAD$35.
A set of Black Cane Kelt Drone Reeds promises to rev up the pipes with harmonics and stability. Designed by Mark Faloon and James Knox, these babies are endorsed by the likes of Richard Parkes and Bill Livingstone.
Black Cane Kelt Drone Reeds from Chesney Chanters & Reeds, £75.
There’s a reason why piobaireachd was communicated for hundreds of years by voice before anyone actually wrote it down – it worked, and “Canntaireachd” is a fascinating thing to know. “Canntaireachd – A Look and Say Guide” by Captain John MacLellan MBE was written in the 1960s, and it’s still the best way to get to the bottom of it. It’s normally £13.95, and pipes|drums readers can get it for 40% off as well as get a free recording that helps in the learning.
“Canntaireachd – A Look and Say Guide” by Captain John MacLellan MBE, £13.95 (and take 40% off) from Colin MacLellan Reeds.
Silver and gold, silver and gold. We say go for the gold, as in the G1 Gold Solo Pipe Chanter in plastic or blackwood, plug and play with a G1 Platinum Reed (£160-£306). Throw in a G1 Deluxe Reed Box as a stocking filler while you’re at it!
G1 Gold Solo Pipe Chanter in plastic or blackwood, plug and play with a G1 Platinum Reed from G1 Reeds, £160-£306.
Santa gets a brand new bag every year, so what about your wee piper pal? The famous Gannaway Zip & Collar Pipe Bag (NZD$385) is available direct from the makers or from retailers all over the globe.
Gannaway Zip & Collar Pipe Bag from Gannoway New Zealand and dealers all over the place, NZD$385.
The gift of a Highland Gear Generation 5.0 Bag Cover lets your favourite piper start the New Year with an inspirational new look. Possibly the best bag cover ever created, any Highland bagpipe with one of these babies is sure to make the best-dressed list and, not only that, it’s conducive to good playing.
The Highland Gear Generation 5.0 Bag Cover, CAD$120 direct from Highland Gear.
It’s simple, clearly named, inexpensive and it works. The “Moisture Tube” from Highland Reeds (available from dealers all over the world) controls the wet within the bag, encouraging reeds to stay dry and more stable. For about $50 your favourite piper can stay steady for a long, long time.
Moisture Tube from Highland Reeds, about CAD$50 from dealers worldwide.
At only CAD$99, the Walsh Long Practice Chanter is great value, so you’ll have bundles left over to get more stuff or donate to great causes. It’s hempless and has a built-in water trap. Sold!
Walsh Long Practice Chanter from John Walsh Bagpipes, CAD$85.
What is it about Christmas and bags of prezzies? How about a brand new all-sheepskin pipe bag from Lee & Sons Bagpipes, which are on sale at 20% for the month of December. Add a zipper and grommets if you like and you’re talking about taking your piper’s piping to Rudolph-like levels.
Sheepskin pipe bags from Lee & Sons Bagpipes, CAD$389-489 (less 20% during December.
How about a pair of snare sticks for your special little drummer boy or girl? Steven McWhirter has won a bazillion World Solo Drumming Championships and a bunch of World Pipe Band Championship titles as lead-drummer of Inveraray & District. It’s a safe bet ISL-2 McWhirter drumsticks (USD$25) will get the wrists moving on Christmas day.
ISL-2 McWhirter drumsticks from Lothian Kilt Rentals, USD$25.
What would life as a band piper be like without a Moose Valve? Stuff one of these babies down your stocking and your stock and you can keep moisture at bay. At only AUD$36 it’s an all-time great lifetime return on investment.
Moose Valve (AUD$36) from Moose Bagpipe Products dealers around the world.
The Flux Blowpipe by Robbie McIsaac contains moisture right in the blowpipe itself and, at about £80, offers value with literally every breath. McCallum Bagpipes makes them, but they don’t sell direct outside of the UK, so be sure to look for them at your favourite piping and drumming supplier.
Flux Blowpipe, manufactured by McCallum Bagpipes, available from dealers worldwide, £80.
Here’s your chance to be a Tone Temple pilot. In case you missed it, virtuoso creative maverick Lincoln Hilton has created a new backpack for pipers, the Tone Temple™ Bagpipe Case. He spent a year designing it, ensuring it’s was perfect from the inside out, as part of a suite of Tone Temple™ products. Be sure to check out the cool vid.
Tone Temple™ Bagpipe Case, AUD$294.95 from Modern Piping.
The gift of giving is a good idea, so why not a donation to the National Piping Centre? It’s a registered charity, and they take the good word to the world on our music and culture, and hundreds have gone through their teaching program. C’mon, that $10 you donate will help sustain all that you hold dear. You’ll feel extra good about it in 2021 when you enjoy that burger smoke and a nice cold pint in the Glasgow sunshine at the Piping Live! Street Café.
Most of us have rediscovered time, and now’s the time to tuck into learning great new music. pipetunes.ca is now offering Gift Certificates, allowing you to give your fortunate piper access to the trove of music on the site. You buy 100 to 1000 credits and gift them electronically, starting at about CAD$35. Each tune is demonstrated on professionally played mp3 recordings that can be downloaded for free. Gee, think about it . . . one tune lasts a lifetime of musical joy spread far and wide. That’s a gift in itself.
PipeTunes.ca Gift Certificates, starting at CAD$35.50.
Wish learning about pipe music was a flash? It literally can be with a custom set of Piper’s Flash Cards to serve as a fun learning tool for individuals and groups. Each set comes with 100 cards, covering all the notes, note values, and movements. These are great for learning, preparing for piping exams, and they can be used a few different ways.
Each card has a clear, readable notation on one side, and the proper name and explanation on the reverse. Use them to liven up group lessons, have students work in small groups or pairs to sharpen each other’s skills, or give them as timed drills to measure the progress of learning.
They can also be used in reverse: show the student the writing side, and get them to write the correct notes or movement. Set includes all notes, note values, gracenotes and gracenote groupings, doublings, strikes, taorluaths, and the second printing has been updated with more movements and some canntaireachd.
Be sure to enter the coupon code PDCARDS at checkout for a special discount!
Piper’s Flash Cards from Reelpipes.com, CAD$29.95 (less special discount for pipes|drums readers).
Practice makes perfect and the perfect practice pipes promise to get you to perfection faster, so we like Hardie’s Twist-Trap Practice Pipes (£395), and the company’s Pipe Band Plugs (£12) for playing indoors make a great stocking (and ear) stuffer.
You can’t get enough musical exploration these days, and the Traditional Small Pipes from venerable Scott’s Highland Services are a modern version on a traditional parlour pipe. With two tenor and one drone in the key of A at 440z. The set of “Trad A” pipes comes fully assembled and ready to play. Comes with a synthetic pipe bag, chanter reed, drone reeds, cover and cords, and a soft case. They’re being offered at $90 off after December 1st – just in time for a fantastic gift for your best piper.
Traditional Small Pipes in A from Scott’s Highland Services, CAD$559.
Pipers have been elevating their solo game since the wretched virus started, so how about the gift of a world-class chanter from world-class bagpipe makers Strathmore? The Strathmore African blackwood chanter pipe chanter (£205) has garnered major awards and it’ll see your favourite piper through to the next level, too. Best thing is, if you use the HR20 code you’ll get a 20% discount!
Strathmore African blackwood pipe chanter (£164 after 20% discount using HR20 code), Strathmore Bagpipes & Chanters.
How about a gift that keeps on giving, every day, and even after that? A gift subscription to pipes|drums (CAD$14.95) gives your favourite piper, drummer or piping and drumming enthusiast access to everything in the pipes|drums archive, plus all that great new subscriber-only content to come. You can feel good about that, and the fact that everything goes back into the publication and anything left over goes to worthy piping and drumming causes!
One-year gift subscription (CAD$14.95) to pipes|drums.
So, get giving, and have yourself a merry little Christmas by knowing your contributing to the companies and causes that help make our piping and drumming world go round!