June 22, 2024

StarBox: Ben Duncan lists Every. Single. Thing. in his pipe case

Some years ago, before the age of the internet and maybe even the era of gizmos and geegaws, we came up with a popular feature named “StarBox,” where we’d ask famous players worldwide to list the contents of their carrying case.

Not just the basics – everything.

Ben Duncan with some recent silverware.

From drones to Dremels, chanters to chewing gum, canisters to cans of Coke . . . the condition was that they had to open their case on any given day and list every single item of whatever that was in it.

No exceptions.

Ben Duncan of Edinburgh has regularly been featured at the top of solo piping prize lists throughout competitions in Scotland, including major gatherings. Indeed, if you search his name in pipes|drums, dozens of articles will appear, mostly with him in the headline after winning the aggregate trophy at any number of Scottish Highland games and major gatherings.

Since retiring in 2022 at age 32 after a distinguished military career, he has been a full-time piping instructor at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh.

We thought we’d check with Ben Duncan to see what makes his instrument go with such military precision, and the following is every single thing he could find in his pipe case.

Ben Duncan, June 2024 

– Bagpipe Skin, David Glen case

– Silver and imitation ivory David Glen Bagpipes DB06(B) by Kintail with Perthshire oak leaf engraving by Murray Huggins

– Gannaway Hide Pipe Bag with zipper (tied on/grommetless)

– Ezeedrone Inverted Bass and Standard Tenor Drone Reeds

– Highland Reeds Moisture Tube with capsule and bottle over the top with cloth

G1 Trap Dri Drone Flow moisture control tubes

– 2 x G1 Gold Blackwood Chanters with David Chesney reeds

– 1 x Green Tone Protector

– 1 x MacMurchie humidity reed protector

– Silver and imitation ivory David Glen long practice chanter by Kintail

– Photocopies of 2024 Gold Medal set tunes

– Glengarry with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards eagle cap badge

– 2 x rolls of tape

– 5 x corks

– 4 x bottle brushes (various sizes)

– 2 x mop brushes (large and small)

– Tone Protector reed box with various spare reeds (Chesney, G1 Platinum, Troy, Frater)

– Black waxed hemp

– Yellow waxed hemp

– Beeswax

– PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) tape

– Cable ties

– Gerber multi-tool

– Two Stanley knives

– Deburring tool

– Spare deburring heads

– Reed poker/staple manipulator (homemade)

– Pen

– Gorilla Glue

– Tying-in string

– Dental/reed bands

– Polishing cloth

– Needle and thread

– Spare silica beads

– Spare yellow cloth

– Spares red capsule and cloth

– Set of High Resonance Balance Tone drone reeds

– 7 x Ezeedrone tenor drone reeds

– 1 x spare Ezeedrone Inverted Bass reed

– 3 x MG White Mamba Bass reeds

– 1 x Black Diamond bass reed

– 1 x cane bass reed

Our thanks to Ben Duncan for taking the time and the pics to share what’s in his case.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for future StarBox features from the world’s best players!




  1. What a great picture of the box contents, I love the variety of tools and other things you or any other piper could make use of to resolve an array of issues! The needle and thread is one I never thought of! The battery in your humidity gauge is dead ;-}



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