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This Bagpipe ID site was developed by Gordon MacDonald, owner of Island Bagpipe located on Canada’s Vancouver Island.  The goal of this site is to provide an online resource for pipers to use in the identification of great highland bagpipes. Feel free to use the comment section of each page,  and contact us if you have any questions.

We have a team of experts around the world that assist in the identification of highland bagpipes. The team includes-

Thomas Doucet – Ontario( Owner of Thomas Pipeworks -  one of the world’s leading vintage bagpipe restorers)

Yann Le Lan – France -  antique bagpipe collector, restorer and one of the world’s experts in identifying bagpipes

Dougie Forsyth of New Zealand(one of the World’s top authorities on vintage bagpipes, particularly MacDougalls)

George Hannah – Australia – a piper and Piobaireachd player with a keen interest in the ID’ing/restoration of vintage pipes and harmonic theory/scales of the pipe.

Ronan Maguire from Ireland(a top solo and band piper, currently playing with SLOTPB)

Charley Kron – pipemaker and owner of  CE Kron Bagpipes – NY USA

Tim Gellaitry – pipemaker, owner of Gellaitry Bagpipes – Stirling, Scotland

PM Brian Donaldson – Owner of Inveran Pipemakers

Barry Shears -  Owner of Cape Breton Piper and the world’s leading authority on Cape Breton piping, pipers and pipemakers.

Alastair Dunn – R.G. Hardie Group & PS of Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band

Iain Sherwood – Owner of Cuillinn Craft

We’re also happy to refer you to Ringo Bowen and/or Jim McGillivray, long time friends and students of antique bagpipes.  Ringo is the owner of and if you are looking to buy a vintage bagpipe,contact Jim McGillivray through his business at

Bagpipe ID is a very grey science and Ron Bowen may have put it best -  “Dear Gord.  Congratulations on the launch of your new Bagpipe ID website.  I think it’s important to remind your visitors that this is sometimes science and sometimes art.  It’s risky to take any one feature out-of-context with the whole instrument.  I generally add up the clues and try to make an educated guess.  It’s often easier to say what a bagpipe isn’t rather than what it is.  Wrong identification hurts us all and muddies the waters for everyone including future generations.  Better to say “I see this or that, but until strong evidence is brought forward, let’s say “possible” rather than provide a definitive answer.”  It’s also important to remember that a good turner can make any bagpipe identical to the original.” ` R.B.

Wherever possible, we have used bagpipes of which we are certain the age and maker of, however as one expert put it, “bagpipe identification is that even perfectly authenticated pipes from a same maker can vary considerably, though common features may be more or less consistent.”

Fortunately, some of today’s makers are putting their stamp and year of production on every set.

We are always adding information and pictures to the site,  if you would like to contribute pictures of your own set, please contact us. We would be happy to oblige.

Here are links to some other great sites -

Barry Shear’s Online Museum

Jim McGillivray

Ringo Bowen’s Bagpipe Museum -

3 Responses to “About”

  1. Hello,

    I’ve been trying to ID these pipes for awhile — they are an old blackwood (I think) and ivory set that is very well turned. I got them from an older chap in our band (now deceased) who bought them from a WWII POW who apparently played them overseas. He didn’t know the maker but the set is at least WWII vintage or earlier. They bear a lot of similarities to Henderson and Lawrie…..but not quite! Would appreciate any guesses. For pictures, follow this link:

    Love your website!

    Paul MacDonald

  2. HI,
    I have a few photos of a William Gunn chanter from the 1800′s if you’d like for your pages.
    You can go to the BobDunsire forums and view my thread about identifying a very old set of pipes from around 2009 I think. The story about the pipes is on there, and a few wonderful people (Ringo, Jim McGillivry, Ian Sherwood) have given me superb information about the pipes. Chanter is stamped W Gunn, the drones aren’t stamped at all. Feel free to borrow any/all pics that I’ve posted.

    North Bay, Ontario

  3. Paul: Although I am most certainly not an expert on this, from the looks of those places on your pipes where the varnish has worn or flaked off, I suspect your pipes are made of Ebony, not ABW. In my (limited) experience, ABW always retains a certain sheen to it due to the oil it contains, while Ebony has always appeared “dry” to me.

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