About Me

Scots-Irish by lineage, my interest in my musical heritage did not hit until I was in my mid-20s. I began playing the Great Highland Bagpipes in 2011, right around my 28th birthday. I have been playing ever since.


I am currently a grade 4 piper per the Eastern United Stated Pipe Band Association (EUSPBA) definitions. For those unfamiliar with such grading, pipers are often classified by skill level. The entry level is often labeled as amateur or grade 5 depending on the governing body. Pipers may progress in skill and are able to rise in grade. Grade 1 or Open is often synonymous with professional, and is the pinnacle of the piping profession. Very, very few pipers rise to the Open grade.

I primarily play a set of 2013 Roddy MacLellan Great Highland Bagpipes (I am playing them in the picture to the left). My MacLellan pipes are made of African Black Wood and mounted in moose antler and bronze. They have the unique MacLellan profile, chalice tops, and are minimally combed. My secondary set was made by Keith Jeffers and is an antique style profile made of a grinadilla (a South American hardwood) mounted in brass.

In addition to the Great Highland Bagpipe I also play smallpipes. These are a smaller (and also quieter) cousin of the Great Highland Bagpipe. I have two sets, Roddy MacLellan studio pipes (pictured right), and a set of Walsh shuttle pipes. My studio pipes are made of delrin, a form of musical grade plastic, and is not mounted. The shuttle pipes are wooden with simple brass and plastic mounts. Since the small pipes are not as loud, they may be an appropriate choice of instrument for some indoor venues.

For some basic information on the bagpipe I've included an anatomy primer below.

Bagpipe Anatomy:

  • Bag: The inflated thing-a-ma-giggy under my arm is the bag. Traditionally made of animal hide, I play a synthetic bag. The bag allows me to sound 4 reeds simultaneously and acts as a pressure reservoir when I have to breath.
  • Blowpipe: This is how I inflate the bag. It has a flapper valve on the end to keep air from rushing out when I take a breath.
  • Chanter: The chanter makes the music. It has finger holes for the 9 notes of the bagpipe scale and is gripped with two hands.
  • Drones: The drones are the sticks pointing over my shoulder. They accompany the chanter and sound a constant tone (hence their name). On the Great Highland Bagpipe the two shorter ones are called 'tenors' and sound the bagpipe 'A' and the long one is the 'bass' which also sounds an 'A' but an octave lower than the tenors. On the Studio Pipes there are also three drones, which mount to a common stock. They are the tenor, baritone, and bass. The tenor and bass are pitched the same as on the Great Highland Bagpipe while the baritone is matched to the chanter's 'E'.