Here’s a hot topic! Do I buy a domestically made bagpipe...
Ebay has become a playground for all. Makers, agents, and individuals are selling both good and bad bagpipes, speculators are flipping instruments (buying and then immediately relisting instruments at a higher price), fraud artists and counterfeiters are scamming the unsuspecting, and the innocent are lining up like lambs for the slaughter in hopes of scoring a deal.
Even if you consider yourself to be an expert, you’re taking a substantial risk in buying bagpipes off Ebay. Over the past several years I have seen countless examples of misrepresentation, both deliberate and accidental. I have seen outrageous claims regarding the origin and musical qualities of bagpipes. I have seen bagpipes that have been “fiddled” into looking like something they are not and sold with certificates and pedigrees. Sometimes buyers contact me after-the-fact only to learn that they’ve purchased something that is substantially less than what was stated or implied. Simply stated, don’t be sucked in! Unless you know who you are buying from and get assurances and perhaps even second opinions, Ebay is extremely risky.
MIM – as in Made in Middle East bagpipes. These flood Ebay! You see listing after listing of these by both makers and resellers. They are not hard to spot although some sellers try to play dumb or use innocuous wording. These bagpipes have a number of serious issues. Unless you’re looking for an art object to hang on the wall, save your money!
Vintage Bagpipes – Vintage what? Vintage pipes often arrive with lots of issues, from cracks to warps or other morphing of the wood. Sometimes they’re salvagable. Often the money required to put them into playing condition makes them a very poor investment and often they don’t sound or behave up to reputation or expectations. Unless you know what you’re looking at and have access to the machines and materials to repair old pipes, save your money.
Even the “experts” don’t always know what they’re looking at. I often deal with buyers who have purchased a vintage whatever from so-and-so on Ebay only to have to tell them the truth about their purchase. Take a look at the pictures below. These were sold as vintage Lawrie bagpipes. Nothing about the bagpipe remotely resembles Lawrie. Still, they sold for about $4,000 on Ebay recently