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Welcome to Begg Bagpipes
------Est. 1980 Glasgow city centre's oldest bagpipe shop------
click on the banner for our home page

Dear Piping Enthusiast,
It is now just over 6 years and some 70 issues since we launched our newsletter, and I think I can safely say that it has been an outstanding success - every month we receive positive feedback from all corners of the globe and we really appreciate our readers taking the time to email us. We were one of the first piping businesses in Scotland to go onto the web and are the only ones offering our free monthly newsletter. Both ventures have helped sustain us in ever changing times, as we make sure our tradition, heritage and craftsmanship is nurtured and protected whilst still remaining relevant to the needs of today's pipers.
This Month we start a new series entitled " The Merits (or otherwise!) of: " and amongst the topics we will be considering will be maintenance, tone, books, competition, bands and so on. I hope you enjoy it.
Yours aye,
James C. Begg
Piping Perfection

We are pleased to be welcoming a Brazilian TV crew to the shop in May, to interview me about Scottish music and tradition. They are filming a show in which the presenter Guto Guerra (who is a musician and a music producer) travels around the world to learn about the music of the countries he visits. The TV show will be broadcast by the main cable TV in Latin America: Globosat. We will keep you posted on how this turns out

We supply and repair pipes on a regular basis as we have an in-house repair service . Like our bags, it's all hand crafted and so it's easy for us to do small repairs as well as the full refurbishment service.                                                        
As you can see from the pictures of Mr. Andrew Lyons' pipes, it can be quite a transformation - almost unrecognisable as I'm sure you will agree. Our James C. Begg bagpipe range is also available and again bespoke to the individual requirements - bags, slides etc can all be adjusted to your own taste and stature.                      

The Merits (or otherwise!) of:  PLAYING THE PIPES
Bagpipes are a much more complex instrument than many non players/listeners imagine or comprehend. I often hear from first time customers how they will master piping in a couple of weeks and in four at the most, especially if they already play another instrument. A time dimension cannot easily be put on learning the pipes as we all know and I cringe when people use the Recorder as a comparison. The "Great" Highland Bagpipe is a complex instrument with many facets and it's that which is the allure and attraction for many. The term "Great" speaks volumes perhaps as to its unique quality and complexity ahead perhaps of the other indoor pipes. I'm not sure when the term "Great" was instigated - maybe when the bass drone was added and perhaps some intellectual recipient of this letter can shed some light on the subject for us - we would be pleased to hear from you. If the bagpipe were as easy as some folk imagine, we would have half the Scottish nation playing Scots Wha' Hae' on every street corner from John o' Groats to Gretna Green instead of the very few exponents that do actually master the pipes. The Merits of the pipes are many. The combinations of so many different attributes are joined together in a collective manner that fuses the human body with all its wonderful facilities. We use almost all parts of our body to produce a unique and at times misunderstood grand effect - lungs for the power, fingers for playing, the brain to co-ordinate, legs for marching, toes for timing, arms for squeezing and tuning, eyes for reading, mouth and lips for blowing. In fact, without being too rude, there may only be one part of the body that the true Scotsman does not require in pursuit of his Art! The merits of playing are many and health is an obvious one - the body is exercised and brain utilised. It is often mentioned that people who play instruments (especially the Bagpipe) are more intelligent and have a far more rounded personality. It is also believed that playing an instrument can ward off dementia in later life.  Other merits can be financial. Certainly as a student, I was able to earn money playing at various functions. My very first income was during the summer playing in George Square in Glasgow from 12- 12.30 every day, aged 15/16 .This occurred all summer by different players. Pity it was stopped as it was always popular and the crowds loved it, locals and tourist alike. There can be few things more enjoyable than sitting in what was a green, grassy square on a bench on a sunny day, watching a fully dressed piper in number 1 uniform strut up and down playing. Merit comes in different ways. Pipers merit MBEs in recognition of their contribution to Piping, and merit prizes as they win championships. However, the biggest merit is the sheer enjoyment of playing tunes you love in your own style and having the enjoyment of mastering an instrument that some regard with disdain through their own ignorance and a lack of understanding. In my line, I continually try to spread the knowledge and understanding of Piping and I'm sure there is merit in that approach.
Merit Award.
As part of our Merit series, we would like to invite nominations from our readers as to who within their piping/pipe band community deserves a special mention in our newsletter and who will go on to being considered as the candidate to receive the Begg Bagpipes 2014 Merit Award. The person can be a player or an administrator/back room supporter but should be someone who has gone way beyond the call of normal duty to advance the cause of piping and/or pipe bands within their local community. In addition to a handsome trophy, the winner will receive a voucher for £250 to spend with Begg Bagpipes, either online or in our shop.  Please email your nominations with a short write up and photograph if possible to

Special Offer - TOP DRONE REEDS
Last month, we had a great take-up on the steady drone reeds so we are now going to the top end of drone reeds
- with 15% off Murray Henderson and Ryan Canning reeds. Price reduced from £48 to £40.80 (plus vat if applicable)
with free post as usual.
Click on either image.

Stow Caledonian is a relatively new pipe band formed in London. We are looking for new members to play highland pipes and drums to supplement the current complement. Tuition will be provided for all levels and ages including beginners who have not tried piping or drumming previously. Experienced players will hopefully perform in Grade 4 competitions initially and solo competitions plus various other band engagements throughout the year which the band has agreed to perform at. The band meets on a Tuesday and Friday evening in Highams Park in north east London
(just off the North Circular) for practice. The format for an evening would be chanter practice i.e. tuition then playing pipes in groups.  Anyone interested in joining should speak to the Pipe Major Gareth Utting (ex Scot Guards) on 07932 702493 and look at the web site for more background information.
Lachlan McDonald

If you would like to report on any aspect of the Piping World from wherever you live, or if you would like to comment on any articles or issues, we'd be pleased to hear from you. Email to

Piping Perfection
Begg Bagpipes
202A Bath Street
Glasgow, Strathclyde G2 4HW
United Kingdom
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