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------Est. 1980 Piping Perfection------

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 May 2021


Dear Piping Enthusiast,

Hello one and all from James at It's good to see the return of face to face customers as the summer approaches and more playing takes place. The Police Scotland Band under P/M Ewan Henderson seem to be going from strength to strength which is great for the Police, great for me and great for the pipe band world in general. A strong Police Pipe Band is a tour de force for the pipe band scene as a whole. I know a lot of bands are chomping at the bit after this long enforced isolation. Getting the band and kilts into full swing and the return of band camaraderie hopefully won't be far off albeit without competition in the UK until next year - but time will be of benefit for more practice and to get new selections and musical ideas.  So next year it will be a stoater or a belter as we weegies would say BUT.........why do we have to wait till next year?! You read in the press every day about fans returning to football matches, rocks bands performing in front of thousands, night clubs back in full swing and so on. We know travel between countries is an issue but surely UK pipers and drummers can restart some form of competition? The delay is crazy. We have a few top end solo events scheduled in Scotland later in the year including I believe the Northern Meeting in Inverness, the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban and the Lochaber Gathering - their organisers all seem to be on the ball and well done to them. The first two in particular are much sought-after events in which to play and whilst travel may be difficult, the lure of these top events will outweigh any worries regarding missing a big foreign input. Even if a few pull the plug for whatever reason, there will be plenty more to fill the space. However, we still need to get bands back into the competitive frame sooner rather than later.

I was speaking recently with David Chesney, the P/M of Closkelt from Northern Ireland - previously grade 2 world champions and promoted to grade 1 just as the world shut down.  You cannot begin to imagine the effect on his band with such a hiatus after hitting the big time. It is such a pity but when we are back to normal, I'm sure he'll march up to the line in fine form playing the march David Ross, Rosehall - a bold and most interesting tune from their repertoire.

On a wider note, and I think more worrying, is the fact the younger generation have missed out on at least 2 years of one-to-one tuition. Youth is a time when they learn most and absorb tuition like sponges. They also have the time to play day and night with no other pressures in later life like work and family responsibilities to worry about. It is hard to quantify the damage but surely it has to have a big negative effect on them and on their piping future for sure.

On-line tuition or competition is no replacement for contact. There have been no solo events where the youngster can hone their skills and get used to playing in public. What you play superbly in your bedroom never translates as well in the live format. You also mix with other competitors and pick up tips and tunes that they play - potentially things you never heard of or thought of before.

From my own position, I am lucky to have a solid business platform. However it's not as if you can flip a switch and all is back to normal - far from it. I have supply chains that can take months and months to get going and when you add brexit into it then there is a challenge for sure. Like all businesses, I hate uncertainty and boy have we got bucket loads of that now. However, as you can see from my current video below, we have kept our humour and focus and look forward to hearing from you. I trust a little break will be possible for you in the summer and if you have any news or interesting articles, please send them to me on james@

Yours aye,

James C. Begg

Piping Perfection



We had an email recently from our friend John Mulhearn who is the Head of Piping Studies at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. This was to do with finding a way to secure the great legacy we have from the Piping Times and Piping Today magazines by way of crowd funding the digitising of these publications. The result would be a free of charge access to pipers everywhere, going all the way back to 1948. I cut my piping teeth initially in the Boys Brigade but they were well and truly sharpened at the College of Piping under the tutelage of the bold Seumas MacNeill and others so it is a project which is close to my heart. Please check out the link here.


Special Offer


I currently have a very old cabinet for sale. It's one which I have used for 35 years when I had the retail outlets in Glasgow and I am somewhat loathe to part with it - but I no longer have any use for it in my set-up in Kirkintilloch. It's circa 1930 with a brass surround, fantastic glass and a good wood surround. It would make a fabulous trophy cabinet for someone. Every famous piper over that period has placed their pipes on it at one time or another so it has a great heritage. If you are interested, please drop me a line on and we are looking at around £750 - collection only. Thanks

We had great take up on the batch of New Zealand skins that were on offer at a very nice discounted price - only 2 standard left so jump in quickly if you are interested. Our book offer was also taken up and I'm sure it was a great purchase at a good price. My Highland Club lady was pleased that they went to a good home and I was happy to facilitate an item like that.

The Dark and Mystical Art of Bag Tying - part 2


This is the second part of a three part series - created and narrated by James, and recorded by his daughter Lisa in his recording studio (i.e. workshop) in Kirkintilloch, the Canal Capital of Scotland and often referred to in some quarters as the Venice of the North.



After last month's première and if you dare, click on the photo of this sinister looking person to enter his dark world.........



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




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