Here’s another set of Northumbrian Smallpipes for sale – this one was rescued about 12 years ago from a trophy shop in Sussex and turned out to be quite an interesting set. I’ve kept it as a ‘borrow’ set to get people started over the years but now I need to make space.
It’s a 7 key traditional pitch instrument (F+) made in blackwood & nickel silver with Catalin mountings (showing typical orangey/yellow for this age); four drones and single tuning bead on the big G drone. The chanter has been fettled and is currently playing quite sweetly at concert F. The drones are cane-reeded and the set has a new Boyce bag fitted with an interchangeable stock and blue velvet cover. The bellows are the basic design and the current waist strap is on the short side (easily replaced). It does however appear that at some point an original emblem has been removed from the outer cheek leaving an unvarnished outline. This could either be re-varnished or you could add your own badge.
This set is unusual in that it dates from the time before David Burleigh starting making pipes professionally and mass producing his instruments. At this time (late 1960’s or early 70’s) David was learning from and constructing sets with Jack Armstrong and this set is stamped ‘Amstrong-Burleigh’ on the low D key. Although it shares some characteristics with the later mass produced pipes, it is a quite distinct style and there is a much more personal feel to the set.
The drone sliders are made with thick walled nickel tube which has a more satisfying feel than the later thin brass and the drone ends taper down to a very narrow width at the tone hole – the stoppers are ‘acorn’ ended. The chanter keys are all hand made and sit quite nicely under the fingers. With the exception of one, all of the ferrules are plain & undecorated; the chanter foot ferrule has some poor quality inscribed lines. All of the stocks have been turned with exceptionally thin wood behind the ferrules – there has been some loss inside the blowpipe stock (shown in pictures). The standing part of the small D drone has also been repaired. Neither of these affect the utility, presentation or musicality of the instrument.
All in all it’s a very good quality instrument in full working order with a bit of history about it. Better musically than the average mass produced Burleigh set but perhaps less robust. It will make a very good starter set but could also be a instrument to enjoy over a long piping career. The set comes complete with handmade wooden box (which I think is original as well).
Price: £700 + delivery
Location: West Northumberland – note the wooden case is heavy and I would prefer to arrange collection / delivery within the UK
Contact me to buy or for more details.