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31 January 2010
Of recent date there was comment by some one who used words like "old boy" - "pakistanis" - "cameron Highlanders" - "1800s" - "jock" - all very well to be annoyed about the state of current production of pakistani bagpipes, but although the Cameron Highlanders were stationed in Pakistan in the 1800s, this has little bearing on the quality of modern products. The pipes being produced have the same dimensions as the 1800 sets - which are now, generally, out of date because the pitch/tone is now higher. But apart from this the quality of the wood, the quality of the turning, the quality of the bag cover and cords, the quality of the internal bores is pathetically poor. I was recently approached by a Korean lady who purchased a set of "working" bagpipes she was told, in Edinburgh. I tried my very best to get the reeds to work in the set and after about 5 hours gave up. They were just rubbish, sorry i cannot say better than that. However, i was living in Japan in the early 1950s and people were laughing at the quality of plastic toys etc coming out of Japan at that time - no-one laughs now! But there must be an immense leap in quality production. No good producing cheaply if it does not work, unless all you are interested in is selling on matchwood, getting a profit, but not being honest about the workability of the product. In other words a "tourist scam in Scotland".As a bagpiper i would not even allow the Korean lady to use them as an ornament on the wall - erroneous and bad advertising against proper Scottish Bagpipes. Tourist are being ripped off, thinking that red tartan bagpipes being sold in Scotland are the real thing, simply because they are in Scotland at the time - eBay purchasers beware! However, she told me that the Edinburgh shops were filled with these "real bagpipes" and "very cheap" I suppose the money has gone back to Pakistan, so i hope the best portion of it is to improve quality all round - but for now i cannot say i wish to see them advertised in eBay, in any shape or form - they are just bad news! Incidentally i have two sets of pakistani bagpipes which i use to demonstrate to my pupils "these are two very good examples of the worst in bagpipe manufacturing i have ever seen"
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