Made in Scotland: R. G. Hardie & Co. Bagpipes

For this week’s blog post, we spoke with Alastair Dunn from R. G. Hardie & Co. We have had the pleasure of working with R. G. Hardie & Co since BBICO first began, exporting their bagpipes around the world. This week’s blog will explore the manufacture of these instruments, but be sure to check out our interview with Alastair from last year here.

Have R.G. Hardie & Co. bagpipes always been made in Scotland, Alastair?

R.G. Hardie & Co. was formed in Bishopbriggs, Scotland in 1950 and has remained in the Glasgow area ever since. We take great pride in producing Scotland’s national instrument in Scotland, which we export around the world.

Which components are actually made in Scotland?

We craft bagpipes, pipe chanters and practice chanters as well as accessories at our Glasgow facility. However, a lot of the materials originate from outside Scotland, such as instrument grade African blackwood from Tanzania and Mozambique.

How exactly are bagpipes made?

We utilise time-honoured handcrafting skills on wood-turning lathes as well as modern production techniques using CNC machines, laser machines, 3D printing and manual lathes. At every stage of the process we inspect the wood to ensure it meets our high standards, from checking the concentricity and finish of the bores to the fitting of threaded mounts, we strive to deliver a bagpipe that is built to last many years. Our bagpipes undergo a rigorous hand finishing process that highlights the natural beauty of the hardwoods and exotic woods we use today.

Who makes your bagpipes?

Our team is made up of mostly pipers, some of which have competed at the highest level of solo and pipe band competition, and have won world Championships. As well as our staff being fully trained on modern production techniques, we were very fortunate to have had the services of one of the most experienced turners around in Duncan Campbell, who had been with R. G. Hardie & Co. since 1962. He learnt his craft from Bob Hardie and was responsible for training the bagpipe makers of the future. We have a fantastic-passionate team in place, hand-finishing bagpipes to the highest level.

Duncan Campbell working on R. G. Hardie & Co bagpipes [photo property of Alastair Dunn]
Duncan Campbell working on R. G. Hardie & Co bagpipes [photo property of Alastair Dunn]

To order your R. G. Hardie & Co bagpipes from the British Band Instrument Company, please contact us here.

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