I was reading a post on a popular bagpipe chat room and ran across a string of messages about a certain type of pipe bag failure. As I was reading these messages, I thought they were funny because the people writing them had no real perspective on bagpipe parts.
When I starting playing back in the 70's we were playing a hide bags with seasoning and cane drone reeds. I've said it before that the people starting to play this instrument in the last 20 years have no idea what we had to do if we really loved playing this instrument. I compare it to an outhouse versus indoor plumbing.
Back then you bought a pipe bag with the expectation of changing it at least every 2 years. The most important reason being hygiene. A pipe bag with seasoning was a cesspool after that time. We didn't have synthetic bags. We also used cane drone reeds that we changed on a regular basis because they wore out faster. I had to chuckle a little because one guy complained that his bag has worn out in a 2 year period of time. The bag at retail sells for $120.00. If he got 2 years out of that it cost him about $1.15 per week to use the bag. In my mind that's a bargain, though I think he would get more mileage out of a leather or hybrid bag as the material is more durable. Forget about drone reeds. I have had both my Scotian pipe band and Kinnaird Drone reeds for 3 1/2 years. The bag was 200.00 and the reeds were 120.00. $320.00 divided by 42 months is $1.76 per week to use both the bag and the reeds. That's still cheaper than owning a boat!"
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".