Due to the arcane nature of uillean pipes and the lack of conclusive information available to the neophyte, a few thoughts for those shopping for pipes are in order.
The tradition of uillean pipe making has never been very standardized and information has not always been freely shared. The recent rise in popularity of Irish music was preceded by a significant slump including a dearth of pipemakers. Since then, the number of pipemakers has steadily increased. Over time, the standard has risen from an amateur one to include a few makers gifted with experience both as players, woodworkers, instrument makers and reed makers. However, there are many more aspiring pipemakers promoting their wares that may have little consummate knowledge in any of these areas, all of which are necessary to make professional quality pipes. Many makers are competent in some ways while being less than definitive in others. Some of the differences in pipes are simply a matter of taste. Others are a matter of oversight.
Most prospective buyers are not in a position to judge the quality of pipes and are often compelled by budget constraints and impatience with the often longer waiting lists of the better makers. We feel our pipes represent a rare level of integration of almost 30 years of professional experience as performer and maker, artist and artisan. We feel this sets our pipes apart from many of the instruments on the market. We hope that you will prioritize the investment in the unique design of our pipes over short-term considerations. (See FAQs, Explanations and Options and Notes for Newbies)