How to Assemble Bagpipes for a First-Timer

By Kochava R. Greene ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Bagpipes, including the bag, chanter, drones, cords and blowpipe
  • Drone reeds
A girl plays in a bagpipe competition

Bagpipes, ancient instruments that appear in variations from all over the world, are complex instruments. Bagpipes are made up of a bag, a chanter and its reed, drones and their reeds and caps and a blowpipe. Learn the parts of the bagpipe and how to put one together for the first time.

The parts of the bagpipe

Identify the parts of the bagpipe using the image provided. Set aside the bag, chanter, cords, drone reeds, drone caps and blowpipe.

Put the bag in its cover if the bag is not already in it. Turn the bag so that it is in the same orientation it will be when you pick it up to play it, with the neck on your right and the drones on the left.

The blowpipe

Fit the blowpipe into the blowpipe stock---the short bit of tube on top of the neck of the bag. Attach the mouthpiece of the blowpipe.

Bagpipe drones

Insert the drone reeds over the drone stocks. Like the blowpipe stock, these are short tubes protruding from the bag down its side on the left. The tuning slides will point up and away from the bag. Place the top of the bass drone on top of the tuning slide. Put the drone caps on the rest of the tuning slides.

The chanter reed

Slide the chanter reed into the chanter stock, located at the bottom of the bag's neck.

Drone cords on the bass drone

Tie the cords around the drones, starting with the bass drone. Tie the cord so that the drones are 4 to 6 inches apart. You pipes are now ready to tune and play.