American bagpipe maker chats about his Gibson bagpipe

I discovered this YouTube video produced by Associated Press recently. It’s an interesting video about the making of Gibson bagpipes in Willoughby, Ohio. The founder, Jerry Gibson, has been making the pipes since 1978. The Gibson pipes are patterned after Capt. John MacLellan’s prize-winning MacDougall bagpipes. The Gibson is renowned for its classic MacDougall sound.  A fact not lost among the great players around the world. A number of Grade 1 and 2 pipers from the leading pipe bands, including St. Lawrence O’Toole, Field Marshall Montgomery and Peel Regional Police are playing these instruments. The video is worth a view.

I do have a couple of issues with the video. First, is Jerry’s comment that “I would suppose that we would be considered one of North America’s leading pipe makers now.” From conversations with a number of pipers, there is another great North American bagpipe maker. Antigonish bagpipe maker and former 78th Fraser Highlanders P/S and House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead piper John Walsh is manufacturing an instrument that will one day be considered a classic, if not already. The other issue is the lack of actual bagpiping from the Gibson instrument. Other than a bit of music at the beginning, we hardly hear the pipes. The video ends with a couple of John Walsh shuttle pipes playing. Maybe the video-producer liked that sound better.

Enjoy the video.

About Mike Chisholm

Bagpiper, writer, fisherman and father born and raised in Nova Scotia, now living in Vancouver area.
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