Bagpipe Business in Hope 

The town of Hope is known for its two elephants.But just up the road is another unique attraction.Joy Hollowell tells us about Pinchbeck Pipes.=====When Chris Pinchbeck was young, his grandfather offered him a set of bagpipes. He was so fascinated by the instrument, Pinchbeck decided to try and make a set.”So I started and it was a trial and error king of thing. 15 years of trial and error,” says Pinchbeck with a laugh, “because there’s not a lot of tutelege out there for bagpipe makers.”Pinchbeck is now making a living off making bagpipes. He creates Scottish Small Pipes, a smaller and quieter version of the big Highland Pipes we see in parades and at funerals. It’s a craft that’s extremely specialized.”To my knowledge, there’s only 5 other makers in the country of Scottish Small Pipes,” says Pinchbeck.Thanks to mostly Internet orders, Pinchbeck was able to open a shop in his hometown of Hope. He admits folks are surprised to hear he’s in the bagpipe business.”It’s like wearing a kilt out in public, that’s the nature of the beast (laughs) you just get looked at,” says Pinchbeck.To build bagpipes, Pinchbeck works from the inside out.”We get wooden square billets,” explains Pinchbeck. “I bore an initial hole into the wood to establish the interior of the instrument and then from there, it’s work towards creating the final look on the outside of the instrument. The sound comes from the inside, the outside is just eye candy.”Pinchbeck’s passion for pipes isn’t just seen, it can also be heard.”Every set that you produce has your voice in it,” says Pinchbeck. “You can kind of feel the soul of the instrument evolve.”One set can take up to two years to make. A snippet of time, says Pinchbeck, for a lifetime of rewards.”What I do is hopefully bring people joy through music, not only the person that picks up and plays the pipes, puts them under their arm, but the people that listen throughout the decades. And you know, gosh, what more could you ask for.”+++Pinchbeck says most who make custom bag pipes take anywhere from six months to two years to complete a set. For some “hero” makers, as Pinchbeck calls them, the wait can be 14 to 15 years.Pinchbeck is working with a cobbler across the street from his shop to make the leather bag on the instrument.If you’d like more information on Pinchbeck Pipes, you can call 763-2770 or log onto