Healthy Bagpipes


Playing the bagpipes is a great way to build up your lung capacity and is great for the cardiovascular system, but have you ever wondered what you might be breathing in?

Not only is moisture control important for maintaining a steady & reliable instrument, but it can also prevent the appearance of pathogens. Moisture can build up in many areas of the pipes, becoming a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria.

Being an organic substance, animal hide bags tend to be great breeding grounds for bacteria. Moisture from the piper's mouth and lungs builds up over time inside the bag causing bacteria and fungi to grow. Some bag dressings can address this issue, but not completely eliminate it. In fact, some dressings act as culture mediums for the bacteria.

Pipe bags are not the only issue. Moisture can build up on the reeds and in the drones. As the piper breathes, they may inhale any spores that have collected in the pipes. This can lead to lung infections and diseases, pneumonia, even brain diseases. Some early warning signs to look for are changes in ability to breathe and play, or voice fatigue.

New technology has greatly reduced these issues. Synthetic pipe bags, synthetic reeds and moisture control systems all help to reduce the amount of moisture build up in an effort to keep the pipes clean and pathogen free. Synthetic bags do not absorb moisture like hide bags do and do not require seasoning, which greatly reduces the opportunity for fungi and bacterial growth. Synthetic drone reeds also reduce moisture build up, unlike cane reeds which can absorb moisture. Best of all, moisture control systems are designed specifically to reduce the amount of moisture inside the bag. They come in a variety of designs from a basic water trap to a desiccant filled canister system. Their use will keep your pipes safe to play.

Always make sure you keep your pipes clean and dry them out whenever you get the chance. Happy, and healthy piping!

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