Welcome to the Burley Bagpipe Company!
My name is Graham Burley.
Playing the pipes has been a huge part of my life for 47 years.
Over the course of my journey, I have competed at all levels of solo competition, and snared a few prizes in the process. (Some of them even gold in color!) I have competed in pipe band contests, and I have been the pipe major of two competition bands. With my comrades in the bands I have been involved with, I have shared both triumphs and disappointments, but always good times, and I have developed life long friendships.
I have also traveled down a different musical road, in that I played with a Celtic Folk / Rock band. During this particular adventure, I performed on Highland pipes, Uilleann pipes, Irish Whistles and even, occasionally, provided backing vocals. This experience enormously expanded my knowledge of music in general, taking me beyond the world of the music of the pipes.
About 20 years ago, I became interested in actually making pipes. This started with me venturing into reed making, to help me in my early struggles with learning to play the Uilleann pipes. The satisfaction of creating something with your hands that can produce music, quickly becomes infectious.
The first bagpipe I ever made was actually a toy for my young son Iain. I based it on a tiny plastic toy pipe that I had played as a child. While still very new to all elements of the craft, I fought my way through turning a tiny chanter on my woodlathe, and then proceeded to drill the toneholes. After completion, I installed a practice chanter reed, and tested my tiny creation. It produced a relatively correct little scale. It was one of the greatest moments of my life!
There was no turning back for me.
Today, 20 years later, I offer an instrument that is the result of a tireless effort to produce the best in every aspect. Hundreds of hours of research and experimentation has resulted in sound quality that is second to none. The pipes are beautiful to look at as well, and they are handcrafted.
Most of the commercially available new bagpipes that you can buy, are produced via very high tech manufacturing methods, and I do not turn my nose up at these offerings. The technology involved in making these pipes is a marvel. Over the next few years, I will be moving forward into the pipe band chanter and solo chanter market, and in order to succeed, I too will have to involve the use of the same high tech production methods.
For full sets of pipes however, I will continue to offer, and always will offer hand wrought product.
If I had not become a pipe maker, and I was looking to buy a set of pipes that was to serve as a vessel for music that took a lifetime of devotion to learn, I would be looking for a set of pipes that are as much an artform, as the music that is created with them. I would want something special: a bespoke, hand turned instrument that someone poured their heart and soul into creating.
I would be looking for a maker who makes them the way I do.
For those of you who want the same thing, you have already found me.