2018 Summer Course

The Chapel, St Columba’s House

The Pipers’ Guild returns to the leafy surroundings of St Colomba’s House in Woking, Surrey for our 2018 Summer Course.  Come along and enjoy four full days of music and bamboo pipe making, good food and good company!  The dates for next year’s course are 29 July – 4 August 2018; the brochure is now available!

Download the 2018 Summer Course Brochure Here!


Summer Course 2018 begins in:

About Us

The Guild was founded in Britain in 1932. Its main aim is the threefold craft of making, playing and decorating bamboo pipes. Pipes are made for personal use, and are not sold – i.e. if you want to play one, you’ll have to make one! The idea of making bamboo pipes has spread around the world, with groups and guilds in Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, the U.S.A., and Japan. All of the guilds are members of a federation, which meets every five years at an international course.

What are Bamboo Pipes?

The bamboo pipe is a simple hand-made wind instrument, similar to a recorder but with a gentler tone. While looking for a recorder-type instrument to use with her schoolchildren, Margaret James stumbled across a Sicilian shepherd’s pipe. After many experiments the simple treble pipe in D was perfected. Later a full quartet of pipes of alto in A & G, tenor in D and bass in G was developed. This range has since been extended to include sopranino in G, quartbass in D, and great bass in G. In addition, treble, alto, and tenor extended pipes with a range of an octave and a sixth or more are also made.

Why Bother?

Firstly, for the satisfaction: there is a special thrill in playing an instrument you have made yourself. Secondly, it makes you a craftsman as well as a musician. Thirdly, it is an ideal way of learning the rudiments of music. Pipes are made and tuned one note at a time; the complete beginner (of any age) learns to play their pipe as they make it. For more advanced players there is the pleasure of ensemble playing in trios, quartets and larger groups.


A small group of pipers (4 to 5) are currently meeting to play in member’s homes in East London (mainly Forest Gate) and would very much welcome any visiting pipers.

The meetings are usually monthly, on Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm, although they do vary according to people’s diaries.

Thus they can also be flexible to fit in with possible visitors, given enough notice.

For information and future dates, please contact Imogen McGavin.