Below are many of the most commonly asked questions and quick answers. For reference, the questions are grouped by the following categories: booking process, payments, performance preparations, uniforming, tunes, and learning the bagpipes.
If you have a question not answered here, please email me at email@example.com.
Q: Are you available for my event?
A: You can track the dates I already have booked on my calendar by visiting the Bookings page. This page is updated regularly as booking deposits are paid.
Q: What is the process for booking?
A: I typically ask for a non-refundable deposit to guarantee the date against other inquiries/bookings. The deposit may be waived for short-notice bookings, but applies for any event more than a week out. I initiate the process by creating an invoice for the deposit. Once booked, I hold a consultation over phone or email (client's preference) where we discuss timing, tune selection, and next steps.
Q: What if I need multiple pipers or a small ensemble?
A: Given enough notice and based on availability, I can typically arrange to have a group formed for an event. This could range from a couple pipers to a 'mini-band' of pipers and drummers. Feel free to bring this up in the free consultation if you're interested in additional players.
Q: Do you travel? If so, are there travel fees?
A: I have traveled for events as far north as Mendocino, east as Auburn, and south as Santa Barbara. I am willing to travel, but for location outside of 20 miles I might charge an additional fee. I typically serve cities within the following California counties: Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Joaquin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept for the deposit/balance?
A: I try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to accepting whatever method of payment is most convenient. The invoicing service I use allows for debit/credit card payments directly through the invoice although I accept several additional methods:
- Deposits: checks, PayPal, Venmo, debit/credit cards, and Bitcoin
- Balances due on the day of the event: cash, checks, PayPal, Venmo, debit/credit cards, and Bitcoin
Q: How long will it take for the bagpipes to be warmed-up and tuned?
A: As I play frequently, my tuning remains fairly consistent and allowing the pipes to be warmed-up and tuned within 10-15 minutes. Once tuned, the bagpipes should maintain their sound for a considerable time - however weather and environment conditions may require the pipes to be re-tuned.
Q: What else should I consider about the event or venue?
A: Two questions I always ask during a consultation are 1) is there a suitable place to warm-up and tune the bagpipes prior to the start of the event? and 2) if the event is a surprise - is the tuning location one which is far enough away so as to not spoil the surprise? Those who have never experienced the sound of the bagpipes might not realize the volume is significantly louder than that of other instruments.
Q: What is the dress/uniform I can expect at the event?
A: I wear a modern band dress uniform which includes (head to toe):
- glengarry with cap badge
- shirt with vest and tie (short or long-sleeved depending on the weather/occasion)
- jacket (depending on weather/occasion)
- kilt and sporran
- hose socks and flashes
- ghillie brogue shoes
Q: What kilts/colors are available?
A: I'm currently using the band-provided kilt, which uses the international law enforcement tartan which is predominantly light blue with dark blue, red, and yellow accents. I am looking to also adopt an Ancient Douglas Red tartan which is predominantly red with black, grey, and yellow accents.
Q: Can you play contemporary tunes or classic rock tunes like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Freebird?
A: Unfortunately no and for two good reasons: 1) many songs don't sound right when transposed to the bagpipes because the instrument only has nine notes encompassing one octave, and 2) bagpipes that are featured in songs typically are accompanied with other instruments like guitars and drums, but otherwise would sound terrible on their own. For more information on my bagpipe tune repertoire and commonly requested tunes, please visit my Tunes page.
learning the bagpipes
Q: How did you get started learning the bagpipes?
A: I started taking private lessons in 2001 with Bill Merriman after being introduced through a friend in the Boy Scouts. For more on my backstory, please visit my About page.
Q: Do you give bagpiping lessons? Are you taking on new students?
A: Yes, I am taking on new students as long as scheduling permits. For more information, please visit my bagpipe lessons page.