Detroit Michigan Highland Bagpiper Tyge Cawthon

Paying the Piper

Group of Thistle

Hours of Prep Time

Minimum time spent for any Bagpiper from start to finish is easily 3-4 hours.

Typical Example:
Hiring a Bagpiper for one tune at a wedding or funeral that starts at 4pm.
From the Bagpiper’s perspective:

  • 12:00pm – Warm up bagpipes.
  • 1:00pm – Dress in uniform.
  • 2:00pm – Leave for the church. This allows in hour of travel in late afternoon.
  • 3:00pm – Arrive at the church one hour before. This guarantees a timely start and allows time to check the “layout” for unforeseen issues and final tune up of the bagpipes.
  • 4:00pm – Piping begins

Comparable Costs

  • $100-$300 per hour for DJ.
  • $100-$350 Organist service fees. (one hour for service only)
  • $400 Harpist fees for one hour before wedding reception.

With the information above, you should be able to create a budget with regards to hiring a Bagpiper.

All Bagpipers Are Not Equal

OK, I got the budget, now how can I tell one Bagpiper’s talents from another?

All Bagpipers have the opportunity to develop their skills through competitions. Bagpipe competitions are set to different grade levels.

These grade levels are as follows:

  • Grade V through Grade I are amateur
  • Grade “Open” is “Professional”.

Data below is from the Western United States Pipe Band Association.

  • Grade V – Not listed
  • Grade IV – 57% of the bagpipers you hear are at this rank. These Bagpipers may or may not be able to tune their pipes.
  • Grade III – 28% Bagpipers play at this level. Must be able to tune their own bagpipes.
  • Grade II – 9% Bagpipers should be able to play tunes from Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, and other tunes.
  • Grade I – 4% Crop without the cream.
  • Open – 2% Cream of the crop.

All Bagpipers Are Not Equal

What to ask before hiring:

1) What level do you (bagpiper) currently compete in?
Our answer: Grade 1/Open (Highest Level)

2) Do you (bagpiper) have any recordings of you piping that we can hear?
Our answer: Yes

If the price is “too good” to be true, listen to a recording of them. Then listen to one of our recordings. If you cannot tell the difference, then you should have a good Bagpiper.

From start up to finish, the Bagpipe should sound pleasant, warm, exciting, not loud, harsh, high pitched and squeaky.