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.
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.