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~Two New Blowpipe Valves ~

~ and a couple of old ones ~

Blowpipe Valves

Moose Valve
The Moose Valve

A tiny but key component of almost every sort of bagpipe is a one-way valve that keeps air from backing up the blowpipe and thus allows the piper to take a breath while pressure and airflow to the pipes is maintained by squeezing the bag between body and arm. Called a "blowpipe valve" or "flap valve" the traditional form is a simple leather disk tied or tacked to the lower opening of the blowpipe so as to be hinged. When the piper is blowing air into the bag the flap is simply blown aside, and when the piper takes a breath the pressure from within the bag shoves the flap against the opening of the blowpipe, occluding it. In modern pipes the leather has largely been replaced by rubber, and there may be a little strip of brass that serves to anchor and hinge the flap. Seems simple enough, and this is the only moving part of nearly every bagpipe (other than vibrating reeds). However, we are talking bagpipes here and as anyone who has been around them long enough knows, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, sooner or later. And that includes flap valves which are prone to suddenly leaking or failing altogether, which is highly annoying at best or can even make the pipe impossible to play comfortably. While a new plain flap valve costs only $6 (see shopping cart, below), installing and adjusting it can take more than a few minutes and is thus not what a piper about to play a wedding or march in a parade wants to deal with.

Moose Valve: The ultimate valve at the moment is the oddly-named Moose Valve, from Australia. (Meese? In Australia?) Never mind the name, this is a very nifty little piece of work. It slips into the blowpipe stock - any blowpipe stock, even one with a rough or irregular bore ("stocks" are the short tubes attached directly to the bagpipe's bag that accept the various pipes - blowpipe, chanter and drones). It is fixed there by a couple of turns of a simple provided tool, which expands the Moose Valve's soft silicone-rubber collar against the bore walls. It's non-restrictive and stone reliable and does not require a zippered bag or any mods to the pipe. It can also serve as a spit-trap if desired, depending on how it is positioned in the bore. It comes in a clear plastic tube which allows practice installation. It carrys a two-year warranty. Price is $40, which may seem like a lot unless you've done battle with a lesser valve an hour before you're due to pipe.

Big Mac Valve
The Big Mac Valve

Big Mac Valve: Another clever new device by the same company, Pipers' Choice, that produces the well-known Little Mac Valve (see below) is the Big Mac Valve. This is a large-bore valve (meaning it allows better airflow) that installs by plugging into the bottom of the blowpipe stock. It too has an ABS housing surrounding a synthetic rubber disk, larger than that of the Little Mac. It also incorporates a right-angle fitting below the valve which redirects the air away from the chanter reed, thus keeping that reed drier longer. This right angle fitting can accept tubing connecting to further drying devices if desired. The Big Mac also serves as a spit trap. No modification to the bagpipe is necessary for installation, the stem of the valve is simply hemped up to fit snugly into the bottom of the blowpipe stock bore. But the pipe bag must have a zipper. The Big Mac costs $25.

Little Mac Valve
The Little Mac Valve

Little Mac Valve: One popular solution that's been around for a few years is to replace the flap valve with a modular valve called a "Little Mac." This consists of an ABS housing surrounding a synthetic rubber disk. It is installed by means of its tapered stem, which plugs into the bottom of the blowpipe bore. The Little Mack does not restrict airflow in comparison to a conventional flap valve (which is important) and it is reliable. It is also relatively inexpensive, at $14. But there is one drawback to this design: In order for the tapered stem to seat firmly and reliably in the blowpipe bore, the mouth of the bore must be reamed out so that it matches the taper of the stem. Most pipe dealers and makers have such a reamer and will install a Little Mac if they have your blowpipe (for example when buying a new bagpipe), but if you are doing this on your own you'll need the reamer, at a cost of $15 (available below). Also, some pipers are reluctant to modify their pipe in such a way, especially if it's an antique.

All of these valves are available from us, see the usual shopping-cart buttons below or contact us for alternate payment methods.
Stock Status:
Unless noted here, all of the above valves are in stock.

Ordering and Payment:

SHOPPING CART BUTTONS, below, can be used to purchase any of the items on this page. The on-line shopping cart system is administered by PayPal and is highly secure. The merchant (that would be us) never sees your card numbers. You do not need to have an account with PayPal to use it. There are no fees or such added at your end.

You can also order (or just ask questions) by calling us at

(707) 937-1626

between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. U.S. Pacific Coast Time (GMT minus 7 - 8 hours), 7 days.

We welcome calls, which help both you and us be sure that you are getting what you expect and need!

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International customers: Contact us first! We routinely ship all over the world. But if you are ordering from outside the U.S. (other than from an overseas US military address), you must contact us for shipping options and costs before ordering.

Our Mailing Address:

Universe of Bagpipes
P.O. Box 447
Albion, CA 95410

IMPORTANT: Please pay attention to the shipping cost options! If you are ordering multiple items, we do not want you to pay additional shipping for each item. You should only pay shipping for the item with the highest shipping cost. To allow you to do this, each item has two "Add To Cart" buttons, one with shipping cost added and one without. If you are purchasing only one item, select the button WITH shipping. If you are purchasing multiple items, use the WITH shipping button only on the item with the highest shipping cost, and use the WITHOUT shipping buttons for the rest. For example, if you are purchasing a No. 2 Practice Chanter Outfit and two spare reeds and a water trap, you would add the outfit to the cart using the button WITH shipping and add the other items using the buttons WITHOUT shipping. When you look at your shopping cart, you should see one, and only one, item in the list that has "plus shipping" after the item name. This little dance may be a bit awkward, but the idea is to keep you from overpaying for shipping. Please remember shipping is for USA addresses (including military): International customers, contact us for postage prices.

NOTE: You may not see the following format on other product pages; we are switching to this one page at a time.

Click the above button to view your shopping cart.

Moose Valve

WITH Shipping: $40.00 + $2.00 = $42.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $40.00

Big Mac Valve

WITH Shipping: $25.00 + $2.00 = $27.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $25.00

Little Mac Valve

WITH Shipping: $14.00 + $2.00 = $16.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $14.00

Reamer for Little Mac Valve

WITH Shipping: $15.00 + $5.00 = $20.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $15.00

Plain Old Flap Valve

WITH Shipping: $6.00 + $2.00 = $8.00
WITHOUT Shipping: $6.00

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