Making Tabor Pipes

Making it, listening to it, words, music sheets, making instruments

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Making Tabor Pipes

Post by tabor »

I thought this might be of use to somebody:

Being on a tight budget I cannot afford to buy a variety of tabor pipes but wanted have pipes in a range of keys so decided to have a go at making pipes out of copper and plastic tube (not authentic I know but it gives a chance to play pipes in different keys and decide which key you prefer before ordering an 'authentic' pipe).

Basically I have used 14mm outside diameter plastic tube and 14mm outside diameter copper tube. I got the plastic tube from a kid's halloween broom handle sold by Asda (£1 per broom if i remember correctly) and the copper tube is standard plumbing pipe. Some of the fipples have been home made using the instructions here: and on some I have 'cheated' and used the plastic fipple from a Clarks Meg pennywhistle and used tape to 'pad out' the tube so the fipple is a tight fit. My sucess rate with homemade fipples has been quite low (about 1 fipple block in 10 works!) so I now prefer to use the meg whistle fipples. Total cost of each pipe is about £5 including the purchase of a 'donor' meg whistle.

So far, after a few failures, I have managed to make decent sounding pipes in both copper and plastic in the keys of D, Bflat and G. A very accomplished pipe and tabor player posts videos on YouTube under the name of PartridgeHearne. He has made pipes out of copper tubing and commercial fipples from cheap pennywhistles and has posted dimesions for pipes in Bflat and G on YouTube.

If anyone has a go at making a tabor pipe using the Meg whistle fipple I recommend that they carry out the fipple tweaking mods suggested here: - it makes quite a difference.

The plastic pipes do not look any too 'pretty' with the shinny black plastic tube I used so I got some wood effect self adhesive vinyl sheet and covered the tubes in it. The result is actually quite pleasing. The copper pipes look good as is and can be either polished or left to develope a lovely patina.

All in all tabor pipe making is an interesting and rewarding pastime in itself.

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