Bagpipe Grading System

The governing body for competing pipers in the Eastern United States is called the Eastern United States Pipeband Association. This body has set guidelines by which pipers compete against each other. This is very helpful to you as a potential customer since it gives you some kind of pre-set guide. There are six grades and they are as follows.

Grade 5

This is the bottom grade and consists of beginner pipers. This is the entry grade. Many “street bands” come under this grade.

Grade 4

By this time the piper usually has at least a couple of years experience. The judging focus at this grade is correct finger technique and the ability to play simple tunes.

Grade 3

By this time musical expression, timing, and bagpipe sound are gaining importance as well as accurate fingering technique. The piper has usually been playing for over four or five years at this point.

Grade 2

All of the above are important in this grade but a higher degree of ability is required to be successful. This is the lowest grade I would personally suggest for a piper to be hired.

Grade 1

This is near professional grade. At this grade the piper has usually been playing for over 8 years.

Open Grade

This is the professional grade of pipers. To reach this level you have to have demonstrated a very high level of piping ability. These pipers are very hard to come by and may charge more than other pipers. However the cost is well worth it.

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