Do not buy a "cheap set of pipes!" You will be making a big mistake. Beginners should pratice continually on a practice chanter, get a good teacher (harder than it seems) and keep practicing and saving money for your eventual purchase. Even the "best" old and used pipes on e-bay need upgrades, (reeds, bag, bag cover, cord) and can add $100.00-$200.00 to what seems a deal at $500.00 to $700.00 set of pipes that retailed for $1200.00 plus tax 2 years ago.
The only good thing about buying a cheap set is that you can play around (season, adjust, ream, fiddle with) them and gain experience without much fear of a major financial loss if you goof up.
Date Posted:02:33:51 08/23/02 Fri
I basically agree with what's been said, though I would try to make a distinction between "inexpensive" and "cheap". (For the latter read: cutting too many corners in order to cut costs). Dunbar does make some good inexpensive poly pipes; Peter Crisler supposedly does as well but I have no direct experience with his products so I can't comment. There may be some others. Stay away from the pipes made in various Asian countries - few of them are much good.
Sometimes you can get a good deal on a used pipe but this is not something that a beginner is going to be able to do on his or her own - you need to know what to look for to avoid costly mistakes: pipes that can never be made into playable instruments, or pipes that will require lots of work and expense to make them playable. Yet another place where having a teacher can be invaluable.