And I'd just like to point out one more time that a Pakistani set that has been reworked by a good pipemaker can be a cost effective way of getting into the instrument. And that just because something's made by an American, Brit or Irishman doesn't automatically make it playable, either.
I, for one, would be genuinely interested in hearing your definition of "cost effective", and please, provide some actual examples.
My understanding is that a practice set of Pakistani-made pipes can be (for example) $450. Assuming this is correct, I must now take the chanter and send it off to "Pipemaker X" and ask him to get the chanter into playing order - including a new reed.
How much will "Pipemaker X" charge for reworking the chanter, assuming the following needs to be done:
a) re-bore the stick from top to bottom;
b) re-bore some (if not all) tone holes; - OR -
c) refill and re-bore certain tone holes;
Now - steps (a), (b) and (c) as indicated above will also cost money. And this assumes that you can even find
a Pipemaker who is willing to undertake these tasks. To my knowledge, there is one, perhaps two, pipemakers in the USA that will even bother with this. I have heard in the past few years that a certain well-established and highly regarded pipemaker will undertake these tasks, and I've heard that the cost of doing so is approximately $1,200. (Please correct me if I am wrong with this number, my memory is poor these days
... this MAY be the cost of reworking a full set, but even if it is, the lion's share of the work is in rebuilding the chanter).
If we can assume these figures and tasks are correct, then the actual cash outlay for a "cost effective" practice set is now onwards of $1,650 US dollars. Again, if my assumptions are correct, then this is hardly cost-effective.... and we haven't even considered the cost of REEDING this newly-corrected chanter.
Now, it is also my understanding that a new reed from a reputable maker can cost as much as $80. With this added (not to mention necessary) cost, you're at $1,700. For a practice set? And I haven't even mentioned the aspect of the TIME it would take to get this done. I may be going out on a limb here, but I seriously doubt if the one or two pipemakers that might
take the time to rework a Pakistani-made set is going to give it a higher priority than making their own sets, making reeds for their own sets, repairing or upgrading their own sets. Oh yes, then factor in the issue of a Pipemaker having an actual life.
Again - my numbers may be off somewhat, but I have yet to see where a beginning piper would find this method "cost effective". There's a reason that the old adage of "You get what you pay for" is as true today as when it was first put to use in the vernacular.