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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:28 pm 
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I have a somewhat different view on cheaper whistles and beginners. Yes if you buy a cheap whistle or two when you start your journey and then leave them in the draw because you don’t sound any good you will be able to come back to them in two years or so and they will sound much better. But you run the risk that you give up because, initially it is harder to get a good sound out of them. Bare in mind that everybody seems to agree that some of the cheaper brands are hit and miss so you will need to be incredibly lucky to pick up a good one and as a beginner you are probably not really sure what is a “good one”. Searching for that elusive cracker of a cheap whistle is something for later on when you are hooked. In my inexpert opinion pay a bit more and buy something like a Killarney or a Syn in the around $100 price range. They are more consistent, less screechy and feel more robust in the hands.
Just my two bobs worth.
Cheers JTU


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:16 am 
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Sedi wrote:
Feadógs, Waltons, Clare, even the infamous modern-day Generations (the old ones are however still quite a bit nicer...)


Interesting that you mention Waltons! Because I picked up a bag full of old whistles for a few dollars a while back, and the standout player was a Waltons C. It's excellent, probably the second-best C I've owned (the best still being my c1980 Generation C).

About modern-day Generations, yes some are horrid, but a few years ago a student walked into an ordinary music shop, grabbed a Generation D at random, and brought it to his first lesson. It was superb in every way: good octaves, good overall tuning, solid low notes, very sweet pure high notes. You never know!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:01 am 
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I especially like the Waltons mellow D with the larger bore and bigger head. Such a sweet player. I think the bore is the same size as the C. Similar to the Feadóg C which plays very similar to an old Generation. I have a standard new Generation which sucks but I also have the "paisley" model with the fancy coating which plays quite a bit better. I suspect it might be the coating on the barrel which slightly stabilizes the tone since it makes the wall thicker. But that is merely a guess.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:18 am 
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Sedi wrote:
I have a standard new Generation which sucks but I also have the "paisley" model with the fancy coating which plays quite a bit better. I suspect it might be the coating on the barrel which slightly stabilizes the tone since it makes the wall thicker. But that is merely a guess.
You could try switching the heads between the two. I doubt it's the coating.

As for whistles - it's difficult to get a good whistle while buying online or when you can't try a shop whistle, but the Killarney is a reasonably safe bet for consistency, and for a lower price the Dixon Trad D is also consistent - or at least the three I have tried (I own two of them) sound exactly the same. The Freeman whistles are also a good choice. I have several. And I'm now certain that it won't be possible to find anything much better than my (old, not available anymore) Freeman Bluebird. It doesn't help to pour more money into it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:29 am 
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I prefer the Dixon trad over the Killarney. My Killarney has a very weak first octave but I heard others play theirs and it did sound much fuller. Maybe mine is a "monday" product or it is my playing :D . Concerning the Generations -- the heads look exactly the same with all the same nicks and dings from the worn-out molds. I am quite positive it is the different barrels that account for the different playing characteristics (the paisley model is also quieter in the 2nd octave) and not the head but I could try switching them to confirm. I think an interesting experiment would also be to put a Generation head on a Feadóg Pro barrel if it fits. A thicker barrel does make a difference in sound as can be observed when comparing a Feadóg standard and pro version. The pro sounds cleaner, less breathy, a bit more stable. But they play so similar that it's a matter of personal preference which one to play. Best to have both :D .


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:14 am 
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Sedi wrote:
I especially like the Waltons mellow D with the larger bore...I think the bore is the same size as the C...

My Killarney has a very weak first octave...


These statements could be taken to suggest that you're in the "big bore" whistle camp. Bigger relative bores generally means louder low octaves and stiffer 2nd octaves. Seems to me that this is a common tendency with American whistle makers (Burke etc) and in my experience people coming from non-ITM backgrounds, especially orchestral backgrounds, prefer these whistles.

I'm in the opposite camp, and my favourite whistles have the extremely easy sweet 2nd octaves that generally come from narrower bores, and the tradeoff of less-loud low octaves. For me, fine old Generations have the ideal balance, as do Sindts and Killarneys.

About Dixons, I got a chance to try 20 or so of the High D's with plastic heads and thick alloy tubes at the NAMM Show a few years ago, there were subtle variations from whistle to whistle, the best were excellent. I think the thicker tube gives a darker timbre and a certain solidity to the voicing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:21 am 
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The story about Generation whistles seems to have again moved from the claim that you have to try a few to get that really exceptional one, to you have to try loads before you can get one that doesn't sound terrible or play at all.

As I've mentioned before, that is categorically not my experience of Generation whistles. In over 40 years of buying Generation whistles I've never sought out that "special" whistle and have never had a Generation whistle that was unplayable, didn't reach all high notes and into the bottom of the third octave, or sounded "terrible". Maybe I'm just used to them?

I've recently gone back to playing Generation whistles on stage because they are the whistles that behave best for me, don't take much warming up and don't become overly loud "sound cannons" at the top of the second octave, and frankly I like how they sound. My "stage D" is of very recent vintage, is a very good whistle and was picked up at random from the shelf at Hobgoblin (Birmingham). I've recently stocked up on Generation whistles so that I can keep a set in a gig-bag, another for for sessions, in my melodeon cases and in a container the house, and bearing in mind those that get lost or given away. This included a number bought sight-unseen on E-bay.

Do I have any issues with any of them? No. None whatsoever.

A count gives 17 Generation whistles I have at the moment. Either I am the luckiest Generation whistle purchaser ever, the Oswestry fairies are making sure the good ones are sent to me, or there simply isn't such an endemic problem with Generation whistles and people are repeating stories they've read or heard and embellishing them.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:38 am 
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... and to answer the question. Just like there aren't "professional whistles", simply whistles that professional musicians play, there are no "intermediate whistles", simply (as someone else also pointed out) intermediate players (whatever that means). Taste, fashion, keeping up with Jones's etc all play a role alongside the places in which a whistle will be played and the purposes that a whistle needs to serve. Loud, quiet, session, church or busking on a windy street.

You'll get all sorts of recommendations, but none of them mean much in reality because you're the one with the ears to hear, lungs to power and places to play your whistles. You are the only one who can make that decision. I will say that price is not an indicator of how well a tin whistle will serve you, whether you like how it sounds, feels to play etc. and that if it is free of damage or intrinsic problems (no, I can't diagnose it over the internet) the whistle you have is perfectly capable of performing at the highest levels ... unless you require a different sound or more volume, things that come with other trade-offs.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:44 am 
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I'm not that experienced a player, but I never had any problems with Generation whistles either, & all mine are new this past year or so.

I just didn't like high whistles in general, until recently, when I can now actually play them. :lol:

Aside from my low, & my 'A' whistles, I like my high F Gens, & often grab one when I just want a quick burst. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:35 pm 
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If the budget is tight a dixon trad in brass will take you a long way. And the sweetone is a quieter calmer whistle which may feel confusing under the fingers because of its conical shape, but plays nice for beginning. While there are some purists that swear "it's not the whistle it's the player," I'd say that some of the super inexpensive whistles are downright discouraging. Even if you will sound better after you play them for a year, will that year have been as much fun? If you have more to spend I'd suggest the Kilarney. I had a student with a Feadog. When I loaned her my Kilarney she was quite surprised.

And if your goal is to play Irish Traditional music with others or recordings, D is the way to go. There are computer programs out there that can change the pitch for practice with recordings at home, but most sessions are in D (though some in Ireland have gone Eb I've never run into one in my area. I guess we just have too many accordions to switch.

As for the folks who say x whistle plays better than whistle y because when they picked it up and tried it they liked the one in their pocket more I will say this. I have some of the "best" (whatever that means) whistles that have been made in the 90s and 2000s. The whistle from that collection I always like the best is the one I've been playing the most. Every now and then I pull out a great whistle and think, "Geez, this isn't so hot. Maybe I should sell it." After I play it every day for a week "I think I will never part with this thing."

It is a journey. I hope you enjoy it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:42 pm 
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@Andrew
I don't think Generations are terrible. Even the standard one plays okay but the paisley version plays better.

@Richard
That depends. I am not in the "large bore fan club" in general and I do like the normal Feadógs, my Clare and I love my vintage Generation D. Those all have smaller bores. My favorite whistle is my Carbony "lead tone" model (not that I'll ever need the extra note but I got it used for a great price) which has a tapered bore and I have the Carbony "quiet" model with a rather thin bore. But the Waltons mellow D does not really play like a typical large bore whistle (it's no Thunderbird ;)). Only the last two notes need ever so slightly more push. Barely noticeable compared to a small bore whistle. BTW - my Feadógs, the Clare, the Carbony and my vintage Generation all have a stronger bell note than my Killarney. Maybe there is something off with mine.


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