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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:39 am 
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I noticed a nice looking Burke brass whistle in B on eBay at a nice price, so I had a WHOAD relapse and bought it. I had never seen a B Burke on eBay UK (or US for that matter).

It arrived the next day and I took out this nice shiny whistle to try it out and all I got was high pitched tones. I covered the windway and blew through it, thinking there might be a blockage, no change. Took the head off to look through it to see if there was something wedged in, but nothing to be seen.

Started thinking I had been sold a pup, and that was why it was that cheap for a Burke (the equivalent of $101 and change), then while putting it back in it's pouch I noticed that it had a thumb hole :oops: that I had not been covering, hence the problem. Tried it again with thumb on thumb hole and it worked perfectly, with me feeling like an idiot for not realising it had a thumb hole.

David

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:24 am 
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I hate thumb holes on whistles.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:29 am 
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Quote:
I hate thumb holes on whistles.



Not sure I hate them (it's such a strong sentiment) but I certainly would never buy a whistle with one. And if the thumbhole wasn't mentioned in the ebay listing, there's your reason: it limits the number of potential buyers to the extreme.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:59 am 
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Isn't that why tape was invented?

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:32 am 
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It's a way to get a clear in tune flatted seventh in both octaves.

Hating it or loving it, covering it or using it are all valid options.

It just isn't traditional. That doesn't invalidate it.

Well I don't think it does...
Mack


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:42 am 
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Isn't that why tape was invented?


I don't think I have any whistle I paid 100 for but in the unlikely event I would consider getting one, it certainly wouldn't be one needing a piece of tape to work to satisfactory.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:16 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Not sure I hate them (it's such a strong sentiment)


OK, I dislike them very much then. :P

Mr.Gumby wrote:
... but I certainly would never buy a whistle with one.


Me neither, but I was given one as a gift from my wife (who doesn't play the whistle and didn't know better), and I h... er, disliked it very much. Fortunately, it didn't hurt her feelings to return it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:37 am 
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OK, I dislike them very much then


What I like about whistles is their simplicity and making the best of it within their relatively limited scope. Putting keys on them, adding holes and generally redesigning them into way too expensive quasi concert instruments (I was tempted to use, tongue in cheek, the ever so pompous 'legit' here but refrained, mostly), goes very much against the grain of all that is attractive about them. There's beauty in finding solutions to their limits.

Note that, as usual, I am thinking from a context of Irish music. Anyone playing in a different context may want to look at this differently, although there's probably some irony in making such ungodly modifications to play in, say, a church orchestra.


Also note, most of this post was heavily ironic/tongue in cheek although I'll stand over the sentiments expressed.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:03 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
...There's beauty in finding solutions to their limits....

So, an extra hole isn't a "solution"? :poke:

Best wishes,

Steve

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:24 am 
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Not in the sense of what I was talking about. It's not a musical solution. It's a modification, a change of the essential character of the simple six hole instrument.

But to each their own, it's not for me though.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:14 pm 
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I would have bought the whistle whether it had a thumb hole or not, but Mr G was right, it was not mentioned in the listing. It was bought specifically because it was in B, well made whistles in B are hard to find (any whistles in B are hard to find).

David

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:13 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
What I like about whistles is their simplicity and making the best of it within their relatively limited scope. Putting keys on them, adding holes and generally redesigning them into way too expensive quasi concert instruments (I was tempted to use, tongue in cheek, the ever so pompous 'legit' here but refrained, mostly), goes very much against the grain of all that is attractive about them. There's beauty in finding solutions to their limits.

Note that, as usual, I am thinking from a context of Irish music.

My thoughts, too. The thumb-hole is a solution in search of a problem (within the context of traditional music, at least).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:03 pm 
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BigDavy wrote:
Started thinking I had been sold a pup, and that was why it was that cheap for a Burke (the equivalent of $101 and change), then while putting it back in it's pouch I noticed that it had a thumb hole :oops: that I had not been covering, hence the problem. Tried it again with thumb on thumb hole and it worked perfectly, with me feeling like an idiot for not realising it had a thumb hole.

David

I wouldn't be admitting to anything like that in public... especially around here. Hard enough to justify myself as it is. Good to hear everything turned out OK.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:54 am 
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I did the same thing with a Burke I bought secondhand.

Another Burke I bought had a nice big piece of silver duct tape covering the thumbhole.

I played these Burkes with tape over the thumbholes for a time, then eventually took the tape off. It doesn't take much adjustment to getting used to keeping your thumb there, and it doesn't do any harm save for the greater potential for hand tension.

Can't say I've ever used the thumbholes though.

There are three reasons I don't care for C natural thumbholes on whistles

1) they're unnecessary. I can play a quite satisfactory C natural by crossfingering, and can bend up to it in the piper's manner, and cut, pat, and roll it. The C natural I get from the thumbhole doesn't seem advantageous in any way, in fact more awkward in complex passages than the crossfingered C natural, and more difficult to ornament.

2) it flies in the face of the shared performance practices and style of Irish whistle, flute, and pipes. On all three of these a crossfingered C natural has long been done, and all three instruments finger it and ornament it in a fairly similar way.

3) it appears to represent an attempt by people coming from outwith ITM to make whistles play more like non-ITM instruments (such as the Boehm flute) which is a fool's errand. Seems like whenever I meet somebody with thumbhole whistles they're a Boehm flute player who has recently taken up the whistle, and feel a need to get that thumb involved.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:04 am 
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BigDavy wrote:
whistles in B are hard to find


but easy to make! I chopped a Generation Bb to make a great-playing B.

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