It is currently Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:09 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 37 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:38 pm
Posts: 12
Well, I finally got brave and ordered an MK Pro. It's costing a little more than getting it straight from MK, but it was in stock at Big Whistle, and Phil has been prompt in answering questions. I did actually get a reply from Michael Burke, and he did answer a question about the thumb hole on his flutes. He did not give a timeline, however.

I spent a bunch of time listening to examples- there is a whole genre of people doing demos of their various whistles, which you guys probably knew. There's a lot of variation in video and audio quality, and in player ability, but after watching a lot of them, I think I got a decent comparison. I think Burkes are a little airy sounding for me, though some have commented that there is variation in any maker's products.

MK and Goldie pretty much tied, but I could not find a Goldie that was sure to ship, and I like the MK slightly more in most videos. Burke was next, and Alba actually was my 4th choice. I'll let y'all know how the MK turns out.

Aloha!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:15 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:38 pm
Posts: 12
So I actually made a decisions. I bought an MK, which I just got today. Funny story- the day after I ordered, I got a reply from Michael Burke, and I would have ordered his, had I that answer before I pulled the trigger.

The MK sounds great. Using piper's fingering is new to me, but even with large hands, I can't reach with fingertips. I'm thinking of an E from Burke. I am curious about his whistle's thumb hole, differences in sound, etc.

Thank you all for the help in selection!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:35 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
Posts: 3544
Location: WV to the OC
The MK and Burke are both professional instruments. I've owned and performed on both, and they're both of the highest quality.

They play very differently, though.

Burkes in general emphasize a strong low range and an exceptionally powerful "bell note" ("bottom D" on a D whistle).

There are percussive things I would do on flute that, of all the Low D whistles I've tried, the Burke was the best at emulating.

The MK's bellnote is perhaps the MK's main drawback. It's a bit fluffy and will break if you try to push it. The caveat is that the half-dozen MK Low Ds I've owned were all made a few years ago, and whistlemakers often tinker with the designs. For all I know Misha has improved the Bottom D.

Regarding tone the two could hardly be more different. The Burke has a clean pure tone that "classical" musicians tend to love and Irish trad musicians tend to not. The MK has a unique dirty gravelly tone which for me is one of the most compelling things about the MK, but which some find offputting.

MKs are among the most air-efficient Low Ds, Burkes among the least. I could hold High B twice as long on my MKs as on my Burkes.

Both whistles have very smooth even voicing and great tuning.

Goldies and Albas are serious instruments too, and I own both. You really can't perceive their differences by listening to videos; you need to get all four makes in your hands to know how they play (in four distinctly different ways, as it happens).

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:38 pm
Posts: 12
Hey Richard,

Thank you for the continued correspondence. It does help. Especially because there's not a chance in hell I can hear a variety of whistles in person. I live on an island with maybe one other person playing whistles. I think there are one or two on Oahu as well. No stores. No sessions to speak of.

I do have a lot of studio experience, so I can kind of average out crappy recording technique, given enough samples. I set up a spreadsheet and rated an absurd number of videos of different whistles. Especially valuable are ones where the same person plays several in the same recording. Bringing me to...

That "unique dirty gravelly tone" you describe is, I think, what I was looking to find, and indeed, the MK sounds pretty good.

But, he has not ironed out the bell note. It's still pretty unstable, but I am getting it gradually. I'm also struggling a little adapting to piper's grip- it's the first flutely thing where I can't comfortably make the stretch with fingertips. Well, I made a couple of low C and B bamboo flutes where I'd switch to using my pinkie. But piper's seems appropriate here.

I am also finding that as one goes toward the top of the 2nd octave, one must blow pretty darn hard. The tone is fairly consistent, which is great. Volume changes dramatically, though. When I get ready to record, or if I somehow get a performance opportunity, I'll be checking out working mic proximity, adding a limiter to the signal chain, or hopefully both.

In a while, I want to ask you about uilleann pipes.Not until I have time and resources, but that's something I do want to do.

Mahalo and aloha,
Stephen


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 6:08 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
Posts: 3544
Location: WV to the OC
foxmusician wrote:
there's not a chance I can hear a variety of whistles in person.


What I did was buy a bunch of them used. I've gone through a half-dozen MK Low Ds, they were all different in subtle ways. (All the tunable sort.) And Low Ds from around a dozen other makers.

foxmusician wrote:
I do have a lot of studio experience, so I can kind of average out crappy recording technique


I'd not thought of that, but I'm sure you're right. It's the same in the visual arts, where artists can view crude thumbnail sketches and slick finished works on an even footing, seeing through the presentation and judging them all on merit.

foxmusician wrote:
he has not ironed out the bell note. It's still pretty unstable...


I don't know how familiar you are with trad Irish fluteplaying, but there's an old-school thing where a powerful Bottom D is prized, almost above all else. One not coming from that background would think that ideally the Bottom D should be exactly the same strength as the other low notes, the homogeneity expected with orchestral instruments. So I want some "oomph" out of Bottom D. It's perhaps the greatest thing about Burkes.

The MK's Bottom D (on the half-dozen I've had) has been its weakest note. And flat. So that to get it up to pitch I had to blow it to the verge of breaking.

Actually the MKs I've had showed two different approaches to tuning Bottom D and Middle D: some had Bottom D in tune but Middle D a bit sharp, others had Middle D in tune but Bottom D a bit flat.

foxmusician wrote:
I am also finding that as one goes toward the top of the 2nd octave, one must blow pretty darn hard.


Yes High B can be a bit tricky. Thing is, the MKs I've had had the 2nd octave tuned a hair sharper than most makers, meaning you really have to blow the low octave strongly, and be careful not to overblow the 2nd octave. This evens out the volume differential a bit. (All whistles have it.)

One of the greatest things about MKs is the easy/light 2nd octave, whereas many Low Ds have a somewhat stiff 2nd octave.

If you can, try to get your hands on a Lofgren Low D. The one I had had an amazing combination of sweet easy light 2nd octave, strong low octave, and powerful Bottom D.

All Low Ds are a bundle of compromises; I haven't seen the perfect Low D yet.

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:35 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:05 pm
Posts: 33
I guess I lucked out with my MK pro as it not only has a strong, stable bottom D, it is also exactly in tune with middle D.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 6:58 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
Posts: 3544
Location: WV to the OC
That's cool.

I've owned a half-dozen MK Low Ds and all had that identical differential between the tuning of Bottom D and Middle D (Middle D being a bit sharper than Bottom D). They only varied in how long the tubing was at the open end, in effect.

About the strength of Bottom D, is its breaking point the same as, say, F# in the low octave?

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 37 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.172s | 16 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)