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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:25 pm 
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I'm still pretty new to the whistle world (15 months or so), but I already have a modest collection of Bb, C, D, and Eb whistles. I wanted to try a low whistle and, because I have fairly small hands, I bought a Becker G whistle to see if I could play it. I think G is about as low as I can go because of my hand size. My wife really likes the “mellow” sound of the G, so I'm thinking of upgrading a bit. I'm considering an Alba, partially because of my Scottish descent and partially because it's in my price range (around $150). Can anyone give feedback on this whistle, or perhaps suggest another brand that I should consider. I should say that I have moderate COPD, and the lower the air requirement, the better. Thanks in advance for any help.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:27 am 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
I bought my first Alba low whistle a couple of months ago and am very pleased with it. To me, its a high-end whistle at a less than high-end price. The air requirements are only moderate. I also prefer a more complex sound to a pure sound and this whistle suited me very well.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:22 am 
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Location: WV to the OC
I don't have a mezzo G from Alba, but I have their Bass A, Low C, and Low E.

Unlike Burkes where each size had dedicated tubing in order to maintain the same bore-to-length ratio, Alba sometimes uses the same tubing for multiple sizes.

So their playing characteristics vary according to the bore-to-length ratio of that particular size.

-My Bass A seems to have the ideal bore-to-length ratio and plays fantastic.

-My Low C uses the same huge tubing as the Bass A and seems to suffer from having too wide a bore for the length, giving a very strong low octave but stiff 2nd octave.

-My Low E has much narrower tubing, a bit too narrow I think, and has a very sweet 2nd octave but weak low octave.

Based on that fairly small sample size, it seems to me that it can't be known how a particular-sized Alba will play until you play it (in terms of things affected by bore-to-length ratio).

All three of my Albas have absolutely perfect tuning and a nice tone, a bit dirty but not overly breathy.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:54 pm 
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Both Alba whistles I have (F and C) came to me with cosmetic scratches which are not important enough that I want to return the whistle but just enough to annoy me a bit.

The low C came to me with intonation problem but it was adjusted after posting it back to Stacey - you can be sure to get an acceptable intonation on your whistle if you are polite enough and are willing to pay for postage.

In general if you are playing with people at sessions I would recommend a F whistle instead of a G whistle. Whilst a G whistle can adequately handle key of G,C,D and their relative minors, those tunes are most likely meant to be played on a D whistle or a C whistle. If you are not a seasoned session player you might have issues with folding the notes.

A F whistle, on the other hand, can play quite a few tunes like they are meant to be played (The Last Pint, Swan LK243). Also people just like playing on F whistles in the sessions in my region - possibly due to key of F having some excellent whistles (Goldie F, MK F, Chieftain V3 F are all great whistles). Also F whistles are used a lot in a few YouTube channels, e.g. TinWhistler.

The F whistle I have from Alba demands quite a stretch between the right hand middle finger and the right hand ring finger (almost the same distance as my low D bottom holes) - you may want to contact Stacey to ask if she could make the holes easier to reach.

Then again, G whistles are very good whistles to be playing by yourself. If the classification on the Alba website is indicative of the bore size, you will find that Alba Gs are probably like their Es - not a strong bell note but sweet and nifty.


Last edited by joshuaZ on Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:56 pm 
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The biggest problem with Albas is they are very uneven. Some have purer sound, some more breathy. Their design varies as well. I have a mezzo G and it's one of the greatest whistles I've played, however, it's a narrow bore whistle, so you don't have much power in the first octave. I also have a mezzo A with the same tube diameter. It's very strong in the lower register, which I adore, because I mostly play Breton/medieval/piper tunes on it which demand a smaller range. The second octave is loud and harsh. I also had a low E, it was good, but my friend has the one that is the best whistle I've ever played, more comfortable stretch, full sound and almost perfect tuning. Bare in mind that many Albas have quite flat C# equivalents. You can hear me playing the G in my video

https://youtu.be/xlpBcaDcWGg


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:15 am 
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Location: WV to the OC
A couple people have mentioned Alba tuning issues.

What was the tuning issue on the Low C?

About the C# equivalent, here we're dealing with a matter of preference.

It's traditional for whistles, Irish flutes, and uilleann pipes to have the C# a tad flat. For one thing, C# should be around 15 cents flat for Just Intonation.

For another thing, on flutes and whistles, generally, the crossfingered C natural is better if the open C# is a hair flat. I need the crossfingered C natural to be well in tune, and the traditionally accepted tradeoff is the slightly flat C#. That's one of the things that impressed me about Albas: they understand that aspect of whistle design. Many American neo-whistle makers don't.

Seems to me that in traditional music C natural is a more important note that C sharp. C natural is more often in accented positions and ornamented with glides, finger vibrato, cuts, and pats. C# is more often in unaccented positions, a passing tone and so forth.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:05 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
A couple people have mentioned Alba tuning issues.

What was the tuning issue on the Low C?

About the C# equivalent, here we're dealing with a matter of preference.

It's traditional for whistles, Irish flutes, and uilleann pipes to have the C# a tad flat. For one thing, C# should be around 15 cents flat for Just Intonation.

For another thing, on flutes and whistles, generally, the crossfingered C natural is better if the open C# is a hair flat. I need the crossfingered C natural to be well in tune, and the traditionally accepted tradeoff is the slightly flat C#. That's one of the things that impressed me about Albas: they understand that aspect of whistle design. Many American neo-whistle makers don't.

Seems to me that in traditional music C natural is a more important note that C sharp. C natural is more often in accented positions and ornamented with glides, finger vibrato, cuts, and pats. C# is more often in unaccented positions, a passing tone and so forth.



Hiya, when I said my low C had intonation issue I meant that my C sharp equivalent was about 40 percent flat and my C natural equivalent was 10 percent flat despite over blowing. But those were fixed so no problem afterwards.

To me personally (personally personally personally), C sharp has become quite important not in the key of D but in the key of A and F sharp minor. To play tunes in those keys on a D whistle, much more emphasis is placed on the C sharp note due to its position on the diatonic A scale. A lot of people in my area appreciates transitioning a G tune to an A tune or a F sharp minor tune in session playing. (Not to mention the Am to A transition which is also quite common.)

Stacey suggested retuning my low C every time when I change key for tunes in key of C to key of F, thisis not something I've had other maker suggest before.

*A bit clarification, when I said my "C sharp equivalent was about 40 percent flat" that was referring to AFTER over blowing, and relative to a normal blowing 2nd octave D equivalent - before over blowing it's more like a sharpish C natural equivalent note, i.e. more than 50 percent flat.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:05 am 
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I have an alba low g, probably 8-9 years old, and I quite like it -- very even, mellow, warm sound with a lot of volume, and I had a newer alba high d with similar characteristics (still kicking myself for selling it); that is only a sample size of 2, but stacey is an experienced maker and I wouldn't be concerned about production irregularity as someone on the thread intimated. I have to say that while I love my alba and it's what I would play in public, I think I probably prefer the sound and nimbleness of my freeman low g. Jerry takes a gen b and makes his own body, and the sound is excellent (though somewhat less volume). I have a freeman low a in this same style that is my favorite whistle in a decent size bag with much more expensive whistles. My two bits.

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