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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:06 pm 
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Hello all, new to whistling but not to musical instruments. Long time string player (guitar, violin, mandolin when I can find one) but a frustrated bagpiper. Never could form a seal to blow the chanter. I picked up a Clarke Meg whistle and have been working my way through the free Online Academy of Irish Music lessons on my lunch break. Once I'm done with that it's on to You Can Teach Yourself Tin Whistle by Mizzy McCaskill.

Now, once I've made some good progress in learning, I assume it would be a step up to acquire a Freeman Blackbird? It seems like some make mention of it requiring greater breath control, while others comment on how great a whistle it is and easy to play. Or should I look at his Mellow Dog variant? I like the idea of a quiet whistle since I play on my own and like my ears. I would assume that it is higher in quality since we're talking individually tweaked versus mass-produced.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:59 pm 
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I have several Blackbirds and also a Mellow Dog. The Mellow Dog has a very slightly more mellow/round tone, but it seems to require a little bit more air push, maybe because the tube is a tiny bit wider than the Blackbird diameter. The Blackbird sounds more birdlike/warbly, and is very easy to produce pure notes on- requires less air push. Perhaps that's why some folks say it requires more breath 'control'... because if you are coming from a whistle that requires more air push, then you'll find on a Blackbird you'll be able to lighten up a bit and still gets lovely pure tone. I find it very easy to go back and forth between notes on a Blackbird.
Neither whistle is too loud, nor shrill. In my opinion both play easily and smoothly, are nicely in tune, and are great fun to play.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:10 pm 
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And if you want to fit right in with the rest of us who are over-whistled, get them both and see which you like best.... Whistles are perhaps the best bargain in the musical world—after Air Guitar of course.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:37 pm 
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I don't want to go too crazy with the whistle acquisition disease, but I will admit to a fascination with the low D whistles out there. I watch this video repeatedly.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PJnR3vsTkKs


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:08 am 
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Blackbirds and Mellow Dog are great whistles! Buy both ya can't go wrong with these whistles. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:33 pm 
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I am curious though, if the conical tin whistle makes for an easier transition to second octave and a more in-tune second octave, why are the Freeman whistles parallel bore? Could I stick a Freeman fipple on a conical bore body?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:50 pm 
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the blackbirds are tapered bore, not straight cylinder. They only come in three keys. I think Mellow dog is not tapered, but im not at home to double check.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Chifmunk wrote:
the blackbirds are tapered bore, not straight cylinder.

Don't mean to be rude, but the Blackbirds do have a cylindrical bore. At least the one in my hand does...

Best wishes.

Steve

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~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:14 pm 
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thx712517 wrote:
I am curious though, if the conical tin whistle makes for an easier transition to second octave and a more in-tune second octave, why are the Freeman whistles parallel bore?
Metal tubing (cylindrical) is much easier to source in quantity than metal cones. This keeps manufacturing costs lower.

thx712517 wrote:
Could I stick a Freeman fipple on a conical bore body?
It wouldn't play in tune. The tuning of a whistle depends on the geometry of the whistle head, the size and position of the toneholes, and the diameter (and taper, if applicable) of the body.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:00 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Don't mean to be rude, but the Blackbirds do have a cylindrical bore. At least the one in my hand does...
Steve


You're right! My mistake, so sorry. I should never describe whistles at home when I'm travelling. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:48 pm 
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So for Blackbird and/or Mellow Dog owners of recent vintage, are they cast fipples now or are they still tweaked with bits glued on?

As I play the Clarke Meg more, I dislike the rasp it tends to develop. I like the idea of the more mellow sounding tin whistle, but will the blackbird have less rasp?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:57 pm 
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thx712517 wrote:
So for Blackbird and/or Mellow Dog owners of recent vintage, are they cast fipples now or are they still tweaked with bits glued on?

The ones I have from a couple of years back are tweaked. As far as I know, all of Jerry's whistles are tweaked. But the best source is Jerry himself. He posts here from time to time and can be reached via either PM or email.

Best wishes.

Steve

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"[Some flutists] place the flute between the upper lip and the nose, blowing the instrument from below. This position does not prevent good playing, but it does not look graceful."
~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:41 am 
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Spoke with Jerry and got an amazingly detailed response on what goes into making his whistles. Now I just need to decide if the Blackbird or Mellow Dog is the one for me. I've listened to a number of recordings and am still on the fence. It seems like the Mellow Dog is just a little warmer in recordings, and has more of a hiss/breath undercurrent to its notes.

My first thought is to pick up a Blackbird, then save for a Dixon low D. But the other thought is to go Mellow Dog and try to get that flutey timbre from a high D since in my mind I'd play the high D more frequently than a low D. Silly I know, since we're talking about roughly $160 if I bought all three and I've spent $600 on a single guitar in the past.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:28 am 
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My suggestion would be to buy one of the high D whistles you mention and learn to play it. Then you can decide whether you like the sound of that whistle or not and whether you want to venture to a lower pitch. As you mention, these are pretty low on the price per instrument scale, but learning on one may give you insights on where you really want to go (flute, pipes, ukulele?).

Best wishes.

Steve

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"[Some flutists] place the flute between the upper lip and the nose, blowing the instrument from below. This position does not prevent good playing, but it does not look graceful."
~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:48 am 
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Blackbird is on the way! Now I need to find more music to learn.


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