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 Post subject: Two Questions
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:50 pm 
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Two questions for the whistle maestros here.

1: I'm plugging along on a Clarke Meg and having a great time. Learning breath control, getting a feel for overblowing. I'm learning the second octave, and I've got to admit that F and G can be pretty.... piercing. Is that just from beginner technique? The nature of the tin whistle in general or the Meg in particular?

2: I'm hoping to acquire a low D whistle in the future. Given my budget, it looks like it will be the Dixon non-tunable low D. I've read older reviews (some going back 15 years!) but how are they doing these days? I don't anticipate playing in a group. Maybe with my wife and her flute but normally I pick up the guitar at that point.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:34 am 
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I am nor an expert - there will be one along soon - but I have the Dixon tunable tapered bore low D and reckon it is the easiest I have played. It is an early model but I cannot image the design has changed a lot. Had I started on the Dixon rather than the KWL I started with I think that I would have learned a lot faster. There was likely nothing wrong with the KWL apart from seeming hard to learn.

Tony Dixon has said to me that his goal is to make affordable, approachable instruments and I think that with the tapered low D he has succeeded in his aim.

I mostly play my other whistles (Bleazey, Copeland) now but I have kept the Dixon mainly because one day someone close may want to learn, but I still enjoy playing it occasionally.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:11 am 
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I'm also a big fan of the Dixon tapered bore as a starter instrument. I've played Goldies since I started but like Dr Phill, I may have learned faster if I'd begun with the Dixon, a birthday present that sits by my desk where I use it to figure out tunes because it requires minimal warming and doesn't mind getting knocked around. It also has the advantage of a tapered windway which means that by inserting a thin piece of card into the windway you can change the voicing to play with more resistance. You have that choice. You'll find a Dixon tweak somewhere on the forum. It wasn't you that wrote it, was it DrPhill?

As regards the Meg, yes, soprano whistles can be fairly piercing in the second octave but not normally until you get up to A & B. By minimising the hole you make with your lips, and keeping the mouth cavity small, you can learn to play the second octave quieter. And don't put the fipple in your mouth. Merely balance the tip of it on your lower lip. That way you have much more control over the amount of air you blow into the whistle. I hope this helps a little.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:54 am 
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Meg is similar to Sweetone? Second octave was very harsh on mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:24 pm 
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thx712517 wrote:
I'm learning the second octave, and I've got to admit that F and G can be pretty.... piercing.


Wow if F and G are piercing, just wait till you get up to B. :o

If you're blowing a note in the 2nd octave at the pressure at which the note is in tune, the tone-quality is what it is. Beginner or expert, there's only one pressure at which a given note will be in tune, and the volume and tone-colour is built into the design of the whistle by the maker.

thx712517 wrote:
the Dixon non-tunable low D


If you mean the all-plastic conical-bore Dixon Low D, it's a sweet player, the ideal Gateway Drug to the world of Low Whistles.

thx712517 wrote:
I've read older reviews, some going back 15 years


I don't think the Dixon all-plastic conical-bore whistle has been around that long.

Here's Tony and myself at the 2011 NAMM Show. I'm holding what he told me was a prototype of the all-plastic conical-bore Low D. It was fantastic.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:55 pm 
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For the Dixon low D, I'm looking at the following.

https://www.tonydixonmusic.co.uk/products/tb003/d

The TB003 one piece tenor taper bore low D whistle. What a mouthful! After GBP to USD conversion it will run me around $80 and that's hard to beat. I'm halfway there already.

I've started using a smaller mouth cavity and pulled the whistle out of my mouth a good bit and that seems to give a less piercing tone. I find if I step away from the book's suggestion of starting each note as if I'm saying "too" and try a more... squishy tongue approach? Like a "hoo" or "soo" sound instead of a "too" then I have better control of the octave jump and the notes don't hit as hard.

This is where I'm at today.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DmNgfskd-eg


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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:11 am 
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thx712517 wrote:


Yes that's the whistle the prototype of which I'm holding.

NB it's more usual (for musical instruments in general) to use the term "conical" referring to the bores of wind instruments; it's conical versus cylindrical.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:37 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
thx712517 wrote:


Yes that's the whistle the prototype of which I'm holding.

NB it's more usual (for musical instruments in general) to use the term "conical" referring to the bores of wind instruments; it's conical versus cylindrical.

He's using the term that Tony Dixon uses, Richard. Follow the link and see.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:51 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
NB it's more usual (for musical instruments in general) to use the term "conical" referring to the bores of wind instruments

Or 'conoid' if you're Jem...

But Ben's right, tapered is also used by some including Tony Dixon.

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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:30 pm 
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Many (? most) wind intruments with a conical bore are conical the other way - narrower near the end you blow from. 'Tapered' seems a good word for something that gets narrower further away from the end you interact with.


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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:39 am 
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awildman wrote:
Meg is similar to Sweetone? Second octave was very harsh on mine.
The Meg D I have has a pure-sounding second octave. It's the only whistle I have that plays pure all the way up to and a good bit into the 3rd octave. I rarely (well, never) need that, so I usually play other whistles - but sometimes I bring it out just to check that I didn't imagine it.. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:32 am 
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david_h wrote:
Many (? most) wind intruments with a conical bore are conical the other way - narrower near the end you blow from.


I'm sure there are more, but the ones that come to mind that are wide at the top and constrict toward the bottom are

-recorders
-Baroque and Classical flutes
-traditional whistles (rolled from sheet tin)
-Kenas
-Kaba Gaida chanters

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 Post subject: Re: Two Questions
PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:57 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
david_h wrote:
Many (? most) wind intruments with a conical bore are conical the other way - narrower near the end you blow from.

I'm sure there are more, but the ones that come to mind that are wide at the top and constrict toward the bottom are

-recorders
-Baroque and Classical flutes
-traditional whistles (rolled from sheet tin)
-Kenas
-Kaba Gaida chanters
As a general rule, narrowing tapers appear on flutes and fipple flutes (air-reed instruments) while widening tapers appear on (cane) reed instruments and brass (lip-reed) instruments. Ironically, the reason is the same in both cases: to balance out the registers.

Cylindrical flutes overblow near the octave, except the upper register tends to be flat because we like to blow the upper register softer than the lower in relative terms. Narrowing the bore (or narrowing the headspace diameter above the sound hole) helps balance out the difference.

Cylindrical reeds (like clarinets) overblow near the twelfth, well sharp of an octave, because of the physics of the reed and tube. Widening the bore away from the reed narrows this interval until we reach a taper where the instrument overblows at the octave.

The Kaba Gaida is an exception to this pattern. It doesn't overblow, does it?


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