It is currently Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:13 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 29 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Price, Skill and Sound
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 6:52 pm
Posts: 3
I bought a Clarke Sweetone maybe 12 years ago and started playing it just recently. As you may expect there are some shrieking sounds, and some are even from the whistle! Seriously - I know I am playing a cheap instrument. I know I am a complete beginner (though I played the recorder for two years, many moons ago.)

What is the trade off of practice eventually making a cheap whistle sound better, versus just ponying up the money for a better whistle. Would a $20 or $30 whistle sound better right off? Would they still sound annoying for several months as I break in? Is the $20-$30 price point no real improvement (i.e. until you get to $80 or $150, or whatever the sound doesn't change much?)

I'm sure there is controversy here, but I know nothing - so pour on your opinions.

Thanks!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:30 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:39 pm
Posts: 2345
Location: Kinlochleven
Many great players play cheap whistles (though possibly not Sweetones) and some only cheap whistles. And, while some mid-priced and expensive whistles are superb, many offer little or no real improvement and even the best whistle in the world (whether it's cheap, mid-priced or crazy expensive) won't turn a beginner into an expert. So at this stage I'd say either stick with your Sweetone and learn to play it or get another (probably better) cheap whistle and learn to play that. Anything else is a waste and a red herring.

_________________
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.


Some old stuff, written and played by me


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:06 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 458
Location: Washington State
I don't know all the cheap whistles, but I found the Sweettone to be really harsh in the upper end, and the voice overall to be a bit obnoxious. Pretty much anything would be better, even at the same price.

I never found mine to have any shrieking sounds. Have a good player try yours to make sure it is adequate.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 6:52 pm
Posts: 3
awildman wrote:
I don't know all the cheap whistles, but I found the Sweettone to be really harsh in the upper end, and the voice overall to be a bit obnoxious. Pretty much anything would be better, even at the same price.

I never found mine to have any shrieking sounds. Have a good player try yours to make sure it is adequate.


"Harsh" is more fair than "shriek", I was having fun with a double meaning.

What cheap whistles do people like?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:44 pm
Posts: 458
Location: Washington State
The cheapest I like is Dixon Trad. I can tolerate Feadog. Havent tried many other cheapies.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:35 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2062
Location: Midland, Michigan
Pondoro wrote:
What is the trade off of practice eventually making a cheap whistle sound better, versus just ponying up the money for a better whistle. Would a $20 or $30 whistle sound better right off? Would they still sound annoying for several months as I break in? Is the $20-$30 price point no real improvement (i.e. until you get to $80 or $150, or whatever the sound doesn't change much?)

Personally, I tried twice to start playing whistle on a cheapie, only to quickly give up in frustration. On my third try I shelled out $60 for a Glenn Schultz Water Weasel, and took to it like a duck takes to water.

I think my advice (if you can afford it) would be to try a pair of contrasting $50 whistles, something like a Freeman Blackbird and a Susato. Find something in that price range you like and stick with it for a few years. IMO, for a beginner there is very limited added value for going more expensive than that for a high D.

For instance, I adore my Blackbird D and play it very regularly. I have a more expensive instrument which plays very much like it, the Killarney. It's got a lovely interesting tone, and I'm really glad I have one, but it's actually slightly harder to play than the Blackbird IMO, and I'll usually choose to play the cheaper whistle. On the flip side, we've a number of cheapie whistles around the house, and most of them I can make sound okay, I think, but I'd NEVER choose to play one over the Blackbird if I had both whistles handy.

_________________
Sol's Tunes (new tune 10/2016)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:59 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:44 pm
Posts: 16
Here's the thing with cheap, $10-$15 whistles: the vast majority of them do not play in tune out of the box. I first attempted learning tin whistle about 12 years ago. I bought a cheap Walton's and really struggled with it. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get those notes to sound right, and I figured "I guess I'm not meant to be a whistle player" and just gave up on it. Then, around 3 years ago, I saw an article in Irish American News (a newspaper published by the Irish American Heritage Center here in Chicago) about a guy named Jerry Freeman. In the article, Jerry talked about how the vast majority of cheap whistles are poorly tuned, and how he tweaks whistles to make them play in tune throughout the whistle's range. I decided after reading that article that I would give the whistle another shot and ordered a Freeman Bluebird. It was a world of difference, to say the least. I have been playing ever since then.

Here's the deal: the most important thing is to get a whistle that PLAYS IN TUNE! You always get these people saying "A more expensive whistle won't improve your technique!" Well, no s**t, Sherlock! Technique comes with practice, but if you don't have an instrument that is properly tuned, you have a much bigger struggle ahead of you, and THAT is the point I try to make.

I also find it ridiculous that so many people are so standoffish about spending an extra $25 on a whistle, as though it's going to make or break them. I play saxophone as well, and a student model saxophone can run anywhere from $600-$1500. Vintage professional models can easily exceed $10,000. So people freaking out about spending $30-$45 on a whistle just seems crazy to me.

Seriously, get yourself a Freeman Blackbird and you will know that whatever is wrong is personal adjustments that you need to make and not an issue of playing a poorly tuned instrument. Jerry also has a satisfaction guarantee, so if you don't like the whistle, you can either return it for another one, or get a full refund. Jerry Freeman is highly respected in the whistle community, and for good reason. He puts out excellent quality whistles for a very affordable price, which is why I always recommend them to beginners.

If you later want to upgrade, the Killarney is probably the best bang for the buck. They run around $70-$80, and can compete with Burke and Sindt whistles, but at a third of the price. Burkes, Sindts, and many other high quality whistles are all great, but for your current situation, start with a Freeman Blackbird and when you really start to improve your playing, then start checking out the higher end whistles if you want to go that route.

Edit: I also feel the need to add that the fact that many good players play "cheap" whistles is a very deceiving statement. First of all, many of those people are playing pre-1980 Generations, which is before they replaced their tooling, which has resulted in their modern day whistles being nowhere near as good as the old ones. Secondly, those players probably tried out lots and lots of different cheap whistles before they found "the one". The notion that they took the first cheap whistle they came across and were satisfied with it is deceiving.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:06 pm
Posts: 1293
Location: just outside Xanadu
When I started the whistle, there were only the Generations readily available. I was told to go through a batch to find the good one. I hadn't a clue, and didn't have access to any quantity of whistles to sort through. . .so no joy in regard to getting one in tune or even manageable. I played with a man who had a Copeland flute and swore by Michael Copeland as a maker. So I found he made whistle, and bought one. . .a long time ago, 'way before serial numbers.
It played easily and in tune, and was a jewel. It is however a deadly serious instrument and can cut through even the most raucous session. Jerry Freeman came on the scene and with his genius could tweak nearly anything into a true musical instrument. I now have a selection of Jerry's work and play his instruments in preference to my Copeland for the small session I play with normally. As a previous post says, get yourself one of Jerry's jewels.

Bob

_________________
Not everything you can count, counts. And not everything that counts, can be counted

The Expert's Mind has few possibilities.
The Beginner's mind has endless possibilities.
Shunryu Suzuki, Roshi


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:18 pm
Posts: 76
I second or fifth the suggestion to get a Freeman tweaked. They play cleanly and in tune which (as mentioned) is a most important thing for a beginner. I suffered immensely, and my session mates suffered even worse, from an out-of-tune whistle to the point where I quit for a large number of years.

The only criticism I have of the Freeman tweaked whistle I have, is that it is too clean. I'd rather have a bit of chiff and rawness.

I'm a very strong fan of the Killarney for a number of fingering reasons, but for this discussion it is notable that the second register and even the high C and High B of the third register are completely tolerable. And, to my taste, the Killarney retains just a bit of chiff.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:35 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:39 pm
Posts: 2345
Location: Kinlochleven
Feadóg80 wrote:
Edit: I also feel the need to add that the fact that many good players play "cheap" whistles is a very deceiving statement. First of all, many of those people are playing pre-1980 Generations, which is before they replaced their tooling, which has resulted in their modern day whistles being nowhere near as good as the old ones. Secondly, those players probably tried out lots and lots of different cheap whistles before they found "the one". The notion that they took the first cheap whistle they came across and were satisfied with it is deceiving.

Well, I'm going to counter by saying I sold my old Generations and rarely play my Freemans, which I think OK but not the universal panacea they're so often presented as here. To which I can add that, in my one case of direct comparison (Freeman Gen Bb vs. new stock Gen Bb bought simultaneously for that purpose), I've found the Freeman to be an improvement on the stock instrument in some ways but prefer the stock in others.

While it seems clear that the Sweetone (which I've never played) is not highly regarded, there are other options and it's a myth that cheap whistles are somehow generically unplayable without modification.

_________________
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.


Some old stuff, written and played by me


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 7206
Location: Clifton Park, NY
The only way you'll ever sound better is to buy a custom made exotic hardwood whistle :D .

Just kidding. If you just started playing that Sweetone recently you may well find that it starts to sound better after you get better breath control. Give it a while

The Freeman tweaked whistles get great reviews all around, and one of those moderately priced whistles would be well worth the money. You'd have the assurance that the whistle had been thoroughly gone over and tweaked to play optimally. The discouraging part of that for a beginner is knowing that any bad tone from the whistle is due to your playing, not the whistle.

_________________
Got wood?
http://www.Busmanwhistles.com
Let me custom make one for you!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:47 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2062
Location: Midland, Michigan
Feadóg80 wrote:
Edit: I also feel the need to add that the fact that many good players play "cheap" whistles is a very deceiving statement. First of all, many of those people are playing pre-1980 Generations, which is before they replaced their tooling, which has resulted in their modern day whistles being nowhere near as good as the old ones. Secondly, those players probably tried out lots and lots of different cheap whistles before they found "the one". The notion that they took the first cheap whistle they came across and were satisfied with it is deceiving.

Also, note that anyone who started whistling before 1990 had very little choice but to learn to whistle on a cheapie!

Peter Duggan wrote:
Well, I'm going to counter by saying I sold my old Generations and rarely play my Freemans, which I think OK but not the universal panacea they're so often presented as here. To which I can add that, in my one case of direct comparison (Freeman Gen Bb vs. new stock Gen Bb bought simultaneously for that purpose), I've found the Freeman to be an improvement on the stock instrument in some ways but prefer the stock in others.

On the one hand, I certainly wouldn't say it was panacea -- I don't know that it would have suited me at all to start with a Blackbird, as there's a drastic difference between the sort of breath control needed for a bassoon (my first wind instrument) and a Blackbird, and I might have spent my early days hideously overblowing it to poor effect. That's a big part of why I suggested trying more than one style of mid-range instruments -- different people are going to like different sorts of whistles. (Lots of people on this board swear by whistles that I would be more likely to swear at!)

On the flip side, I've got 6+ expensive (say $60+) high D whistles around the house. If I made a list ordered by how well I like them, the Blackbird wouldn't be at the top, but it would definitely be in the upper half. It is my favorite high D being actively made, and it's got a really appealing price / performance combo. So much so that I recently ordered a second just to have another one around, because I love playing mine.

_________________
Sol's Tunes (new tune 10/2016)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:38 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 2:06 pm
Posts: 2170
Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA
Peter Duggan wrote:
..... Freemans, which I think OK but not the universal panacea they're so often presented as here.....

I very often recommend Freemans to beginners. They are inexpensive and in tune and generally easy to get a decent sound from. Someone with limited experience can rest assured that any issues are with the player/playing and not with the instrument.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend Freemans as a universal panacea for a more advanced player. By the time someone becomes "advanced" or even "intermediate," he/she should have a pretty good sense of the sound they'd like to get from a whistle. In that case, the Freeman may not be at all what is best. Whether that means a more expensive whistle or a carefully selected cheapie or just having the skill to make a bad whistle sound good is up to the player.

But to reiterate, to my mind a Freeman (or a whistle similarly tweaked or examined by a knowledgeable player) resolves the "is it me or the whistle" that a beginner might have.

Them's my thoughts.

Best wishes.

Steve

_________________
"[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 ~


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:44 pm
Posts: 16
Steve Bliven wrote:
Peter Duggan wrote:
..... Freemans, which I think OK but not the universal panacea they're so often presented as here.....

I very often recommend Freemans to beginners. They are inexpensive and in tune and generally easy to get a decent sound from. Someone with limited experience can rest assured that any issues are with the player/playing and not with the instrument.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend Freemans as a universal panacea for a more advanced player. By the time someone becomes "advanced" or even "intermediate," he/she should have a pretty good sense of the sound they'd like to get from a whistle. In that case, the Freeman may not be at all what is best. Whether that means a more expensive whistle or a carefully selected cheapie or just having the skill to make a bad whistle sound good is up to the player.

But to reiterate, to my mind a Freeman (or a whistle similarly tweaked or examined by a knowledgeable player) resolves the "is it me or the whistle" that a beginner might have.

Them's my thoughts.

Best wishes.

Steve


This is exactly the point I was getting across. The OP is a beginner, which is why I highly recommend the Freeman Blackbird for them. It is better to have a properly tuned whistle and know that any issues are ones that need to be fixed with adjustments by the player. The Blackbird is cheap on the grand scale of whistle prices, and only looks expensive because people are comparing it to the cheapest whistles out there. Compared to the price of a Burke or a Chieftain, a Freeman Blackbird is a drop in the bucket.

I don't recommend that beginners start with high end whistles like Burkes and Sindts. I recommend they start with a good quality whistle that is guaranteed to play in tune and can be had for a very reasonable price.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:01 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:32 pm
Posts: 46
The only inexpensive whistle I ever found great out of the box without any tweaking or modifications are Oaks. It was my next whistle before I got a Sindt and I still play my D as my car whistle. Some would disagree with me but I've bought 2 and both have been great.

Next step would be to buy Tony Dixons, or tweaked Jerry Freeman's or a tweaked Cillian O'Briains. For $30-$60 range you can't go wrong with these.

Cheers,

Melany


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 29 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu and 4 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 : 0.194s | 16 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)