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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Until recently, I'd never played any whistle between Bb (fingertips) and low D (piper's grip).

In June I bought a half-price Susato low F at a festival from a vendor who was selling off his stock. I first tried it with the fingertips and found it awkward and a bit painful, though I could play it. When I tried piper's grip, my fingers felt crowded compared to the Low D, but I soon got used to playing it with piper's grip.

Early this month I got a chance to try a Freeman-tweaked low G at another festival. This one felt quite comfortable with fingertip grip, so I guess until I ever get to try a low F# (if there are any such made) I've found my dividing line for piper's grip: between low G and low F.

Has anyone else narrowed down their point of grip change?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:24 pm 
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I just got out the whistle roll and played various keys to see what felt "right".

Yes I think I'm the same: it feels right to switch to "piper's grip" for the Mezzo F and lower.

I don't use my "fingertips" for any of the whistles, properly speaking.

Rather, starting with the Mezzo G I start playing with the end-joints of the fingers, the flat undersides of the end-joints, not the tips.

I use more or less this same flat-fingered endjoint grip from the Mezzo G up to the High C, then for some reason I arch my fingers a bit more when I switch from the High C to the High D. Though the fingers are a bit arched, I'm certainly not playing with the actual finger tips.

The different finger positions change how I do half-holing and finger vibrato.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:43 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
I don't use my "fingertips" for any of the whistles, properly speaking.


Yes, I should have said "fingerflats" or something like that. Not sure if there's an actual succinct word like that.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Probably because I started with piping, I play all whistles from d down to low D with the pipers' grip. Works for me and I never found any reason to switch.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:36 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Probably because I started with piping, I play all whistles from d down to low D with the pipers' grip.


I started with pipes too, but I'm having a hard time imagining playing a High D whistle with piper's grip, if we define "piper's grip" meaning using the middle-joint pads of the index and middle fingers on both hands.

I just tried it on my Feadog D and my fingers don't really fit that way- they're pressing against each other.

Well, it's not the same piper's grip as is normally done on Low Whistles, because the high whistle is so much shorter and the hands are coming at the whistle straight rather than at a downward angle as they do on Low Whistles. So, to use the middle-joint pads of the index and middle fingers means also using the middle-joint pads on the ring fingers, on my High D.

The caveat is that "piper's grip" as usually done is completely different on the upper hand, between Highland pipes and uilleann pipes. Most Highland pipers use the end-joint pads of all three upper-hand fingers. It was this usual Highland piper's grip that I transferred to whistles, rather than the usual uilleann piper's grip.

I did see that some prominent uilleann pipers don't in fact use the usual uilleann piper's grip on the upper hand, but an upper-hand grip more like the usual Highland one.

And, a large number of Highland pipers use the middle-joint pads on all three upper-hand fingers; once again this is different from the usual uilleann piper's grip.

To diagramme all these things, using M for middle-joint pad and E for end-joint pad:

usual Highland grip:
E
E
E

M
M
M
E

2nd most common Highland grip:
M
M
M

M
M
M
E

Usual uilleann grip:
M
M
E

M
M
M
E

Usual Low Whistle so-called piper's grip:
M
M
E

M
M
E

Usual High Whistle grip:
E
E
E

E
E
E

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:49 am 
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I'm an orthodox player (left hand on top) and for me it's left hand pads (what you might call fingertips) on everything down to and including my Low D. I don't own anything lower than Low D. However, for my right hand it's piper's grip on everything from Low F on down. My Low F is also a Susato, a real beauty, which I've had since 1999.

m.d.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:14 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Probably because I started with piping, I play all whistles from d down to low D with the pipers' grip.

pancelticpiper wrote:
I started with pipes too, but I'm having a hard time imagining playing a High D whistle with piper's grip, if we define "piper's grip" meaning using the middle-joint pads of the index and middle fingers on both hands. .... The caveat is that "piper's grip" as usually done is completely different on the upper hand, between Highland pipes and uilleann pipes. Most Highland pipers use the end-joint pads of all three upper-hand fingers. It was this usual Highland piper's grip that I transferred to whistles, rather than the usual uilleann piper's grip.

Didn't mean to cause confusion. I use what PCP is calling the "Highland Pipers Grip"—end-joint pads on the top hand and middle joint pads on the bottom. But, as I started with, I do that on all whistles, not just the lower variety.

Best wishes.

Steve

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


Last edited by Steve Bliven on Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:21 am 
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Like Richard and Steve, I never use my finger tips, but the flats between the joints on all my whistles high or low. The spacing between the holes dictates which segment of which finger covers each hole; however they lie comfortably. Also like Richard and Steve, I am a piper (though I played whistle before I took up piping). Trying to remember if piping caused me to change my whistle "grip"; I think that it probably did.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:10 pm 
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My path was strange, I suppose:

Highland pipes > uilleann pipes > Irish flute > whistle

And it results, in my case, of me having the "wrong" upper-hand grip on uilleann pipes (which however some Irish uilleann pipers also use).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:00 am 
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FWIW- speaking as a beginner with small hands... I find i need to change to 'piper's grip' at least on my right hand, once I go from Bb down to A. Hopefully my right hand stretch will improve with time. I've played stringed instruments for years that have stretched my finger reach span on my left hand already.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:05 pm 
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Guess the answers will very person to person and whistle to whistle. Generally speaking, for me, anything below a G requires piper grip. However, I did find some low whistles that break this pattern. I don't have large hands so when I started playing low whistles, so I purposely sought out those that reduced or eliminated the need for pipers grip.

My search yielded the following low whistles which I could comfortable play without piper's grip:
Onyx low D
Dion low Eb
Dion E
Ellis F

This is by no means an exhaustive list - it just my experience.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:48 pm 
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I've got mine narrowed down. I switch to piper's grip when playing the pipes. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:18 pm 
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Chifmunk wrote:
FWIW- speaking as a beginner with small hands... I find i need to change to 'piper's grip' at least on my right hand, once I go from Bb down to A. Hopefully my right hand stretch will improve with time. I've played stringed instruments for years that have stretched my finger reach span on my left hand already.


This for me as well. The right hand stretch gets awkward at Bb, and I find that my A whistle is where I have to transition the right hand to piper’s grip. I’m not 100% sure where my left hand limit is.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:57 am 
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I change at the same place you do. I can play my low G whistle easily with the same grip I use for a high D; with my low F I have to change to a piper's grip. The low hole and the one above it are too far apart for me to use a regular whistle grip, although I can play all the other holes on the low F without using a piper's grip.

I had thought of trying to find a low D whistle that could be comfortably played with a regular whistle grip, as I really want to be able to play a low D (they have such a beautiful, haunting sound), but I read somewhere that acoustically such a whistle just isn't possible. The low D stretch is just too uncomfortable for me right now, even with a piper's grip.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:28 pm 
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Lemme get out my low D and check...

Nope, still play with fingertips :)

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