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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:20 pm 
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Hi,
First post here - hello! - learning melodeon but wanted for some time to play whistle. However... Pretty sure this will have been asked (and with luck, answered) many times but couldn't find it - please feel free to point me to existing threads (or a tutorial on the search engine! :D )

I have two D whistles, a Feadog (given to me) and a probably low-cost Generation, both similar to the eye. I struggle to get a clean note when blowing quietly (or at all, mostly), I get a squeaky strangled noise.
This has improved since I was told about making sure I covered the holes properly (I wasn't) but I still get it with all holes open or tightly closed.
The Feadog is a bit easier.
This is very offputting - I've had the whistles for several years but not got past this point. Slightly better when I overblow, but still enough to lose interest quickly.
Looking for advice - hoping there's a simple answer?
Thanks
Malcolm


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:01 pm 
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Welcome to the world of whistles. Because of the tremendous variation in quality of mass produced whistles, I usually advocate getting one of the commercially available 'tweaked' whistles. State-side that would be Jerry Freeman's whistles. On t'other side of the pond, you might look at Cillian O'Briains.

Bob

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:13 pm 
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I'm not really sure what your question is.....I'll take a stab at it anyway.

I'm guessing that you're blowing too softly, and there is just not enough air disturbance at the fipple to vibrate the air column properly.

So.....Whistles have 1 volume. There is no way to blow 'quietly'. You either blow the note or you don't. You have to do what the whistle needs to make that volume. The whistle doesn't just respond to any old breathing. And it really doesn't have dynamics. Each note has set volume and intonation, and these interact with your blowing in a very limited, specific manner.

Best to start simple. Cover the top hole only. This will give you the note B. Find the right blowing pressure/speed to sound it cleanly. If it's not sounding cleanly, you're blowing either too softly or too strongly. You want to blow it confidently, but not too strong. If you blow too strongly, you will play the second octave B. Trial and error will get you to sound the note cleanly. Once you get that note sounding cleanly, cover the next hole as well. Top two holes covered give you A. This note takes slightly less breath than the B. Get it sounding cleanly, then put down the next finger. Again, slightly less breath. See the pattern? Work your way down slowly and cleanly until you get to all 6 holes covered.

When you approach the breath requirements like this, starting at an achievable note like the B, you develop a point of reference and build upon it. Each point of reference you master gets you closer to that low D which can be a bit pesky. It also helps you learn proper hole coverage and finger placement.

Hope that helps.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:11 am
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Thanks for the comments, I have a clearer expectation.

As an aside, after looking at other threads, I had a good look inside the Generation whistle and discovered it was really mucky inside with a brown gunge (yuk) and what appeared to be fluff or fibres.

Origin unknown, since I had it from new and it's hardly been used.

Gave it a good clean and that seems to have helped also.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:39 am 
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I would go for a tweaked whistle (Freeman, O'Briain) myself, or for a similar price, a Dixon. This will eliminate the possibility of the whistle being at fault. At best, you will enjoy playing, and at worst you will realize the fault was yours. Either way, you haven't spend too much money.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Or, find a more experienced whistle player and have them play your whistles. If they can get a clean sound, you'll know it's the operator, not the equipment. If not, get a tweaked whistle. Quality control varies a great deal on mass market whistles. Some, untweaked, will never play nicely.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:25 pm 
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I have to agree with the other posts here. I have a Freeman tweaked generation and it plays excellent. It'll run you maybe $40 which is a pretty reasonable price for the piece of mind that your instrument isn't holding you back.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:19 pm 
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Thanks again, all noted. It might be possible to drop in on Dixon's place, I'm down that way from time to time, or maybe buy something on line.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:45 am 
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Awildman's advice is excellent. You'll soon discover that each note in both octaves needs it's own breath pressure.
Some notes, especially the higher ones, sometimes need a bit of tonguing to get them started cleanly. That little burst gets the air speed up instantly rather than ramping up if you start the note by breath alone.
Something else you'll discover that each whistle differs, even two from the same maker. Luckily, with more experience you'll learn to adjust to different whistles quickly.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:45 am 
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:o
malcolmbebb wrote:
Thanks again, all noted. It might be possible to drop in on Dixon's place, I'm down that way from time to time, or maybe buy something on line.


Good idea! Now you have to decide whether to buy brass, composite, nickel, or aluminum.
It never ends, this trip. :o


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:28 pm 
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As a bit of a follow up, I put adhesive tape over all the holes and can play a clean D on two octaves. So that tells me where to look.


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