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 Post subject: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:09 pm 
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I should have paid more attention in the 70s and 80s to the sound of whistles,but I didn't; I was paying much closer attention to bagpipes. In previous threads here, I read that the Burke narrow bore brass D, the Killarney, and the Sindt most resemble the pre-1980 Generation sound. I know this is quite subjective, but in your opinions, which one generally sounds the most similar to the pre 1980 Generation? My opinion falls in favor for the Burke. I'm not saying the pre 1980 sound was better, but in old recordings, they really sound good.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:37 pm 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
I know this is quite subjective,

It's very subjective!

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but in your opinions, which one generally sounds the most similar to the pre 1980 Generation?

No idea. I wouldn't presume to judge, but can't see how it matters. They are what they are, and you either like them or you don't. Same goes for old Gens, which I liked enough to sell my full set (they were just old, unplayed whistles to me). FWIW, I've never tried the Burke narrow bore, but have blown a Sindt or two and own a Killarney. I like the Killarney.

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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:46 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Tyler DelGregg wrote:
I know this is quite subjective,

It's very subjective!

Quote:
but in your opinions, which one generally sounds the most similar to the pre 1980 Generation?

No idea. I wouldn't presume to judge, but can't see how it matters. They are what they are, and you either like them or you don't. Same goes for old Gens, which I liked enough to sell my full set (they were just old, unplayed whistles to me). FWIW, I've never tried the Burke narrow bore, but have blown a Sindt or two and own a Killarney. I like the Killarney.


I used to attend Gaelic Festivals in Stamford and in New Haven, Connecticut in the 1970s, and enjoyed the sound of whistles played well. I wondered why they all played the same whistle with the red top.
I think I am a bit nostalgic for that sound.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
and enjoyed the sound of whistles played well.

Oh, I don't dislike them...

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I think I am a bit nostalgic for that sound.

But I'm not at all convinced I could reliably identify vintage Gen sound blind! Especially when you've got so many other factors (player, acoustic space, recording techniques etc.) involved.

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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:15 pm 
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I've owned a couple of Sindts and several Burkes. I do think the Sindt D had a nice traditional sound, but I couldn't get over the weight of the head. I have an old Burke Wide-bore brass that IMO has the nicest traditiional sound of all. It's not too clean, not too dirty, and not at all sweet. The Burke narrow-bore D that I owned was very pure and sweet, not at all like the old Gens I used to play.

I have a Clare D that I keep in my car -- the nicest inexpensive whistle I've owned.

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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:36 pm 
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Keep your eye out on Ebay. Pre-1980 generations can be got for under $10 (with shipping), in good, VG, and near-mint condition. The one quality they do not have on Ebay is the ability to try out a palette of the whistles to find the one that suits you. If you want that quality, I would suggest Jerry Freeman. He is talented, inquisitive, and constantly striving to improve consistency in his work.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:44 am 
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I've owned all of these at one point or another. They're each a lovely whistle in their own right, although I don't think any of them quite deliver like the pre-1980 sound you're after. (I think the plastic head is part of that sound--to my ear, there's a bit of a hollow quality, alongside the chiff and the sweetness.)
What the Burke narrow-bore, the Sindt, and the Killarney all offer is a sweet tone, some chiff (more on the Sindt and Killarney, less on the Burke), and an easy second octave--in other words, they're good whistles. (A pox upon wide-bore whistles!) In your position, I'd skip the silly used market for Sindts and go for the (brass) Killarney, a Freeman Bluebird, or a used vintage Generation (or a few).


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:03 am 
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I took a chance and ordered a Generation on Ebay. It was listed as a vintage Generation D whistle. The picture showed a tarnished brass tube and the usual red head. The price was $23.00. I have no idea how vintage it actually is. This could be a real jackpot or a bust.
The company selling it also sells other vintage items like old railway tickets from the early 1900s and they are highly rated.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:14 am 
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Quote:
(A pox upon wide-bore whistles!)


YES! But they are a logical development following (some) peoples' taste (or thoughts of how a whistle should work). On another live thread you'll see people complaining about 'weak' and 'quiet' lower notes on Feadóg (of all things) that have already evolved from reasonably balanced whistles to stronger sounding instruments with a shouty high end.

If you look at whistles from the late 19th century onward you see simple instruments with lovely balanced high notes and much quieter lower ends than we're being sold right now. Different times, different aesthetics. Ever since then there has been a tendency for each new design to go that bit louder (and tubes to widen in some cases).

I think at some point you will have to accept whistles for what they are, they can't be something else.

Anyhow, I am not sure about his ongoing deifying of pre 1980s whistles. Yes, overall the voicing was different, especially the sweeter high end. Does that make every pre 80s whistle great? Well no. Some features of the newer design were indeed improvements, but you gain some, you loose some. And, at the time the need to pick a nice responsive whistle was as great as it is now. Some were mediocre at best, some weren't great at all and the odd one was very very lovely, pretty much like today's injection moulded whistles. It comes with the process.

I also think that when some of the whistles are touted today as 'just like a good Generation' it is best read as handling in a similar way to those old ones, very few, if any, manage the same sweetness or je ne sais quoi they used to have.


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I took a chance and ordered a Generation on Ebay. It was listed as a vintage Generation D whistle. The picture showed a tarnished brass tube and the usual red head. The price was $23.00.


It's probably a good idea to familiarise yourself with the distinguishing marks of a pre 1982 Generation (hint: ridge & dimple). A lot of whistles sold as 'vintage generation' are not pre 1982. This one for example, sold today, is not a pre 1982 one.

You have to look closely and pick well.

Four generations of Generations:

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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:19 am 
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Thanks for the pics, Mr. Gumby. I wish the picture on Ebay were more clear. I'll know for sure when it arrives in a week. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a winner.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:24 am 
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I'm always amused by the eager search on eBay and elsewhere for the Pre 1980 Sound. I wasn't a whistle player then and didn't really pay attention to the whistle sound in particular so I'm not even sure I'd know the sound if I heard it. Older recordings and the technology of the time may have played a role in the sound of a whistle. Same goes for current day technology and recordings.

And, I'm further amused by the hungry search on eBay and elsewhere with the used instruments (whistles) edifying sales tactics with words: rare, no longer made, unique, pre 1980s Gens, vintage, sweet, chiffy, etc., all along knowing how subjective the item is as well as the sound. Do you ever see a listing for a crappy whistle with negative descriptive terminology? which might be more accurate to the particular item. Its "sales"! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:26 am 
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Unfortunately the bluetop in the pic doesn't really show its ridge very well so as an identifying aid the pic isn't all that great. You can however see the 'bulge' at the lower end of the window. That is another distinguishing mark, the one in the newer design is longer and extends further towards the window.

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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:28 pm 
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ytliek wrote:
I'm always amused by the eager search on eBay and elsewhere for the Pre 1980 Sound. I wasn't a whistle player then and didn't really pay attention to the whistle sound in particular so I'm not even sure I'd know the sound if I heard it. Older recordings and the technology of the time may have played a role in the sound of a whistle. Same goes for current day technology and recordings.

And, I'm further amused by the hungry search on eBay and elsewhere with the used instruments (whistles) edifying sales tactics with words: rare, no longer made, unique, pre 1980s Gens, vintage, sweet, chiffy, etc., all along knowing how subjective the item is as well as the sound. Do you ever see a listing for a crappy whistle with negative descriptive terminology? which might be more accurate to the particular item. Its "sales"! :D


I like hunting for a whistle or two now and then. For the price of a bottle of Jack Daniels, you may find a nifty old whistle. It's for fun; if it ceases to be fun, or if I'm tempted to break the bank, I'll pull the stopper. I must admit, though, the whistle, even the very expensive ones, are relatively affordable.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:54 pm 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
ytliek wrote:
I'm always amused by the eager search on eBay and elsewhere for the Pre 1980 Sound. I wasn't a whistle player then and didn't really pay attention to the whistle sound in particular so I'm not even sure I'd know the sound if I heard it. Older recordings and the technology of the time may have played a role in the sound of a whistle. Same goes for current day technology and recordings.

And, I'm further amused by the hungry search on eBay and elsewhere with the used instruments (whistles) edifying sales tactics with words: rare, no longer made, unique, pre 1980s Gens, vintage, sweet, chiffy, etc., all along knowing how subjective the item is as well as the sound. Do you ever see a listing for a crappy whistle with negative descriptive terminology? which might be more accurate to the particular item. Its "sales"! :D


I like hunting for a whistle or two now and then. For the price of a bottle of Jack Daniels, you may find a nifty old whistle. It's for fun; if it ceases to be fun, or if I'm tempted to break the bank, I'll pull the stopper. I must admit, though, the whistle, even the very expensive ones, are relatively affordable.

I get it... the hunt. And, I'll admit to purchasing a few used whistles even from eBay, but, I try to avoid the used market as much as possible unless its a wooden whistle. I prefer wood. I do fully support the purchasing of new whistles from the whistlemakers themselves just to keep the current craftsmen continuing to build and in business. Good for the economy too.

BTW, New Haven, West Haven, Stamford, etc., are my current stomping grounds and I'll bet at some time in the past I've heard you bagpiping. I'm not a piper but been around enough of them here abouts thru the years.


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 Post subject: Re: Pre 1980 Sound
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:36 pm 
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A fellow Connecticut man from the old days! I used to hang out at the West Haven Hibernian Club on Friday nights, taking lessons and getting buzzed on "occasion". One of their drummers was totally deaf from WWII! Good times.


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