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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:02 am 
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bogman wrote:
With the question being about the best low D, with all due respect to Alba I don't think that's the market they're aiming for, and that's reflected in the price.

According to Phil at Big Whistle, the Alba low D is close to being in league with Goldie and MK, which gives it some real bang for the buck. With that price/quality ratio in mind, I got one a while back, and I've been very pleased with it. Good tone, comfortable to play, good balance between the octaves, etc.; it ticks the boxes. But yeah, if you look at pro/touring players, Goldie, MK, maybe Grinter, that sort of thing is standard.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:22 am 
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brewerpaul wrote:
I heard of a whistle player in a local band who had several Overtons. He kept the heads submerged in a bucket of hot water during gigs!

Actually, I did the very opposite before I had my Overtons retrofitted with tuning slides - as they were always a good bit sharp of 440 Hz, I kept them in a bucket of ice cubes to bring the pitch down. That was 25 years ago, and to be honest, I don't remember if I had major problems with clogging - probably not, otherwise I guess I would remember - I do remember getting very cold lips when playing.
Anyhow, the tuning slide solved that problem for good!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:44 am 
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MichaelLoos wrote:
Actually, I did the very opposite before I had my Overtons retrofitted with tuning slides - as they were always a good bit sharp of 440 Hz, I kept them in a bucket of ice cubes to bring the pitch down.

I had three (A, G and low D). The A and low D were pretty well spot on, but the G was flat enough to be awkward and when I recorded with it we had to slightly pitch-shift the other tracks to match the whistle before shifting everything back again.

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Last edited by Peter Duggan on Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:16 pm 
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MichaelLoos wrote:
brewerpaul wrote:
I heard of a whistle player in a local band who had several Overtons. He kept the heads submerged in a bucket of hot water during gigs!


Round these parts, a buxom lady keeps hers warm in her cleavage. A high D admittedly but I think a low D would fit too.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:15 pm 
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busterbill wrote:
What is the latest thinking on the best Low Ds out there...


I've had, what, 30 or 40 different Low Ds under my fingers over the last decade.

There's a variety of factors I look for:

1) tuning
2) air-efficiency
3) ease/nimbleness of the 2nd octave
4) power of Low E and Bottom D
5) ergonomics
6) tone

And that's the order of importance, more or less, for me.

A Low D that was superior in all these factors would be The Perfect Whistle for me. So far, I have not found such! I keep trying every Low D I can, hoping against hope that the Unicorn exists somewhere.

What DOES exist in plenty are Low Ds which are superior in one or more of these factors but poor in one or more other factors.

I myself have ended up with a Goldie. It's not the best at everything, but it's not bad at anything. It has no glaring flaw, being at least good at all of the factors I look for. In other words each Low D is a system of compromises. It's up to each player to decide what he's willing to forgo, and what he's not.

For example one Low D make I tried had, compared to my Goldie, a nicer tone, more powerful Bottom D, and a lighter, easier, more nimble 2nd octave. Great, eh? But it took twice as much air to sound as my Goldie, meaning I was limited to phrases half as long. Not for me!

For various reasons the best Low Ds I tried over the years were the Reyburn, MK, Burke, Lofgren, and Goldie. I kept the Goldie and sold off the rest. My Goldie is supremely efficient and has perhaps the best tuning of any Low D I've tried. These are the factors at the top of my list. Also it's ergonomics are superior.

busterbill wrote:
tune-ability is important as is tone.


For me being in tune is far more important than timbre. Rockstro said it best:

The necessity for correct intonation is so self-evident that it would be unnecessary to draw attention to the importance of the subject, were it not for the unfortunate fact that many players consider perfection of tune as being desirable if attainable without too much trouble, or without the sacrifice of some comparatively unimportant accomplishment on which they particularly pride themselves, such as expression, tone or execution.

I would urge that intona­tion is the most important point but one in the whole range of the art of music: it may even be considered to include the playing of correct notes, inasmuch as all musical sounds depend upon pitch for their identity.


(Edited due to Rockstro's excessive verbosity.)

busterbill wrote:
Reyburn makes a whistle with holes that are placed for natural finger strikes.


I've not heard of that. Until you wrote that, I thought I could safely say that all Low D whistle makers placed their holes at the best possible compromise between the laws of acoustics and human anatomy.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:19 am 
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brewerpaul wrote:
Warm up the head and you'll get very little clogging.


Yes I've often heard that theory, but as I've mentioned before I live in Southern California and I always have a whistle in my car. On a hot day the car-whistle is quite hot (sometimes too hot to hold or put against your lips) yet whistles like Overtons and Goldies which have very narrow flat windways clog in a few seconds.

The solution of course is to use a surfactant, which eliminates the issue. I only need to apply the toothpaste every few months.

Low Ds with curved windways (MKs and Burkes for example) never require this, for me anyhow.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:04 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
1) tuning
2) air-efficiency
3) ease/nimbleness of the 2nd octave
4) power of Low E and Bottom D
5) ergonomics
6) tone

And that's the order of importance, more or less, for me.

A Low D that was superior in all these factors would be The Perfect Whistle for me. So far, I have not found such! I keep trying every Low D I can, hoping against hope that the Unicorn exists somewhere.


Guess it depends on what kind of unicorn you're after...

Image

or this:

Image

Looks like you've found the latter in the Goldie: even if it's not beautifully perfect in every respect, at least it doesn't utterly fail on any category.

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On a hot day the car-whistle is quite hot (sometimes too hot to hold or put against your lips) yet whistles like Overtons and Goldies which have very narrow flat windways clog in a few seconds.

Low Ds with curved windways (MKs and Burkes for example) never require this, for me anyhow.


Far from being the player's fault! This is simply a design feature of the instrument.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:22 am 
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"Far from being the player's fault! This is simply a design feature of the instrument."

Well all I would say is to that is look at live recordings of Mike McGoldrick, John McSherry, Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson, etc playing Goldies and see how often their whistles clog. As close to never as makes no difference. The narrow windway enables the whistle to play and sound as it does. To make people believe clogging is the fault of the instrument just encourages the workman to blame his tools rather than following the simple steps to prevent it happening.

Keeping the whistle perfectly clean, a bit of attention to the blowing style and not eating peanuts between each tune is al it really takes.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:48 pm 
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bogman wrote:
"Far from being the player's fault! This is simply a design feature of the instrument."

Well all I would say is to that is look at live recordings of Mike McGoldrick, John McSherry, Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson, etc playing Goldies and see how often their whistles clog. As close to never as makes no difference. The narrow windway enables the whistle to play and sound as it does. To make people believe clogging is the fault of the instrument just encourages the workman to blame his tools rather than following the simple steps to prevent it happening.


<shrugs> Never heard of em. Anyway, are they here to discuss? Didn't think so. Really it's just simple physics. A smaller aperture means increased propensity for clogging whenever fluid is introduced to the airstream. If some folks don't get much clogging, great for them! That doesn't change the nature of the design.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:29 am 
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If you ride a tall horse it's further to the ground than a short horse if you fall off. That's also simple physics. It doesn't make it a design fault of the tall horse. As long as you're aware it's a long way to the ground you'll put in extra effort not to fall off.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:14 pm 
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I have an MK Pro, which I like. You can really push it, taking the tone from fairly pure up into tons of harmonics. I haven't seen anyone weigh in on the Burke Viper? I've heard good stuff about it.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Musique Morneaux has a low D wooden whistle, I love mine. Easy breathe, lovely tone, no clogging issue.
http://musiquemorneaux.com/low-whistles/

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:07 pm 
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bogman wrote:
look at live recordings of Mike McGoldrick, John McSherry, Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson, etc playing Goldies and see how often their whistles clog.


Seeing those videos establishes that their whistles aren't clogging. What the videos don't establish is why they're not clogging.

There are two possibilities

1) the whistles are designed in such a way that they don't clog.

2) the whistles are designed in such a way that they clog, but the players are employing strategies to keep them from clogging.

What we can't know from watching videos is what they did to their whistles before the camera started rolling. They may treat their whistles with a surfactant. I know after treating mine I played it for months with no problems.

I did find a video of Davy Spillane playing where he's unclogging the windway repeatedly during his performance by holding a finger over the window and blowing silently through the windway. It's said that he plays an Overton with an extremely narrow windway.

Another thing is the technique some players of really big recorders use, which one Low Whistle player told me he used, which is to inhale through the windway as you play to keep it clear. It might not be apparent from watching somebody play whether they're doing this or not.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:23 pm 
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David Parkhurst wrote:
the Burke Viper? I've heard good stuff about it.


I've owned Burkes in a number of keys from high D to Low D.

Michael Burke does an admirable job of maintaining amazing consistency throughout this range of pitches- if you know how one size Burke plays, you know how they all play. They're great for Studio Musicians who need to play in a wide range of keys because you can just pick up any Burke and know exactly how it will perform. I've seen numerous professional musicians show up at Studio calls with rolls of gleaming Burkes in every key.

In my experience people coming from orchestral/pop/jazz backgrounds tend to like Burkes more than people coming from Irish trad backgrounds.

As for the Burke Pro Viper, what you get is a full loud low octave, extremely powerful Bottom D, 2nd octave that's a bit stiff, High A and especially High B that are just quite loud and a bit on the harsh side unless blown just so, great tuning except for the subtle Burke B-b quirk, a fatter tube than most Low D's, butter-smooth voicing, a clean pure tone, a large appetite for air, and last but not least a futuristic uber-shiny high-tech look. Show up at a gig with a roll of these and the orchestral players go "oooh!"

The MK gives you a more slender tube which I find more comfortable, much less air consumption, better volume balance between the octaves, much more complex timbre, an easier/more nimble 2nd octave, and way cool colours that make people go "oooh!".

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:57 am 
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Clogging issues have been well covered in forum threads. Yes, there are factors related to the design and materials of the instrument that contribute to clogging issues, while there are also player factors that also enter into the issue. Some people are just prone to be wet blowers and some people are dry (er) players. I've noticed in my own playing I start out very wet but after playing awhile, fifteen or twenty minutes or so I get dryer and makes playing easier without clogging concerns.

As for surfactants treating the whistle... is it possible the players are using surfactants, mouth sprays, beverages, that make for drying playing during performance or recording?


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