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 Post subject: Vintage Gen C tuning?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:33 am 
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Hello all,

I've got my hands on a vintage Generation C whistle recently and it's very nice sounding and easy to play, goes even to the third octave C comfortably.
However, while playing with a mate of mine the other day, we discovered that the first three notes from the bottom up were right about in tune, but the three next ones, especially F, were notably sharp compared to another C whistle as well as a tuner. It was even so that the minimum breath pressure that I could possibly blow didn't get it in tune.
It doesn't bother when played solo, but pretty much makes it impossible to play with others. Right now I wouldn't lie much if I called it a C# whistle. :lol:

Just wanted to know out of curiousity if this sort of thing is common with (vintage) Generations, or do you suppose it's just a quirk of that particular whistle?
Might there be anything that I could do to get it closer to proper tuning? Maybe I could somehow get the plastic mouthpiece detached as if to make it "tunable"? I don't see how that would solve the problem entirely, however, as the tuning differences between the holes would still remain the same.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:00 am 
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Once you loosen the whistle head, pulling it out a bit should flatten the upper notes faster than the lower notes, so you could end up with the whistle nicely in tune.

The whistle head can be loosened with the help of warm or hot water. I haven't tried this myself, so I hesitate to give full instructions.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:45 am 
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My Generation C, which I got around 1980, came with the typical Generation thing: they shoved the head on all the way at the factory, making the whole thing very sharp.

I had to do the standard thing of dipping the head in hot water to melt the glue, after which I was able to loosen the head, making it a tuneable whistle.

With the head pulled out to the right place the whistle played nicely in tune except

1) the whole 2nd octave was a bit flat, very common with Generations.

2) the 4th note of the scale, F, was a bit sharper than all the other notes.

I did the thing of packing the head with wax to raise the 2nd octave, and putting a bit of electrical tape over the top edge of Hole 4 to bring down the F, into line with all the other notes. I then had a perfectly in tune whistle, which I've been playing ever since. (I'll play it in a concert tonight, in fact.)

Actually after playing the whistle with tape on Hole 4 for many years I bit the bullet, took off the tape, chopped the bottom, and carved out the other holes, to bring the scale into line with that one sharp note. Took less than an hour but now I've had a perfectly in tune whistle with no tape for over 20 years.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:29 pm 
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Thanks for the responses, fellas!

Interesting. Seems like I must give a try to that glue-melting business myself. And yes, the electrical tape thingy will be a familiar trick, as well, if it proves to be necessary.
pancelticpiper wrote:
I did the thing of packing the head with wax to raise the 2nd octave.

This is not something I'm familiar with. Would you care to iterate in a bit more detail what you mean by this procedure? Is it simple enough to do myself if it turns out that it's needed?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:01 pm 
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The permanent topic at the top of this forum called "Tweaks: The Thread" will have details on how to fill that void with wax or other materials. Many other tweaking tricks there too.

I have personally had better luck using poster putty, but I doubt it makes much difference what material you use as long as it stays in place.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:34 pm 
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Alright, gotta start going through that pre-existing topic, then. Cheers!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:19 am 
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It does, perhaps, take a bit away from the tone-quality.

But I noticed that other whistles have a flat face below the end of the windway, the bore stopping there, while Generations have a cavity underneath which extends the bore under the windway.

On flutes moving the cork towards the blowhole (shortening the bore) raises the pitch of the 2nd octave, and I reckoned that whistles might be like that.

Packing the cavity did indeed raise the pitch of the 2nd octave a bit. It's not a huge difference but enough for that particular whistle.

It was just something I thought up, and it wasn't until I joined this site that I found out it was a common practice.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:44 pm 
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Thanks!
I got the tuning pretty close to decent by dipping the head in hot water and following the instructions. We'll see if I'll need to do anything else.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:44 am 
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I ordered an approximately 30/35 year old Generation red top from Ebay last month. It was tweaked beautifully by Jerry Freeman. According to Jerry, this particular whistle has the pre retooling red plastic material on the head, but is actually a post retooling head design. At any rate, it's kind of a hybrid. Jerry said he's never seen a red top like this, but he has seen a number of blue tops with the similar combination. Jerry did his magic on my whistle.


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