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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:55 am 
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I like my Dixon polymer low D very much. It's a good price and is easy to play even into the second octave...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:51 am 
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Thanks for the very useful info everyone, in a way it's made it harder to choose as everyone clearly has a favourite or favourites.

A early Christmas present has raised my budget a little so I'm going to be ordering an Alba low D later today - can't wait :D

When I've gotten to grips with the piper's grip (so to speak) I'll post a non expert review from a fiddle player's point of view, that hopefully someone will find useful, or at least amusing...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:36 am 
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The other thing to add is that the Gen Bb is a dirt cheap gateway drug to the low whistle in terms of getting used to stretching those fingers wider...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:05 am 
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Good tip Mike, I hadn't thought of that. They really are cheap, I'll get one and with the high whistles I already have and the low D when it arrives I'll have the beginnings of an actual collection!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:10 pm 
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Yeah, everyone should have a Bb. In some ways my favourite whistle. I remember when I thought I would never be able to finger it, let alone a low D. But it happens.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:42 am 
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hoopy mike wrote:
I like my Dixon polymer low D very much. It's a good price and is easy to play even into the second octave...


For sure the first time I picked up a Dixon one-piece all-plastic conical-bore Low D I was very impressed.

It's got to be the most ergonomic Low D, a result of small and closely-set holes (enabled by the conical bore) incredibly light weight and narrow tube.

It takes very little air, and there's something flutelike in the voicing that I've not encountered on other Low D's. Really a sweet player all around.

For me the deal-killer was the quite flat 2nd octave. Yes it's easy to overcome it with blowing, the trouble is if you have to underblow the low octave and overblow the 2nd octave to keep the octaves in line you accentuate the already-present volume differential between the octaves. In particular you can't blow the low octave to it's full potential regarding volume and tone-quality; if you do, you establish a baseline pitch too high for the 2nd octave to be able to reach no matter how hard to you blow it.

As it is, you have to blow the low octave softly, making the low range too quiet for me. You'd be utterly lost in a session.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:22 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
hoopy mike wrote:
I like my Dixon polymer low D very much. It's a good price and is easy to play even into the second octave...


For sure the first time I picked up a Dixon one-piece all-plastic conical-bore Low D I was very impressed.

It's got to be the most ergonomic Low D, a result of small and closely-set holes (enabled by the conical bore) incredibly light weight and narrow tube.

It takes very little air, and there's something flutelike in the voicing that I've not encountered on other Low D's. Really a sweet player all around.

For me the deal-killer was the quite flat 2nd octave. Yes it's easy to overcome it with blowing, the trouble is if you have to underblow the low octave and overblow the 2nd octave to keep the octaves in line you accentuate the already-present volume differential between the octaves. In particular you can't blow the low octave to it's full potential regarding volume and tone-quality; if you do, you establish a baseline pitch too high for the 2nd octave to be able to reach no matter how hard to you blow it.

As it is, you have to blow the low octave softly, making the low range too quiet for me. You'd be utterly lost in a session.

I play the older straight-bore version and find that the tuning is spot on. It is quiet in the lower octave, so no ideal for a session. You can hear me playing here https://youtu.be/mIGesK2IuSA:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:29 am 
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Cool, I've not played that one, only the conical bore one.

Which, as I said, can certainly be blown into tune. There's hardly a whistle that can't be.

The question is, where in the possible pressure-range of each octave does each octave have to be blown to play it in tune?

On the two Dixon conical-bore Low D's I've had the low octave has to be blown near the bottom of its range, the 2nd octave near the top of its range.

On that tour Optima the low octave had to be blown at the very maximum pressure it could withstand without breaking up, the 2nd octave near the very minimum it could be blown without falling down.

I prefer neither extreme, but in the middle, where most Low D's are.

I'd like to try the cylindrical Dixon Low D to see where its octaves fall in that regard.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:51 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
For sure the first time I picked up a Dixon one-piece all-plastic conical-bore Low D I was very impressed.

It's got to be the most ergonomic Low D, a result of small and closely-set holes (enabled by the conical bore) incredibly light weight and narrow tube.

I own one of those conicals but with my carpal the absolute easiest fingering low D I have is my Sweetheart Onyx, Ralph made it for me with straight line holes for the lower hand.Does weigh a bit more than some but that doesn't bother me.

O' course that's not in the OP's stated price range.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:06 pm 
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So, my Alba low D arrived today - outstanding personal service from Big Whistle Music! It's a beautiful instrument with a striking fipple plug in deep blue and red (which I got to choose). First impressions after literally sitting down with it for 5 minutes after feeding the kids this evening:

1) The air requirements are just fine for me - this was my big concern as a non wind player, so either the whistle has low air requirement, or my breath capacity is better than I thought...

2) Fingering is going to be the main challenge and the piper's grip is trickier than I thought, but I bought it so I could learn this new skill, so that's not a concern. I also have a cheap Generation B flat on the way which should help adjusting to a bigger whistle - thanks for the tip Hoopy Mike!

This thread (and the rest of the forum) has been highly educational - thanks to all.

I'll post a non expert review once I've mastered covering those lower holes properly and can make it sound more like it should.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:43 am 
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CornishFiddler wrote:
2) Fingering is going to be the main challenge and the piper's grip is trickier than I thought, but I bought it so I could learn this new skill, so that's not a concern. I also have a cheap Generation B flat on the way which should help adjusting to a bigger whistle - thanks for the tip Hoopy Mike!

You're welcome.

I don't use piper's grip - I use my little finger to cover the lowest hole (rather than 4th finger). I've tried piper's grip, but sealing the holes is a lot easier for me using my finger pads, and works fine enough for me to be able to play what I want to play.

Enjoy your new whistle!

Mike

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