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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:35 am 
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Some seven or eight years ago, I bought a Walton's Irish Whistle that came with the book. I made some noise on it, but it remained largely untouched until last month. After some practice, I can now play a tune or two on it...and I'm now thinking of buying another whistle.

I know that Freeman whistles are held in high regard by this forum's membership, but they are out of the question for me at this time. So I am looking at the brands on the lower end of the price scale. Right now, a Feadòg seems to be my first choice, but I will not rule out Acorns, Generations, Oaks, or Clarke's (though that last does not seem to be held in high regard).

My questions are threefold. As I've noticed my Walton's can sound a bit shrill at times, would another budget brand tend to not exhibit that trait, or is that something I'll just have to live with at the price point? (In fairness, some of that sound is also due to my underdeveloped playing technique.) Second, are there any other budget-minded brands that I should look into? And finally, the painted and nickel whistles appeal to me...but do those finishes have an adverse impact on sound quality, and how do they hold up over time?

I appreciate any and all objective opinions on these matters.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:46 pm 
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Finally I'm not the newest guy!! I'm in a similar boat as you and just upgraded to a Dixon Trad D that I like. Probably cost you $35 instead of $8. Most people will probably agree that you usually get what you pay for with a cheap whistle but can occasionally luck out and get a descent one.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:31 pm 
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Some objective opinions:

1. If a Freeman is "out of the question" at $35 to $45 (you may perhaps be, literally, dirt poor?), I wouldn't suggest you even buy another cheap whistle!

2. With the Walton's, you're already at the lower end of the price scale, so I'm not sure that buying a random Feadog or Generation or Clarke will make things any better. And again, if $35 is out of the question for a whistle, I can hardly in good conscience encourage you to spend $15 or so on another whistle!

3. Clarke's are not held in low regard (well, perhaps the cheaper ones?). Like any whistle, they need work to play well.

4. You've only given the Walton's two fortnights chance in eight years. Perhaps give it some time? Play it a bit every day til after you've got Auld Lang Syne down pat, and save a dollar a day til then. If by the beginning of January you really want to get a new whistle, take the $15 you've got for another cheap whistle and add it to the $35 you'll have saved and splurge on the Freeman!

5. Then play both and compare!

6. I could be wrong, but I don't think there's a substantial difference between any of the plastic headed cylindrical bore whistles you named as far as general characteristics go. The caveats being: "Mark I" Feadogs and 1980s era Generations are said (perhaps somewhat mythically) to be more likely to be better sounding than later iterations. The Clarke, being a conical bore tin whistle, will naturally sound and play rather differently than the others. Apples and oranges. Also, the nature of its sound producing mechanism being malleable, it can be altered to give you a much wider range of tone, breath and chiff that the others won't be able to match.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:41 pm 
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whistlecollector wrote:
6. I could be wrong, but I don't think there's a substantial difference between any of the plastic headed cylindrical bore whistles you named as far as general characteristics go. The caveats being: "Mark I" Feadogs and 1980s era Generations are said (perhaps somewhat mythically) to be more likely to be better sounding than later iterations. The Clarke, being a conical bore tin whistle, will naturally sound and play rather differently than the others. Apples and oranges. Also, the nature of its sound producing mechanism being malleable, it can be altered to give you a much wider range of tone, breath and chiff that the others won't be able to match.


I've played a lot of the inexpensive plastic-headed whistles, and most of them are very similar to each other. Feadog's tend to stand out to me as having a 'scratchier' kind of sound to them. And I wish i could describe that better. But it's not a sound I personally favor--though opinions are completely subjective.

I think you're right--If Dan is stuck at the $8.00 price point, a walton's probably as good as anything else. Shrillness and other negative playing characteristics will work themselves out with time as he learns breath control, good finger placement, etc. I don't think switching to another inexpensive model will smooth out those issues that nearly all of us experienced when we were new.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:26 pm 
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Polara Pat wrote:
I'm in a similar boat as you and just upgraded to a Dixon Trad D that I like.

I had a gander at the Dixon Web site. Some very nice instruments there. I like the idea of the single body with whistle and piccolo heads. Though I would get antsy if I had to wait on a shipment from the UK! Is your Dixon brass or nickel?

whistlecollector wrote:
Some objective opinions...

Dang, you gave me some food for thought! I will extrapolate on a few things:

I would generate funds for a new whistle by selling off items I no longer use, need, and/or want. I have indeed been putting in some time with the Walton's, but I have absolutely no clue how to play Auld Lang Syne...or how to read music. And if I need to spend a little more to obtain a whistle with a mellower tone, then I'm probably better off waiting for a while anyway

Wanderer wrote:
Feadog's tend to stand out to me as having a 'scratchier' kind of sound to them. And I wish i could describe that better.

If Dan is stuck at the $8.00 price point, a walton's probably as good as anything else. Shrillness and other negative playing characteristics will work themselves out with time as he learns breath control, good finger placement, etc.

"Scratchy" conjured up the horrific fingernails-on-a-chalkboard sound in my mind. I hope I got that completely wrong!

I have been noticing some improvements in my playing, and moreso my ear (even if it's merely knowing immediately if I've hit a note wrong). If practice will eliminate the undesirable shrill sound, then practice I shall.

And now I'm curious: how does the sound of a conical bore whistle differ from that of a straight bore whistle?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:46 am 
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Dan A. wrote:
As I've noticed my Walton's can sound a bit shrill at times, would another budget brand tend to not exhibit that trait, or is that something I'll just have to live with at the price point?

Not so much at that price point as that pitch (standard high D). But no doubt exacerbated by inexperienced technique as you recognise, with the further caveat that I don't regard many of them 'shrill' at all outwith the very top register.

whistlecollector wrote:
The caveats being: "Mark I" Feadogs and 1980s era Generations are said (perhaps somewhat mythically) to be more likely to be better sounding than later iterations.

Wanderer wrote:
I've played a lot of the inexpensive plastic-headed whistles, and most of them are very similar to each other. Feadog's tend to stand out to me as having a 'scratchier' kind of sound to them. And I wish i could describe that better. But it's not a sound I personally favor--though opinions are completely subjective.

While I can't speak for later Feadogs (which I don't have), the Mk1 Feadog (which I do) is one of the most mellifluous whistles I've got.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:11 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Dan A. wrote:
As I've noticed my Walton's can sound a bit shrill at times, would another budget brand tend to not exhibit that trait, or is that something I'll just have to live with at the price point?

Not so much at that price point as that pitch (standard high D). But no doubt exacerbated by inexperienced technique as you recognise, with the further caveat that I don't regard many of them 'shrill' at all outwith the very top register.

As I don't think I'm ready to start playing in a different key or pitch, the sometimes objectionable sound appears to be something I'll have to eliminate through improvement of technique. I try to play one note in particular that sounds awful no matter how well I cover the holes or how hard I blow into the fipple.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:19 am 
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Quote:
The caveats being: "Mark I" Feadogs and 1980s era Generations are said (perhaps somewhat mythically) to be more likely to be better sounding than later iterations.


Earlier models are readily available on ebay if you fancy them. I see at least two Feadógs mark II for well under a tenner. Postage can be prohibitive, though, these days.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:36 am 
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Dan A. wrote:
Polara Pat wrote:
I'm in a similar boat as you and just upgraded to a Dixon Trad D that I like.

I had a gander at the Dixon Web site. Some very nice instruments there. I like the idea of the single body with whistle and piccolo heads. Though I would get antsy if I had to wait on a shipment from the UK! Is your Dixon brass or nickel?

I ordered mine from Amazon and it did come from the UK and probably took 4 weeks to get here. Check out some of your larger music stores, they definitely distribute to this rock. I contacted Dixon and they suggested a music store in Ontario that carries them. Sadly that's on the opposite side of the country. As I waited for the slow boat I practiced my ass off with my Waltons until it arrived. I won't go so far as to say that it's a game changer but it did help to clean up my overall sound. I'm in Canada, so it cost around 50 Canadian Pesos which seemed really fair to me. Be thankful you didn't get into vintage Irish accordions.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:38 am 
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I'll weigh in my thoughts... welcome to the whistle forum.

Yes, I'd agree to give the Waltons more practice, while the whistle is at the low end of whistle world, inexperience contributes far more to undesirable sound. Beginners often over blow the whistle or incorrectly cover the holes. Try blowing with minimum air while covering all holes until you get a solid note, then go up the scale for each note.

Also, seek out an experienced player locally and perhaps let he/she try out your whistle to see how playable instrument is.

Keep your whistling fun.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:52 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Earlier models are readily available on ebay if you fancy them. I see at least two Feadógs mark II for well under a tenner. Postage can be prohibitive, though, these days.

I did a cursory search on eBay (their US mobile site, which is rife with limitations) and didn't see any. You must be referring to listings outside the US?

Polara Pat wrote:
I ordered mine from Amazon and it did come from the UK and probably took 4 weeks to get here. Check out some of your larger music stores, they definitely distribute to this rock. I contacted Dixon and they suggested a music store in Ontario that carries them. Sadly that's on the opposite side of the country.

Consulting a manufacturer's Web site in hopes of locating a dealer is probable a better option than Google Maps. Veering off topic briefly, I'm about 20 minutes away from Windsor, ON.

ytliek wrote:
Beginners often over blow the whistle or incorrectly cover the holes. Try blowing with minimum air while covering all holes until you get a solid note, then go up the scale for each note.

Keep your whistling fun.

I will try giving a little less air during my next practice session. There is a good possibility that I was taking the instructions telling me to "blow harder to achieve certain notes," or words to that effect, a little too seriously.

Thanks for the welcome. Whistling has been fun since I started practicing a little more earnestly!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:59 am 
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I did a cursory search on eBay (their US mobile site, which is rife with limitations) and didn't see any. You must be referring to listings outside the US?


Best search 'Feadog whistle' (or whatever else you're looking for) and then selecting the 'used' category and from that the type you're looking for.


There are several in the US @ $8, $10 and higher. I wouldn't recommend paying more than perhaps a tenner for any of these, just have a look every now and again until you find what you want at the right price, they often go for a fiver or less. No guarantee they'll be great, they are what they are, although as a model/make they're usually quite serviceable.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:13 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Best search 'Feadog whistle' (or whatever else you're looking for) and then selecting the 'used' category and from that the type you're looking for.


That could explain why I didn't see those used Feadògs. As I browse the Internet on a mobile device, my ability to filter eBay listing by condition comes and goes (as of this posting, it's absent for me).

International shipping from the US has gotten ridiculously expensive!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:19 am 
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Polara Pat wrote:
I ordered mine from Amazon and it did come from the UK and probably took 4 weeks to get here. Check out some of your larger music stores, they definitely distribute to this rock. I contacted Dixon and they suggested a music store in Ontario that carries them. Sadly that's on the opposite side of the country.

Consulting a manufacturer's Web site in hopes of locating a dealer is probable a better option than Google Maps. Veering off topic briefly, I'm about 20 minutes away from Windsor, ON.

Dixon was very helpful and suggested that I source their whistle in North America since shipping would have been around $30. Ironically, it still came from overseas through Amazon. I'm not sure that I'm allowed to put a link up here but I like the Tin Whistle Songbook by Martin Dardis. I think he only sells it privately but it contains fingering and letter notes which is handy fro beginners like us.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:32 am 
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Quote:
International shipping from the US has gotten ridiculously expensive!


USPS prices are through the roof but ebay global shipping is outrageous, totally prohibitive for relatively cheap items. The days of getting stuff from the US are long gone.

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