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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:43 pm 
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Clarke Originals can turn out wonderful with tweaking. There's some variation from one whistle to the next, but when you get a really good one, it's REALLY good.

Here's what to do:

1. Depress the windway roof to make it less arched, with the bottom (downstream) end of the windway roof flat across and as low as you can make it. You'll need to squeeze the sides while you compress the top so the sides don't spring out and separate from the wooden block. That will reduce the air requirement and focus the sound. If the bottom notes buzz, you've lowered the roof too far. Lift it up again just slightly enough to make the buzz go away. That will be the windway roof position that gives the most focused sound and takes the least air.

2. Straighten the soundblade. Clarke presses them into a sort of wavy "M" shape. That means there are only four points where the soundblade is in the right position and the rest of the soundblade is out of position. Inefficient for making music, efficient for making nonmusical, windy, whooshy sounds. Make it straight across and parallel to the windway floor.

3. Adjust the soundblade up or down to make it about a third of the way up from the windway floor. In other words, sighting through the beak toward a bright background or light source, you should see a strip of daylight above and below the soundblade. There should be about twice as much daylight visible above the soundblade as there is below it. Try different soundblade positions up and down until you find the one that gives the best sound. Keep the soundblade straight across so the distance above the windway floor is even from side to side, not less in some places and more in others.

You'll need to go back and forth between adjustments 1 and 3 until you get the combination that works best.

I hope that makes sense.

Best wishes,
Jerry

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:19 pm 
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Thanx for the info, Jerry. I'm sure it'll be very useful.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:35 am 
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My first teacher/mentor in Irish music, back around 1980, had a fantastic Clarke. When he was in Ireland various "name" players had tried it, one (I can't remember who, might have been Micho Russel, might have been one of the Keenan boys) declared it the best whistle he'd played.

My teacher had spent hours tweaking that thing. It was amazing.

I borrowed it for a week, and spent hours tweaking mine to play as closely as possible to his, by shaping everything as closely as possible to his.

Yes lowering and flattening the windway. Also changing the shape and position of the blade. His blade wasn't flat, nor was it the big wave that comes with Clarkes. As I experimented I found that making the blade too flat wasn't the best in terms of tone.

I got my Clarke closer and closer... finally around 90% there... but there was a miniscule subtle je ne sais quoi that eluded my efforts.

I still have it! (My copy.) I should take pictures and post them here.

I should stress that my entire goal was to make my Clarke play as close to my teacher's Clarke as possible. I wasn't imposing my own tastes or preconceptions but merely copying.

Were somebody to hand a Clarke to me and say "make this play as well as possible" I might come up with rather different specs, tone, and performance.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:55 am 
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I love Clarke Originals and their sweet and flutey sound, and I agree that tweaking them makes them especially nice.

So thanks for this, Jerry, especially the part about the proper soundblade height. The couple of times I've tweaked a Clarke, I've found flattening and adjusting the soundblade the trickiest part of the operation: what tool do you recommend for this?

One possible addition to your instructions is to put a dimple in the metal on each side of the block, or just put a small finishing nail through the metal into the wood, to hold the block in place. And periodically oiling the block makes it less prone to absorbing moisture.

I do think it's surprising, given the various high end whistles that draw on the Generation design, that there isn't a fancy version of the Clarke, perhaps with a Delrin block, a tuning slide, and no seam on the back.

Richard, yes, do post some closeups of your tweaked Clarke!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:18 pm 
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There are the Shaw whistles, that come (came?) in several keys including Low D, which follow the basic construction of Clarkes.

I've not done it, but I've often thought about getting a Shaw Low D and spending some time zeroing in the voicing.

BTW my old Clarke has three pressed-in dimples on each side of the head to hold the block in place.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:35 pm 
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tin tin wrote:
I do think it's surprising, given the various high end whistles that draw on the Generation design, that there isn't a fancy version of the Clarke, perhaps with a Delrin block, a tuning slide, and no seam on the back.

Think it's called a Copeland! :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:13 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
tin tin wrote:
I do think it's surprising, given the various high end whistles that draw on the Generation design, that there isn't a fancy version of the Clarke, perhaps with a Delrin block, a tuning slide, and no seam on the back.

Think it's called a Copeland! :wink:

Good point! And I don't know what to make of Shaws, although it's been a long time since I've tried one. But if memory serves, it seems neither Copleland nor Shaw quite capture the sweetness of a Clarke. (So perhaps there's no need for a fancy-pants Clarke, since they're so nice to begin with, especially after following the steps Jerry outlined.)

Long ago, I had one of The Whistle Shop's tweaked Clarkes: http://www.thewhistleshop.com/catalog/w ... weeked.htm I recall that it was nice, although I don't think they straighten the soundblade.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:19 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
I still have it! (My copy.) I should take pictures and post them here.


Please do!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:24 pm 
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Jerry Freeman wrote:
Clarke Originals can turn out wonderful with tweaking. There's some variation from one whistle to the next, but when you get a really good one, it's REALLY good.


Just to add a quick note to Jerry's wonderful scheme. I've found that the funky little tool they make for opening paint cans is just about perfect for lifting & pressing the windway of a tin whistle of this kind. Very cheap, too. Sometimes even free at your local Big Box Store.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:55 pm 
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whistlecollector wrote:
Just to add a quick note to Jerry's wonderful scheme. I've found that the funky little tool they make for opening paint cans is just about perfect for lifting & pressing the windway of a tin whistle of this kind.

The sort that has what looks like a bent screwdriver tip on one end and a triangular handle thing on the other?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:49 pm 
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What tool can I use to straighten the sound blade? It's in an awkward position as it is without removing the wooden plug to get some moe room, I think. Of course, I'm probably going about it all wrong, but I could use some pointers.

Thank you to all who reply.

With best regards

Pfreddee(Stephen)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:23 am 
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whistlecollector wrote:
I've found that the funky little tool they make for opening paint cans is just about perfect for lifting & pressing the windway of a tin whistle of this kind.

https://www.amazon.com/TCP-Global-Metal ... can+opener


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:29 am 
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Yep, that's the one I was thinking of. The one in my house is seemingly never where I last remember having seen it!

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