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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:54 am 
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Hi
I am looking for Low Whistles in the keys of C, B and Bflat, preferably made in aluminium, brass (or wood) by a reputable maker.
If you own a Low Whistle in one of these keys, you think it's a good whistle but you want to sell it on, please contact me with details and we could discuss it further via email.
Alternatively, if you know of a maker that makes Low Whistles in these keys and you can recommend them please forward me their details so I can make contact.

Many thanks

SF


Last edited by TheSpottyFox on Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:03 am 
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TheSpottyFox wrote:
Hi
I am looking for Low Whistles in the keys of C, B and Bflat... if you know of a maker that makes Low Whistles in these keys and you can recommend them...


I have excellent whistles in Bass A by Alba and Low C by Goldie which I can recommend heartily.

They're both remarkably good players.

I do want to purchase a Bass Bb from Alba. I've just not got round to it. I would guess it would play similarly to the Bass A, but who knows? I'm pretty sure the same tubing would be used, so the Bb would have a slightly larger bore in relation to its length.

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


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:06 am 
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I have excellent whistles in Bass A by Alba and Low C by Goldie which I can recommend heartily.

They're both remarkably good players.

I do want to purchase a Bass Bb from Alba. I've just not got round to it. I would guess it would play similarly to the Bass A, but who knows? I'm pretty sure the same tubing would be used, so the Bb would have a slightly larger bore in relation to its length.[/quote]


Thanks for your reply Pancelticpiper - I know Colin Goldie will do a Low C and below - a bit expensive for me at the moment however - his prices also went up some last year.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:39 am 
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I do have a bass Bb from Alba, and I like it. I'm not selling it right now, but I could recommend one as a very good value for the price. It's really less likely to drive you bankrupt even if you purchase one unused.

The tone is just the right amount of "haunting" and "airy" - if that's any way to describe it - just the kind of things I was looking for back when I bought it. I would say that the second octave blows rather easily, but it doesn't have that much 'backpressure' so you need a bit of lungs especially with long notes.

The only thing that was a surpise for me at first, as compared to other low whistles that I have tried, was the fact that the third tone hole from the top, that is, when two holes from the top are covered, requries much less air to produce an in-tune note than the other holes/fingerings. I don't know if it's a quality in all Alba whistles in general or just this individual, and it took a bit of getting used to. However, it's not a problem but more like a quality.
Of course, this is more notable when in attempt to blow in-tune sounds against a tuner than in actual playing.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:31 am 
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Thanks Hooleh - very interesting description of your Alba Bass Bb there.

Could you tell me how much further the stretch between the bottom two holes is on your Alba bass Bb? Say compared to a Low D? I have a Kerry Songbird Low D and the distance between the bottom two holes - center to center is 4.3cm. Edge to edge it is 3cm.
There's no information about this on the Alba website.

Hans Bracker offered a Low C / Low B set - one head/ two bodies and I was set to order but he told me he's not making at the moment.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:29 am 
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TheSpottyFox wrote:
Thanks Hooleh - very interesting description of your Alba Bass Bb there.

Could you tell me how much further the stretch between the bottom two holes is on your Alba bass Bb? Say compared to a Low D? I have a Kerry Songbird Low D and the distance between the bottom two holes - center to center is 4.3cm. Edge to edge it is 3cm.
There's no information about this on the Alba website.


In my Alba low Bb the distance between the two bottom holes is from center to center 6,2cm and from edge to edge 5,3cm.
Just to give perspective, the corresponding distances on my Goldie low D are 4,8cm and 3,7cm. In comparison, your Kerry Songbird seems to have very short finger stretch regarding that. :o

Anyway, at first the size of the bass Bb whistle and especially the bottom finger stretch was something to get used to, but having played low D previously it didn't take long.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:08 pm 
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Maybe that's why I find the Kerry Songbird so comfortable to play - maybe that distance is shorter than most other Low D's.

I just marked out the 6.2cm on my Low whistle - I'm struggling to manage that stretch - as you say though - I would probably get used to it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 6:21 am 
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Hooleh wrote:
a bass Bb from Alba... the third tone hole from the top, that is, when two holes from the top are covered, requries much less air to produce an in-tune note than the other holes/fingerings.


So I'm clear on it, would I be correct to re-phrase it like this?

"The note emitting from Hole 3 is sharper than the rest of the scale, and needs to be underblown to be in tune."

If that's what it is, it's odd because my Albas aren't like that. I have Albas in Bass A and Low E, and I used to have an Alba in Low C, and have in-tune scales, that is, if I blow from the bellnote up to the one-finger-note in the 2nd octave, blowing on an even breath (with of course the extra breath needed to get into the 2nd octave) the needle on an electronic tuner points straight up the whole time. (With my usual flute/whistle caveat about the open Hole 1 note.)

Now as we know the holes that are the most out-of-position acoustically on D (and lower) flutes and whistles are Hole 3 and Hole 6, the holes governed by the ring finger of each hand. These are the notes that do tend to be sharp and/or weak and/or unstable.

It's a bummer when there's one sharp note like that.

What to do?

The standard solution, the easy solution, has long been to tape it, which flattens the note to match the rest of the scale. Problem is, the very holes which often need the taping are the holes that are already too small, and taping them makes them smaller yet, and makes the notes emitting from those holes weaker yet.

The best solution IMHO when you have one sharp note in an otherwise in-tune whistle is to bring everything else up to the pitch of the sharpest note. Yes I have chopped the bottom of a whistle and carved out the other holes to bring the whole scale in line, whether there was just one sharp note, or a few.

Of course chopping the bottom is necessary on whistles where the bellnote and its octave are flatter than all the notes emitting from the finger-holes. (It would be ridiculous IMHO to play a whistle with tape on all 6 fingerholes.) But it's also necessary if you have to bring the bellnote and some of the finger-hole-notes up to the higher pitch of one or more of the finger-hole notes.

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


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:05 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Hooleh wrote:
a bass Bb from Alba... the third tone hole from the top, that is, when two holes from the top are covered, requries much less air to produce an in-tune note than the other holes/fingerings.


So I'm clear on it, would I be correct to re-phrase it like this?

"The note emitting from Hole 3 is sharper than the rest of the scale, and needs to be underblown to be in tune.".


Yes, you understood correctly. It's weird that your Albas don't have the same quality. That leaves two options, either it's my individual whistle, or the whistles in Bb key.
Anyway, that's how my whistle seems to be.
Of course - who knows - as all the bottom holes on the whistle are open as well when playing that particular note, maybe it's a "mix" of all the open tone holes causing the quality rather than the one specific hole. Although it's more likely to be mainly the one.

As for the solutions and fixes, it's not that much of a problem that I would do anything drastic about it. It's fine when I remember to control my breath on the lower octave (in the upper octave it's not nearly the same). Of course I could use a bit of tape, but that's about it.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 am 
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Pancelticpiper - you mentioned getting an in-tune scale on your Alba Whistles, where the needle on your tuner pointed straight up, right from the bell-note up through the second octave.

Is it reasonable to expect a Low Whistle to be perfectly in tune all the way from the lowest note through both octaves?

I recently tested a Low C with a tuner and I didn't buy it because I found the D and E in the second octave were quite flat and the A# in the lower octave (2nd & 3rd hole covered, top hole open) was about 40degrees sharp.
The maker of the whistle told me to throw my tuner away and trust my ears - I'm not sure how right he is? I think he said it was impossible to get the A and the A# (on Low C) perfectly in tune and that tuning across the two octaves was always a compromise.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:14 am 
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TheSpottyFox wrote:
I recently tested a Low C with a tuner and I didn't buy it because I found the D and E in the second octave were quite flat
This is one of the challenging areas of the scale, the lower end of the second octave. Not impossible, just more of a challenge. You may find it worth getting used to blowing a bit harder between OXXXXX and XXXXXO in the second octave.
TheSpottyFox wrote:
... and the A# in the lower octave (2nd & 3rd hole covered, top hole open) was about 40degrees sharp.
The maker of the whistle told me to throw my tuner away and trust my ears - I'm not sure how right he is? I think he said it was impossible to get the A and the A# (on Low C) perfectly in tune.
I expect he said, or meant, B and B-flat (A#), on a C whistle. These two are always a compromise. Richard has said elsewhere he prefers to have OXXOOO in tune, and blow harder to get OOOOOO up to pitch. This maker has taken the opposite approach on the compromise.

I don't care for the suggestion that you "trust your ears." If the note is too sharp, the note is too sharp, whether or not your ears are sensitive enough yet to pick out the discrepancy on an isolated note. (Mine aren't; some people's are.)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:09 pm 
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No I can't tell either if an isolated note is sharp or flat - I could in relation to the other notes in the scale but not on it's own.

And yes I did mean B and Bflat - thanks for correcting and your post.

SF


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