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 Post subject: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:10 am 
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Do really good whistle players use wood. As a beginner I want to try as many different whistles as I can because one day I sort of think - even though it’s nonsense - that there might be whistle out there that will make me play better. On that basis I recently bought a wooden Erle Bartlett high D made of Australian Blackwood. Polished with a bit of macadamia oil it looks great and to me it has a really nice complex full bodied sound and is easier than other whistles I have on the ears when playing the higher notes of the upper octave. I can only compare it to a couple of cheapies I started on followed by a Brass Killarney and a set of Aluminium Syn Whistles. At this point the wood is my favourite. I am interested in whether traditional Irish players take wood to sessions or use wood when performing.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:20 am 
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I am interested in whether traditional Irish players take wood to sessions or use wood when performing.


They are very few, I can think of the late John Killourhy as an old style example and more contemporary there's Peter Phelan, Kevin Crawford plays his Grinter in concert and I can probably think of a small number of other Irish examples but in general, they are few and far between.

Wooden whistles have been made in Ireland, the Lon Dubh for example, but they have never taken off to any large extend.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:03 am 
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There are a few excellent whistlers who use wood. But, as Mr. Gumby said, there aren't that many. James Galway I think played an Abell a few years ago. I believe other wooden whistlers would include Julie Fowlis, Sharon Shannon, Joanie Madden (sometimes), and even Mary Bergin at one point. It's not like people really mind wooden whistles, it's more that many traditionalists and older listeners really enjoy the traditional, "pure-drop" sound like a generation or sindt. I prefer the sound of wooden whistles myself, but I also keep pure-drop whistles in my arsenal.
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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:51 am 
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There is quite a few whistlemakers using various woods so somebody's playing them. Really good whistlers... professionals that travel extensively may prefer other whistle materials for travelling and to varying climates. The wooden whistles may not be preferred for international travel with the CITES restrictions, while some professionals do.

Enjoy your wooden Erle Bartlett high D made of Australian Blackwood.

Search for Roy McManus and other whistlemakers for wood whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:49 am 
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ytliek wrote:
Really good whistlers... professionals that travel extensively may prefer other whistle materials for travelling and to varying climates. The wooden whistles may not be preferred for international travel with the CITES restrictions, while some professionals do..


That's a really good point. As a general rule when performing, regardless of the wood restrictions, I keep my backup Susato Kildare in my back pocket, and trust me, it has saved me on multiple occasions. As far as CITES goes, I believe you are allowed in most countries to take whistles made from dymondwood (a wood/epoxy laminate), though they are super finnicky about what wood veneers you have a.k.a. I believe you could travel with a birch/epoxy dymondwood, but not a cocobolo dymondwood. Also, I heard somewhere that ash tree woods are restricted due to some parasite that many of them carry, but don't quote me on it. Usually, I try and have someone else figure all this out for me, but I believe that is a general rule to keep in the back of one's head.
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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:59 am 
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The wooden whistles may not be preferred for international travel with the CITES restrictions


Isn't it the case CITES limits wood being sold across borders but allows travel with instruments for personal use? Pipers and fluteplayers are still traveling with their instruments, for example.

I don't think people are not playing wooden whistles for those reasons. I very very rarely see them played in Ireland and even more rarely by players of note.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Isn't it the case CITES limits wood being sold across borders but allows travel with instruments for personal use?

Yup, it looks like as long as the weight is under 22 lbs. (10 kg).

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:14 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
I don't think people are not playing wooden whistles for those reasons. I very very rarely see them played in Ireland and even more rarely by players of note.

Yes, there really aren't that many wooden whistlers. But there definitely was a trend about 5-10 years ago, I would say. I almost wonder if the metal whistles (particularly Burke) were responsible for ending it. Nowadays, it seems like most people play either Sindts (or possibly Killarneys) and/or Burkes. A few overtons and chieftains here and there as well. I see fewer and fewer whistlers who play inexpensive whistles like generation, which disappoints me somewhat.
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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:10 am 
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I have recently acquired Anak whistles from Korea. The head is made of wood and the body is made of aluminum, which make them something of a hybrid. The tone is very sweet and clear. The Reyburns used to have wooden heads with brass bodies, which I always admired. The Anak is a very good whistle for those who want the sweet tone of wood and the maintenance ease of aluminum.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:16 am 
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the sweet tone of wood


Interesting you say that, I always think of wooden whistles as having a hard edge to their tone, not sweet at all. And all wooden whistles I have come across had that characteristic so I don't think it's a figment of my imagination.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:12 am 
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I have several ''Whistles of Wood''. :thumbsup: There are persons that like them and hear a differance.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:53 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
the sweet tone of wood


Interesting you say that, I always think of wooden whistles as having a hard edge to their tone, not sweet at all. And all wooden whistles I have come across had that characteristic so I don't think it's a figment of my imagination.


Oddly, I've heard wooden whistles that did sound a bit edgy, but I've also heard some that are very sweet. I once had a wooden Morneaux high D with 8 holes that was really sweet, but I sold it because it had more holes than I could handle. The Anak seems to combine the best of both worlds in my opinion. To my ears, it's the one of the sweeter ones I've played. It could be the combination of the hardwood head and the aluminum body. On the Anak sound samples on YouTube, their all metal whistles don't sound quite as sweet. On the other hand, my admiration of the now hard-to-get early Reyburns may have colored my opinion. I'll say this though, the Anak is a wonderful instrument and a pleasure to play if you like a very sweet tone. For the metallic, old school sound, I have the Killarney. By the way, Peter, I'm curious to hear sound samples of your Killarney C. My impression is that you were not too fond of it. I have a feeling the all brass C would feel a bit clunky. By the way,my Anak C is less sweet than my D, which I rather like, while the mezzo A is similar to the D in its sweet tone.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:02 pm 
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Ofcourse there are people who like wooden whistles. And I too definitely hear a difference. :P

And for my trouble, after saying I rarely see any, we went out for Japanese food in Ennis just now and afterward found a guy busking with a wooden whistle outside Dunnes stores. It had that hard edge I mentioned too.

I listened to clips of the Anaks when they were first advertised and the first impression was I liked them well enough but they are eye-wateringly expensive so they are well outside my range.

The Killarney C. That's probably best kept for another thread,. I'll see about a clip, it's been one draining and emotional week, I'll have to see how it goes and play it by ear, as it were.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:19 pm 
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Unfettered as I am by any risk of ever becoming a whistler of international note.... I like everything about wooden whistles, but don't have any yet. I'm a wood guy; cabinetmaker. I have lots of respect for a number of people making wooden whistles, and I've always been drawn especially to David Boisvert's whistles for some reason, but haven't had the extra funds. I play flute too, and I'm not sure why, but I have spent a lot more time looking into how to make wooden flutes, than whistles. I should have a go at making some. I have some decent metal whistles. I do like the sound of wood whistles when I have had the chance to hear them.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:25 pm 
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Sharon Shannon plays a wooden whistle.


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