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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:37 pm 
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Hi!

I was hoping that someone here can provide some advice as to which low D whistle I should get. I have a max budget of about 100 pounds or $140. I prefer something that doesn't sound too breathy and doesn't require too much air. Also, I might want to play with others so it must be tuneable.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:33 pm 
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I'm a novice and somewhat obsessed with hi and low whistles at the moment. I have a Dixon low D, a Howard Low D, and an MK "Selkie" low D.

Of these the Howard is the easiest to play. It has a very distinctive tone that is not at all breathy and is very easy blowing. I really like the tone of it by my wife and daughter don't, they prefer the MK, which is not tunable. I dislike the Dixon and find it an odd combination of hard to play and very timid. It takes very little air and is not tunable, so it's also off your list.

The Howard is easy blowing and brash, with a strong tone. It can get a little cloggy pretty quickly but it's easy to clear. It's light with large holes. My daughter, who is 13, can't close the holes even in piper's grip. But I found it easy to play from the start. 125 pounds new from the Howard website.

But please note I am a real beginner and there are many more knowledgeable and experienced players here


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:29 pm 
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Thanks! I'll check out Howards as well.

Does anyone play a Shearwater or Sasuto low D? Those ones are in my price range and on eBay.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:26 pm 
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Hello and welome to the forum!
You might enjoy Susato low whistles. I believe they're pretty affordable (under $100 USD) and they are also tunable. I can't really speak to the breath requirements, but I definitely don't think that you'd be gassed after playing it...
Cheers!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:38 am 
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kerrywhistles.com

Kerry Optima at £49.00 is in that price range. Rather low air requirement, looks and sounds nice. His tuneable one goes for£99.00

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High D's: Freeman Mellow Dog, Tweaked Clarke original, Chris Wall tunable
Low whistles: Kerry Optima D, Whistlesmith Low D & G
Tony Dixon D flute
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:20 pm 
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I've owned about 4 or 5 low Ds in the past (Howard, older Chieftain, Susato, and 2 Burkes - one composite and one aluminum) and bought a Chieftain Thunderbird (non-tunable) recently and I don't think I'll be getting another low D. It's a superb whistle, right on pitch, and could be used as a billy club in an emergency! Just my 2 cents...

Pat

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:23 am 
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Not sure whether anybody here could or should advise you on which whistle to get. From both my few experiences with tin whistles (high D only so far) and my far more extensive ones with recorders (including participation in a rather active recorder forum where people post about their selections) I know that which whistle is "perfect" depends very much on the player. The very same instrument will be hated by one person and loved by another.

I think the best thing to do would be to try before you buy if at all possible - either by finding a store that sends out several whistles "on approval" (i. e. you only keep one and send the others back - German recorder shops do that. For recorders, obviously.) Or by finding an event where several whistle makers gather. Or by finding an event where several low whistle players come together and ask them nicely whether you might be allowed to try - or if they don't want that for hygiene reasons - at least hold their instruments.

And low whistles are a bit too pricey to just write an unsuitable one off.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:59 am 
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Hi MotherofAllCorgis

Trying lots of whistles sounds like a good idea, if you can do so. The only low whistle in my collection that would come in at your price point and requirements is the Dixon TB012D (the Impempe low D is no longer available to buy).

A possible contender for your search is one of Kenny McNicholl's whistles. I tried his whistle at a session and it was very air efficient, (it is the only low D where I could consistently reach high C#).

Have a look at KM Whistles.

David

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:39 am 
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BigDavy wrote:
it is the only low D where I could consistently reach high C#

I don't understand this, Davy. (Don't think I've ever tried one where I couldn't.)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:42 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
BigDavy wrote:
it is the only low D where I could consistently reach high C#

I don't understand this, Davy. (Don't think I've ever tried one where I couldn't.)


Hi Peter

Of the low whistles I own/have tried, I run out of air at high A or B. maybe I need to do more Chi Kung exercises.

David

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:30 am 
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BigDavy wrote:
Of the low whistles I own/have tried, I run out of air at high A or B. maybe I need to do more Chi Kung exercises.

Those gungs,or kungs top out pretty fast.

Try stationary rowing,perchance? :thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 7:13 pm 
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MotherofAllCorgis wrote:

some advice as to which low D whistle I should get...

1) a max budget of about 100 pounds...

2) doesn't sound too breathy...

3) doesn't require too much air...

4) it must be tuneable...



Well that's a pretty tall order: a Low D whistle that does everything well, but only costs 100 pounds!

Over the last decade I've owned probably 30 or so Low D's from quite a few makers, and tried many more.

From all this evaluating I've learned some basic things:

1) there is so such thing as the perfect Low D whistle. No Low D I've tried does everything exceptionally well. Instead, the very best of them do a few things exceptionally well and a thing or two not so well.

2) you have to try whistles yourself. No review or YouTube video can convey the surprising differences between whistles, even between identical-looking whistles by the same maker. The biggest differences are only perceptible to the player, not to a listener.

3) the best-performing whistles have all been aluminium/aluminum ones costing around $300 to $400.

4) people use words like "how much air the whistle takes" to refer to two quite different aspects 1) the volume of air that passes through the whistle and 2) the force of air required to sound the whistle.

Since I perform professionally on the things, what I require and look for are the following:

1) plays in tune. This is the sina qua non of any whistle for me.

2) is air-efficient, that is, a small volume of air passes through the whistle. This allows longer musical phrases (more infrequent breaths).

3) feels good in the hands/ergonomics. The best whistle isn't much good if you can't manage it.

4) volume. It has to be loud enough to be heard in acoustic situations.

As far as timbre or "tone" I'm not all that concerned. I've played Low D's which were pure/sweet/bland and Low D's which were complex/gravelly and everything in between and it just doesn't matter that much to me.

Anyhow the best Low D's, to my personal way of playing and my personal feelings about how I want whistles to perform, have been

-Colin Goldie

-MK

-Reyburn

-Lofgren

-Burke


As I said none of these are perfect. I'm currently playing a Goldie because it's the best balance of compromises. It has no glaring flaw. Its intonation and air-efficiency are superb.

Yes the Burke has a bigger booming Bottom D, the MK and Lofgren have sweeter 2nd octaves, the MK and Reyburn have more complex timbres... but each of those have an Achilles Heel somewhere that makes me prefer the Goldie.

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


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 7:22 pm 
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BigDavy wrote:

I run out of air at high A or B.


Yes when I've measured air consumption there's one rate of consumption for the low octave, a higher rate for the lower notes of the 2nd octave, then a big jump for high A and a bigger jump for high B.

On some Low D's I can only sustain high B for half as long as low-octave notes.

It's why I love efficient Low D's like the Goldie and MK.

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


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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 2:48 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
.....

Since I perform professionally on the things, what I require and look for are the following:

1) plays in tune. This is the sina qua non of any whistle for me.

.....


As far as I know, no whistle-like instrument (maybe no wind instrument?) plays in tune over its whole range for every player. When I had my selection of high-priced alto recorders (> €500) I was shocked to find one completely out of tune in the upper octave. I complained quite forcefully to my teacher, and he explained that this would be the perfect instrument for people who do not increase breath pressure (as much) as I do for the high notes.

The two possible solutions are to either search until one finds an instrument that corresponds to one's way of playing, or to learn to play well the one instrument one has. The first needs money, the second time.

@MotherofAllCorgis: Speaking of money and time - if you have more of the latter than the former, you could try to build your own low whistle from PVC pipe. Here's very detailed instructions http://www.flutopedia.com/refs/Gonzato_ ... histle.pdf which include a plan for a low whistle. The results may not be perfect, but you should learn quite a lot about what you like and dislike in low whistles which should help with subsequent buying decisions. Or improvements in your own work...

Now I need to go check whether I have 22-mm-pipe, because I just can't believe that low whistles take so much more air than tenor recorders (which is my favourite instrument and I'm always pleasantly surprised how little air it needs when I switch from basset)...


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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:14 am 
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Kade1301 wrote:
As far as I know, no whistle-like instrument (maybe no wind instrument?) plays in tune over its whole range for every player.


Yes a professional tubist I know said "the perfect wind instrument cannot be made".

And yes the best-tuned wind instrument can be blown out-of-tune!

And a poorly tuned wind instrument can be blown into tune.

Yet after playing dozens of Low D's by a large number of makers I think it's possible to evaluate whistles on their intonation.

What I consider a "perfectly in-tune" Low D is a whistle on which you can play from Bottom D up to B in the 2nd octave (the traditional range of ITM wind instruments) while increasing the pressure as need be to progress up the scale, the increase happening at a natural-feeling steady progression familiar to all flute and whistle players, and each note being needle-straight-up on an electronic tuner.

Low D's I have found to be like that are Goldies and Reyburns. I want my whistles to be like that so that I can use my breath for expression rather than compensating for an out-of-tune scale.

The Burkes I have owned in various sizes (including Low D) have consistently had a tuning quirk where B in the low octave is a hair flat and B in the 2nd octave is a hair sharp. This is of course ideal for playing with uilleann pipes, but not otherwise.

The half-dozen or so MK Low D's I've owned shared a different tuning quirk: Bottom D was flatter than Middle D. The MKs varied in tube length, so that some had in-tune Bottom Ds and sharp Middle Ds, some had flat Bottom Ds and in-tune Middle Ds. But the pitch differential was always present. I ended up preferring the latter, and having to blow Bottom D right to the edge of it breaking to get it up to pitch.

Kade1301 wrote:
The two possible solutions are to either search until one finds an instrument that corresponds to one's way of playing, or to learn to play well the one instrument one has.


For sure it's true that if you have a wind instrument with a faulty scale you learn to compensate for it. But as I said I'd rather use changes in breath for expression than compensation.

For somebody like me, who shows up at "legit" gigs with a roll of whistles in every key, and never knows what whistle I will have to grab at a moment's notice, I don't want to have to be forever compensating for a dozen different faulty scales. So all of my whistles play the same, they all have perfectly in-tune scales (as I defined above). Some came that way, but several I've had to modify.

One thing that varies from maker to maker is how the octaves are tuned. You get used to that quickly, and I don't consider it a "flaw" if you have to blow the 2nd octave a bit harder than usual on one whistle and a bit softer than usual on another.

So MK Low Ds have a sharpish 2nd octave that requires the low octave to be strongly blown and the 2nd octave to be a bit under-blown. It's no big deal getting used to it. Some Low Ds have flattish 2nd octaves which is also no big deal. The problem happens when the 2nd octave is so sharp or so flat that you have to play either the 2nd octave or the low octave right on the edge of breaking to play the octaves in tune. That way you don't have "room" on all the notes for expression.

Most good Low Ds have the octaves tuned right down the middle which is where I like it. Goldie, Burke, Reyburn, Reviol, Susato, Alba, the list goes on of Low Whistles with that down the middle octave relationship.

Where tuning is often best revealed is "going over the break". Play low-octave B, C natural, Middle D, and E in the 2nd octave on a steady breath and listen to the tuning. On all my whistles each note is bang-on when I do this.

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


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