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 Post subject: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:58 pm 
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Hello all - I'm considering treating myself to an Oz or an Abell whistle. Anyone have thoughts on one vs the other? One thing that matters to me: I live in an apartment, and my neighbors appreciate quieter whistles. I know Abells can be pretty loud, but I'm not sure about Ozs. Best, Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:53 pm 
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I have yet to try an Oz, but would like to. I would prefer it's longer beak to the one Chris Abell puts on his. Get an OZ Vambrace in blackwood or Delrin & we'll swap.

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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:41 pm 
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I owned an Abell and tried an Oz, both years ago. From what I remember they were very different whistles, both in sound and breath requirements. It's hard for me to compare the two. Both were beautiful whistles, and you couldn't go wrong with either. They weren't what I was looking for at the time but maybe they'd be perfect for me now, who knows.

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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:21 pm 
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I had an Abell set (D/C) dating from the early 1990's. Spectacularly beautiful and perfectly in tune, I found them to be not for me. I, for some reason, didn't care for the tone, which isn't too loud, but didn't sound like a whistle to me. More of a high flutey tone. I sold the set to a chap in Hawai'i (after playing them for a few years).

Knowing that I wanted a wooden whistle in my kit, I bought an Oz D Vambrace in Gidgee and Bronze from Mitch Smith. Introduced to them by Phil Hardy of Kerry Whistles, the vids on YouTube (or on the Kerry Whistles site) are excellent analyses of why they are such great whistles. The tone of these whistles is exactly what I wanted - the innocence of a high whistle and the warmness of wood. I liked the D Vambrace so much I had Mitch make me a black wood (from old stock that he had) C Vambrace with silver fittings. I don't think Mitch will be making many more black wood whistles, but he may have the occasional one available.
Having satisfied my curiosity concerning the sound of the D & C whistles, I saw that Mitch was offering a Delrin D whistle called a Visor. I bought one of those. While not adorned with all of the bands that are on a Vambrace, the Visor is a delight to play and is impervious to moisture and heat/light, and requires zero maintenance or oiling. I'll certainly buy a C Visor when they become available.

The most unique aspect to the Oz whistles that I've found is that they all possess a similar sound characteristic - a beautiful bird like tone that is solid throughout the octaves. And one last thing. I'm a strong blower, meaning that the squeaks and squawks that come out of some of the whistles I've owned (Copeland, Abell, Reyburn, Alba, and a long list of lesser brands) is a primary reason I'll abandon a particular maker. I simply don't want to baby a whistle - I want it to be a tool that performs consistently and predictably every time I pick it up. That's what you can expect from an Oz.

They cost a pretty penny, but as you may have noticed by looking at the used prices, they hold their value, and in my opinion, are worth every one of those pennies.

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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:28 am 
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Hi Flexismart,
How different in actual sound is the delrin Visor to the Gidgee? Does the Visor sound like a wooden whistle? Is there much back pressure with Oz whistles - I like the sound of wooden whistles but I like whistles that play without having to blow too hard. Cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:26 am 
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Quote:
How different in actual sound is the delrin Visor to the Gidgee? Does the Visor sound like a wooden whistle? Is there much back pressure with Oz whistles - I like the sound of wooden whistles but I like whistles that play without having to blow too hard.


How different in sound: Visor vs Vambrace? Not much, if any at all. There is a difference in 'feel' because the delrin is a bit heavier, and responds differently to hand warmth, but they sound close to identical in their acoustic nature. So, I guess, my answer to your question would be, yes, the Visor has similar sound to the Gidgee Vambrace. I have several wooden whistles, and they all sound different from one another, (i.e., a Milligan black wood is louder but also has a smoother chiff than other whistles, and for me is suitable in certain circumstances, and the Chieftain Custom D is !Loud!, but suitable if you need to stand out in the first octave or sans a PA, and is much more controllable/listenable than the standard Chieftain mezzo high D). The Oz whistles, in my opinion, have some of the characteristics of a top class Gen, or Sindt, with the addition of some warmth from the materials.

In terms of back pressure, the Oz whistles I've played all have the same amount of playing pressure (which might be why they all sound very similar). I'd say they are "standard" blowing - not hard blowing (as a custom hard blow Goldie might be), or needing a lot of air, and, therefore, a lot of control, like a Chieftain Custom high D. I find the Oz whistles to be uniquely consistent in air flow, sound, and feel across the 3 that I have. As I said before, none of my Oz whistles suffer from the 2nd octave squeak/squawk, but instead produce a consistent and pleasing sound throughout the octaves.

Be aware that these whistles are all hand made when you order them, which may take some time (unless Mitch has some ready to go). I've found Mitch to be an excellent communicator, who will give you reasonable estimates on delivery, based on his schedule.

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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:05 pm 
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I am no expert, however I would look to expert players when trying to decide on an instrument that costs $400+ It is my opinion that wooden whistles are better suited for people who have lots of experience/practice or people who tour professionally and use them for the tone qualities. They are certainly not traditional instruments, and the rare exceptions (traditional) employ metal fipples and head-joints and a wooden body. Sharon Shannon uses an Abell in concert as well as recordings and Tony Hinnigan does a good run-down of both Abell and Oz whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Flexismart wrote:
Knowing that I wanted a wooden whistle in my kit, I bought an Oz D Vambrace in Gidgee and Bronze from Mitch Smith. Introduced to them by Phil Hardy of Kerry Whistles, the vids on YouTube (or on the Kerry Whistles site) are excellent analyses of why they are such great whistles. The tone of these whistles is exactly what I wanted - the innocence of a high whistle and the warmness of wood.

Speaking of which, one used at the Irish Flute Store:
https://www.irishflutestore.com/product ... nze-high-d

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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:21 pm 
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I own both of these brands of whistles.
I have an Abell in delrin (though I've also owned one in Blackwood)

I have an Oz in Blackwood.

I haven't reviewed the Oz for my website yet, though I've had it several months.

Both are top notch whistles. Both of them have a bit of back pressure, though the Oz has more. The Abell has a more pure tone. The Oz is louder. I find the Abell easier to play, because I have much more time with it (and it requires less push), but I carry the Oz with me to every session in case I need the volume (and I bring my super loud Thornton in case I need an extreme amount of volume).

I wouldn't call either whistle 'better' than the other, though they have clear differences between them. One may suit someone more than the other, but it would be a matter of personal taste and style.

I wouldn't want to play either one in an apartment--you might want to contact Mitch and see if he can make you a quieter model. He's an accessible guy :)

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 Post subject: Re: Abell Vs. Oz
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:40 am 
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I'd say buy the whistle that suits you best, not the neighbors. Ask them what times it would be OK to play loudly and try to comply. Other times, play a quieter whistle. If you're spending that much money on a whistle it should be one that YOU like above all others.

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