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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:19 pm 
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Hello all! A while ago I inherited a pennywhistle from my ex when we broke up, and it started me on a whistle habit. It's a rather well-used Generation nickel C (the toothmarks are neither mine nor my ex's, so I think she got it from a garage sale or something like that), and I *think* it's one of the earlier (pre-1980s) types. Can anyone confirm this? I've since acquired a new Generation C in brass, and the head doesn't look like it came from the same mould.

Pix are here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zhJiK ... Yxnh9U6YUY

Now, as far as my limited experience goes, it's a pretty decent whistle. I've acquired half a dozen more Cs and Ds after I started playing this one, but I keep returning to it. It's got a fairly consistent volume even down to the lowest 2 notes, it's controllable and sweet-sounding in the upper octave, and it's pretty well in tune with itself all around. But it's also about 30-40 cents sharp. As far as I can tell, though, the glue holding the head on is still intact.

So, my next questions: how likely is it that I've chanced upon one of the fabled "good ones"? More importantly, though, whether or not this qualifies as a "good one", is it something that it makes sense to keep in original condition (with the caveat that it's not anywhere near mint)? I hasten to add that I have no intention of selling it; I just like to keep old things in good shape, and usually that means unmodified, so I'd like to know whether that makes sense with whistles too. But as I mentioned, I do play it a lot, and it'd certainly be convenient if it were in tune with other instruments.

And then, if it does make sense to make it tuneable, should I worry about the glue or the plastic of the head having aged? My biggest fear with this thing is that age has made the head brittle, and trying to get it off now will crack it. I have no knowledge of how much time it might have spent in the sun or in other situations that might have affected he plastic. So I'd appreciate knowing if there are any special tricks for these things.

Many thanks to any who can ID this whistle, and offer any suggestions for its care and feeding!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Yes, that's one of the vintage models. I have two -- one I bought myself when they were still around, the other from a flea market and they both play sweet and definitely better than the new ones. But you're right -- the plastic can get brittle. I have one and the head cracked all on its own without me doing anything. So be careful if you're trying to remove it. I'd keep it as is.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:53 pm 
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Looks identical to the one I bought in Belfast, in 1975.

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 2:37 am 
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Opisthokont wrote:
.... More importantly, though, whether or not this qualifies as a "good one", is it something that it makes sense to keep in original condition (with the caveat that it's not anywhere near mint)? I hasten to add that I have no intention of selling it; I just like to keep old things in good shape, and usually that means unmodified, so I'd like to know whether that makes sense with whistles too. ....


For me, personally, a musical instrument is a tool for making music, no more, no less. And musical instruments have always been modified to suit the player's needs or taste (one reason Stradivarius violins have become so famous is that, unlike Amatis, they were so solidly built that they took well to the modifications necessary for the classical era. So they have been modified, and played, and I'm not sure whether any is left in original condition. But they are still Strads and worth millions in some cases.)

So I see no inherent reason to refrain from getting off the head. As for the practical problems - whether it's still possible with aged glue and plastic, and whether it's worth it taking the risk of breaking the head, I'd say it's a question of how much use you get out of the whistle in its present condition. If you can't bear the thought of losing it, then keep it "as is" for solo practice and take another instrument for playing in a group (or, alternatively, if the other players have string instruments, you could ask them to tune to your whistle. By the way, current concert pitch in most orchestras is 442 Hz, sometimes even 443. Is your whistle still sharp? ;) ). However, if the current tuning is a serious problem that stops you from enjoying the whistle more than you are afraid of losing it if something goes wrong - then take the risk.

Or you could hunt through garage and yard sales for another one - there must be thousands lying around unplayed (and most people probably won't bother putting a "for sale" ad anywhere).


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 2:58 am 
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So I see no inherent reason to refrain from getting off the head.


The already mentioned practical reason is a compelling one: the Generation C is a notoriously tight fit and as the OP said, the plastic does get brittle after a decade or two, especially when exposed to sunlight. Of all keys, this one is the one mostly likely to crack.

Best way to tackle this is to 'throw' the whistle into a wider tube, a Bflat will do it for a C, with some force. As underside of the head hits the edge of the larger tube, the force will break the seal of the glue and directed along the length of the tube, it will most likely get it off without damage where twisting will most likely result in a crack. Some care putting the head back on is required, because of the tight fit.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 6:28 pm 
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Hey, many thanks for the responses! I'm quite pleased to discover that my suspicion is correct -- this is a whistle I now know to take care of!

Kade1301 wrote:
By the way, current concert pitch in most orchestras is 442 Hz, sometimes even 443. Is your whistle still sharp?


Currently its A is about 448. So yes, it's still sharp, enough so that I have to tune everything else to it in my recordings, if I don't pitch-shift it.

But I'm gathering that I should leave it be, although I am quite intrigued by Mr Gumby's suggestion of "throwing" it into a Bb (which I happen to have one of). But I think I'll wait until such time as I have at least one other similar-vintage Gen C, as I really do like this one and don't want to break it!

Meanwhile, the prominent tarnish marks around the tone-holes in front and thumb-placements on the back are my own doing -- it was evenly shiny the whole way down when I first started playing it. I'm trying to relax my death-grip on it when trying to get an in-tune F# while playing fast tempi, but it's tough, especially given the nickel finish's slipperiness. All the same, I'm surprised at how quickly those dark spots have appeared (in a matter of a couple months!). Any advice for polishing them out, or should I leave them be as signs of a vintage instrument?

Thanks again!


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