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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 1:18 pm 
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What does everybody think is a nice Alto F for a decent price? I am a bit strapped for cash but am looking to get one. Ideally I'd like to spend under 120 USD. The Kerry Optima F seems fairly well regarded and is in that price range and so has been on my radar, but I'd like to see what others think.

Anyone have any recommendations? I know it boils down to personal preference too so if you can shoot me some ideas perhaps I can then go listen to samples and narrow in on a choice.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:39 pm 
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Actually you could say I am looking for something higher than low D but also still in the "low whistle" category or sound, so I suppose you could include low Es. As a sub-question within my question, of the two (alto/low f and e) which do think is preferable?


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 6:44 pm 
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I have a Goldfinch Low E on order, so while I don't know yet, in a couple weeks I could let you know how it is. They've got some nice prices, mine came out to just over $100 shipped to the States, and their Low Fs are a little cheaper (I asked for mine in 3 pieces rather than 2, adding a bit on to the price).

As for which to go for, it really depends on what you'll be using it for. I have learned or wanted to learn enough tunes in Amaj that I've got a good few whose G#s I can't fudge or play around to my satisfaction. Half-holing and cross-fingering usually doesn't get you a really strong note, and so I've decided to get an E whistle to play some of them. Plus, I really like MacArthur Road, and everyone always plays it in E, which is doable but less fun on a keyless flute.

It's also fun to play around with old tunes and new fingerings. You can play a lot of D tunes with C fingerings, finding little variations and workarounds for the notes you don't have. Those C fingerings on an E whistle will be D again, so you can experiment a bit in sessions. Try playing the Silver Spear in "C," the Drunken Landlady in "Dmin," and other tunes a step down from their usual fingerings, while still staying in the right pitch. Gives your brain a workout!


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 6:11 am 
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I know many people regard those middle keys, the "mezzo" keys, very highly. I've heard people say that the size around F and G are the "ideal" whistles (whatever that means!)

Like any other size, you have to actually try various whistles to find out what playing characteristics you prefer.

And only you can decide that tricky "value" question for yourself. In general, of course, you get what you pay for.

I don't use F whistles very often and I haven't owned many of them over the years.

Projecting from Low D's (which I've owned a large number of, and yes I know projecting one size from another is prone to error) I would assume that if you played F's by MK, Burke, Susato, Goldie, Alba, etc you would find that each played and sounded quite differently, more differently to you the player than could be perceived by listening to somebody else playing them (say on a YouTube video).

So I would say, get your hands on as many as you can and let actual playing decide.

As I've said many times, the great thing about acquiring used whistles is that you can try them for free, because there's no difference in value between a four-year-old whistle and a 4.5 year old whistle. That six months is your free trial period. (Or one month or two years or however long you want to try it.)

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 6:49 am 
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For what you are looking for (higher than low D, but still in the "low whistle" range) you might want to consider a Freeman Low G. Only around $60 last I checked. I've got one and like it, but the finger spread to the G note is different enough that I have to get used to it to play each time. It isn't too great a spread for me, just different from the typical interval for some reason. I have large hands, so can still play it with finger tips, but due to the spread I tend to default to my old Generation Bb instead.

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 7:14 am 
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If you get the chance to try a few Susato Low Fs out - maybe at a festival or a shop - I'd definitely recommend that you do. Lower Susato whistles are very much nicer-sounding than their shrill high ones, I find. I've had a Susato Low F since 1999 which is absolutely spiffing. Finding a really good one might take a bit of patience, though.

m.d.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 5:34 pm 
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I wholeheartedly agree about the Susato Low F....My Susato Low F is on extended loan to a friend of mine....the same friend that somehow misplaced the head to my Eb/D/C Water Weasel set :( ...It is a great player and he loves it as well....I play an MK Low F and I quite like it...it has prolly a "dirtier" sound than the Susato...the Susato is definitely a lovely player though..it is approx. 20+ years old.


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 5:55 am 
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I too think that Susatos get better as they get lower.

I've never cared for the high ones. But the middle ones I had in A, G, and F were all good players.

IMHO the biggest ones were the best- the Low D and especially the Low C.

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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 7:41 am 
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Amergin wrote:
Actually you could say I am looking for something higher than low D but also still in the "low whistle" category or sound, so I suppose you could include low Es. As a sub-question within my question, of the two (alto/low f and e) which do think is preferable?


I honestly have never understood why E whistles aren’t more popular for playing in A. Pretty sure I’ve even made a thread about it before!


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 8:28 am 
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I agree Richard...the Low D Susato' s I've owned were all good...particularly the one that had the wooden block....sold that one to an eager young player and had TWO lost by yet another friend who I foolishly loaned them to...the Low C, somehow itself gone missing :( was also a very nice player....as is my Eb Susato that is on yet another extended loan...

Amergin, after recently acquiring a Kerry Low E, I too wonder why it is not a more popular key...I'm finding I use it often enough with box players...makes playing difficult A tunes a little easier as one could use the E and use G fingering...am it finding this out now....take Walsh's Hornpipe for example..it , like others, can be played with both fingering...nice option to have...another is The Moving Cloud Reel....most recently picked it up as the recording I liked (Benny McCarthy) is in A and I've tried to learn it on a D whistle...so much easier on an E whistle...DeDanan's Loftus Jones also came much easier on the E..etc,etc...I'll look up the thread.


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 8:57 am 
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I've been preaching the low E for a long time too. I mean, low F is a nice whistle key, but in my experience almost the only time I ever need to play it is when trying to play along with recordings where they used a low F! IME in sessions, low E is vastly more useful. And they're quite fun to play, too.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:00 pm 
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Thomaston wrote:
I honestly have never understood why E whistles aren’t more popular for playing in A. Pretty sure I’ve even made a thread about it before!


I love using a Low E whistle for playing in A Major. And in E Major, which comes up in Church music quite a bit.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:02 am 
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A word of warning about the Kerry Optima F: it is loud. I almost ruined my ears playing in the kitchen. So a bigger room is ideal. The sound is great. I got a Shearwater alto G yesterday (have a alto F and low D incoming as well) and it is awesome. Very predictable whistle. No squeaking or squealing. Easy to play. A great whistle especially considering the price but it doesn't need to fear comparison to more expensive ones. I highly recommend that brand.


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