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 Post subject: Susato Kildare redesign
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 4:43 pm 
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Hey everyone,

First post here -- I found you guys by plugging my question into google and getting no answers, so I thought maybe someone here would be able to help. I've got a set of Susato Kildare whistles (one head, three bodies: D, C, Bb) which I bought secondhand a couple of years ago. The head's become damaged, so I wanted to try and replace it. I contacted Susato, sent them pictures, and ascertained that my set were S-series, so ordered another S-series whistle on the basis I'd be able to use the head interchangeably. Unfortunately, it seems that Susato redesigned the S-series, so that while the bore is the same size, the plastic on the new one is substantially thicker and the new head doesn't fit.

Contacted the seller who said, yes, they did change the design but it was quite a few years ago. Contacted Susato to ask for more details and they were, to be quite frank, extremely rude and offensive, and also failed to give me any useful information whatsoever. So my question is this:

1. Anyone know WHEN the design change happened? (Five years ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago?)
2. And on the back of that question: anyone know whether it would be possible to get one of the old-style heads anywhere?

It seems a shame to throw away three perfectly functional bodies for want of a decent head. Having said that, I'm also extremely disinclined to give Susato any more of my money after how they responded to my email, so if I can't replace it, I'm taking suggestions for other brands I might try that would be similarly loud and clear-toned without too much of a price hike. I've heard good things about Syn whistles, but I'm worried aluminium would be too heavy for my wrists (I have chronic pain centred around my wrists/thumbs, so plastic worked well for me), and they're not cheap.

Thanks for any advice you can offer me.

Finn


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:51 am 
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fianaigecht wrote:
Hey everyone,
I've got a set of Susato Kildare whistles (one head, three bodies: D, C, Bb) which I bought secondhand a couple of years ago. The head's become damaged, so I wanted to try and replace it.
Finn


Hi Finn, welcome to C&F.
Do you still have the damaged head? Could you take measurements and post them?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:34 am 
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It's not just one design change, Susato has changed their whistle design many times over the last 30 years.

Their original whistles, from around 1980, were machined out of PVC stock and had wooden blocks.

Then at some point they started injection-moulding their whistles.

You'll encounter the same size/key whistle with three or four different bore sizes.

What is the nature of the damage to that head? If it's a split in the socket, yes they tend to do that.

I just glue it shut and bind heavy string around the outside of the socket, then soak the string in super-glue, which makes an indestructible socket that will never split again. Ditto the sockets on old Generation whistles.

About other whistles that play like Susatos, in my experience Susatos are an outlier and you'll not find another brand that plays like them.

About the weight, aluminium whistles are very light, they seem around the same weight as plastic whistles to me.

You're in/near London, I was just there and I popped in to Hobgoblin (near the British Museum). Do they have Susatos to hand? If so you could bring in your set and see if they have Susatos that match.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:31 pm 
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Hi,
Based on some brand new and second hand purchases I have done, they did.


I noticed that the brand new (as of 2012 purchase) has serrated joints.

I also noticed that in L-Series, the joint on the older models have 2 O-rings and no serrated joints. Now (as of 2012 purchase) they have 1 O ring and serrated joints.

I also notice that older models in M-Series have higher back pressure than the newer ones. Newer have the tendency to be smooth. I noticed the ramp on the blade is less steep on the newer ones.

For internal bore issues: The Older L Series has more Cylindrical Frame as my pinky finger can go through, newer (as of 2012 again)does not allow my finger on the end bore but allow my finger on the joint.


They also changed their Dublin Models...It is usually cream colored CPVC before.. now its black not sure if ABS.


Regards,
Angel

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:34 am 
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It may be worth dropping an email to Erik the Flutemaker. I believe he uses Susato heads on his whistles maybe he could help.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:48 am 
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Hi everyone,

Thanks for replies. The damage to the head is pretty subtle, but basically the edge of the opening has become kind of ... frilly? And it's affecting the tone. I have no idea how it happened -- it looks like it was in a bag with something hard that chipped it or whatever, but I always keep them in their case, so I'm wondering if it's just that the plastic has perished over time. Here's a pic from a little while ago:
Image
[Image fixed - Mod]

(When I emailed Susato about it originally they were pretty sniffy about it, saying, "It's sustained damage from vandals and cannot be repaired," so...)

They're all small bore (S-series) and the bore is the exact same size on the old whistles as the new (I measured), but the actual plastic itself is thicker on the new ones. I think they have the serrated joints that Angel Shadowsong noticed, although I've now returned the new whistle because it wasn't very useful to me.

I've been trying my friend's Syn whistles and I think I might buy a set because I really like how they sound when playing slow airs and they don't seem overly heavy. But still undecided on a couple of things and would like to potentially have my Susatos as a backup set if I can get a head for them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:51 am 
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Ouch, this labium (blade) does not look good... I'd say that the way it looks, you have nothing to lose and can try to smooth it with a very fine file (nail file?), or a piece of sandpaper. If it works, it would solve your problem without further expense. If it doesn't work, you aren't worse off than now (I've understood correctly that the whistles are unplayable with the current head?)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:39 pm
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fianaigecht wrote:
Hey everyone,
It seems a shame to throw away three perfectly functional bodies for want of a decent head. Having said that, I'm also extremely disinclined to give Susato any more of my money after how they responded to my email, so if I can't replace it, I'm taking suggestions for other brands I might try that would be similarly loud and clear-toned without too much of a price hike. I've heard good things about Syn whistles, but I'm worried aluminium would be too heavy for my wrists (I have chronic pain centred around my wrists/thumbs, so plastic worked well for me), and they're not cheap.
Thanks for any advice you can offer me.
Finn


I find Susato too as you say a bit loud and clear toned. I have an Eb, D and a C that I am keeping. I also had a set of Syn whistles (one head with two tone tubes). I was impressed with the head being able to play two differant tone tubes.
Do not discard your Susato head. I am sure it can be repaired.

I have sent you a PM.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:38 am 
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I agree with Kade- you might want to try fixing the blade. I don't know if actual Vandals were involved but the blade has been damaged by something for sure. I've never seen a Susato with damage like that.

The great thing about Susatos is that the plastic is soft and easy to work.

I myself would use a sharp hobby knife (Exacto or similar) and trim the blade until it's even, taking off as little material as possible. But now the blade will be, in effect, further from the face of the windway and it might flatten the 2nd octave.

More involved would be to build up the blade first, then trim it, if you could find a substance that binds well to the blade. Jerry Freeman adds to the existing blade, it works for him.

Or if you're handy you could cut out the blade altogether and craft a new one and glue it in place.

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


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