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 Post subject: making the whistle quiet
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:11 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:30 am
Posts: 3
Hello everyone, I am a novice whistler and quiet on the forum.

Ceolachan posted a trick to quiet a whistle on the Session (10 years ago!) and I wanted to share with all the other new players that have volume concerns like me.

“Fipple players have muted their whistles for ages, and not by buying anything. The blue tack thing is new, but if you use blue tack it will eventually leave a dye trace. The ‘old’ way that still works is just get any old piece of castaway plastic (or cardboard), like a margarine tub. Now get some scissors and cut a strip as wide as the windway window on your whistle, maybe 2 or 3 inches in length. Bend it over, like a V, but with one leg half as long as the other. Now slide the smaller leg into the window, away from you, and set it over the knife edge, that beveled bit of plastic that cuts your wind and makes the sound. You can then bend it again a little ways down so the longer leg lies against and in line with the whistle rather than sticking out.”

This was my reply:

…thank you! your “V” trick works great. I can’t believe it. I had tried the blue-tac but it did not work for me. I am a longtime highland bagpiper that was bit by the whistle bug about a year ago. Ironically, I am just now having noise issues, and the “V” fixed that completely. He wrote;

My family rarely complained when I would practice the pipes in the basement. Granted, I would try to pick the best times possible (when nobody is home), but it is still incredibly loud, and it was mainly for competitions, so they gave me a bit of a break if they were home.

I think I got to a decent journeyman level on the bagpipes years ago because I obsessively played an electronic chanter when commuting. This allowed for the fingering and memorization, and I could just get on the big pipes at times when nobody was home or outside. I never really worked the practice chanter much, which is supposedly taboo in highland piping-but it worked for me.

Now I am a novice whistle player. Starting on a new instrument at 50 years old really kills any ego that you may have, but I love it! I did not have much noise issues with the Low D (Kerry Optima) that I started on or even a Freeman tweaked Generation Bb, but I have recently gone to the “high” D whistle (Susato-wow is it loud). It really screams through the drywall!!!

So, thank you. I am very grateful. I hope other beginners see this post before they possibly get discouraged with worry over bothering others-use this trick and you can play just about anywhere.

Just throwing this out there -my favorite players are Donncha O’Briain, Liam O’Flynn, Fred Morrison, Ross Ainslie, Matt MacIsaak, Phil Hardy (his instructional videos got me started), and my highland piping teacher who is also a whistle player, Neil Clark.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:16 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
Posts: 96
I recently ordered an Arduino board and a couple types of sensors. I want to see if I can make a silent practice whistle. I'm not optimistic about my abilities, but we'll see

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:04 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:26 pm
Posts: 7
Dave, I don’t suppose you could post a photo or drawing, could you? Maybe it’s early but I’m having a hard time visualizing...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:47 am
Posts: 131
Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
Sounds to me like a strip of cardboard/plastic, the width of the fipple/sound hole, put a fold in it one third of it's length, slot it through/into the whistle, covering the edge of the fipple/blade, then just fold down the excess, so that it isn't sticking up in the air - but I could be wrong. :D

Edit: Just tried with a bit of paper & it did quieten my high D (Generation nickel) a bit.

Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.

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