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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:42 am 
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I'm trying to get a better understanding of the relative merits of tapered (aka conical) vs. cylindrical whistles. From searching, I understand that a tapered bore can allow closer hole spacing, but I'm only playing soprano/alto whistles at this point, so finger stretch isn't an issue.

I've read allusions to better transition between octaves and maybe other playability benefits to tapered bores, but are there downsides other than manufacturing complexity and cost? Are the intonation compromises different between the two types? Cylindricals seem to be favored by most, but why?

My only tapered bore is a Clarke Sweetone. It is among my easiest to play, and the intonation seems above average (though I may be a poor judge--and I haven't measured it with a tuner). The other high conicals I'm aware of are: Clarke Original and Meg, Shaw, Susato Kildare, Carbony, and Copeland. Am I missing any? I won't be acquiring a Copeland any time soon, but wondering about picking up one or two of the others. But would first like to better understand the differences between these two types.

Thanks for any insights,
Jack


Last edited by JackJ on Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:57 am 
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A conical bore brings the octaves better into tune; that's why some makers, like Burke, add "bore perturbations" to cylindrical bores. Without such corrective measures, a cylindrical bore will have a flat second octave. Overall, my favorite whistle is the Clarke Original, and I think part of why I like it so much is due to how the bore affects the tone and playability.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:22 am 
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Tommy Martin (Thornton Whistles) makes his wooden whistles with a tapered bore- seems to really help the second octave- more balanced in volume and easier to play between octaves. Easily one of my favorite whistles...


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:25 am 
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JackJ wrote:
The other high conicals I'm aware of are: Clarke Original and Meg, Shaw, Susato Kildare, Carbony, and Copeland. Am I missing any?

Bleazey? Swayne?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:00 pm 
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Glad to know about these additional makers of tapered bore whistles. Would love to give them a try.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:07 am 
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The difference can be simplified to: Conical bore = easier high notes, zylindrical bore = more powerful low notes but problem with the top end. Like all simplifications it will only take you so far and there's plenty of exceptions, but that's the basics.

Personally, I also find my Clarke Sweetone the easiest to play of all my whistles (and the intonation is as good as it can be for an instrument where the amount of breath has a significant influence - I did check with a tuner).


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:20 pm 
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I test-played a Carbony high D once. It was very sweet sounding, with excellent intonation, but overall soft volume, not unlike a Sweetone. Nice whistle but I couldn't bring myself to spend roughly 10 times the cost of a Sweetone for it.

I have the slightly conical Dixon polymer low D. It's easily the most air-efficient low D I own. The sound isn't that appealing, in my opinion, but you can play it a long time on a single breath. The intonation is okay, but not better than, say, my Kerry Optima, which has a nicer sound.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:40 am 
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My thoughts on it are in line with a lot of what your post gets into, with regards to intonation, volume, and preferences. I play a generation red-top, brass body, and love it. My main reason for the switch was Mary Bergin playing one and knowing that I would be taking her class. The generation is revered for it's 'traditional' sound. It was the main whistle when good quality recordings started to come about and so listeners ears became accustomed to that sound as a sort-of benchmark. I have started making conical whistles using tin-plate and trying to find good historical examples to copy. They can be wonderful instruments, full of character, spot-on intonation compared to cylindrical whistles, with good volume and balance between octaves. They can also be duds. I have been able to get consistent results with some aspects of the whistle-making, while other aspects still elude me. Player preference is an interesting aside, as people play differently and want different things out of the instrument.


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