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searching for 'MK'
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Author:  stiofan [ Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  searching for 'MK'

I'm trying to find reviews of MK whistles (especially the Pro low D), but when I use search term 'mk' or 'mk review', the search results come back with:

Search found 7810 matches
Search term used: MK review ignored: mk

Any suggestions on how to find reviews here on C&F on MK whistles?

I'd also welcome any thoughts/perspectives/opinions on the MK Pro, particularly in comparison to the Goldie low D, which I play now. Here's the query I put out on FB yesterday:

Mk Whistles Pro low D: pros & cons? I'm particularly interested in tuning across octaves, Cnat cross-fingered, clogging propensity, and 'sweetness' at the top of the second octave (w/o straining too much to reach those upper notes). I've played low whistles for 12+ years (mostly Goldies, and Chieftains for a bit) but haven't ever played an MK, and am considering trying out Misha's Pro model. I've read a lot of reviews and watched plenty of YT videos, so just looking for some additional input/comments. Thanks! ... 718362715/


Author:  kkrell [ Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Hopefully these will help




Author:  stiofan [ Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Thanks Kevin! Not sure how you retrieved those threads (apparently) so easily, but much appreciated. I'll look them over in a bit.

Author:  kkrell [ Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

stiofan wrote:
Thanks Kevin! Not sure how you retrieved those threads (apparently) so easily, but much appreciated. I'll look them over in a bit.

Through Google: "MK PRO"

Sure, there may be other discussions including the Kelpie, but probably not really relevant to comparisons.

To have a shot at mention of both whistles in a thread, you could also search for "MK PRO" Goldie

Author:  PB+J [ Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

I'm not very good at it but I'll offer my opinions for what they are worth.

I started on the low whistle but switched my practice time to the high D. I have an MK Pro and an MK Selkie. Also a Howard and a Kerry Optima. No Goldie

The MK whistles are great, they have a very solid sound, with a lot air in it but they sound like a whistle. The two octaves are as close to exactly in tune as I've ever heard. The second octave does not have a harsh sound to my ears. The differences between the selkie and the pro are very small. Both of them are very consistent. Back pressure is moderate but I find them both really efficient in terms of air use. I can just go on and on. The second octave is louder but the difference is not as great as on some whistles, and both octaves "feel" the same to play. In comparison the Kerry optima has less back pressure, and sounds and play more like a high whistle and feels different between the octaves. It's a good whistle, just different.

The MK has relatively small finger holes and a relatively wide spacing between them. The holes on the selkie and the Pro are identical. I find it easier to close the holes on the MK than on the Kerry, which has bigger holes spaced closer together.

The thing I don't like about the MK is I find it hard to hold. I'm not sure why this is, it's likely a defect in my technique, or possibly an old hand injury, but my left hand starts to hurt fairly quickly. The MK pro is fairly heavy, and compared to the Selkie it's top-heavy: the Pro is a bit more unpleasant to hold than the selkie. I'm a tall man with largish hands--I can palm a basketball--and play the upright bass and guitar so I have a reasonably strong left hand, but nevertheless, with the MK pro especially my left (top) hand starts to hurt. I realize this isn't all the common so it might be bad technique on my part.

The MK pro has twenty small grooves milled into it, right where one's left thumb would rest, and these cleverly conceived grooves should give the thumb more traction and require less grip. I'm not sure if this is standard or not--when I ordered it I mentioned having trouble holding the Selkie. It doesn't do the trick for me


Author:  Wanderer [ Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

I own an MK Pro. I haven't officially reviewed it yet, but here are my off-the-cuff thoughts:

The MK Pro is loud. It is easily heard in a session.

Most low D's I've owned have been airy, growly, or have some other non-tone elements that are a large component of their sound. The MK is much more clear in tone.

It's a bit heavier than my Chieftain low D's.

It has very good tuning.

I haven't had any problems holding and playing it. I thought the thumb grooves might distract, bother or annoy me, but I hardly notice them when I'm playing.

The MK takes a bit more air than the Chieftain's I've owned.

I find it easier to play faster tunes on the MK, and I feel a lot more confident in the second octave on it.

I have a couple tunes that require half-holing, and the MK is very easy to half-hole.

The mouthpiece has a funny chevron shape where it meets the bottom lip. I do find this distracting sometimes.

Since getting used to the MK's requirements, it's the low whistle I take to sessions.

Author:  PB+J [ Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Believe wanderer over me!

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

stiofan wrote:
I'm trying to find reviews...thoughts/perspectives/opinions on the MK Pro, particularly in comparison to the Goldie low D, which I play now.

-tuning across octaves

Now I too play a Goldie Low D as my primary thing, so unlike those old threads I can address Goldies instead of Overtons.
I have found a number of different approaches to the tuning of the octaves from various makers:

1) a flat 2nd octave, meaning that to play the octaves in tune you have to blow the low octave more softly and the 2nd octave more strongly.

2) a sharp 2nd octave, so you have to blow the low octave more strongly and the 2nd octave more softly.

3) a middle-ground octave tuning.

My Goldie Low D has #3, as does many other Low Ds I've tried such as the Burke, Susato, Reyburn. The half-dozen MK Low Ds I've owned had #2.

For sure there are benefits and drawbacks of each approach; none is more "right" than the others.

All Low Ds have a built-in volume differential between the octaves, and the slightly sharp 2nd octave tuning of the MK helps to make the octave more similar in volume. It also makes the 2nd octave exceptionally "light" or easy to produce- there's not much pressure difference between the octaves.

stiofan wrote:
-Cnat cross-fingered

My Goldie has the C hole just how I want it: a perfectly in-tune crossfingered C natural oxx ooo but C# slightly flat and needing to be blown out. The MKs were fine too, but as I recall they preferred oxo xxx

stiofan wrote:
-clogging propensity

I never had any clogging issues with MKs, possibly due to their curved windway. With the Goldie I had to do the toothpaste and dish detergent thing, which is very effective.

stiofan wrote:
-'sweetness' at the top of the second octave

My Goldie has overall a stiffer 2nd octave than the MK, which I think helps High B, because you're blowing more strongly overall in the 2nd octave anyway. With the MK's sharpish 2nd octave you're blowing it fairly gently, and it's a very fine line between blowing High B correctly and underblowing it just a tad and it going harsh.

They're both excellent professional instruments, just very different!

About some things you didn't ask about:

-Overall tuning: My Goldie Low D has needle-straight-up tuning from Bottom D to High B including crossfingered C natural. My several MKs shared a common tuning quirk: Bottom D was a tad flatter than Middle D. Some had a shorter tube giving an in-tune Bottom D but a sharp Middle D, others had a longer tube giving an in-tune Middle D but a flat Bottom D.

-Bottom D power: For that honking old flute style you want a fat loud strong Bottom D. The strongest I've found have been with Susatos and Burkes. The Goldie has a fair Bottom D. The MK's Bottom D can be vague and fluffy, and if you blow it harder it breaks.

-Air efficiency: Both the Goldie and the MK were the most efficient Low Ds I tried (around 20 different makers).

-Ergonomics: Both the Goldie and the MK have nice comfortable holes slightly closer-spaced than some other makers.

I ended up selling off the MKs and sticking with the Goldie due to it being the best bundle of compromises, and not having any real Achillies Heel.

Author:  kkrell [ Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

I guess it's easy to confuse your mythical/mythological (?) creatures.

The non-tunable MK whistle is branded "Kelpie"
Wikipedia wrote:
Kelpie, or water kelpie, is the Scots name given to a shape-shifting water spirit inhabiting the lochs and pools of Scotland. It has usually been described as appearing as a horse, but is able to adopt human form.

While "Kelpie" may have Misha's seal of approval, the term "Selkie" is a horse of another color. :lol: Or is that vice-versa?
Wikipedia wrote:
Selkies (also spelled silkies, sylkies, selchies) or Selkie folk (Scots: selkie fowk) meaning "Seal Folk" are mythological beings capable of therianthropy, changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin. These selkie folk are recounted in Scottish folklore, sourced mainly from Orkney and Shetland.

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Author:  an seanduine [ Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Our first sailboat was named 'Silkie'.


Author:  stiofan [ Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Thanks all, for your helpful input.

PB&J, thank you for mentioning (and including a pic of) the grooves on the back of the body--I didn't know MKs had that feature, and will ask Misha if all the current MKs come with it. And thanks for your assessment of the second octave, which is definitely an important criteria for me.

Wanderer, I'm glad you commented on half-holing. There are a few slow tunes I regularly play that require half-holing Bb and Eb. And the shape of the mouthpiece will likely take some getting used to, especially since the only whistle I've owned with a curved windway (so not a strictly horizontal opening) is the Burke session (high) D I've had for years (and I consider low whistles a completely different type of instrument than high whistles).

Richard, I really appreciate your experience and expertise when it comes to describing all the various aspects of a whistle's playing characteristics. Thanks especially for the details about tuning idiosyncrasies and the bell note of the MK. The clogging issue is always important to me, since I've come to accept that I'm a wet blower, so tend to put more moisture into a whistle. And since I would someday like to do some recording of low whistle + cello (my other primary instrument), good tuning would be an important consideration.

I suppose the only real solution is to play an MK and Goldie side by side to compare them first-hand. As it turns out, I actually talked with Colin last night at length and may opt to replace the Goldie I have now with a new low D that's a better fit for me, particularly since the whistle I have now is 11 years old, and he's made some design upgrades since then and can offer a bit more flexibility (for example, in 2007 he only offered soft, medium, and hard blowers--now he says there's more like seven grades of backpressure options or "blowers”).

Thanks again, gents. I'll keep you posted.

Author:  PB+J [ Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Yes as pointed out it's "kelpie." I got my mythical animals confused.

My daughter loves the Cartoon Saloon film "Song of the Sea" which is all about selkie's.

Author:  Hooleh [ Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

I own and play a green MK Pro low D and a tunable Goldie low D, so I might as well share my observations.
(The reason I stated the colour is that I read discussions about whether the different coloured MKs differ in qualities. Personally it's hard for me to believe so, but as I don't know, can't say for sure.)
Mind you, these are my personal observations, so I encourage to understand them as such.

MK Pro vs Goldie:

- The MK is a louder whistle than the Goldie.

- I'd describe the MK's sound on a spectrum of whistle sounds as leaning a bit more towards a flute-like sound, whereas the Goldie has, to my ear, a more chiffy 'classic' low whistle sound.

- On the MK C cross-fingers as OXX OOO, and on the Goldie closer to OXX XOX (although the former produces a close-enough tuning with the Goldie, as well, especially in faster tunes where the notes are shorter in duration).

- The balance between octaves, tuning-wise, is very good in both whistles. The only thing I've come to notice as a defining characteristic regarding the MK is that the A, B, C and C# notes on the lower octave require a bit harder blow to rise up to proper tuning than other notes on the same octave.

- My Goldie requires a bit harder blow to get on the second octave than does my MK.

- I suppose clogging has to do at least almost as much with the player as it does with the instrument. Both whistles gather condensation in time, the Goldie perhaps a little more easily in my personal case.

All in all they're both excellent whistles and I really can't decide my favourite, at least not yet to this day. I use them for different purposes: Goldie is my go-to in solo playing and recording, whereas the MK Pro comes with me to sessions. All of the observations I listed above, in my opinion, are qualities in a particular whistle that are most of all matters of personal preference.

Author:  stiofan [ Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: searching for 'MK'

Thanks for the helpful comparison, Hooleh. If I could afford both, I'd probably have the two of them like you. Maybe so, eventually.

I heard back from Misha yesterday, and he explained that he purposely designs MKs for a strong(er) lower end, since in his view whistle makers tend to favor the top end over the lower octave. Maybe so. He also said that in his view, the cross-fingered Cnat is "as good as you can get," but that half-holing ought to be in a whistle player's skill set as well. Admittedly, I struggle at getting a good tone out of half-holing the Cnat, so often opt for some variation of cross-fingering. Apparently, the grooves on the back of the body for holding the whistle is standard now on the low Ds. I'm not yet convinced that the MK has what I'm looking for in the top end, but I'd really have to try one out to say for sure.

I think I'm going to go ahead and order a new tenor D from Colin (it turned out I found a buyer this weekend and sold the one I had today), and perhaps try out an MK Pro either in the meantime or after I have it, depending on how long Colin's waiting list is in the near future. Another option might be to get a Kelpie (either D or F) along with the Goldie to get a feel for MKs without going full-out on an MK Pro.

Thanks everyone!

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