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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:17 pm 
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Get all of good Jerry’s whistles. They are all wonderful, and make you want to practice longer.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:46 pm 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
Get all of good Jerry’s whistles. They are all wonderful, and make you want to practice longer.


Well, at this point I have to work on getting a decent sound out of the Mellow Dog. Because so far, for me, it's not working. Or at least not as I thought it would be


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:57 pm 
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MichaelRS wrote:
Well, at this point I have to work on getting a decent sound out of the Mellow Dog. Because so far, for me, it's not working. Or at least not as I thought it would be

I've never seen an unplayable Freeman whistle. Doesn't mean there haven't been any, but they must be few and far between. Jerry tests each one that goes out the door and I've always recommended them for beginners so's they know problems aren't the fault of the whistle. They may not be the ultimate whistle for every player, but they make a very good starting point to learn on and from.

If you're having difficulty there seem to me to be three options:
1) send it back and get Jerry's opinion
2) find a local, experienced whistler and let her/him try it (check local sessions in your area—there should be some in Orange County)
3) just take one whistle and play it carefully (start with long tones and those boring scales and make every note sound as good as you can—learn to make the whistle sound good before trying to make tunes sound good). Messing about with a bunch of somewhat different whistle won't teach you to make one whistle sound good.

Them's my thoughts.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:49 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
MichaelRS wrote:
Well, at this point I have to work on getting a decent sound out of the Mellow Dog. Because so far, for me, it's not working. Or at least not as I thought it would be

I've never seen an unplayable Freeman whistle. Doesn't mean there haven't been any, but they must be few and far between. Jerry tests each one that goes out the door and I've always recommended them for beginners so's they know problems aren't the fault of the whistle. They may not be the ultimate whistle for every player, but they make a very good starting point to learn on and from.

If you're having difficulty there seem to me to be three options:
1) send it back and get Jerry's opinion
2) find a local, experienced whistler and let her/him try it (check local sessions in your area—there should be some in Orange County)
3) just take one whistle and play it carefully (start with long tones and those boring scales and make every note sound as good as you can—learn to make the whistle sound good before trying to make tunes sound good). Messing about with a bunch of somewhat different whistle won't teach you to make one whistle sound good.

Them's my thoughts.

Steve


Thank you Steve. I don't recall seeing that anywhere that Jerry test each one, so I didn't know that.
And yes, least anybody got the wrong idea. I am 110% willing to accept that it may be MY lack of ability or knowledge that is the cause of the problem. I'm just saying the particular problems I'm having with it I don't have on the couple of other whistles I have. So, that's why I started another, more specific, thread about needing Mellow Dog help from Mellow Dog owners AFTER I sent an email to Jerry asking for advice. But as of yet I've heard nothing back. And it's embarrassing to have to pester somebody over such a matter or to beg.

Anyway, I'm moving on. I don't discount what everybody says regarding the Freeman whistles, so I'm going to get a Blackbird and see if that works for me any better.
Later, if I can't find anybody around here, I may seek out a volunteer from the forum to do me a favor and test the Mellow Dog for me for which I will gladly pay the postage both ways in the lower 48.

Meanwhile, I do have continuity of playing and practice with my Susato Dublin High D. Currently I'm trying to limber up my fingers and speed up the ole synapse a little bit by learning The Girl I Left Behind Me.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:22 pm 
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MichaelRS wrote:
Meanwhile, I do have continuity of playing and practice with my Susato Dublin High D.

I've followed this thread, but I haven't re-read it before posting this, so apologies if this has been said: I wonder if your problem with the Mellow dog might be to do with being used to playing the Susato. In my opinion, the technique for playing a Susato - any Susato - is radically different from that required to play any Generation type whistle. And I don't think the two types of technique are at all compatible.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:43 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
MichaelRS wrote:
Meanwhile, I do have continuity of playing and practice with my Susato Dublin High D.

I've followed this thread, but I haven't re-read it before posting this, so apologies if this has been said: I wonder if your problem with the Mellow dog might be to do with being used to playing the Susato. In my opinion, the technique for playing a Susato - any Susato - is radically different from that required to play any Generation type whistle. And I don't think the two types of technique are at all compatible.


Yes, thank you, that could very well be. Because the second whistle, I now only have the three, that I play okay is my recently-acquired Dixon DX001. Their very basic plastic high D. But it to requires a little different handling from the Susato and I managed that transition well enough.

But maybe that advice was said a different way when some have said to get one whistle and work on skills with that. But I took most of that to mean mechanical playing skills.
However, that's why I started the other specific thread about needing help with the Mellow Dog. My thought being that if it did require a different or particular style or technique then somebody could mention that. Or maybe it would not occur to somebody to mention that if all they have played is, as you said, Generation style whistles with a plastic mouthpiece and metal body.
But the mellow dog, being tweaked, is modified in that part of the cavity of the mouthpiece is filled with putty that, I should imagine, would affect airflow or breath requirements and maybe in a way that I have not thought of that somebody could point out.
But I have been experimenting with it on a daily basis and I just can't seem to get it right.
Anyway, thank you for your thoughts


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:33 am 
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I don't think the filler will alter the breath requirement in any drastic way, it will eliminate some turbulence but not the demands on what you put into it. The wider bore may be a more important factor than the tweaks done to the head. As I said : learn to play with well supported, even and controlled breath, hitting the sweet spot of each note and you'll be flying.

Do realise the Blackbird requires a light touch and a fair amount of breath control to make it sing. You'll have to wonder if it's the best choice for a beginner who hasn't developed either.

Recently I was talking to someone who was close to Willie Clancy, who was arguably the finest whistleplayer of his generation. He said Willie had told him anyone starting on the whistle would be best served by spending at least six months developing a good tone and intonation on the whistle. Not play tunes : work on tone and intonation. Food for thought, I would think.

In other words at an early stage working on breathcontrol is probably the most useful thing you can do. Find a voice and make the instrument, eventually, sing. I have said it before, and so have others, get one average whistle and work on the basics.

On another thread I referred at my wonderment each time I spent with Micho Russell at the clarity of his tone, the beautiful roundness of his notes. I still sometimes marvel at it when I listen to recordings of his. That's not something that came in on the wind. He worked at it when he was young. There was a field below the house with a little hollow behind a wall where you could sit in relative shelter and it's thee bot himself and his brother Gussie sat and played and played for hours on end to get their music the way they wanted it. When they were feeling down or needed thinking time, when there was nothing else to do and the world was bleak, they'd be there practicing away. Skill doesn't come overnight, these men spent thousands of hours working at their craft.

I'll leave it at that, best of luck and a Happy New Year.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:46 am 
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I'm finding wider bores require more push/wind to go into the second octave, compared to normal whistles such as Gens/Feadog, so each whistle requiring slightly different technique.

I think you just need to learn how it wants to be played, as long as all the notes are there, then it is just down to technique. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:09 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
MichaelRS wrote:
Meanwhile, I do have continuity of playing and practice with my Susato Dublin High D.

I've followed this thread, but I haven't re-read it before posting this, so apologies if this has been said: I wonder if your problem with the Mellow dog might be to do with being used to playing the Susato. In my opinion, the technique for playing a Susato - any Susato - is radically different from that required to play any Generation type whistle. And I don't think the two types of technique are at all compatible.


I totally second this. My Susatos are WAAAAAY more loud and clear than my MellowDog. But the MD is its own animal and has great usefulness. Please read what i posted about this in the other (frustratingly near identical) thread:
http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=107860&p=1211979#p1211979

Also, a comment was made here about the Blackbird possibly being not good for beginners. I found the OPPOSITE to be true. After struggling a bit with a few mid priced respected whistles, when I first played my Blackbird it was such a huge relief to immediately get sweet notes and be able to 'warble' without running out of breath, squeaking, or sounding out of tune. I think they are GREAT for beginners! My Blackbird helped keep me from giving up pennywhistle, in fact. It remains one of the whistles I most often reach for, when I want to play something nimble, clear, and sweet.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:01 pm 
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It takes time and a lot while playing the whistle. The myth is the whistle is easy to play... well it is after you've played for awhile discovering the quirks and ease of a particular whistle. It takes work.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:20 pm 
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Chifmunk wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
MichaelRS wrote:
Meanwhile, I do have continuity of playing and practice with my Susato Dublin High D.

I've followed this thread, but I haven't re-read it before posting this, so apologies if this has been said: I wonder if your problem with the Mellow dog might be to do with being used to playing the Susato. In my opinion, the technique for playing a Susato - any Susato - is radically different from that required to play any Generation type whistle. And I don't think the two types of technique are at all compatible.


I totally second this. My Susatos are WAAAAAY more loud and clear than my MellowDog. But the MD is its own animal and has great usefulness. Please read what i posted about this in the other (frustratingly near identical) thread:
http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=107860&p=1211979#p1211979

Also, a comment was made here about the Blackbird possibly being not good for beginners. I found the OPPOSITE to be true. After struggling a bit with a few mid priced respected whistles, when I first played my Blackbird it was such a huge relief to immediately get sweet notes and be able to 'warble' without running out of breath, squeaking, or sounding out of tune. I think they are GREAT for beginners! My Blackbird helped keep me from giving up pennywhistle, in fact. It remains one of the whistles I most often reach for, when I want to play something nimble, clear, and sweet.


Thank you for your viewpoint, it was exceedingly helpful.
Sorry you were frustrated about the similar threads. I feel the same way when I get answers to questions or topics I don't even ask about.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:50 pm 
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MichaelRS wrote:
Thank you for your viewpoint, it was exceedingly helpful.
Sorry you were frustrated about the similar threads. I feel the same way when I get answers to questions or topics I don't even ask about.


I'm glad you found it helpful!
I'm afraid that open online forums are a little like cocktail parties... you get varied responses that aren't all containing the info you wanted for your questions. When this happens to me I just take what is useful from them and ignore what I don't think applies to me. Sometimes people don't understand precisely what i am asking, yet most of the folks who post are just trying to be helpful. Sometimes I learn other stuff from their posts that I was very glad to know about, even if it wasn't exactly the info I was asking for. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:49 pm 
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I've read most of the comments here but not all.

Peter's description that the Blackbird requires less air than the Mellow Dog is important.

I don't find beginners especially have trouble with Blackbirds, but they have to learn how to handle the gentle air needed to keep the lowest notes from breaking into the upper register.

Some people have trouble with blackbirds because they tend to blow too hard on the bottom notes. And some people have trouble with Mellow Dogs because they tend not to blow hard enough on the top notes of the upper register. The Mellow Dog is a wide-bore whistle (same tonebody diameter as a standard-bore C). That's the reason they take that extra push at the very top notes. The same Mellow Dog mouthpiece on a C tonebody plays exactly like a key of C Blackbird (and in fact, a C Blackbird and a C Mellow Dog are the same whistle except the Blackbird has a nickel-plated tonebody and the Mellow Dog has a brass one).

At events when people ask which whistle they should start with, I ask if they've played other instruments. If they've played Great Highland Bagpipes or trombone, I hand them a Mellow Dog. If they've played recorder, I hand them a Blackbird. If I hand someone a Blackbird and they start by blowing it into the third register I take it from them and hand them a Mellow Dog. If I hand them a Mellow Dog and they struggle to bring the top notes into the upper register, I take it from them and hand them a Blackbird.

Here's Kathleen Conneely playing a C Blackbird (same mouthpiece as a D Mellow Dog):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtowGMwV3A4&t=8s

And here's Keegan Loesel playing a D Mellow Dog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOXefFsG43U

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:34 pm 
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Jerry Freeman wrote:
At events when people ask which whistle they should start with, I ask if they've played other instruments. If they've played Great Highland Bagpipes or trombone, I hand them a Mellow Dog. If they've played recorder, I hand them a Blackbird. If I hand someone a Blackbird and they start by blowing it into the third register I take it from them and hand them a Mellow Dog. If I hand them a Mellow Dog and they struggle to bring the top notes into the upper register, I take it from them and hand them a Blackbird


Well, I intend to order a Blackbird anyway and see how that does for me.
It's probably just my skill level, but having to do that extra air push in the upper half of the 2nd octave with the Mellow Dog just kind of throws me off. To me It just feels much less natural than the usual amount of increase in air to play up in that range. And so far, if it's a tune where I have to return there frequently or stay up there, it has yet to work for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:53 pm 
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Of course those mass-produced whistles (as they come from the factory) will be all over the map. With the same make you'll encounter everything from lovely clear clean high notes to breathy raspy harsh high notes, making generalisations more or less meaningless.

I have several of Jerry's whistles and they vary too. Some have sweet easy high notes (my preference) and some have dirty gravelly high notes. This range happens in pairs of whistles of the same make and size, like two Freeman Generation D's and two Freeman Generation Bb's.

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