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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:45 pm 
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Well, this thread will die a quick death if the basic premise is not correct. Unfortunately, after deciding to do this thread, I now cannot now find the thread, I think it was in The Sessions, where I first got the information. But here it is...

Is the Freeman Blackbird a tweaked Feadog? (that would be the basic premise)
If so, then what would be the difference between it and the offerings from Cillian O'Briain, which themselves are personally tweaked and voiced Feadogs.


All of which probably reduces the number of answers further as one would probably have both of those in order to actually know.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:39 pm 
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I don't know whether either the Freeman Blackbird or the O'Briain is a tweaked Feadog. All I know is this:

I have both. I play the O'Briain nearly every day. I haven't played the Blackbird in years. I don't consider them to be comparable.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:00 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I don't know whether either the Freeman Blackbird or the O'Briain is a tweaked Feadog. All I know is this:

I have both. I play the O'Briain nearly every day. I haven't played the Blackbird in years. I don't consider them to be comparable.


Thank you. Can you describe the playing characteristics of one vs. the other and what makes you prefer the O'Briain.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:21 am 
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Interesting. I have both also. I prefer the Blackbird. They are both good whistles. The Blackbird is a little easier to play as it’s less fussy about breath control. I also prefer it’s slightly purer, more centered tone. I play the Blackbird all the time, the O’Briain less often. Both are great value for the money, IMO.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:15 am 
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I have both as well and would agree with Ben's assessment. They are very different whistles. And which suits best depends completely on your own preferences and purposes.

I first heard Cillian O'Briain play (the pipes) in 1980, his making and the vision it comes from is based in his expert musicianship, something he shares he shares with for example the Buckleys who make the Killarney, John Sindt or Colin Goldie. It may not matter to everybody, it matters to me and I feel the instruments coming from that place are player's whistles. The O'Briain is my go to whistle for serious tunes around the house and I wouldn't hesitate playing it in any context or setting at all.

The Blackbird I have was a pre-production prototype, I have since replaced the tube a few times (having now settled on a black Feadóg pro body that originally had a not very satisfying head attached), the filler in the head's cavity developed a black mould so I replaced it and some of the plastic bits fell off in time and I re-glued them in a perhaps slightly different position (where I liked them best). The whistle is perhaps like Abraham Lincoln's hammer, which, as the story goes, had it's handle replaced three times and the head twice, in the hands of subsequent owners, but still goes as 'Lincoln's hammer'. I believe the whistle as it is now still functions within its originally envisaged parameters but with designs changing over time, I doubt you will get a whistle quite the same if you order one now. So there's a major caveat.

That said, the Blackbird as I have it is light to the touch and nimble and requires you play it accordingly, if you do, it will reward you in kind. But the degree of breathcontrol it demands leaves it probably not the most suitable whistle for a beginner used to playing Susatos. It is voiced to operate on a narrow tonal band (I don't know how to describe it otherwise) a fair amount of the original sound cut away, compared to untreated whistles, but not to such an extend it has lost all life but it is a 'thinner' sound. I have compared that type of sound as sounding like hearing a whistle from some distance or sounding like a whistle recorded with a degree of compression and equaliser applied. Originally it was sold as sounding 'birdlike' and that description gets repeated ad infinitum, I don't know: last weekend a raven settled in a tree at the end of my driveway and got all excited, making a terrible racket. The whistle doesn't sound like that at all, neither does it sound like the seabirds around when I walked the length of the Cliffs of Moher yesterday, or the tits, robins and finches that populate the apple tree in front of the house, where they visit the bird feeders in great numbers. Make of that what you will, when handled properly it plays like a whistle, handy enough, agile and lively (well, you'll get out of it what you put in) . Mine in it's current form is knocking about the house so I can pick it up when I get bored with the tellie or whatever I am doing or when I hear a tune what I want to pick up quickly. It gets played occasionally but never leaves the house where anyone can hear me play it.

That's what I think anyway. I considered recording them both (I may yet) but am in doubt about the usefulness of it. I would suggest, again, you're better off trying the whistles yourself and form your own opinion rather than processing impressions found on the internet and find yourself a whistle that suits your own tastes and abilities. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:21 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
....

I first heard Cillian O'Briain play (the pipes) in 1980, his making and the vision it comes from is based in his expert musicianship, something he shares he shares with for example the Buckleys who make the Killarney, John Sindt or Colin Goldie. It may not matter to everybody, it matters to me and I feel the instruments coming from that place are player's whistles. The O'Briain is my go to whistle for serious tunes around the house and I wouldn't hesitate playing it in any context or setting at all.

...


Did you have to write this? Now I really, really want an O'Briain improved whistle, even though a) I already have a Féadog and don't particularly like it b) I have more whistles than I have energy to play and c) considering the (lack of) quality of my playing, I doesn't matter in the least which whistle I use...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:40 am 
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Quote:
Did you have to write this?


Well, an opinion was asked and an opinion was given in response. But I can't overstate the caveat that a good instrument will give you back what you put into it and the quality of an instrument is determined by how well it responds to a variety of demands. Which doesn't necessarily mean it will yield up everything it is capable of to anybody picking it up. What I get out of it will be different from what the next man (or woman) will tease out of it.

The instrument facilitates, to an extend, but the player is the determining factor when it comes to the quality of the music produced. It is all an interaction between what the player is looking to bring out musically and the extend the instrument will facilitate that. And ofcourse different people will be looking for different things in both their music and in an instrument. For that reason I think deciding a purchase based on the opinions of players who are an unknown quantity is a futile exercise, just as giving advice to people without knowing what they are really looking for is pretty much a perilous game .

So really,it seems to me you have have already argued the case with yourself :

Quote:
a) I already have a Féadog and don't particularly like it b) I have more whistles than I have energy to play and c) considering the (lack of) quality of my playing, I doesn't matter in the least which whistle I use...




I remember the older people years ago, especially fiddleplayers, who held the belief all tunes were hidden inside the instrument, they were already there, and someone with a special knack would be able to tease them out. I always liked that thought. It's really acquiring 'the touch' that's the problem.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:34 am 
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You ask: "Is the Freeman Blackbird a tweaked Feadog?"

We really should get Jerry Freeman to answer this. When I bought mine, I vaguely recall him saying that the head was from a Feadog, and the tube something else... maybe he makes the tubes himself? Or uses a Gen tube? My memory is shaky on this, but i thought I recalled he makes the tubes on the Blackbirds.

When Jerry tweaks a Generation, he doesn't totally rebrand it.... so it wouldn't really make sense that he would do that with a Feadog.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:32 pm 
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Chifmunk wrote:
You ask: "Is the Freeman Blackbird a tweaked Feadog?"

We really should get Jerry Freeman to answer this. When I bought mine, I vaguely recall him saying that the head was from a Feadog, and the tube something else... maybe he makes the tubes himself? Or uses a Gen tube? My memory is shaky on this, but i thought I recalled he makes the tubes on the Blackbirds.

When Jerry tweaks a Generation, he doesn't totally rebrand it.... so it wouldn't really make sense that he would do that with a Feadog.


That would be ideal but he seems a little indisposed of late.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:48 pm 
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There is, of course, recourse to the Search function.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Quote:
That would be ideal but he seems a little indisposed of late. /Quote

I really feel a response to this is called for. Jerry's vocation is providing excellent low priced whistles. THIS IS HIS SOLE SOURCE OF INCOME. That he is very busy providing a smorgasbord of tweaked whistles to wide demand and variety of taste results in a very busy schedule. He also has a life to live. I, for one, have enjoyed communicating with Jerry, at whatever pace he can manage. The Art is deep, and Life is very long.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:48 pm 
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It's not that hard to tell the two apart. The Generations have the "bump" on the blade and the Feadógs don't. Quite easy. Google is your friend, in case you don't have a standard Feadóg and Generation to compare. Simply look for some pics online.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:33 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
Quote:
That would be ideal but he seems a little indisposed of late. /Quote

I really feel a response to this is called for. Jerry's vocation is providing excellent low priced whistles. THIS IS HIS SOLE SOURCE OF INCOME. That he is very busy providing a smorgasbord of tweaked whistles to wide demand and variety of taste results in a very busy schedule. He also has a life to live. I, for one, have enjoyed communicating with Jerry, at whatever pace he can manage. The Art is deep, and Life is very long.

Bob


I'm not criticizing Jerry. I am aware that he has had health issues and is, as you said, working to get whistles out.

But that doesn't change the fact of a lack of response, for whatever reasons, after a few days and so I go to the forum. But I am roughly aware of the totality of his circumstances.

Still, I believe in going to the source first. For example, somebody here had a complaint about recently made Killarneys and Dixon Trads. So I wrote those makers directly with the question related to whatever the issue was.

Dixon took sometime getting back to me (and I still don't think they really paid that much attention to the issue but I turn the problem back over to the guy who first brought it up and suggested he contact them and send them pictures up with his observations) and Killarney answered me the next day so... Whatever.

But then I have people telling me I should ask Jerry or that it's a question better answered by Jerry and so on and so forth, instead of asking me IF I have yet asked Jerry, and so making it sound like I'm dumb for not having done that when that was my first move.

BTW the response I got from Killarney was, If you get the whistle and you're not satisfied with the sound, return it for a full refund.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:03 pm 
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Both the O’Briain and the Blackbird that I have, both of which are very recent versions, are modified Feadog D whistles. The modifications are interesting to compare. Both have unaltered finger tubes, so the tubes are exactly the same. The labium on the O’Briain has an artfully done piece of plastic added to the ramp, which makes it steeper than an unmodified one. It’s so well done that I didn’t notice it at first. The Blackbird labium has been filed to also make a steeper ramp. The edges on both labiums have had a small amount of material added, both look very precisely done. I don’t know if these changes have altered where the labium divides the windstream. Otherwise the whistles look identical to me, but I could be missing something.

I just played them back to back, which I haven’t done since I got them a month or so ago, both directly from the makers. Now that I’m used to both of them I don’t find any real difference in playability. They are both effortless for me to play. The Blackbird has a purer tone, the O’Briain more complexity. I think the O’Briain sounds more like an excellent unmodified Generation whistle, the Blackbird more it’s own unique tone. They both are great sounding. I still slightly prefer the tone of the Blackbird. I would have no problem playing either one as my only D whistle. I also play a Killarney D. IMO the Killarney is just *slightly* better than the O’Briain or the Blackbird. They are all close though, and eminently comparable. Compared to a wide bore whistle they are very much alike.

I wish I had an unmodified Feadog or Generation to compare them to. I haven’t played either in quite some time and wasn’t impressed with them when I did. I wonder if I’d have a different opinion of them now?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:49 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
I remember the older people years ago, especially fiddleplayers, who held the belief all tunes were hidden inside the instrument, they were already there, and someone with a special knack would be able to tease them out. I always liked that thought. It's really acquiring 'the touch' that's the problem.

Not exactly the same, but I'll have this sense of how a tune "wants" me to play it.

MichaelRS wrote:
But then I have people telling me I should ask Jerry or that it's a question better answered by Jerry and so on and so forth, instead of asking me IF I have yet asked Jerry, and so making it sound like I'm dumb for not having done that when that was my first move.

I think you're missing that Chifmunk was being helpful. And she did say "we".

We don't tolerate put-down behavior around here. Saying "We should get Jerry to answer this" is not a put-down. It includes everyone, right?

If I make a recommendation not knowing that you don't need it, it's not the personal attack you seem to think it is. I can only work with what I've got. Nobody is out to belittle anybody, here.

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