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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:59 pm 
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Location: Orange County, California
I got my regular Generations Bb this week and while I like the overall tone of that key, THIS off-the-shelf one is kinda funky.

Sooo, I am soliciting opinions on the Freeman tweaked Generation Bb or any other one UNDER $40. I'm soliciting recent opinions because the search terms I used gave me results that were about 7 + years old.
Edit:
Please indicate about when you got whichever Bb you are talking about.


Last edited by MichaelRS on Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:14 pm 
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I have a freeman tweaked Bb. Its very stable and smooth playing. If I compare it to my Sindt A, just a half step lower, it has some of the same quality as the mellow dog, that is, smoothness at the expensive of nimbleness. It takes more air to drive. I just sat down and blew along with a Bb Blues backing track at 110 bpm and it's really fun for that. For fast Irish music it's maybe a bit sluggish. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of call for Irish music in Bb!

I think it's very good value for the money. My comments are from a not very good whistle player, so take that under consideration


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:04 pm 
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I have a Freeman Generation Bb that is fantastic.

I know there are great off-the-shelf Generation Bb's out there- I've heard people play them, I've got chances to try them for a few minutes. But in 40 years of trying every (off the shelf) Generation Bb for sale I've never found a great one.

Until I got this Freeman. The tuning is spot on. The voicing is just how I like it, with extremely sweet high notes yet full low notes.

I made a B body for it, and an A body.

A couple years ago I bought a Sindt A/Bb/B set, one head three bodies. They were excellent but my Freeman Generation A/Bb/B set is better.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:46 pm 
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I have a Freeman Bb, a Sindt Bb and some ridge/dimple Generation Bb models - 3 or 4 of them lying about somewhere.

The Sindt is very nice and will presumably last a century or two. It's a wee bit bland compared to the others but still very good. (Curiously, with the A tube on it doesn't sound so good - sort of feeble. A half-step seems to make a big difference with the same bore size - which is my theory as to why Generation Ebs are so great.)

My old Generation Bbs are all very good. One of them, a very dark blue colour nothing like the blue of the modern models, is the best of them all, just perfect, even after all these years. The Freeman is remarkably good too - almost as good as that dark blue Generation.

I am surprised that Richard has never found a good Generation Bb in 40 years. Now did I notice them going off about 20 years ago, which is probably the last time I tried one in a shop. I don't know what the current ones are like. But the ones from 40 years ago were very good, and I never came across a bad one.

A Colin Goldie Bb might well be a very good whistle to have. I do have an A by Colin that I find incredibly good and very powerful. A very different animal from a Generation-style whistle though, needing a different playing technique.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:21 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
I have a freeman tweaked Bb. Its very stable and smooth playing. If I compare it to my Sindt A, just a half step lower, it has some of the same quality as the mellow dog, that is, smoothness at the expensive of nimbleness. It takes more air to drive. I just sat down and blew along with a Bb Blues backing track at 110 bpm and it's really fun for that. For fast Irish music it's maybe a bit sluggish. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of call for Irish music in Bb!

I think it's very good value for the money. My comments are from a not very good whistle player, so take that under consideration



Thanks to you and everyone else who has commented so far.
I'm not so much the purest and kind of venture away from just traditional Irish music. I play a lot of what people might consider traditional bagpipe tunes (having been at that off and on for 20 years and failing miserably. although if somebody gave me a decent set of pipes tomorrow I have been known to be able to eke out a possible version of Amazing Grace on them and can probably do so again with a couple of weeks worth of getting used to them) but I tend to also go for some other types of songss well, like from the American Civil War where I mimic a Fife on the whistle. Or really any other tunes that interest me.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:22 pm 
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StevieJ wrote:
I have a Freeman Bb, a Sindt Bb and some ridge/dimple Generation Bb models - 3 or 4 of them lying about somewhere.

My old Generation Bbs are all very good. One of them, a very dark blue colour nothing like the blue of the modern models, is the best of them all, just perfect, even after all these years. The Freeman is remarkably good too - almost as good as that dark blue Generation.


I'm curious about the differences in the new and old Bb Gens. I have a new one that plays pretty good and one with a dark blue head and I think the dimple that you are talking about. It's a bit finicky and quite "well used" but usually plays pretty well. I'm actually going to try the putty trick on it to try and cure a bit of a squak. Could also be the player. :sniffle:

I play my whole Irish set in Bb and all my keys for that matter but they just don't work when anyone wants to join in. Jerry's alto A on the other hand...what a gem!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:08 am 
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I have both Gens, brass & nickel, Bb & mine seem to be OK, (recent purchases).

(But I got a pre used Dixons Trad brass in A, & found that I liked that key more.)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:09 am 
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StevieJ wrote:

I am surprised that Richard has never found a good Generation Bb in 40 years. Now did I notice them going off about 20 years ago...


No I never did find a really good Generation Bb, and I tried piles of them in the late 1970s and all through the 1980s, dozens, maybe hundreds of them.

I still have several old ones from back then in a drawer, the best ones I found. None are very good.

But my "very good" is based on my benchmark, the Generation C I bought back then, which is superb.

The Freeman Generation Bb is the first one I've owned that plays like that C.

I will add that recently I got several Generations from the estate of musician Keith MacNeil, including a Bb, which is better than any of my previous ones, though still not as good as the Freeman.

Another recent serendipitous find was getting a pile of old whistles from somebody. The prize there, which surprised me, is a Waltons C.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Last edited by pancelticpiper on Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:28 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:14 am 
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PB+J wrote:
But there doesn't seem to be a lot of call for Irish music in Bb!


You need to be around more flat-set pipers and harpers. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:18 am 
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MichaelRS wrote:
I play a lot of what people might consider traditional bagpipe tunes (having been at that off and on for 20 years and failing miserably.


Do you mean the Scottish pipes? Or the uilleann pipes?


MichaelRS wrote:
I mimic a Fife on the whistle.


I don't think I've heard that done successfully, due to whistles being funky in the 3rd octave, where fife music dwells. But if you can get a great 3rd octave out of a whistle, more power to you.


Anyhow I'm in Orange County too and always up for getting together. I have nice Scottish smallpipes in A so if you're playing Highland pipe tunes on whistle we might have some shared tunes to play! And I get together sometimes with a fiddler and guitarist and we play the Highland pipe stuff as well as Irish stuff.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:27 am 
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StevieJ wrote:
The Sindt is very nice...Curiously, with the A tube on it doesn't sound so good - sort of feeble. A half-step seems to make a big difference with the same bore size...


With my Sindt A/Bb/B set all three played well, though true enough that the best was the middle, the Bb. It was quite superb.

It was more sophisticated, I suppose, than my self-made Freeman Generation A/Bb/B set, but the Freeman tuning, timbre, and 2nd octave responsiveness was better.

(I tried to put both of StevieJ's quotes in a single post, but this site kept automatically weirding out about it.)

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:57 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
MichaelRS wrote:
I play a lot of what people might consider traditional bagpipe tunes (having been at that off and on for 20 years and failing miserably.


Do you mean the Scottish pipes? Or the uilleann pipes?


MichaelRS wrote:
I mimic a Fife on the whistle.


I don't think I've heard that done successfully, due to whistles being funky in the 3rd octave, where fife music dwells. But if you can get a great 3rd octave out of a whistle, more power to you.


Anyhow I'm in Orange County too and always up for getting together. I have nice Scottish smallpipes in A so if you're playing Highland pipe tunes on whistle we might have some shared tunes to play! And I get together sometimes with a fiddler and guitarist and we play the Highland pipe stuff as well as Irish stuff.


GHB. But I've been off it (rather my practice chanter) for a few years now.

And when I say I mimic the Fife, I meant the fingering to get the tune.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:50 am 
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MichaelRS wrote:
when I say I mimic the Fife, I meant the fingering to get the tune.

Yes that's the rub, I don't think the fife's 3rd octave fingerings work all that well on whistles.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:01 pm 
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I have a tweaked Generation Bb by Tommmy Dion that is very nice. I haven't posted it, but I'd sell for $25 shipped to U.S. or actual shipping anywhere. Nice whistle but I have too many now.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:39 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
MichaelRS wrote:
when I say I mimic the Fife, I meant the fingering to get the tune.

Yes that's the rub, I don't think the fife's 3rd octave fingerings work all that well on whistles.

True, some whistles don't work in the 3rd octave at all. Some do. I found this fingering chart to be rather useful:
https://www.wfg.woodwind.org/tinwhistle/tw_bas_3.html

Concerning the topic at hand. My standard, untweaked Generation Bb plays quite nice. Rather breathy sound but I like that.


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