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 Post subject: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:37 pm 
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Hi, everyone! I just received a few weeks ago a Burke Brass Narrow Bore D whistle. I noticed it is now beginning to have that dark dirty look on the whistle, but it is cleaner around the tone holes. Some questions...

1. Is that dark dirty look the patina? Is it normal to not have, or not have as much, patina around the tone holes?

2. Should I polish the whistle brass or not?

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:30 am 
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Matthewlawson3 wrote:
Hi, everyone! I just received a few weeks ago a Burke Brass Narrow Bore D whistle. I noticed it is now beginning to have that dark dirty look on the whistle, but it is cleaner around the tone holes. Some questions...
1. Is that dark dirty look the patina?


Yes. It's an oxide layer that forms naturally on the metal. Patina is something that develops on all brass whistles.

Matthewlawson3 wrote:
Is it normal to not have, or not have as much, patina around the tone holes?


Yes. I've always assumed that it is the patina wearing off in those areas, but I suppose it could be oils from the fingers having a different reaction with the metal, or maybe a combination of wear and the oils protecting the metal. In any case, it's a normal thing found on brass whistles.

Matthewlawson3 wrote:
2. Should I polish the whistle brass or not?
Thanks!


It's up to you but there is no practical need to polish the whistle. Patina will not affect how the whistle plays, and a lot of people like the look of a well played brass whistle. There will be people here with actual experience of polishing Burke whistles. I'd only say that I'd avoid the area of the labium (lip/window area in the fipple), and consider what chemicals I'm using on something I'm going to put into my mouth. Personally, I wouldn't do it.

A well played brass whistle is showing character, and the patina will just come back after you've polished it.

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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:47 am 
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I like how brass darkens. Some people don't like it and keep their brass whistles shiny. I like the look of a well used, well loved, rough and tumble tarnished brass whistle. It does not affect the tone, but psychologically, for me, a tarnished whistle sounds better. Just keep the windway and tone body clear of detritus.


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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:49 am 
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Thank you. Does anyone run a cloth through the bore area/tube of the whistle?

I have a clarinet silk cleaning cloth. Could I use that with the bore to run it through?


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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:55 am 
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Yes, I run a cloth or a recorder swab through the tube. As for the head, I use a thin strip from a post-it note and run it gently through occasionally.


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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:41 am 
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Matthewlawson3 wrote:
1. Is that dark dirty look the patina? Is it normal to not have, or not have as much, patina around the tone holes?

2. Should I polish the whistle brass or not?

As others have mentioned, it happens. Some think of it as "street cred" others as "street crud". In either case, it doesn't affect the playing. If the patina offends your visual aesthetic, shine it—but be prepared to do that regularly. For a comparison, look at the saxes or trumpets of the experienced jazz players and see if they are "shiners" or not.

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:04 pm 
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Check with Michael Burke about taking the head off your whistle. He used to put an O ring in there that sometimes was damaged if you took the head off if I remember correctly. But I may be wrong. You can run a swab through if you can take the head off, or get a small piece of cloth taped to a dowel and run it up and down if you think it's getting cruddy. I have some really fluffy craft type pipe cleaners I run through mine now and again. Flat they look like they are an inch wide, but it is mostly fluff and they go in easily. I fold over part of the top so there is no sharp end. Most of the woodwind bore brushes, even for recorders are too big of a whistle.

I have occasionally polished my brass whistles, but sooner or later they end up looking tarnished again. So I sort of stopped. If you wipe it with a cloth after every use it will be less noticeable. But it is not unusual to have a whistle with shiny tone holes compared to the body.

It is a sign that you are actually playing the thing. A friend of mine showed me her nickel Killarney last night. "I'm wearing the thing out," she said, pointing out the finger holes where the brass was peeking through the nickel. "Point of pride," I responded. "That looks like a whistle that someone truly loves."

Assiduously polishing it with brass cleaner is not necessary unless you really like that brand new look. But if you do there are some polishes that are water rinse. I think Wieman's or something like that is one of those. The old ones like Brasso had an oil base and would leave a residue you'd end up tasting.


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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:37 pm 
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Thank you. Yesterday, while tuning, I accidently pulled the tuning slide too far up and it came out. I kinda worried I damaged it, but I proceeded to put the tuning slide back in and felt it stop, I suppose this is the backpressure Micheal Burke refers to, and according to his directions I pushed on until it stopped for good. It seems fine. Though I do have a flat OXXOOO C natural. But I wouldn't think that is related to any damage.


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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:36 am 
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To polish or not to polish that patina is purely a cosmetic choice. For me, life is too short to waste time polishing whistles or whistle parts. It's futile, as the patina will inevitably return, and the time is better spent playing the whistle or other instruments. It's up to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Burke Whistle Patina
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:08 am 
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Matthewlawson3 wrote:
Thank you. Yesterday, while tuning, I accidently pulled the tuning slide too far up and it came out. I kinda worried I damaged it, but I proceeded to put the tuning slide back in and felt it stop, I suppose this is the backpressure Micheal Burke refers to, and according to his directions I pushed on until it stopped for good. It seems fine. Though I do have a flat OXXOOO C natural. But I wouldn't think that is related to any damage.


"Backpressure" is a playing characteristic in whistles, and relates to how hard you have to push to get a tone. Think blowing through a tiny coffee straw (high backpressure) vs. blowing through a wide smoothie straw (low backpressure). Higher backpressure tends to correspond with air efficiency, but it takes a more forceful push to get up into the second octave. Each player is different in the balance they prefer. Most whistles I've played, and particularly the high whistles, tend to be low backpressure. Play a Goldie whistle and you can get a good understanding of what higher backpressure means.

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