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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:36 am 
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I like the Killarney whistle's sweet tone. But the second octave plays way too flat, compared with the first octave, and I need to push second octave higher notes extremely hard to play them in-tune. I see this as a design fault, which is common to cylindrical bore whistles, if no attempt is made to correct this in the head design. So one way to fix this is to add some material in the bore at the top of the tube. A 9mm diameter blob of poster putty will do the trick, if it is squashed to some flat piece, so not to restrict the bore too much, and stuck to the inside at the top of the whistle body. Sticking it may be difficult on the smooth nickel surface. Roughing the surface a bit with some scratches or a bit of sanding may help. A more permanent solution may be to use a blob of similar size epoxy glue. Or, as I ended up doing, making a small metal cylinder to insert at the top of the tube. I made mine out of alu tubing, ca 12mm long and 0.5mm thick. The small bore restriction will sharpen the whistle a bit, so the body needs to be pulled out a little more, ca 3mm. But the sharpening affects the higher octave notes more than the lower octave, bringing them into tune. If too much material is added the second octave becomes too sharp. If poster putty is used and not made thin enough but restricts the bore too much the low D may get too weak. Anyway, with this fix a Killarney whistle with a too flat second octave will become a much more pleasant sweet player right across both octaves.

I bought my Killarney whistle as they got introduced. I do not know if more recent ones have been sorted regards the octave tuning.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:20 pm 
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I bought a D brass and a C nickel a couple of months ago and both are pretty close to spot on. So I suspect they've done some tweaking. They're both easy to overblow though. But then I'm used to Milligans and Reyburns which take a lot more air.

I play in a duo with a harp and there are no issues when we play in unison, the harper also doubles flute and she hasn't hit me with it yet. And it's a good thing 'cause it's an M&E polymer... :shock:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:53 pm 
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Hans, have you seen this thread in the Flute Forum, PVC flute temperament? In investigating the optimal headjoint profile for tuning a cylindrical flute, WIDesigner insisted that the second-best profile was a stepped cylinder rather than any sort of smooth taper, exactly like your thin cylindrical insert. (The first choice involved curious bulges at the top and bottom of the headjoint; difficult to manufacture, and offering only a tiny improvement over the stepped cylinder.)

I've done a similar investigation for an alto A whistle in 18 mm tubing, and got similar results. (With the whistle, WIDesigner also suggested a sharp taper under the window; experience tells me that a sharp taper like that will mess up the tone. The optimization considers only the tuning, nothing about the tone.) I haven't yet tried to build a whistle to this design. It's interesting that you worked out the same design independently.

I assume the insert has a cut-out for the window. Does the cut-out extend all 12 mm of the insert's length?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:16 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
I assume the insert has a cut-out for the window. Does the cut-out extend all 12 mm of the insert's length?

Thanks for the link! Interesting! As to my own bore-restriction cylinder: on my own whistles I place this cylinder a little way below the labium edge. I make it roughly as long as the bore diameter, with a thickness from about 0.5mm wall on high whistles to 1mm on lower whistles, and placing it about one to one and a half bore diameters below the labium. So at the window the whistle has normal bore, then a bit further down the restriction, than all way to the bottom normal cylindrical bore. The one exception point being the expansion in the tuning slide, where the body meets the top. All this is arrived purely by experimentations, and I lack the acoustic science, which may give more accurate data.

I placed the cylinder in the Killarney right inside the body at the top. The tuning space is pretty long, so again the cylinder sits some way below the labium.

Some whistle designs have a restricted space directly in the head, like the Overton and Löfgren designs, where the tube is flattened, with the Overton design at the sides, the Löfgren at the face.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:02 pm 
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I enjoy reading threads like this even though it is difficult for me to follow. It makes one appreciate the design and tuning intricacies involved. It also makes us appreciate the people who design/create whistles. Amazing stuff.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:43 am 
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I've got a Killarney D and a C, both purchased new directly from Killarney in 2018.

The first time I brought the D to a lesson, my teacher noted that I sounded flat playing in the second octave. He gave it a try and found he too was flat playing normally, though he could get it pretty well in tune with some concentrated push, and at some cost in terms of tone and ease of playing. We used a tuner to verify that what we were hearing, and compared it to both of us playing his Copeland which had excellent intonation for both of us just playing naturally.

Later that week I tried to compare all my whistles using a tuner. That was an exercise in frustration, as the measured pitches bounced around a lot, making repeatable results difficult to obtain for me. But the Killarney's were not among my best whistles intonation-wise. I've since purchased a Carbony D and it is the best of what I've got.

But do let me say that I still really like my Killarneys--the tone and responsiveness are fantastic, and they are my favorites as physical objects. I'd like to hear more about others' experiences with getting them to play in tune, and how much of that is standard for most any cylindrical whistle.

The modification also interests me. Hans--it sounds like you maybe turned your own custom cylinder inserts on a lathe? I don't have the means to do that. I'm assuming there isn't some source of tubing with the exact dimensions needed and available in very small quantities. But is there a way to roll flat sheet material to the appropriate shape, or slit and cut some other size tubing to make it work?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:48 am 
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JackJ wrote:
I've got a Killarney D and a C, both purchased new directly from Killarney in 2018.
Out of curious interest: what is the bore or OD tube size of the C?

Quote:
Later that week I tried to compare all my whistles using a tuner. That was an exercise in frustration, as the measured pitches bounced around a lot, making repeatable results difficult to obtain for me. But the Killarney's were not among my best whistles intonation-wise. I've since purchased a Carbony D and it is the best of what I've got.
Yes, checking with a tuner can be quite frustrating! Best to play longer notes and transitions without breath stops, both from neighbouring notes as well as to and from the octave notes, and keeping the breath steady. For evaluation it is also worthwhile to notice that some makers use ET tuning and others some system of just intonation, which shows on a tuner most likely as flat F# and B and C#, but in fact makes for a sweet intonation.

Quote:
The modification also interests me. Hans--it sounds like you maybe turned your own custom cylinder inserts on a lathe? I don't have the means to do that. I'm assuming there isn't some source of tubing with the exact dimensions needed and available in very small quantities. But is there a way to roll flat sheet material to the appropriate shape, or slit and cut some other size tubing to make it work?
Yes, I used my mini lathe for that. But any material which could be rolled to a small tube with ca. 0.5mm wall thickness would do, as long as it does not disintegrate with condensation moisture. Perhaps PE plastic cut from a bottle, rolled into a tube and secured in shape with scotch tape? Perhaps the tape is not needed, as the rolled plastic is hold by the whistle tube. Poster putty may also last some while, if you can get it stuck.

PS: the PE I got here from a 2 litre mineral water bottle is about 0.2mm thick, so a tube with 2 or 2 1/2 layers wound should be enough.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:45 pm 
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Nice to see others mentioning the tuning problems that the earlier ones had. It was weird seeing many forum posters and friends of mine singing the praises of what I believed to be a basically unusable out of tune whistle.

I did some basic attempts at this modification with poster putty, and it shows some promising results at solving what I believe to be the biggest problem this whistle had. (Had, as in I'd be very surprised if this hasn't been fixed in recent models)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:09 pm 
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Nice to see others mentioning the tuning problems that the earlier ones had. It was weird seeing many forum posters and friends of mine singing the praises of what I believed to be a basically unusable out of tune whistle.


Interesting though how very discerning top of the range players can be seen and heard playing them at concerts without any problems. :wink:

Playing unusable whistles. You will have to wonder, how do they get away with it? :boggle:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:41 pm 
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Quote:
Nice to see others mentioning the tuning problems that the earlier ones had. It was weird seeing many forum posters and friends of mine singing the praises of what I believed to be a basically unusable out of tune whistle.
Mr.Gumby wrote:
Interesting though how very discerning top of the range players can be seen and heard playing them at concerts without any problems.

Playing unusable whistles. You will have to wonder, how do they get away with it? :boggle:

Seems like the critical word here may be "earlier" in Torrin Riáin's post. The conversations above suggest that there may have been intonation issues in the initial stages (no definition of when "earlier" and "current" may be).

I have a chromeplated one from early on that is perhaps 10-15 cents difference between first and second octave, depending on the note in question. A second one I bought more recently (it was from a shop so I have no idea how long it was sitting there) in brass is between 0 and 10 cents different between first and second octave notes.

In comparison, two Freeman Mellow Dogs and an O'Briain were just about even between first and second octaves—better than either of the Killarneys. (All testing done with Flutini.) A Freeman Bluebird was just about the same as the brass Killarney.

I'm not sure I'd call any of these "unusable" but again, the key words may be "earlier" and "current"

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:45 pm 
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I've always figured a whistle was going to be out of tune by its very nature, thank to the laws of physics, just as a guitar is always out of tune in actual playing, even if the tuner says each string is in tune. And that part of learning to play it well was compensating for that, by either developing embouchure control or simply making out of tune-ness a "thing," like sliding into the note and never quite getting there. Similar to the way I can get the guitar almost perfectly in tune in on key if the harmony isn't complex, but then anything out of key sounds awful. Note: I'm not a good whistle player! But my playing has gotten much more pleasing to the people around me, I assume at least partly because I have pitch under better control.

Is it actually possible to have a whistle perfectly in tune in both octaves without sacrificing something else?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:47 pm 
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"Unplayable" might have been a strong word, my apologies. However, a difference between octaves of over 35 cents is extremely annoying, and in my opinion definitely not worth the effort of substantially changing pressures for octaves when I have other whistles that just simply don't have this problem. Also note, I got one of the very first ones.

YMMV


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:57 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
Is it actually possible to have a whistle perfectly in tune in both octaves without sacrificing something else?
It doesn't take much adjustment of the bore profile, either at the head of the whistle, or by tapering the body, to bring the octaves into line.

Getting all the notes in perfect tune, when you throw in cross-fingered C-naturals (or equivalent in the whistle's key), and insist on hole sizes and spacings that can be played with human hands ... there's where you have to make compromises.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:48 am 
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Quote:
Seems like the critical word here may be "earlier" in Torrin Riáin's post. The conversations above suggest that there may have been intonation issues in the initial stages (no definition of when "earlier" and "current" may be).


It was the 'unusable' I had a problem with. It's a big statement. And I have have heard Bríd O Donohue, Ann and Nicky McAuliffe, among others play them without any fuss or apparent problems (and yes, they had them at around the same time I got mine, early-ish). That was on my mind giving that response, 'unusable' is clearly not the right way of putting it.

I do note the octave tuning (although perhaps more in the 10-15 cents range on some notes) but also always feel looking at a tuner is a road to insanity. Look at the tuner only if your ear finds a problem in your playing practice, to identify what's going on if you need to. Playing wind instruments brings a constant need for adjusting, compromising and keeping things as best you can.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:33 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
It was the 'unusable' I had a problem with. It's a big statement. And I have have heard Bríd O Donohue, Ann and Nicky McAuliffe, among others play them without any fuss or apparent problems (and yes, they had them at around the same time I got mine, early-ish). That was on my mind giving that response, 'unusable' is clearly not the right way of putting it.

I do note the octave tuning (although perhaps more in the 10-15 cents range on some notes) but also always feel looking at a tuner is a road to insanity. Look at the tuner only if your ear finds a problem in your playing practice, to identify what's going on if you need to. Playing wind instruments brings a constant need for adjusting, compromising and keeping things as best you can.

Yes, and it's a sign of a good wind-instrument player that she can play with good intonation even an instrument with problematic intonation. Also a whistle player is used to push upper second octave notes hard if needed. My Killarney needed an extra hard push for upper second octave notes, way more than 15 cents. With my modification it has become an enjoyable sweet and balanced whistle to play (apart from the rather top-heavy unbalanced weight distribution).

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