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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:19 pm 
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Posts: 282
I recommend a Killarney to anyone who asks. A $10 whistle just might be good, but there is a lot of consistency in the the Killarney that makes it easier to learn. When I started playing whistle seriously I retired the Generation that had been sitting in my drawer for 10 years and got myself a number of great whistles in close succession. I was lucky enough to have some dollars to spend on this and some good advice from session players around me. It was in the early 90s and I ended up with many of the now sought after "collectors" whistles over a period of 6 years or so. And they truly enhanced my enjoyment. When the Killarney came out I was curious and bought one. I played it for a year and put my "great" whistles in the cupboard. My regular whistles had become so crazily valuable I was feeling I should seriously consider selling them. A week or so ago I started pulling them out again. I found they sound better than ever, each with its own voice. I fell in love again. I made a list to put in my will file so my kids don't accidentally send them to Salvation Army and have begun to appreciate them for the joy they bring me. The Killarney still sounds good and I still highly recommend it. I have heard some admirable playing on Generations, Sweetones, Burkes, Dixons, Killarneys, O'Roirdans, Sindts and Copelands, so yes, you can make a cheap whistle sound good. But a good whistle may make the process easier and give you great joy. Absent the cash to spend on a good whistle or a great one, a tweaked whistle will often be easier to play than a whistle straight out of the box.

If I had just stuck with my original Generation I doubt I'd be playing today. But for those who have and love them, God bless 'em. And even a great whistle in the "collector" category is cheap compared to a "best of its kind" in most any other instrument family.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
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Location: WV to the OC
boatofcar wrote:
1) What playability factors can I expect with a better whistle?

2) I'm currently playing a $10 whistle. Say I bought a $50 or $100 whistle.


Seems to me that the thread title, and the initial post, are talking about two different things 1) better whistles 2) more expensive whistles.

I'll set aside the issue of price and talk about the playability factors I look for in a whistle:

1) excellent intonation

2) good voicing, which for me is easy sweet high notes and full round low notes, and nimble "action"

3) good air-efficiency

4) timbre

And pretty much in that order.

Back to price, my best High Whistles, that do #1-4 superbly, cost less than $10 each, except for the Killarney which despite its higher cost plays very much like the others.

If I put forth the question "what playing characteristics do I anticipate with more costly whistles?" the answer is that I expect $200 whistles to not play as well as $10 whistles. This is due to decades of trying expensive whistles that don't do #1-4 above very well.

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


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