Chieftain Thunderbird Full Set

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Tell us something.: I've been playing whistles since 2010, and while I'm still very intermediate, I continue to enjoy them on a regular basis, and am even trying to work on my session skills so I can be a bit more sociable.
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Chieftain Thunderbird Full Set

Post by AngelicBeaver »

The big comparison video:

Supplemental video with the mezzo D and C whistles under a bridge with noisy waterfalling:


Soprano D/C - Robust whistles with low-whistle character, but are harder to control, and certainly loud. I played the D at my session, when things got loud, and you could definitely hear it, though it doesn't seem to blend. If I wanted to lead some tunes, I might use it so I could be heard over the din. **These might be some really nice outdoor/busking whistles.**

**Update** The C is a lot like the D, but smoother, and not quite as loud on the top. I feel like the ornamentation is a bit crisper due to the smaller hole sizes. It's still a powerful whistle though, and both the D and C are what I'd consider whistles that have a specific purpose, and they take skill to get the best out of them. I keep picking them up because I find them interesting, but I'm still working out whether they are for me. The tone is very...solid, rather than the hollow sound a conical bore whistle tends to deliver. That's really abstract (sorry).

Bb - Want a Bb that is stronger than a Generation, but still sounds nice? This is that Bb.

A - Surprisingly mellow, but you can't lean into it like the Bb. **Update** - The holes on the A are massive, and I had some issues with my fingers not settling into the holes enough to completely seal them, so I ended up sanding them to simulate years of wearing finger depressions into the aluminum, and it helped a lot. Phil does this standard on the Chieftain V5 for the same reason. Switching to playing with the pads of my fingers helped, but I find the piper's grip to be more natural for me on this key, so the sanding was a better fix.

G - This is an alto G that really plays like a low whistle. Full, complex tone, kind of fuzzy, but really nice. I think this reminds me of the Reviol with the G body, but it backs off the power just a bit, in exchange for more haunting goodness. I'd agree with Phil Hardy when he asserts that it's one of the best alto Gs on the market, especially if you're looking for low whistle character in a G.

F - Needs a more delicate touch than the G. Less robust, but very smooth and lovely when you settle into the breath requirements. This is a lullaby whistle. Beautiful and smooth.

D - For some reason, I think of a French horn with this whistle. Kind of a nasally, but muted quality. There's some complexity, like the MK has, but also a muffled, smoothed sound, like the Goldie. I haven't quite gotten the hang of this one. It takes more force to push into the second octave.
Nathaniel James Dowell

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