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Susato Low G Frustrations
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Author:  Amergin [ Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:46 am ]
Post subject:  Susato Low G Frustrations

So I recently received a Susato Dublin Low/Alto G and I have to say that I personally love the tone and sound and while I am not quite used to it, I can hear the potential to make good music with it. That said I am frustrated with what seems to be a defect which might just ruin what is otherwise an enjoyable instrument and I am wondering if this problem is on my end or the whistles and if anyone else has had similar experience or advice.

In brief, the lower octave is all fine and most of the higher octave is fine except the second octave F# (or what is F# in the key of D, third hole from the bottom) is seemingly much louder, piercing, and shrill compared to all other notes. No matter how I adjust my breath it seems to remain the case rendering an otherwise nice whistle unplayable. That aside there is a general difficulty of playing the G and E in the second octave as well, but they don't have this shrill higher volume issue.

So I ask, is this a technical problem on my end just not being used to this whistle, a defect with my particular whistle, or something that all of these whistles suffer from? Any advice?

Author:  fatmac [ Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Susato Low G Frustrations

In my short time as a whistle player, I have found most whistles require a bit of adjustment on the players side.

I had/have a bit of trouble with the hole spacing on my low G, sometimes I'm OK, others not, I just need to learn how it wants to be played. Funnily enough, I don't seem to have too much trouble with my low D's, or my A's. :)

I had a one piece flute that I thought I'd never get the hang of playing the low notes let alone the second octave, but guess what, it's now one of the easier ones to play. ;)

Author:  jiminos [ Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Susato Low G Frustrations

Just curious... Is it that the F# is loud... Or all the others are quiet?

By this I mean... Do you tend to play generally softer and then that one loud note requires an extra push to get it to play? Resulting in a note that seems louder than the rest.

Generally speaking, the Susato whistles are not quiet, nor were they meant to be.

Try playing the lower octave just below the point where the notes want to break into the second octave. Play the second octave at that same volume level.


Author:  Amergin [ Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Susato Low G Frustrations

Honestly it probably is my lack of familiarity with a new instrument, but it's just strange to me that I can hit every note on the second octave fine and they all have a similar volume level and tone whereas the F# alone seems difficult, louder, more shrill, and a different tone therefore than the rest. Usually its the A and B on the second octave that seem more difficult, but here no problem. When playing a series of notes it sort of blends into the background but when you need to hit the second octave F# alone or for a longer period is when it's most noticeable.

Hopefully with some practice I'll get it down rather than it being a flaw with my particular whistle.

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Susato Low G Frustrations

That hole, Hole 5, is nearly always bigger than the others and that note tends to be a strong note.

It's bigger because if it was the same size as the other holes that note would be too flat. Alternatively a smaller hole could be used, but placed higher up the whistle, close to Hole 4, requiring the Vulcan Salute hand position.

The problem with trying to make the note softer by adjusting your blowing is that on whistles each note is only in tune at one specific blowing-pressure, so blowing softer just makes the note flat, defeating the purpose of the large hole.

Sadly on whistles each note's volume is pre-determined by the maker, if you blow each note in tune.

Also the volume differential between a softer low octave and louder 2nd octave seems to get greater as the whistles get bigger. I spend my time on Low D whistles and some Low D makers bring the volume levels of the two octaves closer together than other makers.

Another thought: perhaps you're expecting the sort of homogeneity that's expected of orchestral instruments? Folk instruments tend to vary in volume, timbre, and other ways from note to note, and folk musicians don't view that as a problem.

For example on the uilleann chanter each note has a distinctive character.

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