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 Post subject: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:55 am 
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Hello, I was wondering if any members were using older whistles. I'm thinking of instruments around 50 plus years old, such as the pre plastic mouthpiece generations. What are their playing qualities like, and do we know if any of these instruments have made it onto recordings?


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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:16 pm 
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I play on old whistles from time to time. A Barnet & Samuel low G, a high g and a d. I find the old whistles tend to sound sweet and are not overpowering. YMMV.

I've never been recorded, and my playing would probably break the recording equipment! Anyway, I'm sure there are ancient recordings (late 1800s to 1940s or so) that feature either old wood block conical whistles or old metal block cylindrical whistles.

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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:03 am 
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I have a Generation I bought in about 1990. It plays fine.

I have a whistle that my Great Grandfather played. He fought in the Boer War. No plastic on it ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:10 am 
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I have two Atlas celluloid conical jobs made in Paris.
Both are unusual players and are in between C and C#.
I love playing them as they play and sound like no other whistles. They are Clarke like but also totally different.
They both have a curious buzz on the Bell note that can be a nice effect.

I also have one marked Re of a different design but it has a horrible smell that makes playing it awful.
It is also curiously pitched closer to Eb (I would have thought one marked Re for the French market would be lower not higher pitches than a440)


I think these were sold in Sears catalogs and through all types of different brands and places.
I’ve seen them marked Hercules and a few other names.

I can’t remember where but I read a few passages that mention old players playing celluloid whistles.
And someone sent me a great old image of someone playing one.
https://m.imgur.com/a/dv48GE3
https://imgur.com/a/ijeXcIs

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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:16 am 
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Thanks dunnp for telling me about your celluloid whistles. I had seen a couple of them on ebay, but I didn't think you'd be able to use them for traditional music. The earlier metal whistles appear under a variety of different names, such as B&S Dulcet and Wallis. I do believe there is some concern about these instruments regarding the presence of lead in the mouthpiece. Does anyone have an early whistle in D that plays pretty well at A = 440 Hz?


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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:36 am 
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Quote:
Does anyone have an early whistle in D that plays pretty well at A = 440 Hz?


Yes. :D

Most of them are about a semi tone off though. Which is fine.

Recording wise: there are several recordings of Willie Clancy playing one of the old whistles, one of his favourites for solo playing. His Gael Linn/Seoda Cheoil recordings are possibly on a Clarke although in fairness they are very close in tonal character to an all metal Generation C I have (I once again recycle a photo from another thread below) . Then there's the Seamus Ennis recording of him playing the Copperplate on an F (see the Lomax archive).

Image

The later whistles in this pic are @ A=440 (the 1970s D and the brass F), the others are close to a semi tone off the indicated pitch. All are nice players.

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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:50 pm
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
Does anyone have an early whistle in D that plays pretty well at A = 440 Hz?


Yes. :D

Most of them are about a semi tone off though. Which is fine.

Recording wise: there are several recordings of Willie Clancy playing one of the old whistles, one of his favourites for solo playing. His Gael Linn/Seoda Cheoil recordings are possibly on a Clarke although in fairness they are very close in tonal character to an all metal Generation C I have (I once again recycle a photo from another thread below) . Then there's the Seamus Ennis recording of him playing the Copperplate on an F (see the Lomax archive).

Image

The later whistles in this pic are @ A=440 (the 1970s D and the brass F), the others are close to a semi tone off the indicated pitch. All are nice players.


Thanks for the information regarding the recordings of Seamus Ennis and Willie Clancy, I shall give them a listen if I come across them.


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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:49 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:48 am
Posts: 255
Hi

I have a black and gold Clarke C whistle which belonged to my grandfather, and which my mother remembers him playing pre-1958. It sounds so good I used it on a recording in 2002 - Billy Taylor, by Malinky, from the album 3 Ravens. It's probably on Youtube somewhere if you want to hear it...

I had to bung some BluTac into the end to bring the bottom C note into pitch. It's a nice whistle to play, although the seam down the back does make it a bit uncomfortable to hold.

m.d.


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 Post subject: Re: Older Whistles
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:17 am 
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emmdee wrote:
I have a black and gold Clarke C whistle which belonged to my grandfather

Nice sound on that Clarke whistle.


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