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Chieftain Custom Low D review
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Author:  Markotrumea [ Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Chieftain Custom Low D review

So I recently received a Chieftain Custom Low D from Kerry whistles. I like this whistle. The holes are a bit closer together than most low D's. It's possible to play it quietly or loud. You can get a lot of different colours out of it. There's much flexibility of tone. You can push the first octave hard before breaking into the second. It's like Phil Hardy said in his video about it: It has a very compressed sound, in a good way. The volume is more consistent over the whole range. Many flute like tones and you can get a nice warm buzzy/fuzzy sound out of it. I'm very happy with it.

For comparison, I have another low D that costs considerably more and I like the Chieftain Custom better. I have one other kerry whistle, and F V5 I got a few years back. I'd say kerry whistles have a great cost per performance ratio. Hope this helps anyone who is interested and I'm happy to answer any questions.

Author:  Mr.Gumby [ Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

Quote:
a great cost per performance ratio



:lol:

Author:  stiofan [ Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

Thanks for the review on the Chieftain Custom. I've been playing Goldie whistles for years (though started out with the early Chieftain OS), but this model seems worth considering for the qualities you've mentioned.

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

Markotrumea wrote:
It's possible to play it quietly or loud.


It's possible to play any whistle at different volume levels, but with all whistles each note is only in tune at one airpressure level, one volume level. More quiet is more flat, more loud is more sharp. The in-tune volume of each note is established by the maker.

Markotrumea wrote:
You can get a lot of different colours out of it. There's much flexibility of tone.


I would have to hear it to believe it, because a whistle's timbre is established by the maker.

Markotrumea wrote:
You can push the first octave hard before breaking into the second.


I wouldn't like that at all. It's what I call a "stiff" 2nd octave. I want the slightest possible change in airstream to switch octaves, so that both octaves are right there for the asking.

Markotrumea wrote:
cost-per-performance ratio...


For sure that's something we all appreciate.

When I was going on my big Low D buying binge several years ago one thing that struck me was that all the top-playing Low Ds were in the $250-$350 range. Less than that, or more than that, and I didn't care for the way the whistles played.

Author:  bogman [ Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

I would have to agree with all the points made by pancelticpiper above. The tonal centre of each note on any whistle is fixed. The micro dynamics come from the skill of the player in how long they take to reach the tonal centre and decay from it. The physics of a whistle mean if you play every note in tune then each has its own volume. If at some point during a note you don't hit the tonal centre, or don't hit it where you intend then you're just playing out of tune - not louder and quieter.

Author:  stiofan [ Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

Quote:
It's what I call a "stiff" 2nd octave. I want the slightest possible change in airstream to switch octaves, so that both octaves are right there for the asking.

I'm with you on the "stiff 2nd octave" issue, Richard. But I've yet to come across a low D (or other key of low whistles) that doesn't have that (IMO) shortcoming. The closest I've found is a narrow-bore Goldie tenor D I have now. The Setanta is said to be "well-balanced" in volume across the two octaves but I'm not sure that translates into a more relaxed upper octave, especially at the top end. I play quite a bit of music in the higher register so really pushing the top end of the second octave hard doesn't suit me at all. In the promo video, Phil plays a short phrase in the upper octave, but I can't really make out the ease of playing in that register and how well it performs tonally.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0lIfliPJ90

Quote:
The tonal centre of each note on any whistle is fixed. The micro dynamics come from the skill of the player in how long they take to reach the tonal centre and decay from it. The physics of a whistle mean if you play every note in tune then each has its own volume. If at some point during a note you don't hit the tonal centre, or don't hit it where you intend then you're just playing out of tune - not louder and quieter.

Bogman, that's got to be about the best description/explanation I've ever heard of the volume vs in-tune relationship. Though I suppose I sometimes opt for minor compromises in spot-on tuning (hopefully barely, if at all noticeable) in favor of fluctuating the volume for expressive purposes in some music, not necessarily trad.

Author:  MadmanWithaWhistle [ Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

stiofan wrote:

Quote:
The tonal centre of each note on any whistle is fixed. The micro dynamics come from the skill of the player in how long they take to reach the tonal centre and decay from it. The physics of a whistle mean if you play every note in tune then each has its own volume. If at some point during a note you don't hit the tonal centre, or don't hit it where you intend then you're just playing out of tune - not louder and quieter.

Bogman, that's got to be about the best description/explanation I've ever heard of the volume vs in-tune relationship. Though I suppose I sometimes opt for minor compromises in spot-on tuning (hopefully barely, if at all noticeable) in favor of fluctuating the volume for expressive purposes in some music, not necessarily trad.



And certainly, some whistles will accept greater variation in pressure before falling significantly sharp or flat, although it's not always good to have that quality - it's my main complaint with the Killarney; lack of a defined "sweet spot." The whistle just plays, and the tuning's up to your ear. I prefer the tone to "set" somewhere that signals the the player they're in good tune, while still accepting a range of pressure to prevent squawks and crossing noises.

Author:  pancelticpiper [ Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

stiofan wrote:
I'm with you on the "stiff 2nd octave" issue, Richard. But I've yet to come across a low D (or other key of low whistles) that doesn't have that (IMO) shortcoming.


For sure all things are relative. I don't know that I've played a Low D that has a 2nd octave as easy as several of my high whistles, but to me Low Whistles play differently all over their gamut, from high whistles.

Low Ds I've owned that had the easiest 2nd octaves were MKs and a Lofgren. To me, in the overall scheme of things, their 2nd octaves seemed as easy as my good high whistles.

The Goldie I ended up with has a very slightly stiffer 2nd octave, but I'll accept that tradeoff to get the various benefits of the Goldie.

About a whistle having "flexibility of tone" I suppose it depends on how one defines "tone".

If one takes "tone" to mean "timbre" (that is, the character of the sound independent from volume and pitch) I would like to hear somebody hold a long note on a Low D whistle and, while maintaining the same pitch and volume, change the timbre.

I (and any decent fluteplayer) can do it on flute. I do it by changing the angle the airstream hitting the cutting edge of the blow hole, while compensating for the changes in volume and pitch this also creates. On whistles the angle the airstream hits the blade is fixed.

Author:  stiofan [ Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

Quote:
Hope this helps anyone who is interested and I'm happy to answer any questions.

Just to bring things back to the original topic – since you said you'd welcome questions, how "stiff" do you find the top end of the second octave on the Chieftain Custom? I guess I'm really asking how harsh or sweet the tone is at that upper register. A slight leaning into, as it's often described, is fine with me, but as I mentioned above, most low whistles tend to require too much of that leaning for my taste and preference, especially when it compromises the tonal quality.

One other question: How's the cross-fingered Cnat (both tuning and tone)?

Author:  RLindner [ Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

I got one of the first batch of the Chieftain Custom Low Ds. The last 2 years I was looking for the "perfect" low D which suites me best.

I had several other Chieftains (OS, NS, V4, Thunderbird), but I always struggeld with the huge F# hole.
The used Goldie I owned was really nice with low air request. But I'm a wet blower and I couldn't get ride of
the clogging issue even applying Dupanol.

I really liked the Reyburn and it had been my favourite until the Custom. Because of the brass it was a bit heavy and
the 3 upper holes where larger than I prefer for faster playing.
The best hole layout for me so far I experienced on the MK. I only found the 2nd octave a bit stiff, especially with the high
A and B I had trouble. Finally I found the Reyburn easier on the second octave and I passed the MK to my tutor, who
is still very happy with it.

When Phil announced the Custom I was quite curious about it and decided to place my last order for a low D whistle at all.
As I bought it at Thomann in Germany I even had the chance to return it.

Well, I'm very pleased with the Chieftain Custom Low D. It is a very sweet whistle with a good volume (not really quiet).
During the lessons, I'm playing very often together with my tutor (MK Pro) and I don't get drawned and he can clearly hear me.
According to my tutors statement, the Custom has a very good balance between the octaves and the second octave is sweet with easy to reach A and B. The spot between the octaves is well defined and you can push the Low D without breaking immediately.

I hope this helps. In case of further Questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Greetings from Germany,
Rainer

Author:  RLindner [ Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

I forgot to mention that the Chieftain Custom and the MK Pro have almost the same hole sizes and distances.
There both quite comfortable to Play.

Author:  Sedi [ Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

Interesting, thanks for chiming in. I tested the Custom low D at thomann (I live only 20 minutes away) and didn't really like it, when I compared it to my V5 (which I had brought with me). For me the V5 hit the sweet spot between ease of playing, air-consumption, backpressure and sweetness of the 2nd octave. The Custom had a too high backpressure for my personal preference. I felt a little like blowing through a straw. Didn't work for me unfortunately.

Author:  Markotrumea [ Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chieftain Custom Low D review

stiofan wrote:
Quote:
Hope this helps anyone who is interested and I'm happy to answer any questions.

Just to bring things back to the original topic – since you said you'd welcome questions, how "stiff" do you find the top end of the second octave on the Chieftain Custom? I guess I'm really asking how harsh or sweet the tone is at that upper register. A slight leaning into, as it's often described, is fine with me, but as I mentioned above, most low whistles tend to require too much of that leaning for my taste and preference, especially when it compromises the tonal quality.

One other question: How's the cross-fingered Cnat (both tuning and tone)?


Hey, sorry for the late response. Yeah the high b takes a considerable push. The C natural sounds nice first octave. It's a little uh, whiney in the second. Would I say it's "stiff"? On the B and C yeah, compared to my other whistles.

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