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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:14 am 
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I started with high D and then I got a Freeman Tweaked Bb and I really love that Bb. I also have a Guido Alto G and I really like the range and sound but it just doesn't feel as good in my hands as the metal generations. So I would like to get a really nice "low" whistle. I like the range and I love playing airs.

I did a ton of reading & research and have decided on a few options. I'd like help narrowing it down. I know others may recommend other brands and that's ok but I really think I have it narrowed down to MK & Dixon.

The first question is which key to get? I like the Alto G I have but I admit that I got it because I wasn't sure I could learn piper's grip. I've been practicing piper's grip on it (which isn't totally necessary but it's good practice) and can do it with occassional missed notes due to not having a hole covered completely. So now I believe this piper's grip is possible for me.

I've never played a D before but I don't see much reason to not get a D. The D & F are same price. I'm curious why some people prefer an F over the D? If I want a G I'd have to wait for an MK. Since I already have a G I'm leaning towards D but I think I'd be happy with either D or F.

Next is the brand:

Dixon Polymer is about 42 pounds
Dixon Aluminum is about 85 pounds

These are entry level. to be honest this is just for fun and I don't play in public (yet) so either would probably be fine for me. But I'm the type that typically buys better quality and I appreciate hand-crafted items. That leads me to MK:

Kelpie is on special for 100 pounds. I read just one review and he said he prefered his MK D. Not being tuneable is a slight issue as I like to record myself playing with backing tracks. It's only slightly more than the Dixon aluminum.

MK pro is top of the line. 198 for satin and 248 for polished. I'd get the green. It's beautiful. The polished one is very pretty but I'm not sure I can justify 25% more just for the polish. At the same time I feel this is an instrument to own for life so I should get what I really love.

So quite a dilemma to choose. I don't plan on collecting whistles so I want to make a good choice and stick with it. I welcome any feedback on this. Thanks for your time.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:24 am 
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Well, as far as I'm concerned, I already played Dixon low whistle, and I wasn't particularly impressed. But I was really impressed by MK whistles.

So I'd choose MK, and the Kelpie if money was an issue, an MK Pro if it wasn't. Looking wise, hand polished are really beautiful, but it's more expensive, and the grip is maybe a bit easier on the satin finished MK (but I've got hand polished MK, and I've got no problem with the grip).

About the key, I love both F and D. D will be more friendly if you want to play irish music, especially in session, and the sound is lower than the F, more haunting. But it will be a bit harder to play than the F, which is smaller, and F is a great key as well, very jazzy.

Hope this helps! :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:31 am 
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Very helpful. So I'm on the right track paying a bit more for the MK. It's my birthday present and my wife will approve any purchase that doesn't involve her going shopping in stores. :)

The big decision is the key:

D - available now, can play with the CDs that come with song books, you tube, etc., may be harder to play
F - has a waiting list, can't play along with CDs, but may be easier to play

I searched for differences in playability and couldn't find much. Any idea just how much harder D is than F? When I got my G I had a hard time with it but after playing the Bb for a while it made the G easier. I think an F would be easier than the D but I'm leaning towards the D. Soundwise there is only 1 whole note difference, but I prefer D cause it's available and so I can play along with recordings from the song books. I bought a book of traditional airs w/ CD and so I'd like to play along with it while I learn the songs. This seems to give D an advantage.

I doubt I'll ever play in a session. If I play my own music (or my own made accompaniments) I can easily put them in any key.

Thanks for the input.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:48 am 
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The difference between low F and G is the stretch: covering holes is a bit more difficult on a low D when you're not used to, but with a few practice, it's OK.

If I were you, I think I'll order first a low D, which is considered by many as THE low whistle. Why? Because if you play irish music, you can play with a lot of ITM Cds, you can play on sessions etc. And you'll have this low sound, lower than a low F. And your wife will admire you to play a such big instrument, and your neighborhood will ask you to play Titanic or Braveheart.

I've got a MK Pro Low D, a hand polished black one. A beautiful instrument, and with a very unique sound, with a lot of character. You need a MK Low D.

Low F is a different beast, but if you've begun with a low D, you'll find the Low F very easy and cool to play. And when you'll receive your low D, you'll harass your wife in order she buy you a MK low F.

Actually, you need both, so if you wife approve any purchase, order a MK Low D and a Low F! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:24 pm 
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I recommend starting out with a Low D. I switched to a Low F when I had some trouble with hand cramps with a Low D - and, you know what, they were even worse with a Low F. I am back, mostly, to a Low D, now.

There is a learning curve with any low whistle. I advise standing up while playing and practicing each key over and over before worrying about playing a tune. It's one of those walk and crew gum at the same time sort of things. You have to get your breathing and fingers working at the same time to get a clean sound. Practice and it will come.

I have never tried a Dixon but have owned a couple of MK's. The best one's will almost play themselves. There are other choices out there. I'd probably recommend an Kerry Optima for a beginner. Nice whistle, with the only real drawback being that it's on the quite side.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:59 pm 
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if hand size is an issue, don't jump directly to a low D. it's a great instrument that you'll probably eventually get to, but low F is a nice alternative especially if you aren't NEEDING a D whistle for ITM.
the low F still has the low whistle sound, but easier on the hands for stretching/fatigue issues.
and i second what the other poster said, if possible, get both.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:39 am 
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jloug wrote:
I have never tried a Dixon but have owned a couple of MK's. The best one's will almost play themselves. There are other choices out there. I'd probably recommend an Kerry Optima for a beginner. Nice whistle, with the only real drawback being that it's on the quite side.


I just did some reading on the Kerry Optima. Seems like a good whistle for beginners and seems to be a better value than the Dixon. Its main objective is to lower air requirements. I played Sax for a long time so I know I have the air (although I haven't played in years so maybe I don't hehe).

At its original price of 79 pounds it'd be an attractive alternative, but it's currently at 115. I'm not sure why it went up almost 50%, but at 115 it's more than a Kelpie. I really don't know how the Optima compares to a Kelpie. And then I'm thinking for an extra 85 pounds I could get the MK Pro. Would the MK Pro be much more difficult to play? Assuming I have the lung capacity?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:46 am 
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dspmusik wrote:
if hand size is an issue, don't jump directly to a low D. it's a great instrument that you'll probably eventually get to, but low F is a nice alternative especially if you aren't NEEDING a D whistle for ITM.
the low F still has the low whistle sound, but easier on the hands for stretching/fatigue issues.
and i second what the other poster said, if possible, get both.


I'm glad someone recommended the F as that confirms some of the thoughts I've had. I'm 6'2" so I guess my hands are at least medium size so I don't think the stretch will be a problem. it took a while before I could play fast tunes on my Alto G so I was thinking that it'd take a while for the Low D as well, and that an F could be easier.

The only reason I can think of that I'd need a D is to play along with CDs & videos. That's actually a big advantage as that's how I learn my songs on a High D before then playing them on the Bb or G.

If I were getting an inexpensive low whistle (Dixon, since MK nor Kerry Optima is available in F) then I'd get an F and put off the Low D decision until later when I have more experience. And I'm still considering it. An inexpensive F would be a good stepping stone into a D. But a Dixon plastic F is 50 euros and that money could be applied to the MK.

Tough decision. Kept me awake last night. If only Misha hadn't made the polished MKs so beautiful. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Just to add to your quandary - Tony Dixon has a new model out with a tapered bore and a re-voiced mouthpiece the polymer TB012. [EDIT: retailing at 70 GBP]


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:35 am 
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The MK has a practically impeccable reputation. I've been researching the topic myself, and at least two reviewers (http://pipersgrip.50webs.com/MKD.html) and (http://www.chiffandfipple.com/low.html) gave the whistle very high marks, with the first reviewer at the pipersgrip pretty much describing it as "perfect".

If money were no object, the MK would be mighty tempting.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:23 am 
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After hours of research, googling, reading reviews, watching youtube videos, and a couple sleepless nights, I finally made a decision.

First I decided to go with a Low D. I didn't want to invest in an expensive Low F and then want a Low D in the future. And I didn't want to spend money on a cheaper Low F when that money could be spent towards a good Low D. I imagine I may want an F sometime but if/when I do I'll be in a better position (more experience) to know what I want (cheap, good, or the best).

Next I ruled out Dixon. I'm sure they're good for their price but I'm willing to spend a little bit more to have something better. Nothing against Dixon, I've heard lots of good things about them and for those on a serious budget I think it's a good choice.

I then decided between Kerry Optima, MK Kelpie, and MK Pro. The optima seemed like a perfect beginner low whistle but I felt for just a little bit more I could get an MK.

So then the decision came down to Kelpie or MK Pro. This was a very tough one as I think I'd be happy with either. I've read good things about the Kelpie. I think it looks & sounds nice. But I choose the MK Pro. This was a really close decision and the Kelpie is 1/2 the price of the MK Pro (and Kelpie is cheaper than the Kerry Optima).

Misha said he had a satin green so I ordered it. I like the polished look but I can't justify spending 25% more for looks when this probably won't leave my house. So the satin seemed like a good choice.

I'll write more when I receive it. Thanks to everyone who helped me in my decision, I appreciate everyone's input. This is really a great community here. It's rare to have a site where everyone is nice and there is no arguing & fighting. I have to conclude that Tin Whistlers are really nice people. Part of that is probably because it's a lot of fun to help spend other people's money. :)

Cheers


Last edited by cunparis on Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:49 am 
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Let us know your feeling about your MK when you'll receive it. But I'm pretty sure you won't regret your decision: being the proud owner of a black MK Pro Low D, l find it's one of the best Low Whistle I've ever seen and played. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:11 am 
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Thought I'd share this:

While searching for MK Low D videos on youtube, I found this one. It doesn't say in the comments that it's a MK but in his MK video the player said his christmas songs were done with MK. A lot of the videos & recordings aren't as professional as this. I think it sounds lovely:

http://www.youtube.com/user/andypidcock ... -6XQye6cYM

That said the player sold his MK and prefers his Overton. ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:23 am 
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I also sold my MK in favor of a Goldie/Overton... but this is an individual preference. As a beginner, or even at an advanced level of playing, you would be equally happy with either one. If you are having any doubts about your decision, you can rest easy. The MK is an excellent whistle in every respect, and you will know the moment you hold it in your hands and play it for the first time that its reputation is well-deserved.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:54 am 
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AvienMael wrote:
I also sold my MK in favor of a Goldie/Overton... but this is an individual preference. As a beginner, or even at an advanced level of playing, you would be equally happy with either one. If you are having any doubts about your decision, you can rest easy. The MK is an excellent whistle in every respect, and you will know the moment you hold it in your hands and play it for the first time that its reputation is well-deserved.

That's true. Between a Dixon and a MK (as cunparis asked), I'd choose an MK. But between an MK and a Goldie, the choose would be very very hard as far as I'm concerned. Even impossible! :D

Fortunately, I own both (I've got an Overton Low D made by Colin Goldie, and it's a fantastic low whistle as well).

Actually, I find very interesting to have different brand of Low Whistles in the same key. Concerning the Low D, and according the moment, the feeling, the type of music, I take either my MK Low D, or my Overton, or my Copeland, like the guitarists who take a Gibson or a Fender according the title.


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