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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:31 pm 
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Hi Folks,

I'm hoping someone can guide me to an online resource or share their personal experience. I plan to make a bamboo penny whistle but am having trouble finding online resources. It's for a school project; I have no experience making an instrument of any description. I do have, however, a patient Irish partner who happens to be a talented carpenter who can assist.

Any advice is very much appreciated!

(I have found some instructions re: PVC tin whistle construction, but would much prefer using a sustainable material. Please let me know if this is too ambitious)

xRachel


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:14 pm 
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If the mouthpiece is too difficult, you can always make a Quena. I have made whistles from PVC, aluminium and steel pipe. I used mostly an app called "FLUTE DIY" (on google play it looks like it is in Chinese but when you install it, it is actually English). It lets you calculate the hole distances. I would also recommend the "low tech whistle guide": https://sites.google.com/site/guidogonzato/ggwhistles
The guide applies to almost any material. I don't think it is too ambitous but IMO making whistles from PVC or aluminium is probably easier. I would also recommend watching some of the youtube videos of this guy: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlueBearArts (he makes Native American Flutes but many things still appliy and he is working with the same material you wanna work with). A tuner-app or an app that can make any given note (I use "Pro guitar tuner" and "pitch perfect", https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... tchperfect, https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... uitartuner) is also useful. Some say it is better to tune to a given note and not to use a tuner. I do both and then compare to whistles I already own and which I know to be in tune. Finding the balance between first and second octave can be difficult as you need to find a happy medium. Normally a whistle that is in tune in the 1st octave will be slightly flat in the 2nd octave. So it is better to tune the middle "D", when making a whistle in D. The size of the holes is also something to take into consideration, for example when you want certain fingerings to work like oxxooo for "C natural" on a D whistle. I have had good results with making the upper three holes a little larger than the app calculates to get them better in tune (about 0.5 millimeters larger). But that is mostly trial and error until you find something that works. Be ready to make more than one whistle. Better get material for more than one. Don't give up if you mess up the first one. Each whistle that you make will teach you something about whistle-making.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:25 pm 
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As someone who's made many things from wood, including an electric guitar from scratch (body and neck), but not a whistle, I think your main challenge is to select adequate samples of carefully dried/prepared bamboo to work with, and then use proper calculations for the location and size of tone holes, once you know the diameter of the bore and the key you want. Bamboo has some thickness to it that will hopefully give your carpentry expert something good to work with. Bamboo is very tough but can be fragile if stressed from the wrong angle; it can shatter. I've seen Eric the FluteMaker talk about using hot edges to help deal with making tone holes and shakuhachi-style mouthpieces. It's going to be different than a wood like oak or walnut to work with.

With the relatively low cost of bamboo, you can experiment in using various overcut and undercut combinations, as well as the mouthpiece area (windway, window, and exactly how the tube bore meets the window, and including a wedge or not, for upper octave improvement).

Lots of info on making a fipple flute, that may have topics applicable to bamboo:
http://theflutemaker.com/tutorials.php

Design concerns for fipple, overcut/undercut blade and window: http://www.bingamon.com/fipterm.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:28 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Indian Bansuris are made from high grade bamboo, from a specific species with large internodal spacing. But the point is that after seasoning the bamboo for a long period, makers are fussy about not drilling holes, but burning them in with hot pokers. There is a belief this is beneficial to the tone, but I understand it is also to avoid the splitting and damage a drilled hole can make in bamboo. I think the seared hole also smooths the hole bore, making fine improvements in the air flow. A bansuri is a very subtle instrument.

Andrew


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:01 pm 
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Location: Boston, MA.
The real problem comes with trying to make a whistle head from bamboo - properly fitting a block in a piece of bamboo virtually guarantees shattering the bamboo. Cracking a solid wood headjoint while fitting a block happens from time to time, so bamboo? Fuggedaboutit!

Rachel, I applaud your desire to be environmentally friendly, but you are far more likely to have fun and success if you use plastic (cpvc). The first link that Sedi posted to the ggwhistles site is as good a place to start as any.

Also, whistle making and other woodworking skills don’t have a ton in common, so your best advice will come from those who have actually made decent whistles or recorders. And you carpenter friend will no doubt be helpful, but realize that things like drilling holes for a musical instrument requires a different level of precision and perhaps different tools and approaches from drilling holes in drywall or cabinets. That’s not in any way meant as a knock on carpenters and cabinet makers, I wish my carpentry skills were better!

Have fun with your project!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:38 am 
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Many, many years ago I made my first musical instrument. It was a bamboo whistle with 6 holes, designed like a pennywhistle. This was long before online calculators were available, so I estimated the hole sizes based on comparable instruments and filed them out with a jeweler's file till I got as close as possible to a decent scale. I don't recall doing anything special with the toneholes other than drilling them with a hand-crank drill and deburring with a file during tuning. The fipple was similarly drilled and then filed. I used a high density wine cork for the plug and filed a flat in it to make a windway. Unfortunately it was around 40 years ago, so I have no idea whether I was following some written guidelines. Suppose I could have been, or it may have been part of an intersession class in undergrad. There was no problem with anything splitting, but wall thicknesses were probably on the order of 3/16". If I recall correctly it was a pretty quiet, mellow sound, so I likely didn't optimize the windway.

All that being said, whistles I've made from PVC have been more successful instruments.

Good luck with your project.

_________________
"Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it"
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"Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:05 am 
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We throw out a few feet of pvc every week at my job installing solar power systems. If you keep it out of the landfill you might save a few grams of carbon. I burn bamboo holes with a magnifying glass and scrape em out with a small round file. With a heat gun or hairdryer you can stretch a plastic head over a bamboo tube. A wine cork fits perfectly in 3/4 inch pipe, or you can blast it with hot air and insert some slightly larger dowel rod.


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