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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:28 am 
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Hi;
I have a Killarney D, Oak D, Dixion Trad. Brass A. I just purchased a Generation Bb off of Amazon. It arrived with no box or paperwork, loose in a bubble envelope. It seems out of tune and the air you hear when you play it is much louder and more noticeable than my other three. It is a little distracting.
My question is: Is this normal for GENERATION whistles? I am contemplating returning it for an exchange.

Thanks

Pat


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:09 pm 
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Yeah, I recently had the same experience. I Bought a couple of Gen Bb’s (one brass, one nickel) on amazon because people say they are pretty good and I couldn’t remember ever trying a Gen lower than C. Sorely disappointed though for exactly the reason you mention: Unusually large amount of “wind noise”, particularly in the 2nd register, ugh.

Is it normal for Gnerations of that key? I can’t say, perhaps those who have played more of them over the years can comment, but it certainly seem to be common with the Amazon supply.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm 
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The Bb is the only key I like of Generation. Do you mean airy sound as in it’s breathy like how a Clarke original is breathy or does it sound like air is leaking as you play? It has a slight breathiness to it, but I’ve never noticed it to be loud or distracting. I also prefer breathier sounding whistles. I’ve a fair amount of whistles, but my primaries are a Dixon trad D, Dixon mezzo G, and a Kerry Optima low D. The Generation is no breathier. I struggled a bit at first with the pitch, but that was mostly adjusting to the mouthpiece. To me, they just feel awkward. Once I was adjusted, it was fine and I found the tone to be quite sweet. Still, it’s not a whistle I play often only because I don’t like how it feels, nothing with the sound.

Does it look like it received any damage in post? I’ve never ordered a whistle through Amazon, but every generation I’ve ever owned came in a box, so that seems odd?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:41 am 
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Maybe you got a returned whistle(?) that wasn't up to scratch, but all my Generations play well enough, aren't any more breathy than my Faedog, Walton, or Clarkes.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:11 am 
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OK, I’ll be more blunt.

The head design is crap. Cheap whistles basically use a lousy head design: 1.The Labium (blade) is too far from the windway exit. 2. The windway floor exit is not chamfered. And 3. The labium is positioned much too high above the floor of the windway, which allows far too much air to go under the blade. This is why professional tweakers glue a new labium over or under the existing blade on cheap whistles, to bring the labium height closer to floor of the windway, and often to move the labium closer to the windway exit as well, in order to address item 1, which can affect tuning as well.

Virtually all cheap whistle heads are designed this way, and it works ok on the higher pitched keys, because the extra wind noise created by this set-up isn’t terribly loud, but as the whistle get bigger the excess wind sound becomes much louder.

Some amount of this sound component can certainly be desirable in a whistle, because we don’t want recorders, do we? :twisted: However beyond a certain point that sound component becomes too much non-musical noise that is quite undesirable. The Generation Bb breeches my tolerance for this by a wide margin.

Can’t blame this on a bad individual whistle or a bad batch, it’s the design.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:33 am 
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I am not a subscriber to the school of thought that recommends Generation Bb whistles as 'they're all good' that has been in operation here for a while. In fact I never had the need or want for a Bflat Generation, or otherwise (although I'll confess to getting a Bflat Camac during the seventies that spent its days standing unused in a vase). However, one arrived in the past two years with a batch of other whistles I picked up. Yesterday, this thread spurred me on to try it for a little bit. It's not particularly hissy at all, at least not appreciably more than, say, a B Sindt.
Take from that what you like.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:18 am 
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Hissy, I like that. More accurately descriptive and concise than wind noise.

Been well over a decade since I laid lips on a Sindt Bb, so I can’t comment there, but I do find your observations interesting. I can’t imagine you wouldn’t find the two Bb’s I got excessively hissy, so I’m not sure what to make of the difference between our experiences, as well as that of the OP. There certainly isn’t anything like a manufacturing defect(s) present. And the design certainly is sub optimal, and yet, I tend to agree with your observations more often than not so this discrepancy is a bit of a mystery.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:29 am 
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Injection moulding is notoriously variable and it doesn't take a big variation to throw things. I don't doubt yours aren't great. In fairness, mine is a pre 1980 design. But again, I am not of the school of thought that maintains those are all good. In fact, they were as variable as the current runs. Case in point: I got another Bflat a while ago, because it was a sort of transitional model that retained the decorative bands on the old all metal Generations. A 1950s or early 60s one. A pre-1980s Bb, if board opinion is to be believed, you can't go wrong with one of those. Or can you? It's awful. No visible defects there either.

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The other side of the coin are several extremely fine players I have seen that did have clearly visible production faults.But ones that somehow aligned to make something really excellent.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:46 am 
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Loren wrote:
OK, I’ll be more blunt.

The head design is crap. Cheap whistles basically use a lousy head design: 1.The Labium (blade) is too far from the windway exit. 2. The windway floor exit is not chamfered. And 3. The labium is positioned much too high above the floor of the windway, which allows far too much air to go under the blade. This is why professional tweakers glue a new labium over or under the existing blade on cheap whistles, to bring the labium height closer to floor of the windway, and often to move the labium closer to the windway exit as well, in order to address item 1, which can affect tuning as well.

Virtually all cheap whistle heads are designed this way, and it works ok on the higher pitched keys, because the extra wind noise created by this set-up isn’t terribly loud, but as the whistle get bigger the excess wind sound becomes much louder.

Some amount of this sound component can certainly be desirable in a whistle, because we don’t want recorders, do we? :twisted: However beyond a certain point that sound component becomes too much non-musical noise that is quite undesirable. The Generation Bb breeches my tolerance for this by a wide margin.

Can’t blame this on a bad individual whistle or a bad batch, it’s the design.


I think this might be the problem. It's like if you purse your lips and blow hard and have hand near your mouth you hear your breath. If that makes any sense... I hear a little of that with my others, but not much. I like it better when it is mostly the notes I hear. I'm sure only I hear that since I'm closer to the whistle.
I think I'll return it to Amazon for a replacement and hopefully the 2nd. might be just a tad better.
I was looking for a cheap beater whistle to carry around and whip out of my pocket when I had a few minutes to practice here or there. One that if it got banged up or dropped I wouldn't be out much money. I'd hate to wreck either my Dixon A or my Killarny, and my Oak (and killarny) are higer D's that annoy my Mom (91, I take care of her) and dog.
I could get a tweaked Freeman whistle but I'm saving up for a low D and the cost of the Freeman (with shipping) would pay for 1/2 the cost of a Kerry optima (which seems to be the best cheapest decent low D people have recommended.) Do the tweaked Freeman's have the same breathesness as the original Generation Bb?

I can't comment on Clarke's or Walton's or others as I have never played them or heard them in person.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:16 am 
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Just for reference, and a bit of music : Kieran Collins playing Maud Millar, Dunmore Lasses

Mine works very similar to this.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:05 pm 
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I have always liked the breathiness of the Generation Bb. To me, it gives it charm. My Freeman tweaked Generation Bb is also breathy but the the voicing is darker, which I also enjoy very much.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:23 pm 
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maiingan wrote:

Generation Bb seems out of tune and the air you hear when you play it is much louder... Is this normal for GENERATION whistles?


In my experience (over 40 years) there is no 'normal' for Generation whistles.

I've told the tale of when (in the 1990s) I got a box of 24 Generation D's straight from the factory, tried every one, and found that they were all over the map. A few were superb, a few only made squawking noises, the rest were in the mediocre middle. Some were pure of tone, some breathy, some wouldn't make a musical sound at all.

It's why when I started playing Irish music, at a time when Generations were the only D whistles available, what everybody did was try every one they could get their hands on and eventually acquire a great-playing one.

You can set yours aside and start looking for a better one, or if you're the tinkering sort you can modify the one you have.

There are two issues that Generations commonly have

1) the entire 2nd octave is flat.

2) the windway and blade are not ideally aligned.

Both problems can be fixed by chopping the whistle through the windway and gluing it back together. There's a period when the glue is holding the two halves together but is still moveable; during this time you can experiment with all the possible alignments of the windway and blade, playing the whistle with each, until you find the sweet spot where the whistle gives full low notes and sweet high notes.

Here, on the left an unmodified Bb, on the right a chopped one, a superb whistle, and one of the very best whistles I've ever tried.

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BTW I picked up a pile of old Generations a while back for a few dollars and every now and then I'll poke through them and see what I find. Just yesterday I tried a green-topped Generation D that's excellent. The octaves are just about perfect and the voicing overall is quite good. Does anybody know if the green-topped Ds are from a certain period, or if they're something Generation has always made? Did they use green tops on keys other than D?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:43 pm 
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Loren wrote:

1.The Labium (blade) is too far from the windway exit.

3. The labium is positioned much too high above the floor of the windway, which allows far too much air to go under the blade.



Yes addressing these things is what the head-chop does.

But, some Generations have the blade and windway perfectly aligned as they come from the factory! I've encountered many great off-the-shelf Generations over the years.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:07 pm 
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Quote:
Cheap whistles basically use a lousy head design: 1.The Labium (blade) is too far from the windway exit. 2. The windway floor exit is not chamfered. And 3. The labium is positioned much too high above the floor of the windway, which allows far too much air to go under the blade.

The window of the Gen Bb is rather short. I'd say #3 poses more of a problem.
I like some breathiness in a whistle. But it's more a matter of personal preference. I think, when a whistle sounds too clean it becomes too ear-pearcing in the 2nd octave (a bit like an ocarina). While some of the chiff of a Generation vanishes in the 2nd octave and they sing rather sweetly, at least the good one. The bad ones play bad in both octaves :D .


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