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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:59 am 
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Quick poll: What inexpensive ($50 max) D whistles do you find most consistent in tone and playability? I normally recommend Freeman Tweaked for my whistle students, but since Jerry seems to be hard at work on the front lines of COVID now I can't get ahold of a tweaked. Thanks and good health to you all.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:21 am 
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You really want to look at each individual whistle. Most makes (Generation, Oak, Feadóg) will have lovely examples alongside less lovely ones. I went through a batch of Generation a while ago (there isn't a lot of trying in shops at the moment) and they were all lovely while a previous batch in the same shop mostly weren't.

Cillian O'Briains are remarkably consistent these days but last time I looked they had gone up to €35 last time I looked which would be outside what I consider the cheap range (I got a spare one from a forum member for €20 though).

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:43 am 
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Generations have always done it for me. I may be lucky, but in 45 years I've never had or played one that was awful, and all were playable though some were more sweet than others. Recently bought some online, sight-unseen, for grandchildren and they were fine.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:57 am 
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I've never had or played one that was awful, and all were playable though some were more sweet than others


That is pretty much my own experience. I think a large majority of them are perfectly serviceable for beginners and intermediate players. But given recent discussions here and elsewhere, not all beginners seem to agree.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:08 am 
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I have a couple of Dixon's that I like, and a Timothy J. Potter that is also very good. They all seem to get consistently good reviews here.

I think that "under $50" is really two categories. Clarkes, Feadogs, Generations, etc. I think belong in an "under $25" group. Dixon, Potter and Freeman whistles are in a different category, the "$25 - $50" group. From what I've learned here in the short time I've been involved, there is greater chance of inconsistently in the under $25 group than there is in the $25-$50 group.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:15 am 
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My favourite whistle is my Mack Hoover phenolic resin D. $45, so just in that price range.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:10 am 
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I found most of the less expensive whistles to be OK. One of the best Oak D for $12.00 and Potter would be second best. Whistles... very subjective in relation to quality and then playing experience. Enjoy your whistling! And welcome to the forum.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:24 am 
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I've had no problems with any of the usual suspects, (Generation - Faedog - Waltons - Clarkes), but I prefer my Tony Dixon Trad brass, & my aluminium whistles.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:33 pm 
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The $50 limit provides a long list of reliable whistles from quality brands and can keep you away from the predictable problem brands that are "toy" level and have very poor quality control decade after decade.

I'd suggest → (in no particular order), Tony Dixon (many options), Walton Mellow D, Oak, Timothy Potter, Goldfinch, Chris Wall, Pablo Asturias, Feadog Pro, Shearwater soprano D in aluminum (close to $50?), and you can always keep an eye on the professional "tweekers" such as Jerry Freeman and O'Brien, and search the used whistle listings all over the planet for great deals.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:46 pm 
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"not all beginners seem to agree"

Not to put too fine a point on it ... what (or even how) do they know?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:00 pm 
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ecadre wrote:
Not to put too fine a point on it ... what (or even how) do they know?



I have said many times here that anyone who can't play the instrument well is in no position to evaluate it. But I kept it more or less tongue in cheek, with a few recent cross forum 'how does my feadog sound' style posts in mind, as stirring controversy wouldn't be helpful for the current thread.

Calling instruments played by outstanding whistle players and evidently capable of wonderful music 'toy level' isn't very helpful either, but there you go.

Anyhow, in general it is helpful when asking for recommendations to put together a few pointers as to what you expect from a whistle, if you want to avoid getting every make and model under the sun thrown at you in reply. As will unavoidably happen.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:01 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Cillian O'Briains are remarkably consistent these days but last time I looked they had gone up to €35 last time I looked which would be outside what I consider the cheap range (I got a spare one from a forum member for €20 though).


€35 if you don't actually want to receive it, another €10 to get it through the post. The Big Whistle is selling them for £50 plus plus whatever they charge for delivery.

50 US dollars is just under £40 and about €40 when I looked at the online rates, this does not include any bank charges.

Sadly, this puts them outside the $50 range.

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Last edited by ecadre on Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:03 pm 
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I'm certainly no beginner and started playing over 30 yrs ago (even though I didn't play for a couple of years and just took it up again about 5 yrs ago) and I am one to disagree. Yes, all Generations might be playable but some need more effort than others to play decently (it can still be done but some just play that much smoother). Some cheapo whistles I own (not Generation!) are downright unplayable. But one of my Generations is also one of the best sounding whistles to my ears that I own. And recently the quality seems to be better than maybe 3 yrs ago. A reason for the variety is that they come from 4 different molds. Jerry Freeman himself explained it once on FB. Some of the molds are worn out, some are not. The ones from the better molds play and sound as nicely as the fabled vintage ones, of which I own two (one in C, which wasn't really vintage when I bought it, and one in D that I got on a flea market for 50 cents).
The difference is even visible to the plain eye. The good ones have sharp lines and edges, especially at the beginning of the windway. The "less good" ones don't have those sharp edges but look worn out. And that's because they were from worn-out molds.
Jerry Freeman even stopped tweaking them for some time as the quality was so bad. But he took it up again, as they have restored their molds. That's why they are better now than a few years ago. But you can probably still come across an occasional "dud".


Last edited by Sedi on Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:06 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
ecadre wrote:
Not to put too fine a point on it ... what (or even how) do they know?



I have said many times here that anyone who can't play the instrument well is in no position to evaluate it. But I kept it more or less tongue in cheek, with a few recent cross forum 'how does my feadog sound' style posts in mind, as stirring controversy wouldn't be helpful for the current thread.

Calling instruments played by outstanding whistle players and evidently capable of wonderful music 'toy level' isn't very helpful either, but there you go.

Anyhow, in general it is helpful when asking for recommendations to put together a few pointers as to what you expect from a whistle, if you want to avoid getting every make and model under the sun thrown at you in reply. As will unavoidably happen.


Indeed, this is one of the main issues in all those "what's the best D whistle I can buy" type threads. Unless you know what, where and often even why they are playing, any answer is essentially meaningless.

For example, I could say that my Generations are the best. Well, I play them and I like them very much. But if I'm busking outdoors on a street corner, they're not really the "best whistle."

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:59 pm 
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Even a really good Generation/Feadóg/Oak/etc can be difficult for a beginner to control because of the amount of breath control they need. For beginners a whistle with a slightly larger windway might be better suited because it's a bit more forgiving. For the advanced player, the disadvantage of the beginner becomes an advantage -- the low air requirements.
All that being said -- I had very good experiences with Oaks and Acorns. The Oak is the higher-end version that comes tunable out of the box and has a thicker tube. The Acorn is also nice and has a bit more breathiness to the sound. IMO it plays like a good Generation. But I also had good experiences with the Feadóg Pro.
I have 4 Fadógs -- two Pro, one standard in C and one in D. All are just fine.
Of the around 15 Generations I have -- some are amazing, some not so much. But the ones made recently seem to be better because of the refurbished molds. So I think one can recommend them, too. Just careful when there might be some "old stock".
Waltons -- some good, some not so much. The "mellow D" plays nicely but the tuning is a bit wonky. Even with the tuner set to "just temperament" the tuning seems to be a bit off. While the Generations do play just fine in JT -- not so much in ET (equal temperament).
Dixons are also worth a look. Maybe a bit easier for a beginner because of the wider windway. The DX001 is great.
Shearwater (made by John Bushby) -- highly recommended. Very stable and consistent. I have the standard D but he also makes a session bore. Never tried that but I heard it's good, too. Might be a bit above the price limit though but well worth it.


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