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 Post subject: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 2:46 am 
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Hi all. I'm very curious about the OZ whistles, due to all the praise that gets heaped on them, and the fact that they sound very nice in the videos that I have heard.

For those of you that have played one, can you tell me how the high a and b behaved? Did they take a lot more push than the lower notes? Were they a lot louder than the other notes?

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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 5:24 pm 
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I have an Oz high D made of Blackwood. I have a couple of Clarkes, a Waltons, a few Syns(including wood and aluminium) a Parks and a Killarney. The Oz in my view is the best sounding of them all but that’s just a personal preference as I am a wood fan. The easiest playing, judged by reaching a sweet high B with the least effort, are the Syn C and the Killarney brass D. The Oz takes a little more effort to play that high B but well worth it. When played properly the high B note is no louder than it should be. As for your reference to the high A note I have never experienced a difficulty playing the high A note with any of my whistles makes mentioned above. Just my view and I hope it helps.
Cheers JTU


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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 11:01 pm 
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Thanks JTU. I have found my Killarney to be among the best as far as bringing the high a and b into line with the rest of the whistle's range.

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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:59 am 
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I find it very odd that only one person on this board has anything to say about this. :-?

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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am 
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They’re fantastic whistles. I found that they took very little getting used to. What I mean by that is, They do exactly what you tell them to. Air requirements I’d say are fairly linear, and it isn’t a steep line. Top takes more push, but not disproportionately so. Far less than my McManus or say, a sussato. Similar story with volume, nothing “jumps out” or is unpleasant, even a top C# or D3. The back pressure (oooh buzzword) is pretty spot on, ornaments have a nice pop to them, and there’s plenty of room to lean into a note. The dynamic and textural range available if you know what you’re doing is phenomenal, and it isn’t hard to find. Perhaps they’re just overly suited to my style of playing, but I found them the be the most natural feeling whistle I’ve ever played.


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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 10:27 am 
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Location: PA
Having owned and played most of the top name whistles (with a few exceptions), and having sold off the majority of those that I didn’t regularly play for one reason or another, I settled on OZ whistles as my favorite. I currently have a Vambrace Gidgee/Bronze D, and a Vambrace Blackwood/Silver C, as well as a Visor D, and Visor C. The Visor whistles are made from Delrin.

What drew me to Mitch Smith’s OZ whistles was the consistency of intonation and tone. Each whistle, while exhibiting its own characteristics, has a consistency of sound and pressure that is unique to OZ whistles. The beautiful bird like tone with sweet chirpy highs, and full throated midrange are delightful to play. There are no dark notes, weak spots, or nagging squeaking/squawking to avoid, so, when you pick up one of these you can simply play music and not worry about avoiding notes, avoiding pulsing pressure, or wondering whether you’re in tune.

Wooden whistles require a degree of regular care. They need moisture (I use an Oasis mandolin case humidifier), and oiling every few months (I use Jojoba oil - it’s actually a wax, but doesn’t go rancid like almond oil. I’ve used it for years on my flutes and whistles without cracking).

The OZ Visor Delrin whistles require virtually no maintenance - maybe a wash once in a while, but nothing more.

I keep these in Martin Weber ‘Just Stow It’ Slim Jim zippered brush cases, which are perfect for about 3 D and C whistles. They’re readily available from martinuniversaldesign.com for about $12USD.

I’ve not given up other whistles, mostly because some I’ve found over 40 years of playing have proven to be superior instruments with unique and intriguing tone. Some of these high whistles are: Kerry Songbird D, Chieftain/Goldie Bb, Chieftain Custom Rosewood D, Milligan Blackwood Session D, Goldie non-tunable D, Chieftain C, Chieftain Mezzo A. The only whistle I would like to acquire at this point is a brass Copeland C “pre-air dam.” I borrowed one of these for a studio gig in the late ’90s and loved it, but they’re quite rare.

Finally, my criteria for even considering whether to play/keep a whistle goes like this:
1. Is it in tune?
2. Is it breath consistent across the octaves?
3. Is the tone consistent across the notes?
4. Can I play it without squeaks or squawks when pushed?
5. Is it fun to play?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then it’s in the bin, or out the door.

For anyone looking for an awesome modern whistle experience, I think OZ is the best, hands down.

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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:27 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it. I really wish there were more ‘try before you buy’ opportunities with whistles.

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 Post subject: Re: Oz whistles
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:27 pm
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Location: Rohnert Park, CA
I wish I could share my experience with Oz whistles, but I’ve been waiting on an order for over a year now. Mitch Smith, by all accounts a good guy, has been going through some unspecified issues over the last year and is apparently transitioning the business over to his son. I wish them well and hope eventually to get my whistle from them.

They are still accepting orders.

Here’s a link to their web page with some details. http://www.ozwhistles.com/news


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