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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:44 am 
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I have been reading around here the last couple of days and see there is quite a lot on offer.

As I have read more I have got a better idea of what each offering does.

The ones I have read about are mainly tjpotterwhistles (though I have not read anything on how they play, there are sounds on his website but I would like to know how it plays in terms of sensitivity etc) but the main two others being freeman of course and the cillian o briain.

I have bought about 3 cheap whistles and just want to buy one that does not shriek on second octave. I don't really want increased sensitivity. I tried some 'homebrew' tweaks on these like putting some tack in the mouthpiece as I was told it will shorten the gap between the octaves but I didn't really like that. I don't have problems with the 'handling' of the stock ones just the awful cacophony they tend to make.

I will note that I own a polymer dixon dx004 which sounds very clean on both octaves and plays well so it is not just an issue of me not being able to handle any whistle. It is my best whistle I have at the moment but I am not totally satisfied with the 'plastic' sound it makes which I feel is more akin to a recorder and am looking for an equivalent price point tin whistle to have the more authentic old school sound. As I was happy with the build of the dixon I was thinking about one of their brass whistles but sadly they have discontinued making them. I asked them why and they told me they can't get the material any more for a good price. I find that hard to believe since all other makers are having no such shortage. Anyway, for whatever reason they have stopped doing them but I am quite intrigued by tweaked offerings now anyway.

One thing I hadn't thought about is the sensitivity issue. I imagine I would get used to it if a tweaked whistle had that increased sensitivity but it certainly wasn't something I looked for or wanted. The cillian o briain was at the front of my list until I started reading how sensitive it is. I was really just looking for a cleaned up faedog or generation, ie basic tweaks to remove the rough edges, not a completely new sound; from what I read the cillian o briain improved is the latter case.

I heard a sound clip on one of the threads on here from some years ago of a freeman tweaked faedog a member had reviewed and freeman himself replied in the thread saying he made very minor adjustments in the vein I was discussing above, aiming to keep the 'meaty' sound, they referred to it as 'reedy', of the stock generation while just getting rid of the nasty edges they most times come with.

I would prefer that but faedogs are not on offer of the ones he sells are they now? Also I read he is very busy right now due to helping out with the current crisis. I don't mind waiting a couple of months til he is but even when he is fully focused back on tweaking I don't think he even sells anything like that now? He hasn't sold faedogs for some years that I can tell? and I read he stopped tweaking the generations due to lack of consistency in the stock product and what he does still sell seems more of the sweeter end 'full revamp' type of tweaked similar to the o briains, is that right?

If those are all that are on offer now I might as well just take my pick from either his or o briaians' and there is a shop I found that has o briains ones in stock I might just go with his, even though it slightly more expensive.

But yea I would have preferred just a cleaned up stock sounding faedog/generation rather than completely rebuilt sound so wondering if you guys knew of one which might more fit the bill in this same price bracket (so not looking into the upper killarney type class)? There seem to be a couple of smaller named tweakers I saw mentioned in passing but didn't read anything about how they sound so maybe you guys, with much larger knowledge of what is on offer, could advise better?

So to sum up, a classic faedog/generation type base whistle/sound with the price bracket of a freeman with just the rough edges cleaned up to simply be in tune and easily play clean notes on both the 1st and second octave.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:10 am 
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Maybe take a listen to the Tony Dixon aluminium whistle(?), I like them because they don't 'shriek' in the second octave as they are made of thicker tubing, at least that is my thinking, because their brass Trad whistles also have thicker tubing than the basic Gens & Feadogs.

I know what you mean about their ABS whistles, but I like it, maybe you should take a listen to a Susato, it is made of plastic, but a different sound altogether.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:20 am 
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Well that is the obvious thought re going with a dixon, of course, but I really am not fond of the idea of a nickel or the like whistle as I have read the grip will be slippery and I have already had issues with my polymer with that in summer.

I have my heart set on a brass of some kind and the tweakeds are piquing my interest at the moment.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:17 am 
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Fair enough, I quite like my brass Trads. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:56 am 
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Regrettably Dixon has discontinued their brass whistles (definitely the Trad [heard it from them directly] and I'm guessing all the others as well based on stock levels).

I found out after trying to by a dixon brass trad from like 4 different shops.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:43 am 
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I have an O'Briain, I think you'd like it. It has a similar sound to the standard cheap whistles, probably a bit cleaner on the lower octave but with a much sweeter upper octave. I recommend it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:21 am 
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Someone just reminded me of mack hoover whitecaps as well. This might be a good solution for me since I already have 3 brass cheap whistles, a generation, a faedog and a clare two piece; non of which I can get a good sound out of at stock levels, maybe they just need a nice cap to make them sing, or at least one out of the 3 would hopefully sound good with a new cap.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:23 am 
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user154785 wrote:
Well that is the obvious thought re going with a dixon, of course, but I really am not fond of the idea of a nickel or the like whistle as I have read the grip will be slippery and I have already had issues with my polymer with that in summer.

I have my heart set on a brass of some kind and the tweakeds are piquing my interest at the moment.


I hear what you're saying with the nickel (and some polished brass) whistles being slippery sometimes but you can get around that pretty easily with a bit of grippy tape where your thumbs go or just a coarse scuff with sand paper which is what I usually do.

As far as preferred tweaked whistles go; I've been playing a Chris Wall for the past four months and it's my favourite. Pretty long wait time since he makes them individually for each customer but it was worth it if you ask me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:47 am 
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user154785 wrote:
Someone just reminded me of mack hoover whitecaps as well. This might be a good solution for me since I already have 3 brass cheap whistles, a generation, a faedog and a clare two piece; non of which I can get a good sound out of at stock levels, maybe they just need a nice cap to make them sing, or at least one out of the 3 would hopefully sound good with a new cap.
Back in the dark ages when I first joined this board, Hoover whistles were one of the most discussed brands. Now they are almost never mentioned which is unfortunate since they are well made and relatively inexpensive. Typically described as having a bright or sweet sound, my Whitecap reminds me of a Burke with significantly less volume. Not a traditional sound from my viewpoint.

It does take more breath control as you might expect from the lower air requirements. I am sure you can find many reviews and opinions if you search C&F for old posts.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:11 pm 
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Perhaps you would rather have a whistle in a lower key, Bb, A or low D?

Regular D whistles are designed to be played an octave up from the range where the flutes and fiddles play. That does make them a bit shrill in the living room, but if you take them to a session they contribute a high tonality to the mix with the other instruments.

I find my Killarney to have a sweet upper register. Even high C and high D are reasonable.

You can also play in a room that is less resonant. Try the library with it's books, carpeting, easy chairs, and decanter of port.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:25 am 
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Just FIY -- I have the trad nickel Dixon and it is not slippery at all because it's not a polished nickel plated tube like on Generations or the like but a matt finish with a "pure" nickel body, not plated. I think that makes it rather special. It has a nice bright sound and is tunable out of the box. Can't go wrong with this one I think. It's also very light weight.
And when looking for a "cleaned up" Generation sound -- take a look at the "Oak" brand of whistles. They feature a thicker nickel plated brass tube, are tunable and have a cleaner sound with less wind noise. I like mine quite a bit. Even better than the Feadóg Pro (which is also very good).


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:52 am 
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I dont have experience with Freeman whistles, but Cillian O'Briain Feadog is lovely. Actually I dont think it changes things sound wise. it has that trad whistle sound, just cleaner and purer (especially 2nd octave). But it it sensitive and a bit quiet. Anyways a lovely whistle.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:01 am 
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I have a bunch of whistles, Generations, an old Oak, Cillian O Briain improved, old Feadógs, a Potter as well as Sindts and Killarneys. They all do the job and do it well.

You can overthink all this: buy any whistle under the sun but at the end of it you'll have to sit down and learn to blow the things. Whistle is a very simple and accessible instrument but you will have to sit down and learn the basics to make it sound right. There aren't any shortcuts and buying more whistles isn't really a solution to harsh and out of tune octaves, it's just delaying the inevitable. I would suggest to any beginner just to stick with what they have, make the best of it, get off the internet and spend the hours you'd waste posting threads, playing instead. And when you have a basic ability and know what you're doing and what it is you want from a whistle, look around for something to suit your needs. But what do I know.. :poke:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:13 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
I have a bunch of whistles, Generations, an old Oak, Cillian O Briain improved, old Feadógs, a Potter as well as Sindts and Killarneys. They all do the job and do it well.

You can overthink all this: buy any whistle under the sun but at the end of it you'll have to sit down and learn to blow the things. Whistle is a very simple and accessible instrument but you will have to sit down and learn the basics to make it sound right. There aren't any shortcuts and buying more whistles isn't really a solution to harsh and out of tune octaves, it's just delaying the inevitable. I would suggest to any beginner just to stick with what they have, make the best of it, get off the internet and spend the hours you'd waste posting threads, playing instead. And when you have a basic ability and know what you're doing and what it is you want from a whistle, look around for something to suit your needs. But what do I know.. :poke:



Hahaha can we make this a "sticky"?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:02 pm 
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For the most part, I'd agree. However, there are a few whistles that are not really "better" overall but maybe better suited for beginners than Generations and the like. The problem is the breath control. Whistles that can take a bit more air tend to be more forgiving than the more "traditional" whistles. In the end however, once somebody has the necessary skills, a Generation, Feadóg, etc is great exactly because they need so little air.
That being said -- a Dixon can be more forgiving because of the larger airway.
Or a Waltons "mellow" D because of the larger tube. It is basically a "cut down" Waltons C. The mouthpiece fits perfectly on a C Generation (and plays great). Starting out on a C instead of D might be a good idea anyway. I started playing on a Generation C about 30 years ago (never heard of "Irish trad" at the time -- no internet back then and I played stuff from the Beatles or anything that came to mind). Still have that one but the head is cracked where it fits on the tube. It still plays just fine and for many years it was my only tin whistle. But it was made before they changed the mouthpiece-design and many people say those were better. I have some new Generations however that play just as good. But they do vary a bit.


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