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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:53 am 
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There are several products made to improve grip on guitar picks. I’ve used two, Monster Grips and a cork based product. Both work great, the cork one possibly better than the monster grips. The monster grips are clear plastic and look much nicer. I use the monster grips as they add plenty of gription and they are barely visible.
https://www.monstergrips.com/


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 3:17 pm 
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I'm going to post again my feeling that the standard low whistle is an ergonomic disaster. I have big hands, and am strong enough tom play three set a night on the double bass (before covid), but I find the whistle extremely hard to hold, and I've tried varios dosges fror making thumb rests and grips.


Imho a tranverse-blown low whistle would make a lot of sense: hold it like a flute, but it has a fipple like a whistle and sounds and plays like a whistle. In the past whistle mouthpieces for flute were common. They were a training aid for people starting out on flute. If somebody made transverse-blown whistle I'd buy it in a second. I have no trouble playing the flute for hours

The monster grips are probably worth a try--thank you


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 3:40 pm 
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Interesting. I have a significant problem holding a flute. I have no problem with a low D whistle. I also don’t have any problems with my fiddle. The transverse flute particularly bothers my left hand. I’ve even thought of getting a flute with a shakuhachi type mouthpiece so I can hold it like a low whistle. The MK is a little slippery, but these grips make it more solid than any metal whistle without them, IMO. I love the anodized finishes on MK’s. The tone, how responsive they are, and how they look are all major plusses for MK’s, for me. I adore the sound of them, rich, complex, and powerful.


Last edited by bruce.b on Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:50 pm 
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I have an MK low D--I find it pretty much unplayable. I have a kerry optima which is better


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:33 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
I have an MK low D--I find it pretty much unplayable. I have a kerry optima which is better


Is it because the MK is too slippery? Try guitar pick grips like these, if so. Otherwise, I find MK’s to be the easiest to play and best sounding of all the low D’s I’ve tried. I like the Optima a lot too. Great low D for the price. I find the MK to be easier to play and with a better tone. It took me a while to consistently seal the holes on the Optima and I’m not sure why. The lowest two notes on the MK are great, while they are just a bit soft and fussy on the Optima. I love the light weight of the Optima.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:13 pm 
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By and large, I'm not a fan of anything stuck to an instrument unless it was applied at time of production. Those Monster Grip jobs could be a notable exception to that rule.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:53 am 
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I had to give up playing flute. I'm not alone in finding it un-ergonomic. With vertical instruments you can have the head straight forward, both shoulders relaxed, both forearms wrists and hands in relaxed natural positions, and you head, body, arms, and wrists all in alignment.

With transverse flute you have to twist the head one way and twist the shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands the other way, in addition to elevating both shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

There's a "vertical flute" thing in the Boehm flute world due to the ever-growing number of flutists that have neck and/or shoulder and/or wrist problems with the transverse orientation.

https://search.proquest.com/openview/d7 ... &cbl=26252

The article said that 26% of the flutists surveyed reported fluteplaying-related discomfort or pain.

So yes around 2007 I had to pack it in after 30 years of being a fluteplayer and have the Low Whistle be my flute.

My current Low D, a Colin Goldie, is perfectly comfortable and ergonomic for me. There's zero finger, wrist, shoulder, or neck discomfort. I have no problems gripping the whistle.

I do have discomfort when the whistle tube diameter gets past a certain size, especially when combined with upper-hand finger-holes that are too widely splayed. Thus some Low Ds aren't comfortable for me, like the Burke. Also whistles lower than D are a bit uncomfortable so I can only play them for limited periods, for example my Low C and especially my Bass A.

But my Goldie Low D I can play for an hour or more with no discomfort.

I've never encountered a slippery whistle.

There was a Low D that I had problems gripping! The so-called "Chieftain Gold" which (despite the name) was solid brass and weighed a ton. It was a beast to grip. I bought a Bari Sax strap that had a plastic clip which I could clip to the bottom of the beast to support it. That Low D wasn't slippery, just very heavy.

As a Highland piper, I don't think any flute or low whistle is as ergonomic as the Highland pipe chanter. You don't have to support the chanter at all! It's suspended from the bag, so your hands and wrists can be totally relaxed.

It may surprise people that the upper-hand finger spacing on the Highland pipe chanter is the same as a High D whistle, the lower-hand finger spacing the same as a High C whistle. And the body of the chanter is slender too, the upper hand around the same OD as a High D whistle, the lower hand around the same OD as a High C whistle.

Left to right: Bass A, Low C, Low D, Mezzo F, Mezzo G, modern Highland pipe chanter, High D whistle.

I took this photo to post on a Highland pipe forum on a thread where people were complaining about the finger spacing on Highland pipe chanters. I said look here, this is what I have to deal with!

Image

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:07 pm 
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What is the overall length of the bass A whistle? And I don't think I've seen a high D whistle with a head in that color.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:00 pm 
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I'm sympathetic to whistle makes, because people are just shaped differently

I can palm a basketball, and am fairly strong, but I find the low whistle ergonomically difficult. I've thought about this and I think, but have no evidence, that my little figure may be shorter than average relative to my other fingers. I can play the low whistle without using "piper's grip," but then my littlest fingers don't reach the whistle. If I play with piper's grip to get my little fingers onto the whistle then I'm closing the low holes with the knuckle nearest my palm. Which works, but it's still hard to hold. Probably a difference of a millimeter or so makes a big difference. I tried a set of the thumb rest things from Susato and they broke. i tried the baritone sax strap but I'm too tall and the strap wouldn't reach the end. I have an adjustable clarinet thumb rest and have been thinking about drilling and tapping my MK whistle to take the thumb rest.

LOL silly, I know. I could probably find a way around this if the flute wasn't working out


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:00 pm 
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My pinky fingers are really short too. There is no way I can rest them on the whistle for stability while playing. I put RH3 down for C#. I also have inflexible fingers compared to most people.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:18 pm 
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There's an opportunity here for inventing a comfortable, reliable, durable, adjustable whistle grip. Maybe one model for the size of the smaller high C/D range of whistles and another one for the larger bore alto and low-range pipes. Why not? The whistle makers aren't touching the idea, so it's wide open. For a whistle accessory design, how difficult can it be, especially when people can improvise their own using lots of different materials and as far as I can tell, whistle sales (apart from COVID19's negative market impact), are on the climb.

A similar thing happened in the flute world. The little snap-on plastic Bo-Pep thumb rests, especially for the left hand, make the average silver flute far more comfortable to hold for a long period of time. They have a few different designs now but the first one, the slightly contoured relatively flat one, was the most comfortable I found, and it somehow facilitated better playing by liberating some of the action of the fingers, and giving them more endurance by doing that. The gadget probably wouldn't fit a wooden Irish flute, but where there's a will, there's a way. Here it is:

https://www.amazon.ca/Bo-Pep-A13-BP602- ... G0FXWNDTKJ


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:41 am 
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I'm wondering about the people with short little fingers.

Unlike Highland pipes where the mid-joint pad of the index finger and the end-joint pad of the little finger are the two anchor-points for the lower hand, the low hand of the so-called "pipers grip" uses the end-joint pad of the ring finger as the bottom anchor-point, throwing the hand at an angle, and sort of leaving the little finger waving in the wind.

Now many old-school flute players and whistle players left the lower-hand ring finger down much of the time to help grip the instrument, and that's the way I learned.

But when Low Ds came along in the 1970s they often had an acoustic quirk that neither the flute or traditional high whistle has: if you leave down the lower-hand ring finger then High B has difficultly speaking clearly.

Beginning to play Low D as my fulltime instrument over a dozen years ago forced me to get in the habit of taking off that bottom-hand ring finger when I'm in passages involving High B. And yes then I use my little finger as a substitute anchoring/grip/indexing finger.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:19 am 
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I hate to pile in with anything vaguely resembling negativity, but I have to agree with Richard Cook. I've been playing nearly 30 years and I've never experienced this "slippery whistle" phenomenon either. At all times you should have two thumbs and at least one finger on the body of the whistle, as well as holding it between your lips, so unless you suffer from some sort of infirmity in your hands there ought not to be any reason not to be able to hold a low whistle, really. If you do have an infirmity, then a low whistle is probably a bad idea anyway. As uncharitable as it may seem, I would tend to the view that if your low whistle is slipping then you aren't holding it properly. Rather than applying sticky fixers/thumbrests, it might require consideration of your hold.

I'm a lot less proficient on the flute and wouldn't dare to comment on how to hold one, having tried various shapes in the past! For me, the key is to keep my left wrist as straight as I can, but a lot of bent-wrist players don't seem remotely bothered.

m.d.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:39 am 
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I can play my MK somewhat ok without these grips, but it is slippery compared to my other low D’s. I feel it reduces tension in my hands when I use them, which is a good thing. I care about how my instruments look, and these are unobtrusive. I haven’t put them on my Reyburn, but I should. My hands are pretty dry, which reduces friction a lot. I moisten them before I play, but it’s not needed on the MK with these. If your thumbs can slip, even a little, that is a problem, IMO. With the anodized surface and dry skin, it increases the chance of it happening. I don’t think it’s an infirmity issue at all.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:49 am 
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Thanks bruce.b for bringing this product to my attention.

I don't have problems with the brass whistles or smaller bore whistles I play. The natural friction seems to be adequate to keep the whistle in place during play; however, the nickel plated ones and the some of the low whistles are another story. Some of them feel more slippery and they feel as though they are going to slip from time to time, thus taking my attention away (sometimes) from the more important things I need to concentrate on to learn to play the whistle competently.

So if there is a product that can help me enjoy my new hobby then by all means I'm going to explore it and use it if it is helpful. Why would I continue fighting the slipping feeling when there could be a solution for it.

Whether or not I'm holding the whistle "properly" or not I don't know. My wrists are developing arthritis and I've had tendonitis in them for years. If this product can help me play the whistle (for my enjoyment) then I'm going to use it.

Thanks again bruce.b!!!


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