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 Post subject: shearwater alto whistles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:40 pm 
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Does anyone have experience with the Shearwater PVC whistles?

I have a C and a D Dixon polymer that I like very much. And a Dixon alloy A and G that I am not happy with. They are fine whistles, but I have found I prefer the sound and playing characteristics of the polymer whistles. Dixon apparently does not make the polymer whistles in Bb, A, or G anymore. So I am looking for alternatives.

The Shearwater came up in my search. But, while I can find reviews and videos of the aluminum whistles. I've only found two references to the PVC line, and those from several years ago.

Any opinions re the Shearwaters or other suggestions? These would be for my own enjoyment, not for sessions or for recording.

JR


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:24 pm 
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Dixon doesn't show such whistles as being in current production. While I can't offer an opinion on the Shearwater, I can say that Susato is another option for non-metal whistles in those keys.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:41 am 
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I managed to obtain an ABS Dixon in 'G' pre used, & agree they are nice whistles.

(I also have Dixon ABS high 'D' whistle, high 'D' piccolo, low 'D' whistle, & low 'D' flute)

I own a Shearwater aluminium low 'F' - it has quite a good tone, & is well made, so I would expect their 'plastic' whistles would be too.

The Susato recommendation would be OK if you liked a loud whistle, but I personally think my pre used 'Eb' & 'B' are somewhat loud for playing at home.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:08 pm 
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fatmac wrote:
The Susato recommendation would be OK if you liked a loud whistle, but I personally think my pre used 'Eb' & 'B' are somewhat loud for playing at home.

Susatos are loud; that's good to know. As I find a quieter whistle more desirable, they wouldn't be ideal for me. Thanks for the feedback!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 4:46 pm 
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About loud Susatos, I've owned a variety of Susatos over the years and I've encountered as many as three different bore sizes for the same pitch whistle. So for a given key a particular Susato might be louder than average, average, or softer than average.

Regarding the pitch of mezzo/alto A I've owned three Susatos and all were different.

Two had, I would say, around average-size bores and volume levels for that pitch. One was a decent player, one was a very good player.

However the third one had an unusually narrow bore, the same tubing as a Susato High D whistle I had.

That one was the standout player, a very fine whistle, though a bit on the quiet side. It was perfectly in tune (which can't be said for all Susatos). The 2nd octave was exceptionally sweet-toned.

On the other hand I've owned Susato High Ds in at least three different bore-sizes and all of them were, I would say, above-average in volume. The loudest was THE loudest whistle I've ever owned. I ended up giving it to a busker who told me he couldn't find a whistle loud enough.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:06 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
I've owned Susato High Ds in at least three different bore-sizes and all of them were, I would say, above-average in volume. The loudest was THE loudest whistle I've ever owned.

With that in mind, a Susato likely would not be a good choice for me at present time (I, and my cats, desire quiet whistles).

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:19 am 
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fatmac wrote:
The Susato recommendation would be OK if you liked a loud whistle, but I personally think my pre used 'Eb' & 'B' are somewhat loud for playing at home.

The problem with small plastic whistles is they just don't hold up if you try to beat the other family members into submission when they don't like the pitch or volume.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:17 am 
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I have a Shearwater messo(alto) G in PVC on order. According to John Bushby, the maker, the PVC G is more mellow than his aluminum G. The Shearwater, to my ears, have a beautiful, gentle tone. Someone on this forum once described it as powdery and rather unique, and he was describing the aluminum versions. Their volume suits me because they are not quiet, nor are they loud honkers.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:51 pm 
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Dan, my cats feel the same way. That's one of the reasons my criteria include a sweet, round tone, an easy second octave, and average or lower volume.

Pancelticpiper, your description of the three Susatos points out one of the problems, even among whistles in the same key by the same maker. I've read that the smaller bore on the Susato produced a more sweet-toned and quiet whistle. The old VSB was highly regarded on this site. But I understand it is no more. Or is bore size part of the difference between the Oriole, the Dublin, and the Kildare?

In any event, I look forward to reading Tyler's review of the PVC Shearwater he ordered.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:45 pm 
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leydog wrote:
Dan, my cats feel the same way. That's one of the reasons my criteria include a sweet, round tone, an easy second octave, and average or lower volume.

My cats seem to hate my newly acquired Dixon PVC whistle above all others. It has great tone, but is definitely louder than the metal ones. Maybe I'll have to break down and pick up a low D.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:41 am 
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leydog wrote:
Dan, my cats feel the same way. That's one of the reasons my criteria include a sweet, round tone, an easy second octave, and average or lower volume.

Pancelticpiper, your description of the three Susatos points out one of the problems, even among whistles in the same key by the same maker. I've read that the smaller bore on the Susato produced a more sweet-toned and quiet whistle. The old VSB was highly regarded on this site. But I understand it is no more. Or is bore size part of the difference between the Oriole, the Dublin, and the Kildare?

In any event, I look forward to reading Tyler's review of the PVC Shearwater he ordered.



Susato still produce the VSB (very small bore) whistles. I just very recently acquired one in D. It is a different beast to the "standard" small bore Kildares, but still pretty loud.

The Orioles have the same bore size as the Kildare small bore whistles.

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