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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 1:47 pm 
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Hi all,

This is my first post on C&F. I've been following it for a while but created an account to ask this question (and forthcoming other questions, I'm sure).

I started whistling a few months ago and recently decided to venture beyond my safe little High D enclave into the deeper depths of whistledom. I immediately took quite a fancy to the key of Bb and per many a hearty recommendation on this forum I decided to part with my life savings for a Generation Bb. All in all, I'd say I'm enjoying it, though I'm having some definite issues ...

First and foremost, the bell note has a certain "buzziness" that I find quite off-putting. I find that this sound occurs with the A of the lowest octave as well, though it's certainly less noticeable. Part of me thinks that I'm actually blowing too hard and that the note is starting to wander into the unforgiving ether between the two octaves. That being said, although the buzziness does decrease when I blow more softly, that requires me to blow so softly that it's just hard (if not impossible?) to consistently do that in the context of an actual tune. (I'm currently working on Cooley's Reel and hitting that bell note cleanly in fast/tongued passages without overblowing almost feels like a fool's errand. And notably this is something that is not even remotely an issue for me on my Clarke Original in D. The bell note is perfectly easy to hit and always sounds nice and smooth.)

The other noteworthy point is that I can clearly see some debris in the whistle body in the area closer to the mouthpiece. There was some at the other end as well and I had to scrape it off (carefully) with a knife. I'm assuming that the stuff toward the top is the same thing (perhaps glue? not sure). Could this stuff be affecting the sound as well? Part of me wonders if I just got a dud and should simply buy another (they're only like $15 after all). What I'd really like is a Jerry Freeman one but it's not clear to me how long it will be until he's making whistles again :sniffle:

Thanks for any help.

Tim


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 3:57 pm 
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I would certainly take the head off; dip the head into some hot water, then grip it firmly and twist it off.

This will mean that you can tune it and get rid of any stuff that has got caught up in it.

I've never personally had Generation Bb whistles buzzing on the bell note. The tuning and cleaning may be just what it needs.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:53 am 
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wxflurry wrote:
First and foremost, the bell note has a certain "buzziness" that I find quite off-putting. I find that this sound occurs with the A of the lowest octave as well

Sorry for asking, but I just wanted to clarify which note you mean by the "A of the lowest octave". Do you mean the note which sound when you just have the top two fingers of the top hand down? I.E. XXO OOO Or do you mean the note with no fingers down? I.E. OOO OOO In either case, it seems strange for this "buzziness" to be on the bell note and that one other note ... :-?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 3:27 am 
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As above, I'd think that there is something inside that is flapping about - I have both brass & nickel Bb Gens, & they play OK.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:10 am 
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As ecadre says, remove the head. Heat up some water to about the temperature of a hot cup of coffee, dunk the head in for a few seconds, wrap a towel around the head, and twist it off. If the head doesn't come off, make the water slightly hotter and try again. Once you have the head off, remove any molding flash (I use a hobby knife with a #11 blade for this) and crud that built up in the head. It might not improve matters any, but it's worth a shot.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:46 am 
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HOT TAP WATER!!!!! NOTHING ELSE!!!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:18 pm 
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There's no harm in cleaning up the head but my first thought would be a buzzing bottom note is due to too much pressure. I just tried my own Bb, which is perfectly fine in normal use, and it needs only very little more than it's usual pressure to get a well defined buzz on the bottom note.

These whistles are light to the touch and you reall need to just breath into them to get the mto speak.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:38 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
wxflurry wrote:
First and foremost, the bell note has a certain "buzziness" that I find quite off-putting. I find that this sound occurs with the A of the lowest octave as well

Sorry for asking, but I just wanted to clarify which note you mean by the "A of the lowest octave". Do you mean the note which sound when you just have the top two fingers of the top hand down? I.E. XXO OOO Or do you mean the note with no fingers down? I.E. OOO OOO In either case, it seems strange for this "buzziness" to be on the bell note and that one other note ... :-?


Ah forgive me! I was going in the "wrong direction" in the mental scale in my head. I meant the C of the lowest octave, not the A. So basically it's the lowest two notes that produce the buzzing, with it being significantly more pronounced on the bell note.

Mr.Gumby wrote:
There's no harm in cleaning up the head but my first thought would be a buzzing bottom note is due to too much pressure. I just tried my own Bb, which is perfectly fine in normal use, and it needs only very little more than it's usual pressure to get a well defined buzz on the bottom note.

These whistles are light to the touch and you reall need to just breath into them to get the mto speak.


The thing is though if I go through an exercise for that bell note where I start with no air at all and slowly ramp up the pressure until I hit the note and then eventually push past it and into the second octave Bb, there honestly is never really a point where it sounds completely clean. So yes there is a point on that spectrum where it sounds better than at any other point, but at least to my (admittedly untrained) ears, it doesn't sound great. There is a certain graininess to the sound that doesn't really exist for the other notes (save for maybe that low C as previously mentioned). Is it possible that the balance on this specific whistle is just off? It feels like it shouldn't be THAT hard to get a clean bell note. It certainly isn't on my Clarke Original.

All that aside, since people seem to suggest cleaning the whistle I think I'll give that a shot. And to that end, forgive me if this is a stupid question, but will it not be difficult to get the whistle head properly back on once it's been twisted off? I certainly don't want to damage anything in the process of cleaning this thing.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 10:58 pm 
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wxflurry wrote:
will it not be difficult to get the whistle head properly back on once it's been twisted off? I certainly don't want to damage anything in the process of cleaning this thing.


No. Not difficult to put back on. Clean the tone tube of any residue and the inside of the head where the tone tube inserts so it does not seize up again.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:50 am 
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The head may fit snugly, but it should just slip right onto the tube. As oleorezinator said, use only hot (not boiling) tap water. Anything else carries the possibility of causing irreversible damage to the whistle.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:14 pm 
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I've not experienced a buzz with the Bb bell note on any brand whistle.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:05 pm 
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Thank you to everyone for the thoughtful replies. I am swamped with work at the moment but will clean this thing in the next couple days and report back here with my results! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:50 pm 
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Ok so I took the whistle head off and cleaned the whistle as suggested. There was some stuff in the mouthpiece itself, but none of the debris in the tube was super close to the opening. Rather it's at least like 4 inches or so down, closer to the highest finger hole ... and so I wasn't able to get to that. I'm sure if I applied myself I could find a way, but didn't really have the time and wasn't sure if it was worth the effort, given the low price of the whistle.

I think the cleaning has helped the sound a bit (though perhaps it's my ears playing tricks on me?). I feel like the metallic buzzing on Bb and C is slightly better and perhaps it's also slightly harder to overblow the Bb. That being said, given the low price of these whistles, I decided to just buy another Generation Bb since I wouldn't mind just keeping one in my car anyway. My hope is that the new one will have a cleaner sound, particularly for that bell note (and also the C just above it).

Provided that it doesn't though (and perhaps even if it does :D ), I'm looking at purchasing either a McManus or a Killarney Bb. The McManus in particular sounds wonderful, though I would need to verify first that it's not super hard to avoid overblowing the lowest notes as that is something that is rather annoying.

Thanks everyone for the help and input!


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