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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:39 am 
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I play two instruments at the moment. One whistle and one flute, both of which I made myself. So basically, if it was worth the effort, I could sell all the rest of the D-whistles I have. I was on the hunt for the "perfect" whistle for a long time and didn't find it until I made it myself. But it's probably not the perfect whistle for everyone.
The perspective of the pic makes it look bigger than it is. It's a standard D.
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And the flute:
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:55 am 
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Location: Northwest Indiana
Back when there were sessions, the whistles I played most regularly were my MK low D and Killarney high D. I love the MK for its solid handling, complex and interesting timbre, and ability to play well in the keys of A and C, in addition to just D and G. I love the Killarney for its beautiful pure-but-still-Generationish voicing, stable response, and unusually gentle highest notes.

Now that I'm playing mostly by myself at home, I'm gravitating more towards the mezzo keys: MK low F, Killarney high C, Gen Bb. Oh--and the MK A that finally arrived in the mail. I'm having a lot of fun with it, but after several weeks I'm still learning how to play it. Great character, assertive, needs to be played with confidence and finesse in the high register. The process of learning how to bring out its best has been a lot of fun so far. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:48 am 
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bigsciota wrote:
Tyler DelGregg wrote:
You were in a busking street fight? Do tell. This calls for a new thread, perhaps.


Like many stories it's a bit less interesting than it sounds. A few friends and I used to busk after the pub we had out session in closed for the night. In Cork, as in much of Ireland, there are two scheduled closing times for places that serve alcohol. One is for pubs, which meant we were always shuffled out the door at 12:30 or so. The other is for nightclubs and late bars, which meant that we could walk over to Oliver Plunkett St, where a bunch of them were, set up, and be all ready to go when a large crush of people came streaming out. It was a fun setup, and we used to make a bit of money while carrying on the session outside.

Well, one night we made the mistake of setting up in the vicinity of a place called the Catwalk, which was on the rougher side. If you search "Catwalk Cork," one of the first results to pop up is a news article headlined "Shoe print found on man’s face after attack in pub." We got our crowd, a large one that was very, very drunk. I'd guess there were about 30 or so people dancing in a tight group around us, with more milling around the outside. At some point, someone pushed or bumped into someone else, and all hell broke loose. 30 people all swinging wildly at each other, a group pushed right into us, blood appearing on more than a few faces. We were trapped against a wall, so we just protected our instruments and hunkered down for a couple minutes before the guards came in to break everything up and book a couple of the instigators.

We managed to mostly escape unscathed, save for the bodhran player who was punched in the back of the head after the fight for refusing to let a very drunk person try his instrument. He was fine (it was a very poor, unbalanced swing), and we set about packing up. I had been playing banjo, and my case was the one on the ground collecting the money. None of the money was gone, but the Generation D that had been in there was missing. I assume that it was knocked out during the fight and got kicked somewhere out of reach/sight, but I honestly have no idea where it went. Maybe someone stole it, but they really should have just stolen the money instead.

Anyway, that's my "lost my first whistle in a busking-related street fight" story. It was a good whistle, but I was a very new player at that point, so it sounded pretty bad. The one I bought the next day also sounds a lot better now, but that's more a function of me than the whistle!


That is a fight worthy of a scene in a film. It speaks rather well for the Catwalk crowd to leave your money untouched.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:18 am 
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Location: Tyler, Texas
I have several that are my go to whistles in different keys.

The reigning high D champion is my Feadog MkI. Then I have a Generation green top that when I received it the whistle was terrible. It sounded horrible so I began tweaking it. It now has a nicer sound throughout the two octaves and the notes are more stable. When I'm wanting to play a Generation that is the whistle I pick up the most.

I have a Feadog C brass (current production model) and a vintage Generation C nickel that I like to play.

For Bb I have two vintage Generations (one in brass and the other in nickel) that are my whistles of choice in that key.

I have many others to choose from in those keys but these are the ones that get the most play everyday and I try to practice everyday at least an hour and a half (most days much more). This is my newest hobby and I'm loving it.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:50 pm 
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I'm one of the newbies who isn't supposed to be allowed to have an opinion about a whistle but screw that, I do.

I bought a Walton's High D. It rattled and buzzed. I tweaked it. It sounded so much better. It was also now in tune. (see, there's an opinion on whistle tone that as a new person I'm not supposed to have.) It still had a tone that wasn't quite what I expected in a whistle... and sometimes it clogged up. The coating is also peeling so it feels like someone dipped it in icing and didn't wipe it all off. I intend to remove that if I can, and just have it be bare brass. It clogs after around 40 minutes of playing, sometimes sooner. Someone suggested trying a few other whistles and to change to another when the Walton's clogs, and let it dry out. I do still love this whistle though.

I figured hey, why not. I had listened to Nathaniel Dowell play this Walton's High D, and he gets the same tone from it that I do, but even his, doesn't sound like a lot of other whistles, at least, not other ones he played in his comparison videos. So, yeah, let's try another whistle, I play the thing for hours every day, right? Might as well enjoy the sound of it while I do.

So in walk the Sweetone. I didnt want to get a really similar whistle to the one I already had, because yeah, if I was trying out another whistle, I might as well learn if I prefer something about one that's vastly different. This is a highly regarded whistle by a lot of people, suggested for a beginner whistle. Easy to play, stable notes.

Here's my not allowed beginner whistle player very strong opinion about this whistle. I hate it. I hate the seam on the back of it. I hate that I can't get the fipple off for the life of me, even after almost boiling the damn thing. I hate that it's SO sharp on every note. I hate that it sounds like a calliope. I went back and listened to reviews from people, and yep, other people get that same weird bubbly tone in it too. I don't like it. I also do not like the sound of a carbony whistle on any reviews I've heard. You can have an expert play it, I'm still not going to like it. I DO like that it is in fact easy to play. I DO like that slides and cuts actually sound better on it despite being bubbly and out of tune, they just have a better pop and there's a lot more room in a note than on the Waltons. But I can't lean into a note like I can on the Waltons without blowing it even further out of tune. Oh and it clogs REALLY FAST, like 20 minutes sometimes.

So I ordered a Dixon Dx005. You can bet I'm going to have an opinion on it when I get it. At the moment, even aesthetically I have the opinion that I like it. I have the opinion that aesthetically I don't like susatos even though they sound fantastic.

So screw that only buy one whistle for a year advice. There's a ton of whistles out there that are inexpensive. You might find one that you actually LIKE and want to KEEP playing for that full year. Had the Sweetone been the FIRST whistle I bought and I had to follow some kind of rule like the one suggested above, I would have already quit.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 8:23 pm 
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Greenfire wrote:
So screw that only buy one whistle for a year advice.

I don't think I've ever heard that one. I've just bought whistles when I felt like it, and I still would anyway.

But maybe it's a way of sticking with a whistle long enough to get past first impressions which may be incomplete.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:17 pm 
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Greenfire wrote:
So screw that only buy one whistle for a year advice. There's a ton of whistles out there that are inexpensive. You might find one that you actually LIKE and want to KEEP playing for that full year. Had the Sweetone been the FIRST whistle I bought and I had to follow some kind of rule like the one suggested above, I would have already quit.


I think you may have either misread me or perhaps I wasn't clear. I said that players would be well advised to spend their first year of learning on a single whistle, which I still stand by. But if the first whistle you get isn't one that makes you want to continue playing, obviously it's best to find one that makes you actually want to play. And hey, I'm not one to get in the way of someone buying however many they want. It's not like I or anyone else makes the rules! I just think that sticking with one instrument for a while and not worrying too much about finding/buying the perfect one just yet, helps in the long run. Speaking from experience, window shopping for whistles can often take up a lot of valuable practice time!

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But maybe it's a way of sticking with a whistle long enough to get past first impressions which may be incomplete.


Speaking only out of my own experience, although I think this is something shared with many, my first impression of the whistle that I played early on was very, very different from my current impression of it. It's a lovely whistle, and it sounded absolutely horrible when I played it. Squeaky, poor tuning/tone, easy to overblow on the low notes, screechy and hard to support on the high notes, etc. Turns out, it wasn't the whistle at all!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:19 pm 
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I play whatever key is needed to play with the song on youtube I'm playing along with. but I don't recommend this for new player (like myself) because it does make it harder to switch whistles. I feel like over time it will make switching whistles easier, but right now I pretty much cant play my tilbury c at all after playing my DIY low F. The tilbury has a really low air requirement, and my low F doesnt. but now I'm getting more used to switching so maybe over time it will pay off and I'll be able to switch easily.

But I feel like if I had a good alto A or G I would play those the most because they are a nice medium. I really like my tilbury C but higher notes bug me. Where an alto A I can kidna play with D songs, which is the majority of songs, but I could also pretend its a low D and octave shift down for the high spots that are too high for my tastes. This is theoretical though, and heavily depends on what song or tune I'm trying to play. some the low notes would be too low for an A, but if that was the case than the higher ones probobly arent too high and I could then pretend its a high d instead of a low. But some ranges are more alto friendly than others.

I used to play my Generation Bb because its less high, but I somehow twisted the head to try and pull it out to help tuning, and it got stuck partially turned. And no amount of hot water has loosened it up. So now its just bad to play haha.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:00 am 
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Greenfire wrote:
I'm one of the newbies who isn't supposed to be allowed to have an opinion about a whistle but screw that, I do.
So in walk the Sweetone. I didnt want to get a really similar whistle to the one I already had, because yeah, if I was trying out another whistle, I might as well learn if I prefer something about one that's vastly different. This is a highly regarded whistle by a lot of people, suggested for a beginner whistle. Easy to play, stable notes.

Here's my not allowed beginner whistle player very strong opinion about this whistle. I hate it. I hate the seam on the back of it. I hate that I can't get the fipple off for the life of me, even after almost boiling the damn thing. I hate that it's SO sharp on every note. I hate that it sounds like a calliope.


I too hate the Sweetone. It's really easy to play but I quite dislike the tone.

Personally my go-to since getting it has been my Generation Bb, though it's not without it's issues. I'm currently considering getting one or all of the following: Killarney D, Killarney Bb, McManus D, McManus Bb. I think there's a high probability that one of those will become my favorite once I have it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:32 am 
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Quote:
I'm one of the newbies who isn't supposed to be allowed to have an opinion about a whistle.....


Who said that? Everyone has opinions! Why shouldn't you? People may not agree, but that's a different story. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 9:55 am 
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Greenfire wrote:
I'm one of the newbies who isn't supposed to be allowed to have an opinion about a whistle but screw that, I do.

Screw that only buy one whistle for a year advice.


I've been on this site for years and I can't recall people saying those things. On the other hand, since they're silly pronouncements, I probably would have skipped over them.

"Newbie" in nebulous, but it is helpful when people state things like "I'm new to whistle, been playing a couple months, but I've played Boehm flute for 20 years" or "I got my first whistle last week, it's my first go at any instrument" or whatever so their opinions can be understood in the context of their experiences.

New/fairly new players express their opinions about whistles here every day.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:09 pm 
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bigsciota wrote:

I think you may have either misread me or perhaps I wasn't clear.


Speaking only out of my own experience, although I think this is something shared with many, my first impression of the whistle that I played early on was very, very different from my current impression of it!



I've read a number of posts on here, and on the session forums, AFTER buying my whistle of course, looking for hints and tips. Your post didn't exactly say that, (and my feelings are not only because of your statement, but it was one that riled me up because I've seen it enough to vex me) but I have seen the sentiment over and over again that it's not the whistle, it's the whistler, therefore until you're any good, you can't say a whistle is bad, it's only you who are bad.

Even that second sentence I quoted there supports this stance, and it is really common to see all over the forums.

It's rather intimidating to see so many posts from much more experienced players leading me to think that newbies really don't know what they're talking about and shouldn't really form an opinion on a whistle when they first get it. But dammit if I didn't have a strong one anyway!

But yeah, I hesitated posting even a hello on this site and haven't even dared on the other one yet due to it, so if I feel like it's an unwritten rule to just keep your mouth shut on opinions about a whistle until you have worked through beginner status (when does that even happen anyway? My sister holds a masters in flute performance and has been playing for 40 years but still doesn't consider herself and expert) then there's probably other lurkers put off by that sentiment too. Just not ones who are willing to open their big mouths despite it!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:23 pm 
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In the spirit of full disclosure, and because I started this thread, a bit about myself first. I began my musical journey playing the piano and French horn and studying voice. I also took up the guitar, recorder (playing in a baroque ensemble), and the organ. I started playing at the whistle about 20 years ago with the purchase of a Walton's Irish D, a Sweetone C, and a Woodstock (Sweetone) D. Dabbling might even be too strong a word to describe my efforts. Then the pandemic hit this year; the agency I work for sent us home to work remotely; and I found myself wanting to try the whistle again--in earnest this time. I also set myself the task of learning to play the flute; but that is for another forum.

Since I acquired them, I have tried to pay attention to my Dixon nickel Trad D and two-piece polymer C, following the theory voiced here that I would learn more this first year by learning to play one well. I find these two play well, are in tune, respond cleanly in both octaves, and make practicing more satisfying. I must admit, however, that, when I visit the in-laws, I take my Becker Bb--quieter yet responsive. It gets me through the weekend.

Still, when concentration wanes as I practice, the lure of the other whistles on the rack becomes almost irresistible. I try to justify giving in to the urge by telling myself it's also good to hear how the tune I'm working on sounds on the Bb, or the G, or the Sweetone, etc.

These posts have been helpful to see how others approach practicing and what draws us to one whistle over another. It reinforces my hunch that I am on the right track and that I should feel OK about letting the attention wander occasionally.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:20 pm 
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Greenfire wrote:
bigsciota wrote:

I think you may have either misread me or perhaps I wasn't clear.


Speaking only out of my own experience, although I think this is something shared with many, my first impression of the whistle that I played early on was very, very different from my current impression of it!



I've read a number of posts on here, and on the session forums, AFTER buying my whistle of course, looking for hints and tips. Your post didn't exactly say that, (and my feelings are not only because of your statement, but it was one that riled me up because I've seen it enough to vex me) but I have seen the sentiment over and over again that it's not the whistle, it's the whistler, therefore until you're any good, you can't say a whistle is bad, it's only you who are bad.

Even that second sentence I quoted there supports this stance, and it is really common to see all over the forums.

It's rather intimidating to see so many posts from much more experienced players leading me to think that newbies really don't know what they're talking about and shouldn't really form an opinion on a whistle when they first get it. But dammit if I didn't have a strong one anyway!

But yeah, I hesitated posting even a hello on this site and haven't even dared on the other one yet due to it, so if I feel like it's an unwritten rule to just keep your mouth shut on opinions about a whistle until you have worked through beginner status (when does that even happen anyway? My sister holds a masters in flute performance and has been playing for 40 years but still doesn't consider herself and expert) then there's probably other lurkers put off by that sentiment too. Just not ones who are willing to open their big mouths despite it!


The problem is that so many people new to whistle come and complain that it squeaks, the notes aren't right, the second octave doesn't work, etc. etc. So they buy a new whistle, because the first one was defective. Well gee, the second one doesn't work any better and don't they just have the worst luck with buying bum whistles. So they buy another one. Rinse and repeat.

The point was never 'stick with a whistle you genuinely don't like'... it's, 'make sure it's actually the whistle you don't like, and then stick with one instead of going for another because you think it'll be easier to play.'

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:02 am 
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I totally forgot my "car whistle" !!

The topic has come up from time to time here, but many whistle players keep a whistle in their car.

It's especially handy here in Southern California where we probably spend more time in our cars than most people do.

A critical thing is that the car whistle has to be able to withstand high temperatures, because car interiors can get well over 100 degrees.

Wood splits. I've even had a plastic Scottish Practice Chanter reed melt.

So best to have an all-metal whistle. For years my car whistle has been my primary Low D, an MK for years and now a Goldie.

Currently it's a Killarney high D. I hope the delrin/polypenco will do OK.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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