Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

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Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Akiba »

Hey Whistlers,

Which whistle do you think is the most mellow, least piercing whistle that plays easily in tune? I'm a fluter primarily but am playing more whistle. I play a brass Burke session whistle which is pretty mellow but loud and a bit too piercing on the high A and B (normal for whistle I know). I love how it plays easily in tune, and the 2-finger cross fingering is spot on for C natural. Maybe I should get the narrow bore Burke brass model?

Thanks,

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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by learn2turn »

I really like my Dixon Trad high D (model DXTRADN). It cost $28 which is twice the price of the cheap whistles but that's still chump change. All my other high-D whistles (all in the $8-15 range) start to require more air and get A LOT LOUDER when you get up into the upper part of the higher octave. My Dixon Trad is the only one where the high octave is both easy to play and not ear-splittingly loud.

Not endorsing Amazon; I'd buy it from a whistle shop if I found it there, but here's a link to the model -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KZTSB6

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(Disclaimer: I'm a novice. Of course, if you are too, maybe the advice of another novice on what they find easy to play is useful.)
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by fatmac »

The Trad is no longer made, (& sought after pre used by many), however, you might like their ABS model.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Sedi »

Only the brass version was discontinued.
https://www.tonydixonmusic.co.uk/produc ... -key-of-d/
I also suspect that the change in tone of the trad model has more to do with a change in the mouthpiece design and less with the material. The DX001 still has the older design with a slightly shorter window which is easier to overblow and sounds purer. Not sure why they changed it. A slightly longer window makes it a bit louder and might improve a slightly flat second octave. I always had the plan to copy the older trad design by cutting the head off the DX001 and sticking it on the nickel trad.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Narzog »

Another vote for Dixon d trad. Its still a high d, the top of second octave is a bit loud. But its less loud than some others. And to me its a good balance of price and quality. Its still much cheaper than hand made ones that cost 4x+ as much. The quality control is there, no worry about getting a bad one. The chance of getting a bad Gen/Feadog is lower than people make it sound probobly but the thought is always still there. So its easier to just get something you know is going to be solid.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Average Whistler »

Second that... the Trad, either in brass or nickel, is a solid, dependable slightly-chiffy whistle, in tune with itself and others, and in tune as oxx c-nat. The mouthpiece is not a single-piece injection molded affair like so many cheap whistles; there is no gap under the windway that needs filling-in with blu-tac and the soundblade is straight and clean. The last three Generations I bought all had quality issues (and that was spread across nickel and brass, with different heads). For what I paid on those three I could have bought another Trad... maybe I just have bad luck. I worry how many new whistlers buy a Generation and become frustrated and give up, when the problem is the whistle and not the player.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by ecadre »

Average Whistler wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:01 pm Second that... the Trad, either in brass or nickel, is a solid, dependable slightly-chiffy whistle, in tune with itself and others, and in tune as oxx c-nat. The mouthpiece is not a single-piece injection molded affair like so many cheap whistles; there is no gap under the windway that needs filling-in with blu-tac and the soundblade is straight and clean. The last three Generations I bought all had quality issues (and that was spread across nickel and brass, with different heads). For what I paid on those three I could have bought another Trad... maybe I just have bad luck. I worry how many new whistlers buy a Generation and become frustrated and give up, when the problem is the whistle and not the player.
No, not a one piece injection moulded head on Dixons, but a two piece injection moulded head. There is also a hole under the windway on Dixon whistles, and , no, that hole does not *need* to be filled either on Dixon or Generation whistles. In my experience it decreases the positive qualities I find in Generation whistles. Some people may feel differently, that's OK but by no means definitive.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Exactly. I have always thought of the backfill as a piece of illusion or black magic that does nothing noticeable for the playability of a whistle but does dull the tone of some.

I could play the Dixon trad but found I really didn't want to.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Katharine »

Average Whistler wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:01 pm I worry how many new whistlers buy a Generation and become frustrated and give up, when the problem is the whistle and not the player.
It's a fair question. I bought a Gen C-- of course, in these times it was "pick one and take your risk" since it's not like I could try them all-- and... yeah. I started playing it when I got home and honestly had the thought, "Wow, I know I haven't been playing that much lately but I can I really have gotten that bad???" Tone, not good (harsh-ish, and very harsh on high F and above, as in, near-intolerable)... intonation downright awful... Pulled out my other whistles... no, I was not as bad on those. It's not just me (look, I know when I'm bad...).

A head full of blue-tack solved the issue somewhat, to the point that I can at least stand to play the thing (though it did muffle the tone slightly). Or so I thought. Until I was at church a couple weeks ago, playing along with the hymn at practice, and thought, what's off?? My friend was sitting near me, and I said, "Um, does this lower octave sound really flat to you?" She has perfect pitch so I know she'll know whether it's my ears or the whistle. She confirmed that I wasn't imagining things.

It's possible that with practice, I'll learn to blow it into tune, but... do I want to bother?

I bought the Gen as a louder and less-breath-required companion to my Clarke Original C, but... I think the Clarke might have to carry all my C-whistle needs on its own, unless I can figure out how to further tweak this thing and am inclined to take the time (hey, I hate both waste and throwing money down the drain, even if it was only 15 bucks, so some time when I'm bored, who knows...).

My only other Gens are 2 B-flats on which I got lucky (I've heard those tend to be better) and an E-flat I "rescued" from an antique shop for a few bucks and is okay. This was my first bad Generation experience. I had no idea how bad it could be.

(But yes, I am a believer in the blue-tack tweak, because it made the second octave of my original Walton much easier to play when I was a n00b.)
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

It's possible that with practice, I'll learn to blow it into tune, but... do I want to bother?

I'll ask the perhaps bleeding obvious : did you at any point attempt to move the head in order to tune the lower octave to A=440? If not (and a flat low octave suggests you didn't) do so then take it from there.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Sedi »

I love my Gen C. Plays lovely. But almost every single Generation I own, needed some tuning.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Katharine »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:50 pm
It's possible that with practice, I'll learn to blow it into tune, but... do I want to bother?

I'll ask the perhaps bleeding obvious : did you at any point attempt to move the head in order to tune the lower octave to A=440? If not (and a flat low octave suggests you didn't) do so then take it from there.
Actually, yes. After I'd taken the head off to stuff it with blue-tack, I had a hard time getting it back on correctly. Didn't play the whistle much for a while, then picked it up again and decided to try once more to get the head back on all the way since I was hoping it play it at church rather than the Clarke and obviously really needed it in tune with other instruments. This was the result after the head was back on the "proper" way (all the way on and not pulled out a cm or so). I'm pretty certain it didn't go back on "too far"-- in part because I'm not sure that's actually possible, and in part because the tube had a mark from where the head was originally (which was how I realized the first time that it didn't go all the way back on).
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by TxWhistler »

Katherine, I'm with you on the blue-tack. I envy those who can play their recent production whistles without it. To me it sounds like finger nails going down a backboard (you young'ens won't know what I'm talking about). No I'm not over blowing the whistle. The non-harmonic tones become too much in the upper second octave. Blue-tack (poster putty) does mute those non-harmonics to a great extent. The effect is real and not imagined. I played one with and without the poster putty for my wife (without telling her what I'd done) and she too like the sound of the whistle with the putty. Maybe if I'd gotten my whistles 20 years ago when the molds for the whistle heads were 20 years younger I might not need the putty.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by Katharine »

I think it depends on the whistle and player.

I found when it came time to replace the blue-tack in my Walton, that I was at the point where I didn't really need it to make the second octave easier anymore, but it did me a good turn as a beginner. (And I should've left well enough alone, because it was putting the new blue-tack in that broke the head.) For the Generation C... it really does cut down on the harshness.

There are other whistles that would likely see no benefit, or perhaps it would even be detrimental (I found also on the Gen C that it did make the whistle sound a bit more muffley or not as pure... but as an alternative to the sound without it, it was the lesser of two evils. I'd never use it on my B-flats or my E-flat, though-- they don't need it for anything.)

I'll probably mess more with the head placement on the Gen C-- someday, whenever I develop the patience to do so. That head is very difficult to budge, so fine adjustments will be a challenge.
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Re: Best mellow, easily in-tune high D whistle?

Post by jiminos »

I have a couple that seem to match up.

First is a very early Oz Vambrace in D. Delrin and silver. In fact, it was one that was on tour here in our community when Mitch first made them. Excellent intonation throughout the range. Good volume balance through. Moderate back pressure. Not even remotely piercing. Not overly loud. Just an excellent whistle.

Second is very, very close. It is an O’Brien Rover in D. Delrin and brass. Every bit as excellent as the Oz. Little less back pressure. Biggest difference is that the Rover is a long beak and the Oz is a short beak.

Like you, the two finger cross finger C nat is critical for me. Both have beautiful, crystal clear tone. The O’Brien C Rover is everything the two D’S are, but quieter.

In third is a whistle that does not enjoy a great rep around here is the Susato very small bore (as opposed to the small bore). It’s quiet. Intonation is spot on.

In fourth, believe it or not, I have a Clarke Meg that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It also has a solid C nat, quiet in second octave and good intonation.

As a flute player myself, these are the whistles that work for me.

YMMV.
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