Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

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Andrew Legg
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Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Andrew Legg »

Hi Folks, coming at ya from Cape Town, SA, where I have just started whistling. 40 Years back I played a lot of recorder and then clarinet in the high school orchestra, but not much between then and now. I bought a Generation D here - which is all I can find locally. Fair instrument given the price, but tuning is terrible. I then asked a travelling family member to bring over a Clarke Original D. That proves to be better sounding (I quite like a breathy whistle), but I find the high notes tough to hit without a fresh set of lungs and a space without other humans around. I was wondering if anyone can recommend a decent mid-range whistle in high D that one can buy in the UK that has a bit of breathiness (is that even a word), but is also a vaguely decent musical instrument? Somewhere up to about £60’ish. My brother comes out in about 6 weeks and hopefully he can bring it out for me. I prefer the breathy sound to the pure ‘recorder’ type sound. Thanks for any advice and look forward to reading up a lot on this forum.

Dixon Traditional seems like a decent option?
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TxWhistler
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by TxWhistler »

Hello and welcome to the forum Andrew.

Since you like somewhat breathy whistles then I believe you are on the right track with a Dixon whistle.

One other suggestion for a whistle you wouldn't out grow would be the Killarney. They are not as breathy as the Dixon and are a bit higher in price than you said you wanted to go but they are a good quality whistle and would be easy to resell if you didn't like it.
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Narzog »

Welcome!

The majority of my music budget has been low whistles but from my minimal high whistle experience I vote dixon d trad. The high end is less harsh and loud than some others. But if you want not piercing, you will like low whistles.
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BigDavy
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by BigDavy »

Hi Andrew, why not check and see if you can find a second hand Impempe whistle (made in South Africa). They are well made, you could use my low D as a club. I don't think Ian Turnbull is currently making new whistles, but you could be lucky on eBay.

David
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Andrew Legg
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Andrew Legg »

Thanks folks. I have been in touch with Ian, and he has none for sale, but has offered me a Burke Low D Viper Pro Brass at what seems like a fair price. I'm just bellyaching as to whether I want to outlay that kind of money at the moment..... LOL I will take a look at the Killarneys as well. Perhaps I must just bite the bullet.
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Average Whistler
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Average Whistler »

Welcome, Andrew!

My in-laws emigrated from South Africa, and when I told them I was taking up the penny whistle, they said it used to be a common instrument, particularly in the townships (although I doubt they played ITM :) ). Is it still played much in SA?

I wouldn't abandon the Clarke Original quite yet. It's an excellent whistle, particular for starters, because the conical bore keeps it in tune over both octaves and makes the octave jump easy. I found it breathy as you do, with a lot of air requirements, but I squashed down the windway and it took care of both. Once the windway is flattened, the sound becomes less breathy, more focused, a bit louder, but retains the wonderful Clarke Original sound (and without requiring as much air). If you do choose to try flattening the windway, ensure you are pinching the sides in with a pliers or wrench to ensure they don't pop outward (the fipple is glued in and will fall out). Some players also try to straighten the m-shaped sound blade but I discourage it... it isn't needed once the windway is flattened, and it's a tricky tweak. You are more likely to end up with a non-playable whistle.

Regards,
Just another average whistler
Andrew Legg
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Andrew Legg »

Average Whistler wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 8:36 am Welcome, Andrew!

My in-laws emigrated from South Africa, and when I told them I was taking up the penny whistle, they said it used to be a common instrument, particularly in the townships (although I doubt they played ITM :) ). Is it still played much in SA?

I wouldn't abandon the Clarke Original quite yet. It's an excellent whistle, particular for starters, because the conical bore keeps it in tune over both octaves and makes the octave jump easy. I found it breathy as you do, with a lot of air requirements, but I squashed down the windway and it took care of both. Once the windway is flattened, the sound becomes less breathy, more focused, a bit louder, but retains the wonderful Clarke Original sound (and without requiring as much air). If you do choose to try flattening the windway, ensure you are pinching the sides in with a pliers or wrench to ensure they don't pop outward (the fipple is glued in and will fall out). Some players also try to straighten the m-shaped sound blade but I discourage it... it isn't needed once the windway is flattened, and it's a tricky tweak. You are more likely to end up with a non-playable whistle.

Regards,
Just another average whistler
Thanks buddy. South African Kwela is not really my vibe, but it was pretty big. Not sure if it still is. This document may interest you. https://researchspace.ukzn.ac.za/bitstr ... sAllowed=y

There was a band called Mango Groove that used penny whistles beautifully, and in a very fun way.

Thanks for the advice.
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ecadre
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by ecadre »

Andrew Legg wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:31 pm Hi Folks, coming at ya from Cape Town, SA, where I have just started whistling. 40 Years back I played a lot of recorder and then clarinet in the high school orchestra, but not much between then and now. I bought a Generation D here - which is all I can find locally. Fair instrument given the price, but tuning is terrible. I then asked a travelling family member to bring over a Clarke Original D. That proves to be better sounding (I quite like a breathy whistle), but I find the high notes tough to hit without a fresh set of lungs and a space without other humans around. I was wondering if anyone can recommend a decent mid-range whistle in high D that one can buy in the UK that has a bit of breathiness (is that even a word), but is also a vaguely decent musical instrument? Somewhere up to about £60’ish. My brother comes out in about 6 weeks and hopefully he can bring it out for me. I prefer the breathy sound to the pure ‘recorder’ type sound. Thanks for any advice and look forward to reading up a lot on this forum.

Dixon Traditional seems like a decent option?
There was a South African maker, by the name of Ian Turnbull. He seems to have fallen off the whistle map so to speak about a year or so ago and he doesn't seem to be making his whistles any more. Hopefully everything is OK with him and his family otherwise.

Anyway ...

The whistles he made are nice, a bit louder than a Generation but still with that "traditional" sound. He marketed them under the name "Impempe", you may be lucky and pick one up in your musical circles there.

btw. It is possible to tune a Generation whistle. Generation whistles can play in tune, you just need to have the head in the right position. Dip the plastic end in hot water, then hold it in a towel and pull/twist it off the tube. The hot water will make the ABS plastic expand and since it has a significantly higher expansion co-efficient than brass, so with a pull and twist, it will come off. Place the head back on whilst it is still warm, I apply a little bit of vaseline just to keep it moving whilst I tune it.

PS. Woops, I just noticed that Impempe whistles have already been mentioned. Zero marks for my skim reading skills :-D
Andrew Legg
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Tell us something.: Beginner whistler, used to play recorder and then clarinet many many moons back, but thought this would be nice. Look forward to the interaction on here. Thanks.

Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Andrew Legg »

ecadre wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 2:52 pm
There was a South African maker, by the name of Ian Turnbull. He seems to have fallen off the whistle map so to speak about a year or so ago and he doesn't seem to be making his whistles any more. Hopefully everything is OK with him and his family otherwise.

Anyway ...

The whistles he made are nice, a bit louder than a Generation but still with that "traditional" sound. He marketed them under the name "Impempe", you may be lucky and pick one up in your musical circles there.

btw. It is possible to tune a Generation whistle. Generation whistles can play in tune, you just need to have the head in the right position. Dip the plastic end in hot water, then hold it in a towel and pull/twist it off the tube. The hot water will make the ABS plastic expand and since it has a significantly higher expansion co-efficient than brass, so with a pull and twist, it will come off. Place the head back on whilst it is still warm, I apply a little bit of vaseline just to keep it moving whilst I tune it.

PS. Woops, I just noticed that Impempe whistles have already been mentioned. Zero marks for my skim reading skills :-D
Thanks Andrew. Appreciate the help. I removed the head of the Generation, and have managed to get it tun-able now. One or two notes remain out, but it’s indeed better. Thanks for the Vaseline tip, I’ll use that as the head is still pretty tight. WD40 is great, but I have limits to where I want to put it! Lol. I have put bluetac in the head as suggested on other threads as well. I did not ask Ian why he is no longer making instruments…. None of my business, but he seems like a really nice guy, so thanks for the reference. I think I am going to bite the bullet and cough up for a medium price whistle that will hopefully be easier to play and more consistent given selection here is limited to only the Generations and my local shop had just the one. Cheers.
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Average Whistler
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa / hitting higher notes

Post by Average Whistler »

Moving this discussion back to the original thread. In the "Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods thread," you asked:

If anyone can give any advice as to how to get to those higher notes without blowing like a northerly gale, it would be much appreciated.

I also played clarinet for many years, and the habit I had to 'unlearn' was tightening up my embouchure as I went up higher in the scale... what works on a reed doesn't work on a hard plastic/metal whistle mouthpiece :)

Rather, as you go up the second octave you want to blow a narrower stream of air, much like you were saying the word, "flute" or trying to make a whistling sound through your lips. You can also try to bring your tongue up higher in your mouth. Both of these changes in your embouchure result in smaller air column traveling through your mouth into the mouthpiece, specifically less air that travels faster. Faster = higher octave, less air=less noise and less marital strife. :)

Anyways, I occasionally notice myself clamping down hard as I try to hit the high B or C, and I have to remind myself I am not playing a clarinet or sax anymore... I have a lot of respect for multi-instrumentalists. I wonder how they keep it all straight in their minds.

Hope that helps!
AW
Andrew Legg
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Andrew Legg »

Cheers AW, I’m going to give that a try……..tomorrow. Appreciate the advice. I have found that if I give it a “t” it also lands a bit easier.
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by ytliek »

Welcome to the whistle forum. Keep your whistling fun and enjoy it. The suggestions provided above are a good start. Be well!
Andrew Legg
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Re: Hello from Cape Town, South Africa

Post by Andrew Legg »

ytliek wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:01 pm Welcome to the whistle forum. Keep your whistling fun and enjoy it. The suggestions provided above are a good start. Be well!
Thanks buddy. Appreciate it.
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