Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

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Narzog
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Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by Narzog »

Hey guys. I'm currently without a low F. Which is obviously unacceptable because low F are awesome. To give a quick summary of my low F history. I got a Burke low F as one of my first low whistles. Thought it used too much air. Saw a used Mk pro D I picked up. Noticed it used way less air than the Burke F. Wanted to replace the Burke because of its air use. Got a thunderbird. Didn't like its voicing, loads of squeaking and sharp sounds, had clogging issues. Sold both, got a Reyburn. Jokes on me, the Reyburn is actually like the Burke, and uses a lot of air for the strongest low end possible (using noticeably more air than my MK low D again). I was fortunately able to return it because its not what I was going for. I'm too spoiled by air efficiency, which my Reyburn and Mk D's are both good at. So I'm not playing a low F that isn't better air use than they are haha.

I'm considering an Alba low F, but I cant find a lot of info on it. Richard had a review thread on it, and said it uses almost identical air to his Burke G and Goldie low D. But I have neither of these. I have a Burke A, which uses way less air than the F did. But I have no idea where the G sits. So if anyone has info on how much air the Alba uses compared to other whistles, that would be much appreciated. It doesnt have to be a whistle I've played, we can web together any info to try and figure out what I need haha.

Seeing that I love my MK D I'm assuming I'd like a MK F. It just costs way more, and I like to try out other makers, so I'm keeping my options open.

I know Goldie F is the most air efficient F. But I'm worried I'll have clogging issues like with the thunderbird. I'm up there on the wet player scale. And it also costs a ton, may have a waiting list, and will be hard to find used.

Busker F is off the table because I played a busker Bb and it had all the issues I had with the F but less clogging. Which is sad because I loved the tone and air use of them.

Maybe Carbony? Not sure how it is on air use. Not a booming low end either, but I've heard great things about carbonys.

I'm open to other suggestions. My other wants, I dont want it to overblow too easily, so that it still has a decent low end. But I'm willing to take air efficiency over low end at this point as long as the low end isnt too weak.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by fatmac »

I've only 2 low F whistles, a Shearwater (my original), & an MK (not the Pro), to my mind both are air efficient, have decent low notes, & don't switch octaves too easily, but easily enough.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by pancelticpiper »

I bit the bullet and ponied up for a Goldie. It wasn't my first trip to the rodeo (can I shove in any more corny Old West expressions??) as I've owned several F whistles.

But now I have what seems to be a perfect F.

I've owned Burkes from Low D to High D and several in between and they all were air-hogs compared to whistles of like size by other makers.

About Alba whistles, they vary so much from whistle to whistle! I have an Alba Bass A and an Alba Low E (natural) that have good air-efficiency for their size.

That narrow-bore Low E (using Low F tubing) is one of my favourite whistles, so easy to finger and play.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by Narzog »

pancelticpiper wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:43 am I bit the bullet and ponied up for a Goldie. It wasn't my first trip to the rodeo (can I shove in any more corny Old West expressions??) as I've owned several F whistles.

But now I have what seems to be a perfect F.

I've owned Burkes from Low D to High D and several in between and they all were air-hogs compared to whistles of like size by other makers.

About Alba whistles, they vary so much from whistle to whistle! I have an Alba Bass A and an Alba Low E (natural) that have good air-efficiency for their size.

That narrow-bore Low E (using Low F tubing) is one of my favorite whistles, so easy to finger and play.
I know you don't have it anymore, but do you think the Alba E or F (they are same tube and mouthpiece, so should be similar air use minus taking a tad more push on the F) use less air than a MK low D, the same, or more?

I'm still considering a Goldie, I've heard too much good about them to not consider them haha. Can I assume it has none of the issues I had with my thunderbird F? My thunderbird has similar voicing to generations and feadogs, where you blow softly on the low notes and really hard on the high notes. Which I didn't like. The voicing on my Burke/MK/Reyburn is much nicer in the second octave. And the bad high pitch noises on any leaking and stuff really bugged me. Because I didn't just get them when I played badly. I felt like normal cuts and rolls and stuff would have short little high pitch noises in them that killed it for me.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

similar voicing to generations and feadogs, where you blow softly on the low notes and really hard on the high notes
This is a basic misunderstanding, or misscharacterisation, of how Generation type whistles work.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by fatmac »

I find it's the speed of attack, not blowing harder, that gives the second octave, on most whistles that I own. :thumbsup:
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by ecadre »

fatmac wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 3:13 am I find it's the speed of attack, not blowing harder, that gives the second octave, on most whistles that I own. :thumbsup:
To get into the second octave on a whistle you literally, in the most literal way possible, have to blow harder. To claim otherwise is completely bizarre.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by Tunborough »

ecadre wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 4:55 am To get into the second octave on a whistle you literally, in the most literal way possible, have to blow harder. To claim otherwise is completely bizarre.
The physics is such that you have to blow faster. The speed of the air leaving the windway has to increase. Blowing harder, with higher air pressure in your mouth, is the most straightforward way to achieve that, but not the only way.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by ecadre »

Tunborough wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:20 am
ecadre wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 4:55 am To get into the second octave on a whistle you literally, in the most literal way possible, have to blow harder. To claim otherwise is completely bizarre.
The physics is such that you have to blow faster. The speed of the air leaving the windway has to increase. Blowing harder, with higher air pressure in your mouth, is the most straightforward way to achieve that, but not the only way.
To make air flow faster, you need to input more energy. Faster, more energetic, air contains more energy. That energy *has* to come from somewhere, and here that is the person blowing down the whistle. ie. they blow a little harder for each ascending note, and for the energy needed to break into the second octave.

This is not my opinion, it's a fundamental law of physics. If you've found a way to break the first law of thermodynamics, then I await your design for a perpetual motion machine.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by ecadre »

Back on track with the thread.

A little while ago I acquired a Susato F whistle. I didn't know exactly what to expect since I've never owned a "low" F, but was pleasantly surprised.

What follows is an opinion of course, though I'll try to relate it to other whistles I own. I haven't tried any of the other F whistles mentioned, but I'm hardly a newcomer to tin whistles generally.

The Susato "low" F whistle seems to have hit a sweet spot. It doesn't take too much air. I can get almost as far through a tune on it as on my NR Chieftain in A, and pretty comparable in air usage to my Susato "low" G. I also find the "low" G a little more temperamental with a bit more care needed in blowing it.

It's surprisingly loud, with a good solid bell note. Certainly louder than the Susato G and "low" D both of which have a pretty respectable volume.

I'm happy with it. I like the tone which is quite full, not, erm, nasal or thin. I find it very playable, it can easily be played quickly, the octaves are easy but not so close that I accidentally break through or squeak because of the octave break.

It should be noted that I don't need to use a piper's grip on it so that may add to my feeling of the ease of play.

Anyway, if you have the chance I'd say give it a go. I know it's not a "fashionable" whistle, but don't dismiss it too easily.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by Narzog »

ecadre wrote: Sun Nov 14, 2021 10:22 am Back on track with the thread.

A little while ago I acquired a Susato F whistle. I didn't know exactly what to expect since I've never owned a "low" F, but was pleasantly surprised.

What follows is an opinion of course, though I'll try to relate it to other whistles I own. I haven't tried any of the other F whistles mentioned, but I'm hardly a newcomer to tin whistles generally.

The Susato "low" F whistle seems to have hit a sweet spot. It doesn't take too much air. I can get almost as far through a tune on it as on my NR Chieftain in A, and pretty comparable in air usage to my Susato "low" G. I also find the "low" G a little more temperamental with a bit more care needed in blowing it.

It's surprisingly loud, with a good solid bell note. Certainly louder than the Susato G and "low" D both of which have a pretty respectable volume.

I'm happy with it. I like the tone which is quite full, not, erm, nasal or thin. I find it very playable, it can easily be played quickly, the octaves are easy but not so close that I accidentally break through or squeak because of the octave break.

It should be noted that I don't need to use a piper's grip on it so that may add to my feeling of the ease of play.

Anyway, if you have the chance I'd say give it a go. I know it's not a "fashionable" whistle, but don't dismiss it too easily.
This does sound pretty spot on to what I'm looking for, so I'll keep it in my options. I found a really cheap susato low G on ebay once so I picked it up just to try, and then sell on after because I already had a G. It was a bit touchy, but otherwise did play quite well, very low air requirement with a good low end, and played in tune very easily. And the touchiness generally went away once I had played it a bit. My primary issue with it, was the tone was really plasticky. It wasnt the same platickyness my bad DIY's get, where they just sound like a soulless no bite pvc pipe, even tho its aluminum with a delrin lip. The Susato had that kids recorder sound, minus the kid playing it badly. Which I was not a fan of.

I have heard that Susato low D's have a much less recordery tone, that people seem to like more than the higher ones. Is this true of the low F? I think the F is the same bore as the D. Because if this is the case then I definitely cant write it off. Theres something about metal hand made whistles that just looks and feels premium, which Susato doesnt have. But at the end of the day if it plays well and sounds good it doesnt matter if its plastic or not.
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Re: Alba low F air use, and other air efficient low f's?

Post by ecadre »

Heh, there's probably a bucketload of caveats :D

The first is probably that I didn't buy these "low" whistles because I had a burning desire to play them. The lowest pitched whistle that I had bought until the last year was an alto A NR Chieftain. If you know your Chieftain history then you'll realise that was about 20 years ago. I'd never been grabbed by the "cosmic drainpipe" type sound or the practical details of how you could even play the things.

So why did I eventually buy some, including a "low" D? Well, there's this thing about playing in bands. You use whatever skills you can dredge up and I realised that I really should try to get to grips with "low whistles" since it ought to be a relatively easy step.

Why Susatos? The higher Susatos (D and C) I have were bought for practical reasons. A loud and dependable whistle to play outside in windy/colder conditions - whether that's a bit of busking or on an outside stage. They've filled this role admirably, and you will discern that I didn't buy them because I fell in love with their sound, or their playing style, but their practicality. After playing them for a while, and getting used to how they want to be played, I've realised that they don't sound like recorders, and I don't actually know what "sounding plasticy" really means.

Will I ever get to the point ... hmmmm?

I decided to look out for the bigger/lower Susato whistles here, on Ebay and at festivals etc. and ended up with some reasonable bargains. This was of course another reason for choosing Susatos.

What do I think of the tone of the Susato "low" F? For me, it's a practical loud, strong and clear tone that will end up being put over a PA (with all that entails). Does it sound recorderish? I don't think so, but it's not my major concern. I want a dependable whistle with good intonation and all the things I mentioned above. You may very well hate it and call it recorder-sounding and "plasticy" ... as I say, I don't think that, but what do I know? :boggle:

PS. Yes, the Susato F is the same large bore as the tenor D.
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