Adding my two coppers here...
(edit 2) And I get to give mine without guilt, LOL, because I *am* the end of the US tour... take that glaubie!
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I have had the pleasure of 'babysitting' the O'Brien Tour D whistle, nickel plated copper with a clear lucite fipple, this past couple of weeks.
I love it.
It is a totally different sound from my other pennywhistles. The sound is sweet, in tune and just a little breathy - I like that very much.
The tunability is a big plus, and it *stays* in tune as well (as long as you don't pull the stunt of taking it apart and managing to put the body back in upside down.. cough...)
I love the looks - it has definitely been turning heads with the distinctive clear fipple, and the copper showing through the holes and window to contrast and complement the nickel plating; the heft of it - solidly built; and the ease of play - two full clean clear and true octaves plus.
It does tend to clog a little, but that's easily taken care of by a good 'thwap' on the thigh, LOL (or any number of other theories that have been discussed on this fourm, and I won't pretend to know much about)
It has so impressed people here that a friend with a music store is planning to carry them and one of my whistling friends is ordering a set.
I was so loathe to let go of this one, that am in negotiations with Dave to keep it and get a set of the rest of the key bodies to go with it.
The individual whisltes sell for US$50. I would definitely suggest the set - The price is not bad at all, considering the set encompasses four keys - Bb, C, D, and Eb - with one head and the four interchangeable bodies. .. so at US$85, it is a good deal. I am looking forward to meeting the rest of my little whistle family.
I am very impressed with David's guarantee as well. I was wondering what I would do to protect the finish, as the nickel is wearing thin in a couple of high-contact spots on the whistle (this one has been around!), - He will replate when needed for the life of the whistle. In fact, with the 30 day money back guarantee, and the lifetime service, It's very reassuring. I would have been hesitant to spend the money myself if I had not been able to try the whistle, so, for me, this is a great point. (I have not been able to consider purchasing high end whistles, so I don't know if this is standard or not)
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My thanks to David for allowing me to participate in the tour, and for being so gracious with me in our talks.
Of course, now I'm going to have to make *another* whistle case...
Several people have talked about the head of these whistles (both pro and con), so I paid some closer attention to my own. I did not find the mouthpiece uncomfortable at all. One advantage of the Lucite Fipple is that it is not cold even when the metal of the whistle is.
I did note the sound changes depending upon the angle and position in my mouth, but I have noted that with other whistles I play as well... or rather, I've noted it in *my playing* of other whistles. I think that in *my* case, it is more the player and less the whistle that has the inconsistancy.
I do find it more breathy if I tilt it at a more tight angle. This may possibly be due to the shape of the head, and the 'no-blade' design, but I believe it is more the interference of my lip, and the sensitivity to the pressures of mouth shape adjustment. If I keep it well into my mouth, past my lips, it seems quite consistant to me.
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edited thrice for additional information: