Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by LMGrimsley »

Clarinerd- truly, practice practice practice. I started out about a month ago on two soprano D whistles, and hitting those high notes were about killing me-shrill, piercing, and set the dog to barking. But now, after more practice, I find I hit those notes more surely, with confidence; they are far less shrill, and are gradually sounding better.
Even the dog thinks so.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by MadmanWithaWhistle »

It's a whistleplayer's right of passage to fear the high notes. Reach them (don't "hit" them) confidently and unapologetically, and you'll be well on your way.

Edit: that said, there are some noisy-ass whistles out there, especially the so-called "high-end" whistles. Stick with Clarke or Generation-inspired whistles, if you ask me.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Dog Whistler »

I broke my Clarke :oops:

I straightened the sound blade. Just a little movement at first produced an enormous effect! I thought there was another whistler in the room with me, it was suddenly so loud! But I noticed that, while low D was suddenly much stronger and firmer, E was vibrating a lot. So I straightened the blade until it was flat and now I can only play D, E and F while G, A and B are wobbly, breaking whispers!

I've just dented the top of the blade to return a slight curvature to it - not nearly as pronounced as it was, and have just noticed a considerable improvement! So perhaps the optimum is halfway between flat the deep V of the M shape? Note: I have not reduced the size of the windway at all.

I had a look at the Whistle Shop site page on tweaked Clarkes. What's the result like?

@ clarinerd, I have experienced many similar feelings about my Feadog Mk IV. Easy in the higher register but D breaks up constantly. Also, can't get a pure sound from any low note. But I have since been told that all Feadog's have a "raspy unsophisticated charm" to their sound which is appropriate for the pub environments they typically inhabit, which I thought sounded like, a. a load of bull and, b. an interesting excuse for poor craftsmanship, if in fact true. It could just be there are many bad Feadog players out there who can't get a good note after a couple of pints!
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Andrew Legg »

[Thread revival. Mod]

So, as a total beginner whistler, and ex recorder and clarinet player, I have now got two “instruments”. A Generation and a Clarke original. The Generation lacks any semblance of character, but is functional. The Clarke has what I consider a lovely breathy quality, but can not be taken seriously as an instrument as the higher notes are almost impossible to hit unless one blows it like heaven only knows what. I must say that I am a bit irritated that these products exist. If you can’t make a decent instrument, why make one at all? Why the heck must I spend my time tweaking an instrument to just try to get it vaguely playable? Aaaaargh.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Narzog »

Andrew Legg wrote: Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:22 pm [Thread revival. Mod]

So, as a total beginner whistler, and ex recorder and clarinet player, I have now got two “instruments”. A Generation and a Clarke original. The Generation lacks any semblance of character, but is functional. The Clarke has what I consider a lovely breathy quality, but can not be taken seriously as an instrument as the higher notes are almost impossible to hit unless one blows it like heaven only knows what. I must say that I am a bit irritated that these products exist. If you can’t make a decent instrument, why make one at all? Why the heck must I spend my time tweaking an instrument to just try to get it vaguely playable? Aaaaargh.
Theres been a ton of debate on these forums on if the cheapies are amazing or garbage. I'm generally not a fan of them. A large part of the issue is just quality control. And I feel like the cheapies can be harder to play. Makers who hand make whistles usually do things to make the second octave more in tune with the first, make sure its in tune, etc. The cheap ones, you could have gotten a dud. My Gen Bb and Feadog arent duds but I definitely dont like how they play. But I did start on them so their existence is still useful. But it does bug me that someone could want to try the instrument and get a dud and give up on it thinking they were the problem. Which a lot of the time they were, but if it was actually a dud thats pretty sad. I have a Clarke Sweet Tone and it actually seems fairly decent. Could be worth trying if you can pick one up.

I feel like it could just feel like you have to blow super hard because you arent used to it, and because it gets high and loud which subconsciously makes you want to blow softer. I haven't played a clarke origional though, just a sweet tone. So it could take a much harder push, I'm not sure. The problem for me on the sweet tone isn't if I can hit the high notes or not, I just dont want to because they are too loud and high haha.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by RoberTunes »

Narrowdog, glad to see your efforts improved the whistle some. Also like reading how reshaping the blade can make such a difference. Those M-shaped blades waste a lot of air! I have a Clarke Original but while I'm still considering how to duct-tape a couple VW bugs inside the windway, to narrow the channel, I don't have the tools to fiddle with the blade, so I'll leave it be.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Mr.Gumby »

. A large part of the issue is just quality control.
Consider if a large part of the issue isn't breathcontrol instead.

Ever noticed it's almost invariably the total beginners who come on here complaining about Generations?

The old running joke on this forum used to be how these whistles immensely improved when left in a drawer for a few years.


Also, about a week ago I heard some of her finest, sweetest whistle duets you are likely to hear. Guess what they were playing..
My brain hurts

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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Andrew Legg »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:37 am
. A large part of the issue is just quality control.
Consider if a large part of the issue isn't breathcontrol instead.

Ever noticed it's almost invariably the total beginners who come on here complaining about Generations?

The old running joke on this forum used to be how these whistles immensely improved when left in a drawer for a few years.


Also, about a week ago I heard some of her finest, sweetest whistle duets you are likely to hear. Guess what they were playing..
I guess the problem with that point is that the cheap stuff usually targets the beginner. I don't have a problem with the Generation from a playability point of view, it's the tuning/intonation that is bad. Perhaps these whistles are sold only with the cheap and cheerful tourist/gift-shop market in mind. If I was making instruments I would make sure my design was not fundamentally flawed. Just the fact that there seems to be a formal market for tweaked low-end whistles is telling on it's own.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Narzog »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:37 am
Consider if a large part of the issue isn't breathcontrol instead.

Ever noticed it's almost invariably the total beginners who come on here complaining about Generations?

The old running joke on this forum used to be how these whistles immensely improved when left in a drawer for a few years.
Ok this is 100% correct haha. The cheapies are way too hard to play well. Not that a Burke will just magically make a new player good. But a Gen is definitely harder to play, which doesnt help when the new players dont know how to play already.

It doesnt help that theres tons of tweak threads. It just makes them look bad, like they have to be tweaked to not play like garbage.

And if burkes were the cheap one new players started on I expect they would complain about them aswell. But when when they got a Gen they would be back to their Burke haha.

I'm just using Burkes as an example because that's what I ended up getting and thought my play sounded way better on. But there's many others that would fill the same role.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by ecadre »

Andrew Legg wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 3:02 am
Mr.Gumby wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:37 am
. A large part of the issue is just quality control.
Consider if a large part of the issue isn't breathcontrol instead.

Ever noticed it's almost invariably the total beginners who come on here complaining about Generations?

The old running joke on this forum used to be how these whistles immensely improved when left in a drawer for a few years.


Also, about a week ago I heard some of her finest, sweetest whistle duets you are likely to hear. Guess what they were playing..
I guess the problem with that point is that the cheap stuff usually targets the beginner. I don't have a problem with the Generation from a playability point of view, it's the tuning/intonation that is bad. Perhaps these whistles are sold only with the cheap and cheerful tourist/gift-shop market in mind. If I was making instruments I would make sure my design was not fundamentally flawed. Just the fact that there seems to be a formal market for tweaked low-end whistles is telling on it's own.
Thankyou for putting us right about this instrument you've just discovered. After all these decades I realise I was doing it wrong all along ... who'd have thunk it? It also seems that the music shops and stalls I've frequented over the years were actually cheap and cheerful tourist gift shops in disguise; I am devastated.

*shouts off stage* ... "oi, Cathal, put it down, you know it's fundamentally flawed, nothing good will come of it"

PS: In the midst of your rant I noticed a mention of "tuning." When an instrument is out of tune, then I generally tune it. Did you try this? A genuine question since many beginners don't think of this or realise it's possible.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Andrew Legg »

ecadre wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 2:36 pm
Andrew Legg wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 3:02 am
Mr.Gumby wrote: Fri Oct 22, 2021 12:37 am

Consider if a large part of the issue isn't breathcontrol instead.

Ever noticed it's almost invariably the total beginners who come on here complaining about Generations?

The old running joke on this forum used to be how these whistles immensely improved when left in a drawer for a few years.


Also, about a week ago I heard some of her finest, sweetest whistle duets you are likely to hear. Guess what they were playing..
I guess the problem with that point is that the cheap stuff usually targets the beginner. I don't have a problem with the Generation from a playability point of view, it's the tuning/intonation that is bad. Perhaps these whistles are sold only with the cheap and cheerful tourist/gift-shop market in mind. If I was making instruments I would make sure my design was not fundamentally flawed. Just the fact that there seems to be a formal market for tweaked low-end whistles is telling on it's own.
Thankyou for putting us right about this instrument you've just discovered. After all these decades I realise I was doing it wrong all along ... who'd have thunk it? It also seems that the music shops and stalls I've frequented over the years were actually cheap and cheerful tourist gift shops in disguise; I am devastated.

*shouts off stage* ... "oi, Cathal, put it down, you know it's fundamentally flawed, nothing good will come of it"

PS: In the midst of your rant I noticed a mention of "tuning." When an instrument is out of tune, then I generally tune it. Did you try this? A genuine question since many beginners don't think of this or realise it's possible.
Yes, I have removed the head, filled it with bluetac, placed it back, tuned to bottom D and some notes are out with respect to others. “Perhaps you just have a dud”. I’m genuinely glad you appear to have better luck with you purchases than I seem to have had. I’ve played wind instruments for about 10 years of my life, solo, in ensembles and in orchestra, so whilst fully acknowledging I am no expert on penny whistles in particular, I believe I have sufficient experience to tell when I am dealing with a dud. I have no doubt in my mind that you would know better than I. I’m also working with a sample size of 2, which in fairness is not representative. Why is there a market for tweaked whistles?
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Mr.Gumby »

A man walks into an instrument forum and starts: 'I just bought a fiddle but it must be faulty, when I use the bow it sounds scratchy and when I put my fingers down, the notes are all wrong. I played guitar all my life so I know string instruments..'

What sort of a reaction do you think this would get?
:shock:

On the whistle forum, you are that guy.

But rest assured, you aren't the first to make an entry like this and, unfortunately, you won't be the last.

:sleep:
My brain hurts

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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by ecadre »

A whistle playing duet was mentioned earlier, so here is a charming example to cheer up the mood of this thread ... played on Generation whistles of course :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp7lw5G7Mug

One of the clearest memories I have of a musician on stage is of Cathal McConnell playing with Boys of the Lough. It was "The People's Jubilee" at Alexandra Palace in 1977 and I was 10 years old. Dave Richardson was in the band by then I think, and of course there was Aly Bain too ... but all I remember is Cathal McConnell on tin whistle. He played a couple of sets, one of which was Boys of Blue Hill / Harvest Home, which even I could play.

But how he played; great timing, lovely inventive variations whilst still giving the tune. And what did he play? A humble little Generation D whistle with a blue head, just like I had at home.

Was this a seminal moment in my musical "career"? No, not really, I didn't start playing a tin whistle because of this, nor did I need it to confirm that I was playing a proper instrument. Still, it was the instrument I had, and he demonstrated what it was capable of doing with a well known set of tunes. This is certainly why I remember it so clearly.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Andrew Legg »

ecadre wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 4:32 am A whistle playing duet was mentioned earlier, so here is a charming example to cheer up the mood of this thread ... played on Generation whistles of course :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp7lw5G7Mug

But how he played; great timing, lovely inventive variations whilst still giving the tune. And what did he play? A humble little Generation D whistle with a blue head, just like I had at home.
Beautifully played indeed. It’s absolutely charming and it’s great how despite the pace and complexity they keep well in time. Thanks for the link Andrew.
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Re: Clarke Original D Tweak/Mods

Post by Andrew Legg »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:11 am A man walks into an instrument forum and starts: 'I just bought a fiddle but it must be faulty, when I use the bow it sounds scratchy and when I put my fingers down, the notes are all wrong. I played guitar all my life so I know string instruments..'

What sort of a reaction do you think this would get?
:shock:

On the whistle forum, you are that guy.

But rest assured, you aren't the first to make an entry like this and, unfortunately, you won't be the last.

:sleep:
Can you tell me what’s wrong with my observations please? Is the intonation on all Generations great, and I am doing something wrong? Are top A and B on the Clarke difficult to hit cleanly unless you blow like crazy? Apologies for being “that guy”. I’m loving getting into the whistles, but it’s tricky when I have virtually no local source of instruments. My Generation I bought here as it’s the only brand I can find and the shop had 1 whistle in D. My Clarke I had someone hand carry over from Europe because I can’t trust the postal system locally. So yes, loving it and finding it frustrating at the same time. That’s why I am on here asking for help. I think I will cough up for a Killarney. All the reviews mention excellent playability and consistency of quality. Not only is that important for me as a beginner, because it will help with enjoyment, but even more so given that instruments are tricky to physically get.
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