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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:28 pm 
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What do you mean by "easy to reach" second octave? Is it just a matter of having to blow really hard or is there more to it? For the second octave, up to the highest B, I want the whistle in tune and not piercingly loud.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:16 am 
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Thanks bogman. I've nothing really to compare it with since I've been learning whistle on a Low D Goldie for the past year. I think I must be ticking all the boxes you suggest but I'm sure I'll find further tonal qualities as I progress.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:48 am 
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very good posts there from Bogman and Ecohawk.

First off I'll say, as a matter of background, that I don't own a Goldie. I tried a Goldie Low D once and it was superb. I do have long experience with Overton Low Ds, having owned a few over the years, the first in the late 1970s. I've owned Overtons in various low keys (C, D, Eb, E).

I've owned now five different MK Low Ds (always searching for that perfect one).

Keeping in mind that I'm comparing MK Low Ds to Overton Low Ds, here goes.

Both are excellent professional whistles. But as was said above they are very different beasts and you really ought to get at least one of each to discover everything for yourself.

I myself prefer the timbre/tone of the MK. It's complex and "dirty" and kaval-like but at the same time has a great "core". Most Low Ds, however much character they have in the low register, have a colourless 2nd register. But the MK retains its complexity in the 2nd register. On most Low Ds, B in the low register is the note with the most colour/character and there's a noticeable dropoff as you go below and above, but the MK has an amazingly even timbre, and E in the second register has an amazing sound.

About the "breaking point" of various notes, on most Low Ds low E is the weakest note and can't be "pushed" as hard as its surrounding notes Bottom D and low F#. But on the MK low E is just as strong as any other note.

Well before I make the MK sound like the paragon of whistles I should mention the common weaknesses, which are 1) a Bottom D that's no stronger than the other notes and 2) a High B that has a tendency to harshness.

What of #1 you say? Well, with the Irish Flute you want a booming Bottom D and it's the same with Low D whistles. The greatest thing about Burke Low Ds is their incredibly powerful Bottom Ds. You can put an amazing amount of "push" on that note without it breaking. Overtons aren't like Burkes but you do have a satisying strong Bottom D. MKs have a weakish Bottom D which can't be "pushed" without breaking.

#2 is wrapped up in the very different approach to tuning between MKs and Overtons. MKs have the two registers set to use as close to the same pressure as possible, so that to play the two registers in tune you must blow the low register very strongly, to the point of jumping up, and you must blow the 2nd register softly, to the point of dropping down. In other words, the 2nd register tends to sharpness and to play the registers in tune you must strongly blow the low register and underblow the 2nd register. (I should point out that one of the five MK Ds I've owned had a slightly flatter 2nd register than the others.)

The harsh high B of the MK is a byproduct of this. Oh, it's easy to "blow out" high B so that it has a sweet sound, but it will be sharp.

On all the Overtons I've owned the 2nd octave is tuned much flatter so that to play the octaves in tune you must blow the low register rather under it's capability, and blow the 2nd register considerably more strongly than there's acoustic need to. Yes you can blow the 2nd octave very softly and it will sound up there; it's amazing to get those very quiet 2nd octave notes; but you're extremely flat when you do so.

In other words there's a greater pressure differential between the octaves, which many people prefer. It's the way old Generation whistles play, after all.

At a time when I had an Overton Low D I was about to make a YouTube video demonstrating this difference between Overtons and MKs but I never got around to it. It's easy to demostrate: blow an MK and an Overton at the same time, both stuck in your mouth, and play a few notes in the low register to show that the two are exactly in tune (your two hands being the "upper hand" on each whistle). But then play in the 2nd register and the MK is sharp and the Overton is flat... by a huge amount! The two are a halfstep apart at least.

Anyhow Burkes and Reyburns are tuned in the middle between these two extremes. While your'e trying Low Ds you should try them too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:11 am 
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Thanks for the interesting discussion of the MK et al. Do you have any idea how much different the MK Kelpie is, with respect to the properties you've commented on? It's supposed to be a bit more "beginner-friendly" in design, but I'm not sure what this means in relation to, say, pushing out high B, or getting a strong low D.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:02 am 
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Sorry I know nothing about the Kelpie. All five MKs I've owned have had the tuning slide. Hmm about colours, one was a lovely deep red, one a garish green, my current "player" is glassy black, and I just got one in matte black.

It's amusing when out playing an MK, especially the brightly-coloured ones, because everyone asks "what is that made of?". They're smooth as glass and don't really look like plastic or metal or anything. I don't get that as much with the black one.

I wish MKs were available in plain polished aluminum. Nobody asks about shiny silvery whistles.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:22 am 
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I just sold my 2002 vintage Overton low F and have a new MK Pro F (matte green) on it's way at this very moment.

When it arrives I'll post my observations comparing the two.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:15 am 
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ubizmo wrote:
Thanks for the interesting discussion of the MK et al. Do you have any idea how much different the MK Kelpie is, with respect to the properties you've commented on? It's supposed to be a bit more "beginner-friendly" in design, but I'm not sure what this means in relation to, say, pushing out high B, or getting a strong low D.


I'm not sure I'm qualified to post here - I'm only learning the whistle and don't play at all well. But I have a Kelpie and now a Goldie Low D (Medium Blow).

I can understand what Bogman is saying about the Goldie needing more Technique to play properly, I'm struggling with the very low notes, D & E. But, it's sweet on the High octave. It's much easier to reach the higher notes than the Kelpie and they are cleaner. To get the high C on the Kelpie takes much more effort than the Goldie and it's not as nice sounding, a little more harsh.

On the Low notes, it's the Kelpie that wins out for me. The Low D is strong and the instrument almost vibrates as the note sounds, a very pleasing and easy to attain Low D. On the Goldie I'm finding that the Low D is not as strong and takes much less puff - and has a very odd sound when I tongue if the D is the first note (not a problem if it's 2nd or third note). The volume difference on the Goldie is very noticeable between High and Low Octave.

I'm sure it's my technique, but when playing the Kelpie most of the notes are bang on in tune or only slightly sharp. On the Goldie the D's (both high and low) are quite sharp when using my tuner (for my guitar). In order to get them the perfect pitch I have to reduce breath somewhat but it reduces the volume on the Low D to a point when the note sounds weak. B, A & G are all fine in both Octaves - but those D's seem well out. C#, both high and low with the 000000 fingering is bang on the money.

Rich

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