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 Post subject: Talmadge High D Review
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:46 am 
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I'm somewhat amazed that Talmadge Whistles only get two passing mentions in the forums but, curious, I checked out their website and feedback (http://www.talmadgewhistles.com/?page=Feedback), especially that by L. E. McCullough . . . and was curiouser still. Since my wife was spending five weeks in the US and could save me substantial postage and import duty by bringing one back with her, I decided it was a good opportunity.

Today I've had my first chance to try it it out at length . . . and am impressed. To begin with, Noah Talmadge makes something of an art of presentation, the whistle packaged in a wide diameter cardboard tube inside a softly-lined linen bag and accompanied by a cleaning cloth and stick of joint grease as well as some business cards. I mention all because the already apparent care in his presentation is also to be found in the whistle . . . . which is something of a work of art. The aluminium tube (of a thickness comparable with a Goldie, I suspect) decorated with a brass ring at its base and inlaid brass dots along the back, has the nicest of brass tuning slides, firmly in place but easy and smooth to move. The holes are comfortable and on the largish side making for easier slides and half-holing. The very comfortable fipple is mainly Delrin, though I'm not sure about the black underside. On the underside of tube above the slide, Noah's logo is stamped into the aluminium and TW 055 is etched alongside, the only sign of it being handmade. The quality of manufacture and finish is very high.

All well and good . . . but what does it sound and play like? It has a strong clear tone, rich, deep and mellow. It requires very little breath, so may not be great for a complete beginner. I went to it from playing a hard blowing Low D, so it was quite a contrast, but when I realised how it needed to be played, it was very easy to play, almost effortless. Louder than I expected for the amount of air it needed, every note rings out clear and true (including Cnat which to my ears was spot on with OXXOOO) and I found no evidence of the shrillness that many high whistles exhibit in the second octave. In fact the high notes had a beautiful bell-like quality. Check out the samples at http://www.talmadgewhistles.com/?page=Media especially the third.

For someone who prefers low whistles, but occasionally likes to play high, I really like this whistle and much prefer it to the Sindt I owned, both for tone and feel/playability. I also own a much-loved Lofgren High D that plays and sounds very different. Right now, if I had to, I would be hard pressed to choose between them. But I'm VERY impressed by Noah's work.

L. E. McCullough's comments say it all: "I finally got the chance to really play your high D whistle. Wow... wow... woWWWWW!!! Am I dreaming? I mean, it really SOUNDS GOODD!!! I don't have anything bad to say about it at all. It's got a good robust sound. It is outstanding!"

Nuff said!!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:02 pm 
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They're great whistles. I'm selling a C and narrow bore D if anyone's interested. Trying to pare down my collection.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:26 pm 
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I am very interested in one short part of your review, Mike. You say the Talmadge high D is preferred by you, over the Sindt high D - in the areas of tone, plus feel/playability. I am interested in the precise parameters and comparisons that cause you to make that statement.
Thanks for all, Mike.
Byll

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:29 am 
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Let me begin, Byll, by saying I think the Sindt is an excellent whistle. Full stop. No question. My preference for the Talmadge is just that, a preference. But I'll endeavour to do as you ask.

First of all tone. The Sindt produces something of the classic Generation tone at its best. But when it comes to a chiffy high whistle for ITM I tend to prefer the sound of a Goldie which my Lofgren has strong echoes of. Tonewise the Talmadge is something else, perhaps more of a competitor to the Burke with a smooth rich pure tone in the lower octave and a bell-like crystal clear tone in the upper second. With regards to tone the Sindt and Talmadge are different animals.

With regard to feel/playability there is more to say. The backpressure, strength of the low notes and ability to play comfortably up to third octave D are, I think, fairly comparable. There the similarity ends. The Sindt basically consists of a heavy and highly sophisticated head attached to the body of a "cheap" whistle and there is nothing wrong with that per se. It does produce a top heavy whistle but I had no particular problems with that. I much prefer however the feel and balance of the thicker aluminium tube of the Talmadge where finger pads don't appear to sink so far into holes as they do with a cheap whistle tube. As I result I find slides, for example, much easier to play on the Talmadge than on the Sindt, and find moving between fingerings marginally faster. I also really appreciate the more sophisticated user-friendly tuning slide of the Talmadge.

With regard to the fipple, the rounded delrin of the Talmadge is very comfortable in the mouth. I found the Sindt's more angular fipple less so. In particular, I found the sensation of both delrin and brass mixed together on the lip strange and slightly distracting. Overall, the Talmadge feels much more solid and reassuring in my hands, the thicker aluminium in particular making a significant difference to me.

I hope this helps. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to come back to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:12 am 
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Thank you, Mike. So much is subjective, and I respect that. I have never played the Talmadge. In fact, I did not know it existed. I appreciate your review, in that it made me aware of the instrument.

Although I have read about the 'similarity' of the Sindt to the Generation, I personally have found the sound to be quite different, subjectively. While some odd harmonics are present in the sound of the Sindt, I find the overall sound to be smooth and very pleasant. The touch of odd harmonics gives the sound character.

I have always preferred brass to aluminum whistles, and have always liked the … uh… 'cheap' feel of a relatively thin wall instrument that organically slightly vibrates in one's hands while playing.

The tuning slide on John's whistles can present a challenge - unless one uses his suggested white lithium grease…

It is interesting that I agree with each of your descriptors for the Sindt whistle. It is also amusing, that I find each to be a positive, rather than a negative.

Different strokes, Mike. Different strokes...

Again Mike, thank you for the review. I must check the Talmadge website.

Best to you.
Byll

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:40 pm 
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Thanks for the review Mike. Two questions: 1) what's the time on wait list look like (website indicates there is one)? 2) Where are these made if you know? I can't find any location-identifying info on the website. Thanks.

Briant

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:01 pm 
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Hi Briant,

You should check with Noah Talmadge but I received the whistle about two months after ordering it. Noah is based in Harrisburg, Oregon. Hope that helps.

Cheers

Mike


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:27 pm 
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I really love mine!!!!! :party:
Very Happy with them!!! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:46 am 
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I've had my whistle for six weeks and the sad thing is I only played it for the first couple of days. It's still sat in its original packing. It's a gorgeous whistle . . . and deserves to be played but I'm really only playing low whistle these days. So there no point in me keeping high whistles when I could use the money to buy another low whistle. My Talmadge is "as new" condition. The cost of a high D in the US is approx £90 ($150) inclusive of shipping but Noah charges £22 ($35) to ship abroad making £112. If you live in the UK then import duty comes to a further £27 making an unbelievable £139!! I will sell my Talmadge for £80 plus shipping for anyone interested.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:57 am 
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Quote:
They're great whistles. I'm selling a C and narrow bore D if anyone's interested. Trying to pare down my collection.


Quote:
I've had my whistle for six weeks and the sad thing is I only played it for the first couple of days.


Am I missing something?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:58 am 
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No. Just two people paring down their collections. Check out feedback on them here: http://www.talmadgewhistles.com/?page=Feedback


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:04 am 
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If Noah ever turns his hand to a Low D, then I will be queueing up to try it!!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Please note my whistles are now sold. Thanks everyone for your inquiries.


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