What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

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busterbill
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What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by busterbill »

I've been playing the flute for decades and have a violin/fiddle playing son who has become interested in the low d whistle. What is the latest thinking on the best low ds out there. He has a very good ear and plays with folks with very good ears so tune-ability is important as is tone. I know a lot about flutes and a little about high d whistles, but the low d is a mystery to me. I've noticed that Reyburn makes a whistle with holes that are placed for natural finger strikes. Anyone play one of these? And any other advice? Thanks
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Steve Bliven
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by Steve Bliven »

I'm sure you'll get the usual array of responses about each player's favorite. From my experience, low D whistles vary greatly in the overall sound: tone, volume, "grit", etc. So a lot of the "best" references will be based on the intended use and personal preference.

I have two that I play a good deal: a recent Reyburn (within the past couple of years, one with a delrin head and aluminum body) and a slightly older MK. The former has what PanCeltic refers to as "Native American flute in a fog" — what I'd call a rounded, almost echo-ish, soft sounding but with full volume. My MK has much more "grit", a bit rougher sound.

I'm told, however, that the sound of these instruments, being hand made, will vary from one to another as well.

So, there's an extensive non-answer to your question—but at least some issues to consider.

Best wishes.

Steve
Last edited by Steve Bliven on Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by bogman »

There's no answer to this question really as it's down to taste, but in Scotland pretty much all the top players play Goldie or MK.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by JoFo »

MKs are very easy to play, but can sometimes feel a bit slippery to hold. The glossy ones are less slippery than the non-glossy ones...
The Pros are tuneable. Not so the Kelpies (and the one I had was a tad flat).

Some Goldie whistles have problems with clogging which you don't want when your starting out. But Goldie makes several different versions with differing windway heights. So try before you buy would be ideal.

Another whistle that is similar in design to the MK is the Alba whistle. Quite common in sessions in Scotland. Very easy to play. And, like the MK, it doesn't clog.
As a first low D I'd say this is a very good choice.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by bogman »

JoFo, "Some Goldies have problems with clogging". I would have to disagree with that. Some players have a problem with clogging Goldies, that's true, but unless it's been damaged then it's the player that's clogging the whistle.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by Adrian W. »

bogman wrote:There's no answer to this question really as it's down to taste, but in Scotland pretty much all the top players play Goldie or MK.
I'm thinking about a new low D, I play a MacNeil now, and those are the two on my list. Was at a Celtic Colours tune session in October, a couple of Scottish pipers in the mix... when the whistles came out, they were Goldies or Overtons. Had forgotten about Alba; will look into them more.
In Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by bogman »

With the question being about the best low D, with all due respect to Alba I don't think that's the market they're aiming for, and that's reflected in the price.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by The Lurking Fear »

bogman wrote:JoFo, "Some Goldies have problems with clogging". I would have to disagree with that. Some players have a problem with clogging Goldies, that's true, but unless it's been damaged then it's the player that's clogging the whistle.
Well,they don't clog without a player,that's for sure.

But more than one member has commented on this in regard to Goldies,and there is more than one thread with instructions for Colin's toothpaste treatment to combat same.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by bogman »

Many players make Goldies clog, I'm just saying it's the player, not always the blowing style but often neglecting to keep the windway completely clean. The main effect of the toothpaste is it helps to clean the windway.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by Wanderer »

It seems like a bit of semantics. Yes, cars don't run out of gas--people fail to refill the tank. But people still say "my car ran out of gas". "Whistles don't clog, people clog whistles" is in the same vein.

Clogging is primarily a failure to mitigate condensation and some whistles perform better than others in this regard. Some whistles simply clog worse than others, either due to design or materials. I have whistles that have never clogged on me. My new Copeland (like every Copeland I've ever owned) clogs extremely quickly and required the duponol treatment.

A dirty windway can cause whistles to clog faster, because there are more condensation points. Some people may experience clogging worse than others due to a variety of factors (maybe they have wetter breath, maybe the climate in their area promotes condensation more, etc). But none of those things really change the fact that some whistles clog more easily than others irrespective of other external factors.

The toothpaste trick may help with clogging by cleaning the windway, but it also helps with clogging because toothpaste (like duponol) contains a surfactant that lowers surface tension and allows moisture to wick out of the windway more easily.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by bogman »

My Goldies occasionally clog, but not on their own accord. I'm aware any time they do it's my own fault and not that of the whistle.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by Peter Duggan »

busterbill wrote:What is the latest thinking on the best low ds out there.
Whatever you want it to be when we're talking personal relationships with musical instruments and not mere fashion/flavour of the month?
Steve Bliven wrote:I'm sure you'll get the usual array of responses about each player's favorite.
Which is exactly what I'd expect from the question!

For sure, Goldie and MK are sound, 'professional' choices. I've tried MKs and would have quite happily had one. I've never played a Goldie, but sold my Overtons (which I'm aware are not quite the same thing). I now play Bracker, but am I suggesting you buy Bracker? No, because my choice falls into the realm of Steve's 'usual array of responses about each player's favorite' (from what they've tried). Which also squares with Bogman's 'no answer to this question really as it's down to taste', despite not contesting his 'in Scotland pretty much all the top players play Goldie or MK.' There are further quality options, but can't really see you going wrong with either, especially if buying untried.
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Adrian W.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by Adrian W. »

[quote= There are further quality options, but can't really see you going wrong with either, especially if buying untried.[/quote]

That's the case here. If you actually want to TRY a quality whistle, of any sort, you are limited to Chieftains at the chain music store.... it's a bit better here in Cape Breton than others in the chain because trad music is stronger here, but only to a point. For instance, they stock chieftains, while other stores may have to bring them in. I keep an eye on the online ads for the region, and have yet to see a good low D come up. The only folks I know of besides me with low D's are the pipers, and there I see a few Goldies, and Ryan Macneil plays whistles of his own manufacture. There must be more, but I never see them. So trying to figure out from the online opinions which ones might be best suited, and ordering unseen, new or used, seems to be the only option.
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by brewerpaul »

bogman wrote:My Goldies occasionally clog, but not on their own accord. I'm aware any time they do it's my own fault and not that of the whistle.
That big hunk of aluminum gets pretty cold and that leads to condensation from your warm moist breath. Warm up the head and you'll get very little clogging.
I heard of a whistle player in a local band who had several Overtons. He kept the heads submerged in a bucket of hot water during gigs!
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Re: What is the latest thinking of the best low d whistles

Post by nicx66 »

brewerpaul wrote:
bogman wrote:My Goldies occasionally clog, but not on their own accord. I'm aware any time they do it's my own fault and not that of the whistle.
That big hunk of aluminum gets pretty cold and that leads to condensation from your warm moist breath. Warm up the head and you'll get very little clogging.
I heard of a whistle player in a local band who had several Overtons. He kept the heads submerged in a bucket of hot water during gigs!
Perhaps off topic, but Cajun fiddler/singer extraordinaire, Doug Kershaw, used to keep a bucket of bows on stage. When you watch him play, you can see why.
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