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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:30 pm 
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Carlos Nunez plays wooden whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:30 am 
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To the original poster,I'd suggest not worrying about instrument material yet. I make wooden whistles so I have an axe to grind, but I'd still suggest that you get to an intermediate level of playing before starting to find another instrument of any material (assuming the beginner whistle you have is decent). As a real beginner you don't really know how to evaluate a whistle yet, and know what characteristics you want in a whistle. Many people remain happy with their first whistle and never look any further.
As far as the sound characteristics of wood vs other materials goes, I personally don't believe the choice of material makes a huge difference,although many people will disagree. With an instrument like a guitar or mandolin you have many square inches of vibrating wood, so the choice of wood (and many other design and construction factors) does indeed make a big difference. With a small instrument like the whistle, the vibration of the material isn't a big factor. It may feel like it's vibrating when you play it, but what you're really feeling is the air column through the finger holes. It's the air column that vibrates and any reasonably hard material which machines to a smooth surface will make a decent whistle. The big variation is in the voicing of the whistle. In most handmade whistles the voicing is done largely by hand, and tiny variations of any and all of the dimensions of the head/blade/windway area can make a big difference. I've often made 4 whistles from one 2x2x12" piece of wood and had them end up with entirely different personalities.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:06 pm 
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brewerpaul wrote:
As far as the sound characteristics of wood vs other materials goes, I personally don't believe the choice of material makes a huge difference.


Not a huge difference perhaps, but certainly noticeable. I'm possibly unique in that I make whistles in wood, brass and ally, all using delrin substantially in the head and using the same techniques for voicing them all. My observations across all three, given that they are all in the same key, are that ally whistles are bright and sharp, wood whistles have a rounder, mellow tone and brass whistles do definitely have a brassy edge.

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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 4:42 pm 
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I have an Abell wood whistle in D, and the rest of my collection are plastic. There is definitely a difference in sound with the wood - more spread, and a little less focused than the plastic ones, which cut like a razor blade IMO. Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 6:38 pm 
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ytliek wrote:
Carlos Nunez plays wooden whistles.


He may well have changed, but what I've heard him playing were native Galician instruments called flautas.

About wooden whistles, I've tried quite a few over the years, the first in the late 1970s.

I've yet to try one I liked.

It's not the tone. To me tone (timbre) is well down of the list of important factors. It's the voicing and/or performance. All the wood whistles I've tried were American-made, and all have had a loud low octave and stiff 2nd octave. As Gumby says "sweet" is not a descriptor of those whistles.

That's what I love about the Killarney: the voicing/performance is like good vintage Generations with a truly sweet 2nd octave.

BTW I played my Killarney D in concert for the first time yesterday. Whistles can sound different when played acoustically at home or at a session, and when mic'd on stage or in studio. When we did the soundcheck I was amazed at how gorgeous the Killarney sounded through the mic. It seemed to me the perfect traditional whistle sound: the low notes were round and dark, the high notes pure and sweet.

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


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 8:51 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
It's not the tone. To me tone (timbre) is well down of the list of important factors. It's the voicing and/or performance. All the wood whistles I've tried were American-made, and all have had a loud low octave and stiff 2nd octave. As Gumby says "sweet" is not a descriptor of those whistles.

That's what I love about the Killarney: the voicing/performance is like good vintage Generations with a truly sweet 2nd octave.

BTW I played my Killarney D in concert for the first time yesterday. Whistles can sound different when played acoustically at home or at a session, and when mic'd on stage or in studio. When we did the soundcheck I was amazed at how gorgeous the Killarney sounded through the mic. It seemed to me the perfect traditional whistle sound: the low notes were round and dark, the high notes pure and sweet.


Yeah, I would say there is definitely a lot of variance in how wooden whistles sound. I've heard the "edge" that people have mentioned, but ,luckily, my wooden whistles thus far don't seemed to have it. I wonder if the timbre/tone improves as you get more aquainted with the whistle, almost like susato whistles. I've also heard that some wooden whistles have a bit of a "break in" period, so perhaps that might be a factor as well.

I totally understand what you mean about voicing/performance being higher on the list than tone, especially when playing with other musicians, though I wouldn't mind having a nice tone as well. :lol: To be honest, though, I've always felt more in control with the wooden whistles than with others. But that, of course, is completely subjective.

That's really interesting about the Killarney, pancelticpiper. Do you perhaps have an audio clip you'd be willing to share? Perhaps purchasing a few Killarneys might be a good idea, especially if they're that good...
Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: Wood
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 8:34 pm 
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That's the only time I've used my Killarney in public, and I have no recordings.

I love playing it because of the great voicing and (to me) bang-on octave relationship. The high notes are so wonderfully sweet, the action is so responsive and light, and the tuning is so perfect.

I never thought much about the timbre, and I was surprised to hear it mic so well.

I think it may have ousted by c1980 Feadog MK1!

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


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