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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:41 pm 
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Location: Pueblo, Colorado USA
I am wondering if anyone can tell me some specifics to tune/make a whistle as long as the whistle length is correct when blown with no holes drilled. This is intended to reach out to whistle builders or people knowledgeable in the building process. My questions are:
If a hole is too small for good sound and you want to enlarge does that raise the pitch?
Also, if the hole is moved down the tube does that lower the pitch of that hole?
For example: If you are playing a G whistle and the position you play should be a D note and it plays an E note would have two options? One you could decrease the hole diameter(of the last hole that was uncovered) to flatten the sound or move the hole toward the end of the whistle to lower the tone? Just looking for building/tuning advice. Thanks for any info.


Last edited by scottie on Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:35 pm 
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Location: North America. Way north.
Others in Chiff and Fipple can instruct you on fine adjustments to hole size and location relative to what that will affect. It would probably help if you mentioned exactly what model you're using, to draw on the experience of people.

If a G whistle plays a tone away, or just one semi-tone off what should happen with the proper fingering going on, that's not a problem with the holes, it's too severe. I've only seen the comments about adjusting hole dimensions be relative to minor fine-tuning of sharp or flat notes, or maybe loud/quiet notes, or in some cases adjusting the tonal qualities or playability of the whistle (like finger sliding off a tone hole to glide from one note to another), but never going so far as a semitone via whistle surgery

1) check the position of the mouthpiece, and if it's adjustable, try to find the best location that produces the least tuning problems across both octaves.
2) watch for comments to your question by the talented tweekers, hobby shop whistle shapers and maybe a genuine whistle maker will chime in too
3) if the whistle mouthpiece can't adjust, or you are finding some frustrations with dealing with the whistle, please post the specific details so others can pick it up from there
4) did you buy the whistle from an established music store, or direct from the maker?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:35 am 
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RoberTunes wrote:
Others in Chiff and Fipple can instruct you on fine adjustments to hole size and location relative to what that will affect. It would probably help if you mentioned exactly what model you're using, to draw on the experience of people.

If a G whistle plays a tone away, or just one semi-tone off what should happen with the proper fingering going on, that's not a problem with the holes, it's too severe. I've only seen the comments about adjusting hole dimensions be relative to minor fine-tuning of sharp or flat notes, or maybe loud/quiet notes, or in some cases adjusting the tonal qualities or playability of the whistle (like finger sliding off a tone hole to glide from one note to another), but never going so far as a semitone via whistle surgery

1) check the position of the mouthpiece, and if it's adjustable, try to find the best location that produces the least tuning problems across both octaves.
2) watch for comments to your question by the talented tweekers, hobby shop whistle shapers and maybe a genuine whistle maker will chime in too
3) if the whistle mouthpiece can't adjust, or you are finding some frustrations with dealing with the whistle, please post the specific details so others can pick it up from there
4) did you buy the whistle from an established music store, or direct from the maker?


I guess I should have changed the subject more to a question of when building or repairing a flute or whistle that had defects whether purchased or DIY the theoretical things one would do to get it into proper tuning as long as the initial length of the tube with no holes matches the key one desires. Sorry if I mislead you. I will see if I can change the title on the post. I wish they had a section on this site dedicated to whistle building advice etc only.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:09 am 
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Location: Ashland, OR.
Scottie there is a rule of thumb in making any wind blown instrument and that is by moving a hole closer to the head the note will sharpen and vice versa. Another rule is that by enlarging a hole it will sharpen the note and vice versa (lower the note). As long as the fundamental note is in tune with no holes drilled then you have a good start to do the drilling.

There are tone hole calculators online that can help you get in the ball park, then use the two rules to go from there. The ratio of bore ID to length (from the window to the end) is very important to making a Celtic instrument and somewhere around 1:23 is a good idea. A standard concert flute uses about 1:30 but of course there are keys to be able to cover that ratio. A maker can increase the ratio to create a narrow bore instrument or vice versa for a large bore instrument, but the playing characteristics will be less advantageous.

I trust this will be useful for your endeavors.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:54 pm 
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In case you havent seen this, the guide on "the low tech whistle" has a lot of good stuff.
https://www.flutopedia.com/refs/Gonzato ... histle.pdf

Edit- Now I see you werent actually asking about building but. The whistle science info may still come in handy. Rule of thumb, you can make notes sharper, is hard to make notes flatter.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:28 pm 
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Reyburnwhistles wrote:
Scottie there is a rule of thumb in making any wind blown instrument and that is by moving a hole closer to the head the note will sharpen and vice versa. Another rule is that by enlarging a hole it will sharpen the note and vice versa (lower the note). As long as the fundamental note is in tune with no holes drilled then you have a good start to do the drilling.

There are tone hole calculators online that can help you get in the ball park, then use the two rules to go from there. The ratio of bore ID to length (from the window to the end) is very important to making a Celtic instrument and somewhere around 1:23 is a good idea. A standard concert flute uses about 1:30 but of course there are keys to be able to cover that ratio. A maker can increase the ratio to create a narrow bore instrument or vice versa for a large bore instrument, but the playing characteristics will be less advantageous.

I trust this will be useful for your endeavors.


Thank you very much for this information for this is exactly what I needed to know. Have a great day and I will put this info to good use.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:43 pm 
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Narzog wrote:
In case you havent seen this, the guide on "the low tech whistle" has a lot of good stuff.
https://www.flutopedia.com/refs/Gonzato ... histle.pdf

Edit- Now I see you werent actually asking about building but. The whistle science info may still come in handy. Rule of thumb, you can make notes sharper, is hard to make notes flatter.



Thank you very much for the reply. Now that you mention it I think I did see this about 10 years ago and tried it but failed because the only pipe I could find had much thicker walls (Sch 40) and could not get the mouth piece built properly. No one was stocking the thinner wall pipe so I was stuck. Very good information though and I will have to keep a copy of that information and may need to try some of the advice. I like to have any simple bamboo flute or whistle tuned to concert specifications and the last bamboo flute I got from Billy Miller over 12yrs ago is still just as awesome as the day I got it. It is a shame he is no longer making them.


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