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 Post subject: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:01 am 
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Can someone point me in the right direction? I'm mostly a fiddle/tenor banjo player who's been half-heartedly messing with the whistle for way too many years. Time to get more serious.

I have a set of Generation whistles I've had for a long time, decades, really. They no longer play well, with unpleasant overtones, even after cleaning. I'm assuming the mouthpieces have become worn over time, but the bodies are still good. (These are non-movable mouthpieces.) Is there anyone who makes and installs new mouthpieces for whistles like this, using the existing tubes?

I'd buy new Generations, but I suspect the mouthpiece design has not improved recently. Other, more modern whistles are undoubtedly better, but man, pricey??!! Can I upgrade the Generations I have with new mouthpieces? I'd appreciate any advice I can get.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:09 pm 
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Probably cost as much as buying new whistles....

Why not check out Tony Dixon for your new whistles - I have several in my collection. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:35 pm 
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Another option would be Jerry Freeman. He takes stock whistles and tweaks the heads to take out any of the manufacturing (or design) flaws. He posts here on occasion.

Probably better to hold off a bit in trying to reach him, though. He's in the midst of some Covid-related work and that seems to take up most of his time these days.

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 1:59 pm 
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Location: North America. Way north.
If you insist on staying in that price range, options come to mind that reviewers seem to uniformly indicate are well-playing, reliable, nice-sounding whistles.

1) Walton's Mellow D (it's not that mellow, it's larger bore, richer tone, clear, responsive and avoids getting shrill)
2) Oak
3) Tony Dixon DX001 or Trad (nickel or brass)
4) Timothy Potter

Jerry Freeman does upgrades on Generation whistles, but as others point out, he's deeply involved in the COVID19 medical response and is currently not very active on the whistle side and has a backlog. You'll have to follow his website for updates on that.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:26 pm 
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While there are some of this forum who love their generations, I'd pick up something else. Dixons are inexpensive and popular right now. There is a recent thread on this forum regarding the different models and various characteristics. I don't know that much about them so I can't comment. And there are others. Lots of folks like the ease and simplicity of the Killarney's (but their price is pretty close to the Sindt. See my ending sentence.) I know there are lots of others who can chime in with good advice.

Recently a player in town, with a PhD in guitar performance (and hence, therefore, we can guess he has a pretty good ear) showed up with a Generation. He has played whistle for years off and on and taught a lot of kids. "You tweaked that right?" I asked. "Yes, I did." was the response.

So hang on to those Generations if you like. Eventually, when you've mastered playing a whistle that is easier to manage straight out of the box, you could give tweaking them a shot. (Which is sort of rebuilding the mouthpiece from the inside.) Although, I have to admit, the Generations I kept with that in mind are still in the back of a drawer somewhere.

Find yourself something you like to play and enjoy it.

Since you play the fiddle and tenor banjo you are likely to know that sometimes you get what you pay for. If you can swing something in the neighborhood of $160 I'd contact John Sindt. He is still making whistles. They are truly wonderful. He's getting on in years but going strong. johnsindtwhistle@aol.com You will not regret this.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:18 pm 
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I will give a third recommendation for the Dixon Trad. Sure, it costs two or three times what the typical factory-made whistle would, but the sound quality is superb...none of my other whistles have such a good OXXOOO! The head comes off nice and easy, and it is finished to a very high standard. As I've said before, the only issue I've had with it thus far is the shape of the mouthpiece, but I'm getting more accustomed to it. For the price, I feel it offers terrific bang for the buck.

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:32 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
Jerry Freeman does upgrades on Generation whistles, but as others point out, he's deeply involved in the COVID19 medical response and is currently not very active on the whistle side and has a backlog. You'll have to follow his website for updates on that.


Hi RoberTunes,

I have two whistles on order from Mr. Freeman since early June. I've known about his helping with COVID since sometime in July. I've been trying to contact him recently with no avail. I've sent messages through eBay and through his FaceBook page but he has not responded. You mention his website above, does he have another site or are you referring to his FaceBook page?

Thanks!

PS
And if anyone can help me get in contact with him, email address or whatever means of getting in contact with him, I'd appreciate it.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 3:04 pm 
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Location: North America. Way north.
TxWhistler wrote:
Hi RoberTunes,
I have two whistles on order from Mr. Freeman since early June. I've known about his helping with COVID since sometime in July. I've been trying to contact him recently with no avail. I've sent messages through eBay and through his FaceBook page but he has not responded. You mention his website above, does he have another site or are you referring to his FaceBook page?
Thanks!
PS
And if anyone can help me get in contact with him, email address or whatever means of getting in contact with him, I'd appreciate it.


I guess I meant what online access he operates. If Facebook is his method, so be it. I haven't searched that out.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:10 pm
Posts: 366
Location: Michigan
vtfiddler wrote:
Can someone point me in the right direction? I'm mostly a fiddle/tenor banjo player who's been half-heartedly messing with the whistle for way too many years. Time to get more serious.

I have a set of Generation whistles I've had for a long time, decades, really. They no longer play well, with unpleasant overtones, even after cleaning. I'm assuming the mouthpieces have become worn over time, but the bodies are still good. (These are non-movable mouthpieces.) Is there anyone who makes and installs new mouthpieces for whistles like this, using the existing tubes?

I'd buy new Generations, but I suspect the mouthpiece design has not improved recently. Other, more modern whistles are undoubtedly better, but man, pricey??!! Can I upgrade the Generations I have with new mouthpieces? I'd appreciate any advice I can get.


I hear you... I recently broke something in the head of my beloved Walton whistle while trying to adjust a tweak and it kills me that I now have to buy an entirely new whistle... I even had posted in the exchange to see if anyone had a spare head lying around (I know people muck about with Frankenwhistles sometimes, or "rescue" damaged whistles from thrift stores, or might have one with a body that has met a mishap), and even contacted Walton to see if perhaps they sold only whistle heads (I had seen such a thing intimated on their site once). No luck, and I think you'll find the same; I think either of us would have to be very lucky to find just a head, though stranger things have happened and with enough patience, who knows.

I'm not sure even a new Generation head would be best, though. I just bought a new Generation C and... well, I can't say I like it (I have two B-flats I like that I bought new, though many years ago and also an E-flat that was a thrift-store or flea-market rescue that I also like, but this one... I'm a bit disappointed).

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:51 pm 
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Going to jump in with the others and say for $25 my dixon trad is noticeably nicer than my cheapo whistles. Tunable, nice headpiece, tuning is good, plays well. And for higher budget, ive heard amazing thigns about killarney. and they dont cost TOO much.

No hate to the people who love their cheap whistles. I just find that I have more fun playing when I know my instrument is good. The more expensive ones arent mind-blowingly better, but the little things feel like they add up for an overall nicer experience. So if you enjoy playing, spending a little bit can be worth it. But just my 2 cents. Good sounds can still be made on a cheap whistle.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:04 am 
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Are you sure your Generations are bad? I don't think heads wear very easily, at least not on the inside where it counts. Damage is different from wear.

Breath control?

My Killarney is the best thing that ever happened. About $100 (that's less than a year of one bear a week). Light air requirements, and sweet Generation-style tone up to high C and even D.


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle upgrades
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:54 pm 
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tstermitz wrote:
About $100 (that's less than a year of one bear a week).

Around here, bears charge more than that, but I guess it depends on how you want to use them. :D

Best wishes.

Steve

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