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 Post subject: GFM whistle review #2
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:36 pm 
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I got my whistle set for the GFM whistle tour today, and I am supposed to review it so i figured what better place than post it here :). Anyways like the last review said, it comes with two bodies that fit onto the one mouth piece, a soprano D and a mezzo G body. The first part i should review is the mouth piece. I really like it's design, and i tried playing the whistle cold and it only clogged after about 15 minutes of playing, it seems to clear the spit out of the window (possibly due to the curved blade?) since there was a good amount of spit build up there (sorry for the gory details ;) ). After letting the mouthpiece warm up in my hands for a while i put it on the D body and tried playing. After a couple of hours this is what i found. The whistle is LOUD, very loud. Much louder than any whistles i have (inluding a susato D). The whistle has a fair amount of breathiness both in the first octave and even more in the second (my feadog has a little less breathiness in the second octave than this whistle). The second octave is quite a bit louder than the first octave, but this is do to how much you really have to lean into the whistle to get the tone out of it. But i could see that this whistle would be great for really loud sessions where you wouldn't mind leaning into it a lot because that's where the whistle comes into it's own. The hole spacing on this whistle is interesting my 3rd and 4th fingers touch when covering the holes, and the rest are about equally spaced. This is due to the wide diameter of the whistle (my Bflat Generation easily fits inside the D body tube). Overall i like the D body, if i didn't live in an apartment i would probably have played it more but it is really loud and my neighbors like to call the police at random :swear: But where i think the whistle really nails it is with the mezzo G body. The sound that comes out of that thing is totally different. Almost pure tonality with a bit of breathieness but only in the second octave. The sound is mellow and a LOT quieter than the D whistle. I would compare the volume to my Generation Bflat of being almost equal. The hole spacing just feels right to me, not too short of a distance but not to long to stretch (and i have average to small hands). But the sound is amazing that comes out of this whistle, absolutely love it. The only thing that i would have really liked, would be some tick marks, or some sort of marking on the tube where the mouthpiece fits on to have an idea where "in tune" is about close to, whereas now when you change bodies you have to try and adjust the head to be in tune without any form of reference. But that's not a really big problem. Umm i think i have covered everything, if i have left anything out, let me know and i'll try to answer any questions. Overall, great whistle, especially if other bodies come out that attach to the same mouthpiece. :D

~Joe


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:13 pm 
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Sounds close to my review.....Chuck is making some good whistles! I'm really looking forward to owning these little beasties! I hope the rest of the tour-goers like them too.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:23 pm 
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ya i'm glad that the managers get to keep these in the end :D I can't wait to get it back and play with it some more.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 8:31 pm 
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I'll put in a little comment here also. I too am one of the lucky managers for a section of the tour. I didn't get much time to play the two.

The breath requirements for these two whistles are much more than for "normal" whisltes, but what you get out of the whistle is also correspondingly bigger. I played the whistles with my tuner, and found that I needed to adjust how I regulate breath pressure for different registers. For most whistles, I generally feel like there is one breath pressure for the lower octave, and another for the upper register. (and yes, the extreme upper register needs a bit more for most whistles.) But for Chuck's new whistles, it seems to me that it is better to think of 3 or 4 levels of breath pressure, or even to imagine increasing the breath pressure in an even gradual cline along the whole range of the whistle. With the right pressure, these whistles are perfectly in tune. When I started to play them, I was flat in the middle register.

People are going to love the tone of the mezzo G whistle! It's very rich in texture.
The soprano D, with its huge bore size, will make a terrific whistle for special uses, like when you want a very funky/folksy tone. I like the standard GFM soprano whistle much better for general session playing.

Oreo Phil


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:01 pm 
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I am the latest to try out the D/G GFM whistle set on tour. This is my 1st time on one of these tours and I really like the idea. Get to try out whistles and in this case influence the potential design. My 1st impression with these is that they are well made - rank up there with Chieftain and Harpers I have owned in construction and workmanship. The O ring tuning slide works well on both bodies and for me the hole spacing was very comfortable on both bodies.
Now to each of them individually: My reaction to to holding the D whistle was,"This is huge! -I'm holding a cannon". I don't think I have seen as wide a bore on a D whistle before. The tone has been described as breathy by others and I agree - lots of wind in the sound and not for my taste. It also consumes a lot of breath - for me it felt like blowing into an open tube - I think I could easily hyperventilate on this. I should say that I play trumpet, flute, and sax as well as whistles and am accustomed to a good degree of back pressure -flute having the least of these 3.
Putting the mouthpiece on the G whistle produced a much more satisfying sound for me. There was some breathiness to this sound but in a pleasant musical way. If you have ever heard the sound of Stan Getz play tenor sax(Girl from Impanema) you get the idea. I have never tried an Alba whistle but from what I have read this might be similar. I had intonation difficulty on 1 note - the high E sounded flat without a lot of extra push.
I have been playing whistles for a little over a year now and I am finding that my preference leans towards strong but pure sound. I have especially developed a liking for wood (Bleazeys,Boisvert) as well as my Hoovers, Burkes, and a lone Copeland. Someone had asked about comparing the GFM to Syns -totally different, as I would put Syns in the pure tone column, so if you are looking for variety this might work. Thanks again to Chuck for letting us have a go at his creations


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:27 pm 
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That high D -is-huge-. It is extremely loud, too. I am going to make the windway a little shorter to cut down on the breathy sound a bit. It will increase the air requirement quite a bit, though. It may become totally unusable after that. I did it mostly for a fun experement. People seem to either love it or hate it. FWIW, I prefer the original soprano high D to the (mezzo fipple) + (soprano body) high D, too.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:58 pm 
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First of all, thanks very much for the chance to join in the tour. I received the whistle set yesterday, just before a surprise October thunderstorm knocked out our power well into the evening, which gave me the chance to build a fire and relax with the whistles for a good while. Like some other folks, I didn't get along with the high D well--I found it too breathy, and the close-set finger holes just didn't work with my hands. So most of my time was spent with the G, and the more I played it, the more I liked it. The sound is breathy, but nicely so, and you can work with breath levels and embouchure to move it towards a clearer sound if you want. (I wouldn't mind if the notes at the transition point to the second octave--the G and A--were a little clearer.) Very comfortable for playing fast, easy and agile shifts between octaves, and a nice consistency of tone through both octaves too. Comfortable spacing on the holes, and good finish work throughout--an enjoyable whistle to play. I'd think that a G/F set would be a treat.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:28 pm 
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You are welcome and thanks for the feedback!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:35 pm 
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I'm an advanced beginner and one of the lucky folks on the GFM whistle tour. Thanks to Chuck for letting me participate.

When several whistling friends first saw the GFM whistles, they immediately asked about them were and commented on their attractive appearance. The whistles really do look very nice. If Chuck's "rough" whistles show this kind of craftsmanship, I'd love to see the finished versions.

As soon as my friends tried playing the high D whistle, they were disappointed. Their first sounds were usually windy suggestions of notes rather than crisp notes. The D isn't a whistle you can just pick up and play. It takes time to get used to it. Even when you do figure out how to work with the D, the sound is windy and not crisp.

Both whistles requires much more air than anything else I've played. That in itself didn't bother me. It did surprise me that the amount of air needed for the second octave was substantially more than for the first octave in both whistles.

One side effect of the high air requirements is that I had much more moisture dripping out of these than with my usual whistles. After a short while, the image of an air conditioner's condensation drip tube came to mind.

What bothered me most was the loudness of the D whistle. When I played alone I found myself wanting to use earplugs. When I played with others, I only used the D for a few notes because didn't want to stand out excessively or irritate my friends.

It also bothered me that the first octave C and C# on the D whistle, and the F and F# on the G whistle were hard to hit. On the G whistle, for example, using the same air pressure as I used on the E (just one note down) would make the F natural significantly sharp and the F# significantly flat. While playing tunes these notes were noticeably off.

The finger holes on the D are closer together than those of a typical D whistle. This is probably necessary because of the larger diameter of the body. I didn't like having some of my fingers touching or brushing each other as they move.

On both whistles, I would appreciate a line engraved on the body that indicates how far into the head piece to slide the body for standard tuning. (I've never seen this on a whistle, so there may be something about this idea that wouldn't work.)

The G is windy sounding, too, but is comfortably loud compared with the D whistle. Also, the tone of the mezzo-G was much more pleasing to my ear and the G was somewhat easier to play. Obviously the fingers have to stretch further than they would on a high D whistle, but it was comfortable.

I've never played anything lower than a Bb whistle, so I don't have any experiences to compare this with, but I had intermittent trouble hitting the lower octave's G A B. I think most of this was my not covering holes completely. I'm pretty sure that the problem was the C hole, which is relatively small. That indicates that this was my problem, a result of my inexperience, rather than being caused by the size of the holes.

I sometimes got a better C natural by using 0 X 0 0 0 0 than the usual 0 X X 0 0 0. As an earlier reviewer said, 0 X X X X 0 worked pretty reliably, but that's not a fingering I'd want to have to use.

I've enjoyed playing these whistles. I wouldn't buy the D, but the G is much more tempting.

Thanks, again, to Chuck for giving us a chance to test these out.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:20 pm 
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azw wrote:
On both whistles, I would appreciate a line engraved on the body that indicates how far into the head piece to slide the body for standard tuning. (I've never seen this on a whistle, so there may be something about this idea that wouldn't work.)


I've had this on a couple of whistles, but I've never found in-tune to be exactly on the mark. Probably due to differences in ambient temperature and air density from where the maker lived.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:41 pm 
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That's interesting, Wanderer. Thanks for that observation.

I think if I owned both of the whistle bodies I'd put some sort of mark on them to use as a starting place for tuning. But if I only had the mezzo-G body, it probably wouldn't be much of an issue, unless I had to disassemble them to carry them. In this test, because I often swapped bodies to compare them, having to retune them each time became an irritant.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:00 am 
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Wanderer wrote:
azw wrote:
On both whistles, I would appreciate a line engraved on the body that indicates how far into the head piece to slide the body for standard tuning. (I've never seen this on a whistle, so there may be something about this idea that wouldn't work.)


I've had this on a couple of whistles, but I've never found in-tune to be exactly on the mark. Probably due to differences in ambient temperature and air density from where the maker lived.



There's that and the fact that people blow differently - it only takes little bit of difference to send the pitch high or low.

Still, having a line can be helpful for getting into the ball park quickly, and not starting out with the head so far in or out from where it was designed, that the inonation has been thrown off.


Loren


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:16 am 
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Loren wrote:
I've had this on a couple of whistles, but I've never found in-tune to be exactly on the mark. Probably due to differences in ambient temperature and air density from where the maker lived.



There's that and the fact that people blow differently - it only takes little bit of difference to send the pitch high or low.
[/quote]

Yeah, I shoulda thought of that too, since I've given that very phenomenon mention in my reviews..heh ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:21 pm 
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azw wrote:
On both whistles, I would appreciate a line engraved on the body that indicates how far into the head piece to slide the body for standard tuning. (I've never seen this on a whistle, so there may be something about this idea that wouldn't work.)


I am actually thinking of doing this plus a couple of other changes as well. Like someone else said, the mark is just a starting place. (where I blow it perfect <<grin>>)

I am also thinking of marking each one with a serial number and marking each tube with the key that it is for. Also, some of my overseas customers want a "made in USA" marking on each body and on each fipple.

I have already started tapering the beak to make it more narrow for a better lip feel. The tapering increases the price by $5. I am raising it as soon as all existing orders are out of the queue and I get my web site updated.

The point is that the serial number marking is a lot of work. Not so much to physically do the mark, but to track each instrument I make individually. It means that I have to increase the price. If I do all of these changes, I will have to increase my prices by about another $10 across the board. (total price increase of $15)

Does anyone have any comments on that? Does it seem like a stupid idea and prices should be held low? Or, does it seem like there is plenty of room in the pricing and the above changes should be made ASAP?

TIA, guys.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:27 pm 
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Should be interesting to see what people have to say on the pricing issue.

Every little thing you do adds time, and eventually, cost.


Loren


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