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 Post subject: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:49 am 
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I mentioned in another thread that I have a Chieftain non-tunable V3 low D whistle that I'm trying to make friends with. The timbre of this whistle isn't bad at all: soft and flutey. But it has what I regard as an excessive amount of back pressure, to get it to behave properly. I know this is a matter of personal preference, but my feeling is that I have to blow quite hard just to get a rather quiet sound, and to keep the high notes from cracking.

And it seems to me that a big part of the cause of this is simply that the windway is too long. Indeed, the distance from the end of the mouthpiece to the beginning of the window is at least a centimeter longer than on my Dixon low D. The V3 also has a beak that flattens out for that last centimeter or so, which I don't like that much anyway. I prefer a somewhat more blunted mouthpiece.

So, I have the idea that I could perhaps kill two birds with one stone if I just lopped a bit off the end of the mouthpiece. I'd reduce the length of the windway, thus reducing back pressure, and improve the shape of the beak.

Or maybe I'd just kill one whistle.

I'm no craftsman, but I assume that I'd just need a metal saw and a fine-tooth file to do this. So my questions are: Is this likely to work (reduce back pressure), and is the surgery riskier than I think?

Ubizmo


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:03 am 
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The length of the windway does not add any significant resistance to the air flow. The resistance to airflow is due to the cross-sectional area of the windway, or the smallest cross section in it, usually at the exit. that creates an orifice through which the air need to pass, and it needs a certain amount of pressure to achieve a certain amount of flow. So to reduce "back pressure" as the resistance to free flow you need to enlarge the windway cross-section. You could sand down the top (roof) of the wind way, ever so gently, with fine metal sanding paper. What are the dimensions right now? Increasing a windway height from 1mm to 1.1mm or even 1.2 mm may make the whistle into a free blower. The danger is that you may ruin the tone in the process. Don't remove material from the bottom (floor) of the windway, as that most likely will disturb the alignment of the jet and the labium. The bottom is usually aligned directly with the labium (edge). Look through the windway to verify this.

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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:30 am 
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:o Step away from the hacksaw!!! :o

You have an active imagination, ubizmo! That's not a bad thing. You seem to enjoy analyzing the minutia of your whistles. This is the second post in two days on such a subject I see. I'd like to offer two friendly suggestions to you. First, just play the tunes. The whistle is a tool and you learn how to use the tool by working with it. Play on. Really! Second suggestion - instead of hacksawing a Chieftain, start making your own whistles. It's a lot of fun. You can carry out your investigations and experiments at considerably less expense. And you can keep track of the cause and effects of your tinkering. Who knows maybe you'll discover something and be able to bring it back to all of us in the form of the Ubizmo whistle. We'll all buy one. :)

Feadoggie

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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:55 am 
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Hans, I have to disagree with you regarding the length of the airway and back pressure. From my experience the longer the airway the greater the effect of "drag" on the airflow which increases the back pressure. In the past I have tapered the airway which reduced the drag (less contact with the walls of the airway) and the result is an easy blower. I recently took the taper out of some of my whistle heads and the back pressure did in fact increase without changing the cross sectional dimensions of the airway exit point. An example of this is the short stubby beak on the Abell whistle heads which I'm quite sure is the approach Chris is using to control back pressure.

So from my point of view.... to shorten the length of the airway will indeed reduce back pressure. Now where is that hacksaw?????


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:17 am 
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Thanks Ronaldo! I will experiment with this. I imagined there would be little drag from the walls in a smooth and warm (no condensation) windway. The question remains: would shortening the windway by say 25% make a high backpressure whistle into a medium backpressure whistle, can shortening alter this significantly? I am also curious as to what the dimensions of the windway of the Chieftain are: width, height and length? And do even the low notes need a lot of push to get sounded?


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:42 am 
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If I were sawing on my whistle, I would approach it in stages, say 1/8" cut off at a time, and check the results before cutting again. It is easier to cut off some than to add some back on.


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:16 am 
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@Feadoggie -- Yes, I like to think about the details of my whistles, ocarinas, quenas, and so on, and why the play they way they do. But I also spend quite a lot of time playing. And I buy and sell whistles, in search of the ones that work best for me. I'm new to low whistles, but I really enjoy playing them.

This V3 is in some respects a very nice whistle. The somewhat fuzzy timbre grows on me, but the back pressure doesn't. I am, in fact, not at all eager to try to modify it. Nevertheless, I'm curious about the feasibility of this modification. It makes sense to me that the length of the windway would have something to do with back pressure, for the same reason that a long straw is harder to blow through than a short one. Whether shortening the beak a little would make enough difference to matter is another question. Seems that it shouldn't affect tuning.

For the record, the height of the windway is about 1.25 mm. Hard to measure without precision tools. The length of the whole thing is 58.2 cm. Inner diameter is about 2.3 cm. The back pressure is mainly an annoyance at high G and above. The notes just don't want to ring out.

Just for the sake of the discussion, what's the main thing that might go wrong, if I were to shorten the beak?

Ubizmo


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:22 am 
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Aluminum clogs abrasives and cutters so try for a medium tooth file, as a fine tooth one will be of no use after a few passes. Also find a hack saw blade with a very high tooth density, you want precise easy cuts not big teeth that want to rip out sections.

If you go through with it let me know how it turns out.

The things I don't like about my chieftain is how gentle you have to blow the bell note(s) if you don't want them to break and how the vented middle D likes to crack unless you really push it. Middle vented D takes more push than XXXXXX.

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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:42 am 
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Sigurthr wrote:
Aluminum clogs abrasives and cutters so try for a medium tooth file, as a fine tooth one will be of no use after a few passes. Also find a hack saw blade with a very high tooth density, you want precise easy cuts not big teeth that want to rip out sections.

If you go through with it let me know how it turns out.

The things I don't like about my chieftain is how gentle you have to blow the bell note(s) if you don't want them to break and how the vented middle D likes to crack unless you really push it. Middle vented D takes more push than XXXXXX.


If I decide to do this, I may try to find a machine shop where it could be done with a power saw. I'm in no hurry, though.

Oddly, a fragile bell note is not one of the problems I have with this whistle.

Ubizmo


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:41 pm 
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That makes me wonder, how are the bell notes on yours? Maybe we should just swap haha!


Also; I had another mod in mind for my V3. I have a very hard time reaching Hole 6 with R3, and my finger spread is not wide enough that I can piper that finger. I have no problems on Low D Flute though because it is transverse. So...

Transverse Low Whistle!
If only I still had shop access I could do this myself; it's handy being a welder. Alas, unemployment is my bane.
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My Flutes:
James Galway JG3 Spirit Flute
Gemeinhardt 2sp Student Flute w/ Custom Series S Headjoint
19c Antique German Orchestral Flute - Huller/Lyon-Healy/Meyer 13 key - "Frankenflute"
Aulos A440 Grenser Traverso

Baroque, Classical, Trad - I play it all.


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:23 pm 
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Please remember that if you alter whistles in any way, generally, the maker will not cover any warranty given to the instrument, so there will be no come back if you balls it up.
Just a thought!
Wiz


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:38 pm 
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Sigurthr wrote:
That makes me wonder, how are the bell notes on yours? Maybe we should just swap haha!


Also; I had another mod in mind for my V3. I have a very hard time reaching Hole 6 with R3, and my finger spread is not wide enough that I can piper that finger. I have no problems on Low D Flute though because it is transverse. So...

Transverse Low Whistle!
If only I still had shop access I could do this myself; it's handy being a welder. Alas, unemployment is my bane.
Image



I can't see how that works. I am not an expert on whistle making,, but I can do 'visual geometry'. You will not get the top of each half (fipple window and tone holes) facing in the same direction. The only way to get the tone holes and fipple window on the same side would be to remove a 90 degree section. That would change the pitch and the relationships between the notes.

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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:02 am 
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Rather than adding sharp corners in the body to make the reach more easy, I did cut my first low whistle, an Overton low D, between fifth and sixth hole, then rotated the foot end with the sixth hole slightly, and glued it back on, using a brass plumbing ring for convenience over the joint. With the now offset sixth hole it was far more comfortable.

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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:49 am 
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I agree with Reyburnwhistles that shortening the airway will reduce back pressure a little, like you said ubizmo, it's easier to blow through a short straw than a long straw. And I've certainly noticed this in my own tinkering. However the main reason, I think, to why back pressure is high on V3s, as well as Overtons, Os/Nr Chieftains and others - is because of the "walls" on either side of the fipple window. These walls protrudes from the fipple block, or in the case of the Overton formed by simply pressing the tube. They help to strengthen the lower notes, increase volume and back pressure. They also lower the amount of air the whistle would require without them. Early Os Chieftains don't have them and because of it are easier to play in the upper register but then you have to be careful not to jump octave on the lower notes.

So I wonder if shortening the airway will be enough to make the higher notes more attainable. Would be interesting to see though, do let us know how it plays if you decide to go through with it. Though, telling if it made a difference can be tricky if you don't have an unaltered V3 to compare with...

Best wishes.


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 Post subject: Re: Chieftain V3 low D mod contemplated
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:02 am 
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@wizzywig -- This is a used Chieftain, bought from a C&F member, so there's no warranty on it that I'm aware of.

@Sigurthr -- I have a side-blown Yemeni fipple flute somewhere that I got as a gift. It's badly out of tune, though. But the idea is interesting.

@yellowhistler -- I guess it's very possible that shortening the beak would reduce back pressure, but in a way that does nothing to help the high notes. The high (3rd) D is barely a squeak, and doesn't have much musical value. A, B, and C# are there, but they only speak under duress, and that's just how they sound.

Ubizmo


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