The search for "the holy whistle grale".

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pancelticpiper
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by pancelticpiper »

CPA wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:09 am For me, the Holy Grail of high D Whistle is the whistle that has the sweetest sound and the easiest and smoothest transition between octaves. For my playing I think I found this characteristic in the narrow bore Burke whistles and in the Lir whistles.
About the Lir I know nothing, but about Burkes I have considerable experience.

The "narrow bore" Burke (which in fact has a fullisize bore) is rather stiffer in the high notes, and less nimble between the octaves, than good vintage Generations and Feadogs.

New whistles I've tried which capture that vintage sweetness and nimbleness have been the Killarney and the Sindt.
CPA wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 9:09 am I consider these whistles "pure" that is almost like instruments for making classical or orchestral music...
Yes indeed the combination of powerful low notes, stiffer high notes, and pure (some would say bland) tone makes the Burke the favourite of "legit" (classical/orchestral/studio) musicians.

These are the same characteristics that make many trad players dislike Burkes.

In my experience only vintage Generations and Feadogs combine exquisite sweetness in the high notes, super easy note transitions, and dark complex tone.

Killarneys and Sindts come very close, the Sindt more pure and dark but not quite as nimble and sweet.
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c1980 Quinn uilleann pipes
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by Narzog »

What makes me sad with Burkes, is they are so close to being my perfect whistle. All he had to do, was not keep making the windway taller. The Burke A has a wide but fairly short windway. Not the most air efficient but not too bad. Then the low F, is at least double the height, and wider. I feel like there's two types of whistles. Ones you need to learn how to play, and ones that practically play themselves. Burkes are the latter. I put MK in the same boat with Burkes. Its genuinely hard to make bad squeaks or play noticeably out of tune with a Burke or MK. Which I respect. From my first play session with any Burke or MK I got, I sounded better than any of my other whistles. It makes it hard for me to like a lot of other 'harder to play' whistles when my first impression is that I play them noticeably worse than my others. Which doesnt mean I cant learn to play them well. Its hard to suffer through learning how to play one whistle while you know you could play another and have all the issues go away.
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pancelticpiper
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by pancelticpiper »

I certainly had a love affair with Burkes for a few years.

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After 35 years of playing Irish flute I realised that my flute days were over and began searching for a vertical replacement.

The Burke was the first professional-quality Low D that I got, and I loved it. Especially coming from the flute the Burke's huge honking bellnote was a plus.

And Burkes have such smooth voicing over the gamut, and mostly perfect tuning. (There's one odd quirk many Burkes have.)

For somebody playing in a band, having to switch keys often, the fact that Burkes are remarkably consistent across the various sizes is an advantage. You don't have to recalibrate your blowing going from one size to another.

But as I played more and more different brands of Low D the deficiencies of the Burke became apparent: unusually large appetite for air, unusually stiff high notes, and fatter tube making for a bit of hand strain (the very thing that ended my flute days). For any given key the Burke will have wider tubing and take more air than equivalent whistles from other makers. The so-called "narrow bore" Burke only goes halfway to solving these things; it still takes more air and has stiffer high notes than old Generations and Feadogs and new Sindts and Killarneys.

I went through an MK phase before settling on Colin Goldie whistles for the lower sizes, and sticking with vintage Generations (and Jerry Freeman Generations) for the smaller sizes.
Richard Cook
c1980 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by Hauke »

Some weeks ago I also tried to find the perfect one for me. So I ordered, in believing expensive means perfect, a Burke high D. It took just a couple of minutes to be as most disappointed as possible. Nothing. No balance in pressure, volume, no promised sound, poor handling and playability for me, and most of all... a strange contact. HIS whistles are not comparable. How could I! do it?
My recently received Setanta high D seems to be the best I’ve ever had. Although there's a strange pressure feeling in the second octave. Not perfect, but much better than the high C from Setanta.
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by DeTerminator »

Hi Hauke,

I'm curious as to which Burke high D and material made of that you had purchased. I have the aluminum Session model, as well as the narrow bore D in brass and aluminum. I also have many other high D's from different manufacturers. They each have their own traits that I don't always prefer at any given time, but can be a favorite at other times. So I can't say that I have an absolute favorite holy grail whistle. I do like my Burke whistles, and Michael Burke has been good at answering questions in a timely fashion when contacted, as far as that goes. There are many whistles out there to choose from, and that's a good thing (for the most part). :D
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by Hauke »

DeTerminator wrote: Thu Sep 01, 2022 8:41 am Hi Hauke,

I'm curious as to which Burke high D and material made of that you had purchased. I have the aluminum Session model, as well as the narrow bore D in brass and aluminum. I also have many other high D's from different manufacturers. They each have their own traits that I don't always prefer at any given time, but can be a favorite at other times. So I can't say that I have an absolute favorite holy grail whistle. I do like my Burke whistles, and Michael Burke has been good at answering questions in a timely fashion when contacted, as far as that goes. There are many whistles out there to choose from, and that's a good thing (for the most part). :D
Hi, the grail would exist for me, if there's a well formed whistle tone all over the scale in the same volume.
Take guitars. Difference is mostly the pickup, tension of strings, playability, wood quality... Or fiddles, mandolins, banjos, saxophones, pianos. In my experience no kind of instruments like whistles are more different. Some fipples simply don't work, some work on every body. But I'm sure there must be a rule, a formula that would work to create the grale.
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by Jayhawk »

Like most of us, I have personally bought and sold a ton of whistles. I've regretted selling a few, regretted buying only a very, very few, but did finally find my holy grail of a whistle...an O'Brien 3 piece delrin rover. Tuning is great, not too loud or too soft...and it has a full, buttery-soft sound that is what I have always dreamt of! Plus, it comes apart for easy travel/storage into three pieces, which makes storage in varying flute cases really easy.

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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by Alaskamike »

For me, the perfect whistle is the next one I buy!
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by facet »

Speaking not as a professional musician but as one who occasionally soothes his soul with slow-aires, I chose Burkes. As Richard said, “….Burkes have such smooth voicing over the gamut, and mostly perfect tuning.” That degree of refinement and their jewel-like build quality is why I prefer them. Simply handling them is joy. I’ve owned instruments that cost more and many that cost less. When my whistle accumulation began to own me and I had to deal with the dilemma of down-sizing, parting with the Burkes wasn’t even a consideration.
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Re: The search for "the holy whistle grale".

Post by Hauke »

I also had a Burke. And sent it back. I cannot agree it's really worth the money. But that's only my opinion.
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