Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

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veloed
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Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by veloed »

Hi Everyone,
I was wondering if David O'Brien in Canada is still in business, and making whistles? I have had a number of his Rover 3 piece whistles over the years, and was looking to contact him for another, but can't find a website for him.
The first one I had was one in Pink Ivory that was amazing, then have had several in stabilized maple, and other woods as well as Delrin type material. All were very nice. I didn't keep one, always moving them on after enjoying them, thinking I could always get another! :(
Thanks for any info.
Ed Gilkison in Lakebay Washington USA
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

He posts here, or used to, as O'Brien so you can try a PM. His signature ìn his posts has his web address although my browser warns that the site has been reported as a malicious.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by RoberTunes »

When I searched the old link I had, dropping the security alert, the site still comes up as not functional.
I found an Obrian whistles (with an A instead of an E in the name), but while it's functional, it seems to be in the UK.
The Obrien whistles listed at the Irish Flute Store are all sold out.

This may be off-track, but there's an OBrien whistles listed at Reverb, but the maker is stated as being "currently away"
(and listed as operating out of Campbell River, BC, Canada, which is a great place by the way).
https://reverb.com/ca/shop/davids-gear-outlet-1753

I'm still in shock with Milligan going out of business. Milligan, Becker, Potter. Tough times for whistle makers I guess.
While I can understand makers being on lower economic volume, I hope they survive the economic rollercoasters.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

I found an Obrian whistles (with an A instead of an E in the name), but while it's functional, it seems to be in the UK.
Cillian O'Briain is in An Daingean/Dingle, Co Kerry. He is, obviously, not in the UK.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Terry McGee »

RoberTunes wrote: Tue Oct 03, 2023 1:42 pm I'm still in shock with Milligan going out of business. Milligan, Becker, Potter. Tough times for whistle makers I guess.
While I can understand makers being on lower economic volume, I hope they survive the economic rollercoasters.
I've been making a few whistles lately, not for sale, purely to help me catch up on what I've missed over the last 50 years while "simply messing around with flutes". (Yes, a Wind in the Willows reference, thank you Ratty!) And it's reminded me that we flute makers cleverly out-source some of the most important parts of our instruments to the player. Whereas the whistle maker has to take full responsibility for the jet-forming and jet-directing functions. And we know what happens when they fail - their products have to be "tweaked". Oh, ignominious fate!

So your whistle-maker has to do everything we flute makers have to do, and more. But can't command anything like the amount we can. "It's only a penny-whistle", after all. "Not a real flute, just a simple whistle."

Part of the problem I guess is that a cheap whistle is so very cheap. But so often not very good! But maybe influences our idea of value? I can only think that it's probably lucky that no-one seems to have come up with a really cheap flute - the flute equivalent of a really cheap whistle. That might wreak havoc in the flute making world, even if no-one wants to play one!

So now having made a few whistles, I think our whistle-makers deserve a pay rise....
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Part of the problem I guess is that a cheap whistle is so very cheap. But so often not very good! But maybe influences our idea of value?
But if and when you get a half decent one, cheap whistles are very hard to beat for playability and responsiveness.
I have a few Sindts and Killarneys and they are fine but the go-to whistles on the table to play around the house are the Cillian O'Briains and Generations.
I have no interest whatsoever in low whistles but as far as higher whistles go I have found the more expensive whistles I was tempted into buying disappointing (with the exception of the ones above) in one way or another for the use in traditional music. YMMV, obviously.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by David Cooper »

Terry McGee wrote: Thu Oct 05, 2023 2:56 amWhereas the whistle maker has to take full responsibility for the jet-forming and jet-directing functions.
I've been experimenting with tinfoil fipples and blu-tack to try to make a whistle-conversion attachment for quenas, and it works quite well for a few seconds at a time every now and then before everything collapses, allowing lots of changes in height and distance from wedge. I have ideas about embedding magnets in the end of the quena and whistle attachments for rapid flute-whistle mode switching. But while doing this, it occurred to me that you could do a lot better with a properly designed adjustable fipple where the side walls of the windway would be fixed, but the roof and floor would be adjusted up and down by screws, using four in total to adjust the height of the front and back end of each to explore the effects of a narrowing/wide/fixed separation distance between roof and floor. A fore-aft adjustment would be needed as well, but once you've made such a device, you can then focus on making an interchangeable wedge system in the whistle tube to experiment with that. What surprised me was that I was getting good tone and easy jumps between octaves from a quena wedge with the windway pointing horizontally at it just like on a standard whistle, so I'd like to have a go at making proper equipment for systematic testing. For the wedges though, you can do a lot just with blu-tack rather than carefully manufacturing each wedge in wood/plastic/resin - the biggest gain would come from having this stuck to a removable structure for easy removal, adjustment and replacement.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by OBrien »

Hi all,
Yes, I’m still around and making whistles. My website was compromised in the spring, so I torpedoed it. There was a lot going on in the spring- the start of a six-month house renovation that saw my shop used for storage. In April, while visiting in Yukon, I had a TIA (mini-stroke). I’m recovered from that now, with no lasting effects. It slowed down getting back to whistlesmithing, though.

But the main thing is that I’m still making Rovers (three piece wooden whistles), piccolo and flute conversions (Whisolos and Chromalows) and brass telescopic whistles.

Still no website, but you can email davidpeterobrien@yahoo.com
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by waltcamp451 »

Glad to hear David is well and still making whistles. I recently sold a set of whistles on eBay (persistent tinnitus has made it so that whistles are a source of pain, and not pleasure, nowadays), and the gem of the lot was a lovely O'Brien whistle that has such a beautiful, mellow tone that I almost didn't part with it. Happily the winning bidder was on the hunt for an O'Brien, so it went to someone who appreciates it as much as I have.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Jayhawk »

Just chiming in to say I love my O'Brien 3 piece delrin rover, and I love my O'Briain tweaked feadog, too. However, you spell it, you get a nice whistle.

Eric
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by RoberTunes »

Terry McGee wrote: Thu Oct 05, 2023 2:56 am Part of the problem I guess is that a cheap whistle is so very cheap. But so often not very good! But maybe influences our idea of value? I can only think that it's probably lucky that no-one seems to have come up with a really cheap flute - the flute equivalent of a really cheap whistle. That might wreak havoc in the flute making world, even if no-one wants to play one!
It can't really be done successfully. I've seen extremely inexpensive metal concert C flutes via Amazon but the quality just isn't there, from what reviewers say. And common experience with items that pass some kind of first-impression quality test while being minimum price, is that there is always a MAJOR catch, and the catch with these metal flutes is 1) that they will not last, and 2) playability and response through the full range of a concert C flute takes design expertise and quality construction, so to the naïve ear it may sound passable in the mid-range notes but the lowest and especially, the highest notes, are going to have immediate considerable performance troubles. Probably made in those jungle sweatshops where the workers jump off the roof after a 16-hour shift rather than face another factory sunrise.

GOA flutes are an advanced plastic flute, but the quality is there throughout, and the price is substantial, though less expensive than intermediate/pro silver flutes. Yamaha fifes and recorders are about the best attempt I've seen at producing a reliable good quality wind instrument at low cost. Clearly they put the design effort in for high instrument performance level, for demanding musicians, whereas other plastic recorders typically play considerably less well than the Yamahas. I've owned plastic recorders by Yamaha and about 4 other makers, and while all sell in the same range $$$, all the recorders but Yamaha give me playability frustrations.

Cheap bamboo flutes and whistles: you really do get what you pay for, and while there are makers of high quality reliable bamboo flutes and whistles, most of the market experiences the products of market-flooding frauds who are selling instruments which in the musical sense, are really not worth the wrapping paper they come with. Gift store throwaway toys at incredible markups. Same with First Nations/North American flutes; you can find the high quality instrument makers, suitable for musicians, usually by searching online first, and also find the poor-playing cheap imitation products in gift stores, always with highly romantic names and a photo of a wolf nearby, trying to soak the unwary impulsive tourist with an ice cream cone and hungry eye. My experience with Irish flutes is much less, but buyer beware.

A well-made whistle can be a VERY rewarding and expressive instrument. I wish that the instrument market long ago had established a standard "whistle" quality much higher than it did, with a price of perhaps double the standard low whistle price, which would have allowed for higher quality parts and performance, thereby putting a far superior general impression in the world's musician's minds about the possibilities of the whistle, instead of it being such a rare consideration compared to the guitars, saxophones, keyboards, drums, bass guitars, etc. Same kind of thing is being experienced with the Ocarina crowd; the $10 cheap toys make a sound, but buy a quality ocarina, and you've got yourself some seriously captivating life-long music making.
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

I wish that the instrument market long ago had established a standard "whistle" quality much higher than it did, with a price of perhaps double the standard low whistle price, which would have allowed for higher quality parts and performance..
It's such a loss people like Micho Russell, Seán Potts, and all of those wasted their lives playing those instruments. What expressive music they could have made.. oh, hang on... :lol:
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Steve Bliven »

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Best wishes.

Steve
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by Mr.Gumby »

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care..
:P
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Re: Is David O'Brien in Canada still building ?

Post by ytliek »

I love it all! The good, the bad, and the ugly! :love:

Hello David!! Good to hear your still whistlemaking :thumbsup:
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