Chiff and Fipple Forums

Tweaks: The Thread
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Author:  retired [ Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

An easy way to fill the cavity temporarily to see if it works is to drip candlewax into the cavity. It usually smooths itself out also. If you like it you can leave it permanently. If you want it out you can use hot water - not too hot.

Author:  Feadoggie [ Sat May 24, 2014 12:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

A request comes up from time to time asking for instructions on how to modify a Generation Bb whistle to play in B. This is frequently to be able to make a whistle play along with pipes. So I though I would post the collected wisdom on how to go about doing that here in the Tweaks thread since it is a sticky thread.

This modification is a bit more than the usual tweak. It involves cutting the brass tube and some re-tuning. In general the same process can be used
- to make a B whistle out of a Bb whistle
- to make a C# whistle out of a C whistle and
- to make an E whistle out of an Eb whistle.

pancelticpiper wrote:
I made a Generation C# out of a C and a B out of a Bb. The same approach would work for making an E out of an Eb.

1) chop the tube at the top until the upper-hand notes are in tune in the new target key. Usually
xxx ooo
xxo ooo
xoo ooo
oxx ooo
will all be close together and shouldn't need any further adjustment.

Next chop the bottom until xxx xxx is in tune in the new target key. What you'll now find is that xxx xxo and xxx xoo are flat and these two holes will have to be carved out quite a bit. My Gen C# and B play great.
Modifying a Bb Gen to play in B:

billh wrote:
As it happens, you can take a Bflat Generation and remove metal from both the top and bottom so that the top note is sharpened a semitone and the bottom note (all holes closed) is also sharpened a semitone. By some weird quirk of Generation's tuning, the resulting notes in the middle are well within range as well, and the resulting scale is an acceptable B scale. At least, it works for me.

Total length of the doctored Generation (metal part, without fipple):
316 mm

Distance from the top end of the whistle to the top hole:
132 mm
Or if you prefer inches and not millimeters:
Tommy wrote:
Remove 3/4'' from the top of the tube and 3/16'' from the bottom.

Here is a link to a thread where this modification was discussed – there are others if you care to search.

Erle Bartlett shared measurements for making a tube in the key of B for a C whistle body in this thread.

Modifying a Eb Gen to play in E:
Feadoggie wrote:
You don't have to take a lot of length off from either end of the original Eb tube to get started.

Off the top of the tube - 8.76 mm
Off the bottom of the tube - 4.15 mm

Then check the tuning on the holes.
Nick Whittmer also provides measurements and instructions for making an E whistle starting with a Generation high F whistle. This involves making an entirely new tube which is a fair biit of work but in the interest of collecting the wisdom here is a link to his site:

I would like to thank each and every member of the forum who has taken the time and effort to share these methods with everyone over the years.


Author:  MTGuru [ Sat May 24, 2014 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

Thanks for putting that together, Feadoggie.

Author:  Jerry Freeman [ Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

I've posted this information in various threads now and then, but I don't know if a version of it resides here on the "Tweaks" thread, so here it is ...

An important detail in tweaking Clarkes (and all similar conical, all metal whistles) is to get the soundblade edge in the correct relationship to the windway floor.

First, make sure the soundblade is exactly parallel to the windway floor. From the factory, they come with a strange, "M" shape that isn't correct. With whatever tools you can improvise, flatten out that wavy "M" shape into a straight line parallel to the windway floor.

Then experiment carefully bending the soundblade up or down to get it so that, sighting into the whistle through the windway, the soundblade is about one fourth or one third of the way up from the windway floor, between the windway floor and ceiling. That is to say, the daylight you see under the soundblade should be about a third of the distance above the windway floor below the windway ceiling. Experiment with slightly different positions until you find the exact position for the soundblade that sounds best.

The other part of tweaking these is to squish the top of the mouthpiece to reduce the height of the windway so the voicing is more focused and the whistle doesn't take an impossible amount of air to play. The important part of this detail is to get the windway roof as low as possible where the airstream exits the windway going toward the soundblade. When you have it exactly right, the whistle will take a more manageable amount of air and the timbre will be well focused. If the windway roof is squished down too far in that spot, the bottom notes will buzz. If that happens, carefully raise the windway roof at the soundblade end just enough to stop the buzzing.

Author:  Macca [ Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

Thank you for info Jerry. I've a pair of Clarkes and I'm going to follow this advice tomorrow. :thumbsup:

Author:  Orcadian [ Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

I'm not sure this counts as a tweak, but I'm considering fitting one or two supporting 'lugs' behind my Dixon metal low D whistle. The reason is that the weight of the metal whistle means I have difficulty with some fingerings at speed - things that I find quite easy when playing the plastic version. The tenor recorder I have has a lug positioned for the right hand thumb, which helps a lot, so it seems like a good idea. An analogy would be a fiddler's shoulder rest, which means that the weight of the instrument is supported, so that the hand and fingers are free to play unhampered. Has anyone else tried this?

Author:  luukzs [ Tue Dec 01, 2015 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

Hi everyone, Just wanted to tell of a "simple" tweak I did with the MK-Pro

My MK' windway was to wide, causing to much air to flow, making it nice and loud, but also shrill in the second octave, and almost impossible to reach above high F without passing out or ears exploding. I narrowed the windway first with putty (good idea to see if that solves your problem first) but since that didn't hold to well I decided to use beeswax. I melted a little (bought a beewax candle in organic store), put the mouthpiece in till the end of the windway (just two seconds) and after hardening cleaned the outside of wax.
I think the inside is now 1/20th of a mm smaller all round (thin layer as thick as 3 hairs)

Now my MK plays a tad softer, but has perfect reach in both octaves, bottom D is a bit softer, but good compromise for gaining an extra 6 tones.

tags: tweaking Tunable low whistle D

Author:  Orcadian [ Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

I had the same problem as this : "My MK' windway was to wide, causing to much air to flow, making it nice and loud, but also shrill in the second octave, and almost impossible to reach above high F without passing out or ears exploding". I ordered an MK Pro, but was so unhappy at its performance at the top of the second octave that I sent it back. Using a low D to play traditional tunes, you MUST be able to play top B at least, and preferably C and D as well. Some other expensive low whistles have the same fault, the outstanding exception being the Dixon. If the tweak is as easy as this, why are the manufacturers not changing their basic designs to make the whistles fit for purpose?

Author:  luukzs [ Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

Hi Orcadian,

The thing is, I bought mine secondhand for next to nothing, if I paid 300 euro for that I would have returned it instantly...

I can't deny that MK makes great, amazing whistles. But I can say that the quality controll must have been very bad on mine and yours, or mine was just misused absurdly by previous owners.

In the end I will never understand it, you buy an instrument in one of the highest price classes possible (new), but get a hit or miss product, and that is a bit of a shame. If I wanted that I could just buy a dixon, although I have the idea their hit and miss ratio is off a lot more than MK. I just wonder how it's possible that you spend many hours making an instrument, and then not test it thourougly. Or test it and have the attitude of "well, it's not THAT bad.." Like I said, nothing against MK, normally love them to death. I'm just referring to the general attitude you sometimes get across with handmade tin whistles and low whistles. And yes, you can send them back, but sometimes I have the idea they should not have been sended out at all..

Author:  mickey66 [ Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: Another whistle that can be tweaked...

DrPhill wrote:
I have just added 'blue tack' aka 'poster putty' to the cavity under the windway of a Dixon solid brass high D (DX203), and I think the effect was a marked improvement in the high end of the upper octave. This tweak might apply to several Dixon whistles as I suspect that the head is common (at least design-wise) to C and D whistles with brass, aluminium(DX006), and polymer(DX005) bodies.

Has anyone else tried this?
Hi DrPhill! Yes, i did the putty trick to my Dixon Brass Trad D whistle and was a big improvement! What it did was to stabilize the whistle for me! I had to do the same thing to my Freeman Blackbird....Now, the BB is very stable and easy for me to play!

Author:  nicx66 [ Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

I just got my Generation red-top brass whistle. It is a pre-1982 model. I also got a Feadog Mark 1. The Mark 1 mouthpiece came off easily and I cleaned it up a bit as it had a bunch of plastic film left over from manufacturing. After much pulling and soaking in warm water I got the head off of the generation, but she is a tight fit. I will probably have Jerry Freeman adjust the socket for me at some point for easier fine-tuning. For now, the only tweak I have done (to both) is filling the small void underneath the windway. I took a small strip of birch bark that I cut to size and cleaned with denatured alcohol. I folded it into an accordion-like piece that i fit into the void. Unlike paper, the birch will not disintegrate. When it does eventually, I will simply replace it. Also, it is easily reversible as I pressure fit it,i.e. wedged it. My goal was to stabilize the whistle without changing the voicing and it seems to have worked nicely. The red top certainly has a bit more chiff and volume than the feadog and requires a little more nuanced breath control. I really like it. I also like the idea of keeping the whistle in original condition, as the older models are scarcer. UPDATE/EDIT: birch bark is out, and has been replaced with a small piece of speaker foam, which sounds better to my ears.

Author:  jpwinstruments [ Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

Great thread, perhaps make it a bit more like the WMD (whistle makers directory) format?

I would also like to suggest that more information posted about what exactly listed individuals tweak. Some may simply make adjustments to voicing, tuning or even more complex repairs. Perhaps this could be a good place to list those who do general repairs such as remove dents and undergo refinishing jobs such as polishing, lacquering and plating?

Author:  tompipes [ Thu May 31, 2018 10:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

This is my version of a tweak on a Clare whistle.

Author:  MichaelRS [ Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Unseen122 wrote:
Waltons Little Black Whistles are $20 each.

I will do others when asked, but I usually have these lying around. I am trying to get my name out there, but it is not easy.

So this thread was 12 odd years ago. How'd things work out?

Author:  MichaelRS [ Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tweaks: The Thread

Mr Ed wrote:
Feadoggie wrote:
Wonder why no one uses Silly Putty? It comes in outrageous colors too including glow in the dark types.. Probably doesn't explode when it comes into contact with glass though. No fun.


In my experience it didn't stay firm. Thankfully I got it out of the whistles before it started to ooze down the tube.

Oh that was a bit of a scare. For a second there I thought my ex-wife was on here :P. :lol:

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