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Tin Whistles

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Les in Chorlton 17 Jan 08 - 02:42 PM
skipy 17 Jan 08 - 02:44 PM
Whistlepenny 17 Jan 08 - 02:48 PM
Leadfingers 17 Jan 08 - 03:01 PM
Les in Chorlton 17 Jan 08 - 03:05 PM
Leadfingers 17 Jan 08 - 03:36 PM
Les in Chorlton 17 Jan 08 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,PMB 18 Jan 08 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,PMB 18 Jan 08 - 04:39 AM
Stu 18 Jan 08 - 05:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 08 - 05:08 AM
GUEST,Dáithí 18 Jan 08 - 05:48 AM
Stu 18 Jan 08 - 09:23 AM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Jan 08 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jan 08 - 10:12 AM
Ernest 19 Jan 08 - 10:21 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM
Whistlepenny 19 Jan 08 - 02:31 PM
Leadfingers 19 Jan 08 - 02:51 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Jan 08 - 07:53 AM
Tootler 20 Jan 08 - 05:06 PM
Les in Chorlton 20 Jan 08 - 07:05 PM
Jack Campin 20 Jan 08 - 07:29 PM
Slag 20 Jan 08 - 08:20 PM
Bert 20 Jan 08 - 08:25 PM
Les in Chorlton 21 Jan 08 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,PMB 21 Jan 08 - 09:27 AM
Les in Chorlton 21 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM
Davie_ 21 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Vin 22 Jan 08 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 22 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 22 Jan 08 - 10:49 AM
Mr Happy 22 Jan 08 - 10:58 AM
Les in Chorlton 22 Jan 08 - 11:40 AM
Mr Happy 22 Jan 08 - 11:46 AM
Jack Campin 22 Jan 08 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Nick 22 Jan 08 - 08:59 PM
Jack Campin 22 Jan 08 - 09:27 PM
Rowan 22 Jan 08 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Nick 23 Jan 08 - 06:11 PM
Rowan 23 Jan 08 - 09:58 PM
Les in Chorlton 24 Jan 08 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,PMB 24 Jan 08 - 05:34 AM
Mr Happy 24 Jan 08 - 05:42 AM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Jan 08 - 08:24 AM
Leadfingers 24 Jan 08 - 08:54 AM
oggie 24 Jan 08 - 09:30 AM
Vin2 24 Jan 08 - 09:53 AM
Mr Happy 24 Jan 08 - 09:57 AM
Mr Happy 24 Jan 08 - 09:58 AM
Jack Campin 24 Jan 08 - 12:12 PM
Tootler 24 Jan 08 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,PMB 25 Jan 08 - 03:44 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jan 08 - 06:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Jan 08 - 07:41 AM
Vin2 25 Jan 08 - 08:09 AM
Stu 25 Jan 08 - 08:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jan 08 - 09:22 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Jan 08 - 09:25 AM
Mr Happy 25 Jan 08 - 11:25 AM
Jack Campin 25 Jan 08 - 01:35 PM
oggie 25 Jan 08 - 05:23 PM
Phil Edwards 15 Oct 09 - 03:55 PM
Jack Campin 15 Oct 09 - 06:27 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Oct 09 - 05:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 19 Oct 09 - 07:21 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Oct 09 - 09:33 AM
Bryn Pugh 19 Oct 09 - 09:37 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Oct 09 - 04:25 PM
Jack Campin 30 Oct 09 - 07:00 PM
Les in Chorlton 31 Oct 09 - 06:11 AM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 09 - 08:08 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Oct 09 - 08:49 AM
Phil Edwards 31 Oct 09 - 10:03 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Nov 09 - 12:04 PM
Les in Chorlton 01 Nov 09 - 12:07 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 09 - 08:09 AM
Jack Blandiver 02 Nov 09 - 11:28 AM
Phil Edwards 02 Nov 09 - 03:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 02 Nov 09 - 05:04 PM
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Les in Chorlton 02 Nov 09 - 05:46 PM
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Subject: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:42 PM

I have threatened the whistle for some years now. I have a number and they all have little problems of their own. Some have trouble with the top of the scale and some the bottom. Some overblow to the octave reasonably well and some throw in 5ths and so on.

I have a James Galway, a Feaoog, a silver Shaw and a couple of Generations, so to speak, each in D. No seem to work as they should.

is this just cheap product variation and failure, do I need to boil them in pig's blood or something or is it me and practice?

should I go up market and buy something much better?

Cheers

Les
honest i won't play it near you.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: skipy
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:44 PM

Never mind the Whistles, it's the bell in my head!
Skipy in a white wine sauce.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Whistlepenny
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:48 PM

I prefer the Clarke Sweetone - easy on the pocket and they are usually true all the way up (I think I've only ever had one duff one, that leaked spit through the seam at the back after a long set - nice!!). And they come in lots of nice colours.

Claire
x


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:01 PM

I WONT buy a whistle unless I can try it , or they promise to replace it if its unsatisfactory ! A GOOD Generation is a perfectly good whistle while a BAD one is not worth its scrap value !
I know they are a lot pricier , but give Tony Dixon Whistles a try !
Never sure wether they're the best of the reasonably priced or the cheapest of the 'good' ones !


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:05 PM

Do they have machines for blowing in to them?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:36 PM

As Breath control is probably THE most important thing with getting the 'right' sound , you HAVE to try Them ! I wont part with a penny until the PROMISE to excahnge , IF the whistle doesnt work !
I once went through a shops entire stock of Generations and told them that ALL of them were faulty and should be returned


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 06:43 PM

Is sharing whistles still aloud (?)


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 04:13 AM

I bought two green Gens recently, both perfect. Maybe the quality control has picked up a bit. At the 2006 Audlem BPAHGD someone showed me a wonderful whistle, economical on breath, loud but not too much, well in tune, made by a bloke in South Yorkshire... Barnsley or Penistone or Oughtibridge I think. Unfortunately it cost a small fortune (£180 IIRC) and I lost the URL quickly.

I think many people's problems stem from breath control and style, particularly heavily tongued styles. If you soften from the classical-stlye t-t-t to brushing the tongue gently forward across the hard palate, not even closing, you can get good articulation (a sort of hl-hl-hl) without the heavy attack that most whistles don't seem to take well to. Still better use fingered grace notes to articulate, like Scotch pipers have to.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 04:39 AM

Found the URL again... the whistle was the soprano D acetal...
Silkstone Whistles


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Stu
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 05:00 AM

Look no further than a Fred Rose, based in Nelson, Lancashire, just a hop up the M60/66 from Chorlton. This might be an overstatement, but Fred seems to be fast becoming the Stefan Sobell of whistle makers.

His whistles are all high D's made from Blackwood and Delrin. The delrin whistles are superb, each one created and voiced individually and probably the best plastic whistle I've played (though admittedly that's, er, two), but the wooden whistles are on another level.

The blackwood is sourced from a village in Tanzania where it is harvested sustainably by a local family - true frairtrade wood. The mouthpiece and trim is silver and plays like a dream - the whistle seems to want to be played. I got mine in November and love it - I had a Bleazey before but struggled with it (especially in the second register) but no such issues with the Rose.

On top of all this, Fred is a loverly bloke and a true craftsman. A visit to his workshop is a delight, and the quality of his workmanship second to none. They are costly - but I can't see me ever wanting another whistle, as nothing I've heard comes close to a Rose.

P.S. I have to declare a slight interest here - Fred is a good friend of a good friend of mine (!) and it was him who put me in touch with Fred originally. The URL is http://www.fredrose.co.uk.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 05:08 AM

How long will it be before I play well enough to justify a £180 whistle?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 05:48 AM

i have a Clarks, tweaked by Jerry Freeman, which keeps the slightly breathy sound associated with conical whistles..but it's a bit quiet for sessions (fine for amplified performance though).
It's great right through the range, and doesn't suck the breath out of you like the regular ones.Cost me £23 from Big whistles in Accrington, lancs.
My usual whistle though, which I use in performance and at sessions, is a Susato (plastic). Never had a problem, and it's tunable. Costs about £20 these days, I think.

Adh mór!
Dáithí


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Stu
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 09:23 AM

"How long will it be before I play well enough to justify a £180 whistle?"

A good point and I'm in the same boat, but I was lucky enough to save up some 40th birthday money and get the whistle. I play it out but am still only starting, but once I heard the Rose that was that.

My £18 Dixon is OK though.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 06:53 AM

"I have threatened the whistle for some years now. I have a number and they all have little problems of their own."

Don't worry - it's usually just the nut at the blowing end that's the cause of all the trouble! Keep changing that till you get a good one!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 10:12 AM

I have never played a whistle that was a satisfactory instrument.

The whistle was the instrument of the poor - cheap to make but hard to play. They worked culturally because people listened to someone's tune and overlooked the squeaks, as if saying, 'We know what you were trying to play.'

If you want a real instrument of that type, get a recorder.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Ernest
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 10:21 AM

Recorders on the other hand are (in)famous as instruments of torture in the hands/mouths of offenders under the age of criminal responsibility...


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 11:07 AM

I clear whistle played well brings joy not generally associated with the recorder, I think.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Whistlepenny
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 02:31 PM

Whistles vs recorders? No contest! A whistle is lyrical, in the right hands it can sing, slide, soar and tremble - the recorder sounds just (how can I put this politely?) *bland* in comparison.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 02:51 PM

Much more fun playing in 'silly' keys on a whistle ! You have to 'make' the note , rather than just remember a silly fingering position !
And I find I can play stuff on a whistle that I could never do justice to on Clarinet or Sax !!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:53 AM

"(in)famous as instruments of torture in the hands/mouths of offenders under the age of criminal responsibility..."

There's a very good simple technical reason for this... :-)

With a Recorder - funnily enough, less so for a whistle, probably because a recorder is a more "intensely designed" instrument than the more "natural built" whistle - the fipple is far more sensitive to "overblowing". Beginners, especially youngsters, often tend to blow far too hard, which results in that awful tone. It's a bit akin to a novice violinist pressing too hard on the bow, and getting that horrible scratchy sound. Both cases involve the fact that the more advanced the player, the more they 'relax' and can 'touch the instrument lightly'.

A very good advanced player can often get an acceptable sound out of a "$2 cheapie", and that is much the same for whistles. The reason for THIS is that the more advanced the player, the better their ability to "listen and blow in the notes", as well as that 'touch the instrument lightly' ability. Practice, Practice, Practice!

What did I mean by that "intensely designed" / "natural built" stuff?

Well the whistle is a diatonic instrument, (normally) only producing notes within the (originally just tempered, but nowadays well tempered) 8 note scale. A recorder is designed, like most 'modern' wind instruments to be fully chromatic, producing all 12 pitches in a 'standard tempered' octave.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 05:06 PM

Whistlepenny wrote:

Whistles vs recorders? No contest! A whistle is lyrical, in the right hands it can sing, slide, soar and tremble - the recorder sounds just (how can I put this politely?) *bland* in comparison.

Bland! rubbish! You have obviously never heard a recorder played by a real expert. A recorder can do all the things you describe for a whistle and more.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:05 PM

Freud, that's all.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 07:29 PM

The difference between a recorder and whistle is the fingerholes, not the bore or the fipple/labium. The Susato "renaissance recorders" are exactly the same mouldings and tubing as their whistles but with the fingerholes in different places. And most of the upmarket whistlemakers now make instruments with conical bore and curved windways which have been borrowed from recorder design - drill the fingerholes in different places and they would *be* recorders.

That is, Foolestroupe's "intensely designed" stuff doesn't make any sense. The elements of the design that make for chromatic fingering and those which make for different tonal characteristics are completely independent of each other.

Recorders are also not necessarily designed for "standard tempering". High-end Baroque ones are often configured to make mean-tone the default, but most recorders are flexible enough in pitch to fit in with a range of tuning systems - even the cheapest plastic school descant will let you play C# lower than Db or G# lower than Ab, as you get in meantone.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Slag
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:20 PM

Penny whistles 180 pounds! Wow! Fipple flutes! Recorders. Ever try an Ocarina? How about a tinpenny whistle and a framing hammer? Bang!

Honestly, I have seldom encountered whistles in the music stores I frequent here on the West Coast, USA. I will either have to open my eyes more or start investigating this instrument. The things you learn on the 'Cat! Thanks all for the discussion!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Bert
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:25 PM

...especially youngsters, often tend to blow far too hard, which results in that awful tone....

Heaven forbid that they can make an instrument that you can just blow into and it works.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 05:11 AM

Which famous rock single had an Ocarina solo?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 09:27 AM

Trogg Thing, by the Wilds?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 10:15 AM

Spot on PMB, and not a lot of people .................

Ok '60s rock group with a steel pan solo .........


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Davie_
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:01 PM

I used to play clarke sweet tones, nice whistles and perfect for learners, easy on the pocket as well. If its a bit more upmarket you are after, then the Rose as mentioned above is nice. Personaly I use the Overton, again not cheap, and if required you can purchase the tunable type.
For volume..the Susato is probably the loudest and not too expensive either, goes for around the same price as the Dixon also a nice whistle.
I dont like the chieftan whisles at all.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Vin
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 08:51 AM

I've got a few Generations which are mostly ok - prefer the C. I've had one for years and still go back to it despite the mouthpiece looking a bit worse for wear - it still sounds better to me than one i bought fairly recently. My other fave is a Walton D mellow geen top - nice sound.

For anyone around the area, there's a 'big (& little) Whistle' week-end at the 'Met' in Bury in May - 8th, 9th & 10th. Very successfull last year apparently.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:47 AM

People don't seem to be distinguishing what I think are two questions - which whistles are suitable for solos, and which for accompaniment? I mainly do the former, so I'm much less fussy. Generations are fine, but they need warming up first - keep a set down your singlet! The old Sharp tapering ones were brilliant because it was very difficult to accidentally overblow them - mainly because it was almost impossible to play them for more than two minutes unless you had borrowed a pair of lungs from a friendly elephant! Nice tone though.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:49 AM

Clarke not Sharp. Sorry Cecil.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:58 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xNL6pufEJJI


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:40 AM

Amazin, and it did play it tastefully didn't he Reg I believe


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 11:46 AM

Aye, I recall my first whistle was one o'those tapered kind, with a wooden plug stuck in the mouthpieve - used to get sodden after plaing some time!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 04:48 PM

I think you mean Shaw, not Sharp. The oldest ones had a plug made of lead.

The best whistle I've ever had was an "Atlas", made in Paris, probably before WW2. It was a very thin moulding of cream phenolic resin, streaky like piano keys, reverse conical bore, with the holes surrounded by raised bumps. I lost it when I was robbed in Dublin. The thug probably threw it in the bin.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 08:59 PM

Is there any other instrument where you you can pay around $20 and get something that actualy plays (or more to the point can be played)beautifully? Is a recorder better? Listen to a great whistle player you know that the apparently limited note vocabulary does not keep them from expressing themselves or playing anything they care to.

I have a number of whistles and I find the Sweetone ($8) is rather hard to play, I prefer the Original Clarke even if it is $5 more.
I have been pleased with all my D & C Susatos ($18), bought a bummer of a Susato Low D the holes were irregular and erose in spots and just hard to play. ($35)If I ever find the factory I'll wqalk in and ask for a refund On the other hand I bought a low F Susato that plays (Or I Can Play) like a charme.
Have not cared for thew Acorns I have Bought ($12), but the Aluminum Low G Chieftan my wife gave me ($120) has a great sound.

As it has been said the key to geting the whistle to work well is breath controll. A most common problem is starting out blowing to hard so you might be in a higher octave when you start. You can get 3 octives out of most whistles but the top one rarley sounds good. I found it useful to think of blowing "faster" rather than "harder" to go up an octave, semantics I know but like with golf instruction it is a "Feel" thing....errr not that anyone asked!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 09:27 PM

Recorders are better value at any price point. The cheap ones (except for the very nasty one-piece toys) are made with better quality control than whistles at the same price - manufacturing volume counts, and many more recorders than whistles are produced. High-end hand-finished recorders are also better for the same money (several hundred years of design experience helps), though in this category you can always get a lemon with either. And no whistle matches the very best hand-made recorders.

Just try to find any whistle that matches a Mollenhauer/Breukink Dream Flute for the same money (mid-price). It's comparable to a Copeland whistle.

One category nobody's mentioned yet is cane whistles - I have two good ones, one made in China in the late 1970s and a Romanian one from a few years ago (both high D). The Chinese one is a bit like a more civilized Susato; the Romanian one (narrower bore) was supplied badly finished, with a very rough bore, but after internal sanding and oiling it sounds like a superior Dixon. The cheapest cane whistles (the Indian ones) even make a Generation sound good.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Rowan
Date: 22 Jan 08 - 10:38 PM

Recorders are better value at any price point. The cheap ones (except for the very nasty one-piece toys) are made with better quality control than whistles at the same price - manufacturing volume counts, and many more recorders than whistles are produced. High-end hand-finished recorders are also better for the same money (several hundred years of design experience helps), though in this category you can always get a lemon with either. And no whistle matches the very best hand-made recorders.

Jack, while you're technically correct about different locations of finger holes and fingering, I think your comment copied above states what Foolestroupe was getting at when he wrote

[a recorder is] a more "intensely designed" instrument than the more "natural built" whistle

I must admit that the sounds of school children learning recorders can be extremely offputting but those experiences ought not be regarded as defining the capabilities of instruments. I no longer have the LP record of David Munroe (? I can no longer recall the correct spelling) playing recorders and just about everything else that was a renaissance woodwind but his ability knocked any notions the instrument was not as good as a tin whistle very much into a cocked hat.

I also suspect some of us are confusing preferences for particular styles with preferences for particular players or instruments. There's no doubt that James Galway knows his way around what most English speakers would call a "concert flute" but he just can't cut the mustard when compared to Matt Molloy playing what the Irish call a concert flute. And having heard James Galway playing a tin whistle (I've no idea of the brand) I'd not give him more than busking money by comparison with Mary Bergin. This may indicate my preference for the styles of the players who are ensconced firmly in the particularly Irish traditional music styles over James' formal 'classical' training in style.

These comparisons seem (to me) to be analagous to the comparisons people are making in the examples above. I've heard superb playing of Persian music (in the modes of which you'd be familiar) on the same sort of "ordinary" recorder used by better students. And Irish tunes as well, with all the appropriate decorations.

It's more often the player who is limited rather than the instrument.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 06:11 PM

So would it be safe to say that if someone plays a whistle and sounds better than someone playing a recorder they are a better musician? If so by how much, 10%, 34.3%?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Rowan
Date: 23 Jan 08 - 09:58 PM

From a viewpoint that is (hopefully) "objective", the one who plays with better attention to the intended style and who achieves more highly in that style is probably the better player in that style, irrespective of which instrument is being played.

But, in the end, it all comes down to the values of the players and the listeners and how such values are understood and/or shared.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 04:54 AM

Isn't the bottom line (not sure where that expression comes from)simply this; someone makes music, it either does something for you or it doesn't? I am prepared to accept some kind of scale from nothing, through not much, to quite a bit to ...... pick your own final state, and that what you feel may touch a range of human emotions. All other judgements about technical skill and shared values are secondary to what it does for you when you hear it?

Generally the whistles does more for me than the recorder, but that's for me. What it does for others will generally not change how it affects me, I think.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 05:34 AM

I find it slightly odd, Jack, that you who are so enthusiastic about the instrumental traditions of Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries, are so dismissive of the Irish and English traditions of the whistle. I've been playing in the Irish tradition for well over 30 years, and have met many excellent players (most of whom are better than ne btw), but I can confidently say that there are few who can approach the best styles on a recorder; the music has to be modified. Which isn't to say it's not good, of course, but I've never wanted to play it that way. I'm sure you wouldn't recomment a mey player to take up clarinet instead?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Mr Happy
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 05:42 AM

Haven't heard of a 'mey' - what sort've instrument is it?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 08:24 AM

"James Galway playing a tin whistle"

I've got one branded with his name on it - cheap and nasty looking thing it is too...


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 08:54 AM

The James Galway whistle was sold at nearly four times the price of a D Generation , in a plastic pack with an instruction book ! Quality control was obviously a lot better than with Genreration and on one occasion I came across a Box full of galways , UnPacked , at £1,25p d each , rather than the Eight or so normally charged ! I bought Five for a fiver , sold two at £2.50 each and still have the other three FREE whistles and they work well !!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: oggie
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 09:30 AM

A "mey" is a double reeded (so nearer an oboe than a clarinet) wind instrument. Imagine a wooden whistle with a reed intead of a mouthpiece.

A mey being played

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Vin2
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 09:53 AM

Nicely put les.

I play penny/tin whistle mostly for my own amusement and occasionally at music/singarounds depending on how confident (or sadistic) i'm feeling. One thing i have not done yet and thinks i would find very difficult is joining in a session. I really admire those sessioners who seem to just pick up a tune with others as tho they're on a kind of 'mind blend' - as you would see/hear if you visit the Jolly Angler on a Sat night. I suppose practice and familiarity is the key with a dash of technical skill of course.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Mr Happy
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 09:57 AM

Oggie,

Thanks for 'Mey' info.

Didn't know they were called that.

Years ago, a friend gave me one as a present from her holiday in Egypt.

To play, you had to put the whole double reed right inside your mouth.

It was all held together with waxy string, which got all slimy after playing for a while – ugh!


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Mr Happy
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 09:58 AM

Is that the Manc 'Jolly Angler'?

Long ago had the pleasure've playing some tunes there with the late, great John Snelson


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 12:12 PM

Mr Happy, what you were given is called a zurna in Turkish or Bulgarian and a mizmar in Arabic; the Breton bombarde is almost the same thing. It makes a ferocious noise and is mainly used for outdoor dance music. Tip: if you can't get a sound out of it, try soaking the reed in water for a few minutes. Oggie - thanks for the reminder, I'd seen that link before but hadn't noticed the Related links about how meys and their reeds are made.

The mey is almost the same as the Armenian duduk or Azeri balaban - acoustically it's an oboe but it sounds like the low register of a clarinet, a gentle vocal sound. It has an enormous reed and you only put the tip of it in your mouth. Some players double on mey and zurna but they have quite different functions.

PMB: I'm not dissing Irish whistle tradition (*is* there a distinctively identifiable national English one?) but deflating a bunch of quite unnecessary mythology that has been imposed on it, sometimes for mercenary motives by whistlemakers, sometimes out of misdirected political ideology. When people's ideas about an instrument are as irrationally quasi-religious as what you get on the Chiff and Fipple forums, you have to ask what's going on.

I have a guess as to some of what may be behind this. The English recorder revivalists made a big deal about its link to the culture of Elizabethan England. To almost any Irish nationalist, that was like telling a Palestinian Muslim that the Crusaders were envoys of civilization - as seen from Ireland, Elizabeth's England was simply a gang of colonialist thugs who were in no way excused by Byrd, Dowland and Holborne. So Dolmetsch and friends simply ended up persuading most of the Irish that the recorder was the enemy's instrument and its music was anthems of mass murder.

Outside of Eastern Europe, the recorder is a relatively recent addition to the folk musician's toolkit, only widely available for about 80 years, but that's still a lot longer than most other instruments accepted as traditional in the British Isles. Acoustically it can do the business and it's just silly to let taboos of long-forgotten origin get in the way of using it.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Jan 08 - 12:53 PM

Nick Wrote:

So would it be safe to say that if someone plays a whistle and sounds better than someone playing a recorder they are a better musician?

At one level yes, but the better musician is also likely to sound better on the recorder once they have mastered the basics of the instrument. Although they are different instruments, the differences are not so great and it is relatively easy to transfer your skills from one to the other. I started on recorder, then more recently took up whistle though I only played it spasmodically for quite a long time, but it did not take me long to pick up the basics. It also works for wooden flute which I have only taken up recently, but once I began to get on top of the embouchure problems, I have been able to make quite rapid progress.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 03:44 AM

I dunno Jack. I quite agree with you about whistle snobbery- in my experience you don't get it in "proper" Irish sessions from people who really can play. Same with flutes- now I'd LOVE a Williams flute, but I've known people play better than I ever could on an old wreck held together with Araldite and gaffer tape. I don't know much about chiff and fips; it always seemed to me to conjure up exactly the kind of whistle sound I'm NOT trying to make.

Not sure about the connection between recorder, Elizabethan music and nationalism though. The recorder was very much a sandals-and-nut-cutlets instrument before WWII I think, and simply wouldn't have impinged on the Irish scene, where the whistle was pretty well established. It only became widespread when they introduced it to (mostly primary) schools, which in our area was sometime between my time and my younger sister's. Resistance to takeup could stem from its association with kids' music, and the low quality of the instruments available- the weak f#s particularly. But I think more from the fact that the whistle was (and is) the traditional instrument.

Have you run across this lot - the Palladian Ensemble- with some excellent recorder playing on Geminiani's arrangement of Scottish tunes- tracks 15 to 17?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 06:03 AM

My favourite D is one the early batches of Faedog that fetched up on these shores around 1983; beautiful tone, and quiet. I snap up old Clarkes Cs whenever I see them; the older the better, even those that require a bit of attention. Not keen on the new Ds, or the Megs, but I've got a green one I bought from a toy shop in Ashby de la Zouch a few years back which isn't too bad. I recently bought a vintage E (yes E!) tin whistle in the Clarkes stlye which is an absolute dream, and my favourite F is a Chinese bamboo whistle bought at Ray Mans in London back around 1989.

My test for a whistle is the old tune variously known as The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance; if I can play that comfortably, and consistently, then it's in the bag. Somewhere I've got an Indian brass whistle that blows through a side tube, and my little treasure is a tiny brass F picked up for £2 in a Morpeth antique shop which is actually too small for my fingers to play with any certainty, but as a tavelling companion it's the very dab.

On my wish list right now is a Shaw lo-F - any thoughts??

Basically, Les, keep scouring until you fall in love, but beware of broken hearts - I still mourn my old Generation Bb (bought at Rothbury Festival in 1983) which was the sweetest instrument ever; I dropped it down a toilet at Glastonbury the following year and couldn't bring myself to fish it out.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 07:41 AM

Thanks Sean,

How do you deal with saliva in shops?

Les


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Vin2
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 08:09 AM

Mr Happy; yep it's the Manc Jolly Angler. Not bin for a while but assume it's still going. Believe there's still a session at the Pevril 'o' the Peak on Tuesday eves aswell.

Saliva in shops? Best to walk 'round it methinks :-)


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Stu
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 08:46 AM

The Jolly Anger is still going strong and is a fine session, well worth popping into if you're passing.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:22 AM

Thing to do, Les - is use that alcohol-based needs-no-water handwash stuff; like I say to the kids I work with when I'm storytelling - I don't want your germs, and you certainly don't want mine! This is ideal with Trumps & Gew-Gaws (Jew's Harps) too.

Otherwise, keeps your lips dry; I learned this sharing tabs round the back of the bike sheds, and in later years spliffs (in more enlightened singarounds). Warm a metal mouthpiece first so the moisture won't condense; Overtons were especially bad for this, in paticular the low-D and G 3-hole pipes - which I still have & love, but I replaced my low-D Overton whistle with a one handmade by my old mate Iain Wood over 20 years ago. Needless to say Iain's low-D is still my low-whistle of choice.

Check the World-Ethnic-Fair-Trade-Crafty type shops too; there's some lovely Indonesian 'suling' type whistles doing the rounds right now and at least one in every fifty (or so) is workably in tune with a tone to match (even the ones in the Blackpool Zoo gift shop) and there were some lovely lo-G (ish) bamboo whistles around a few years back with narrow fipples giving a bautuy reedy-recordery tone.

For the ultimate in whistles, check out the Fujara! Haven't got one yet, but it's high on the wish list (once Rachel get's sorted out with her new guitar...)

All this whistle talk and I can only remember two Irish tunes (Lord Mayo & Give me Your Hand) - but even when I played little else but the whistle I always prefered to (gulp!) improvise - even back in 1969 when I eight years old and my grandparents brought me a carved wooden whistle flute from their holiday in Yugoslavia. I've still got it too - you can hear it in the closing moments of Totentanz.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 09:25 AM

Bautuy? Now even I can't say what the word I had in mind there might have been - possibly breathy?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Mr Happy
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 11:25 AM

........or 'Bought u, y?'


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 01:35 PM

Sedayne - I tried several fujaras when I was in Slovakia last summer. You need to realize how wildly variable they are - apparently identical instruments can get very different harmonics. The site you referenced lists qualities ranging from "professional" to things that just make a groovy noise to meditate to, and you'll get what you pay for (which will be rather a lot).

I decided not to get one as they're a one-trick pony. Groups that incorporate them in Slovakia tend just to use them for colourful introductions, they don't get them to carry the tune.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: oggie
Date: 25 Jan 08 - 05:23 PM

My favourite whistle at the moment is a Clarke's "Meg". It's the cheapy that that they sell via Hawkin's Bazaar and assorted gift shops and should retail at £2.50. I picked one at random and it's in tune and uses little breath, in fact if I play it too much I struggle when I swap to a Shaw as I keep running out of breath.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 03:55 PM

I put aside my Clarke's D for a few weeks, for trivial life-related reasons; when I started playing it again I found that all the minor niggles I'd had with it had got much worse. Specifically, it always was quiet in the low register, making it hard to hear what I'm playing in a session; now when I play it at home it has trouble competing with the fridge. The windy mushiness of the tone on some notes is much worse, too, & seems to affect more notes - it's spread from the cross-fingered C natural to the E and F above.

What's going on, and what can I do about it? (Apart from getting the Feadog Pro I've had my eye on in Hobgoblin, that is.) I've tried bearing down on the tinplate over the airway with my thumb, but I'm worried the sides of the whistle are going to bow away from the fipple if I press too hard.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 06:27 PM

If it's got a wooden block, it may have dried out and shrunk in the few weeks you've not been using it, making the windway more open than it should be. In which case it will get better if you keep trying - it will rehumidify.

Good instruments use cedar for the block, which doesn't expand and contract with humidity. It has a distinctive taste, like chewing the end of a high-quality pencil. If it doesn't taste like that, your whistle might have a block made of unsuitable wood. Not a lot you can do about that unless you fancy spending hours doing micro-scale sculpture to replace it. The tolerances involved are a few thousandths of an inch.

With a wooden recorder or whistle, you can pop the block out by putting as thick a dowel as possible up the bore of the instrument and slamming it on the floor (tip: put a sock over the end or you'll be searching all over the room for the block when it flies off). This means you can clean the block and windway properly - if you use the instrument a lot, the wetted surfaces will have accumulated condensed saliva, dried food and fungal/bacterial gunge. If I remember the the Clarke's construction right, the block is usually retained by a couple of crimped indentations on the sides of the block, and I'd expect the dowel-slam technique to just pop them open - I don't have a Clarke here to try. If the block is held in with pins, you need to get them out somehow.

You can't usually pop the block with a plastic recorder, though they're easy enough to clean with detergent. The transparent Yamahas (like the one I'm playing in the photos on my webpage) are nice fom this viewpoint because you can see the gunge building up sooner.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Oct 09 - 05:51 PM

Thanks, Jack - that makes a lot of sense.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 07:21 AM

Phil,

go for a black plastic Tony Dixon In D - the one I tempted you with on Saturday. Around £20 exlnt. Clear across a great range and micro -tunable for playing with those tricky fiddle players.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:33 AM

Sussato seem to be reliable


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:37 AM

My taborer's pipes are a Generation in D - nice, but a bit shrill, and a Susato in D , a bit sweeter.

My favourite at the moment is a Generation (brass, red mouthpiece) in Bb, altho' I have Gennies in every other key except Eb.

The eldest grandson plays a Ocarina. I picked up a D Faedog recently - beautiful. I am trying to tempt the grandson to this.

Perhaps it is me, but I cannot tell any difference between brass Gennies, IF O K ! and nickel ones. The gaff where I get my whisshles from will usually let me try 'em, provided there is placed over the mouthpiece they plastic liners

what tobacconists used to put over the bite of a bacca pipe, afore you bought it.

I don't smoke, these days. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 04:25 PM

Two weeks later, the Clarke's D is sounding much better - to begin with. What seems to happen now is that it plays fine for the first couple of tunes, but then most of the lower register disappears: getting anything below G to sound at all is a struggle, and getting a true note without overtones is more or less impossible. This usually happens just after I've blown a bit of spit down it, and a good sharp blow does help a bit - but it doesn't really fix it. Any ideas?


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 07:00 PM

It sounds like the wood of the block has deteriorated in some way (oils drying out, fungal attack) so that it can't maintain dimensional stability through a wet/dry cycle. Whether the high notes or low notes work better depends on the positioning of thelabium in the air stream - move the stream outwards and the response goes one way, move it inwards and the response goes the other. You want it in the middle. The swelling and shrinking of the block affects that - as the block swells, it pushes the airstream outwards relative to the labium.

Have you taken the block out to clean it? Accumulated dirt and mould might produce the effect you're finding.

If you consider the instrument worth the expense, you could try a trick I use with clarinet and sax reeds. Soak the block in alcohol - I use gin; vodka would be better but I don't drink it. Keep it soaked and only take it out to play it. This will both kill off any fungal and microbial cultures and improve dimensional stability. (With reeds, they last about ten times longer). But it won't be long before you've spent more on your instrument's booze habit than you'd spend on simply buying a new one. We have a thread in BS at the moment that comes to much the same conclusion about supporting alcoholic husbands and wives.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 06:11 AM

Phil,

go for a black plastic Tony Dixon In D - the one I tempted you with on Saturday. Around £20 exlnt. Clear across a great range and micro -tunable for playing with those tricky fiddle players.

Cheers

Les


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 08:08 AM

What Les said.

Clarkes aren't THAT good, and unless it has some personal association like having been with your grandfather at the Battle of the Somme or else has some powerful juju that will pull any woman within earshot, replace it. Dixons are good.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 08:49 AM

I would like to spend some time with a £100 whistle but I can't see it happening.

I have spent odd afternoons with £1000 banjos and mandolas but you can't really blow down a whistle and then give back.

Dixons are great value for money

L in C


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 10:03 AM

The way my finances are at the moment, I've got a bit of a sentimental attachment to the £20 the Dixon's would cost me.


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:04 PM

Mmmm....... tough call.

Dixon's whistles

The black plastic ones have gone up. I got mine at Shrewsbury Festival. J Roadhouse have them for around £30!

So good though -

Les


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:07 PM

Now I have checked I think this is mine:

DX004 - Tuneable Polymer High Whistle
dx004

Soprano/high whistle with a polymer body and ABS head. Tuneable.

Keys: D & C

The tenor/low version is DX012.

D: £18.00 • C: £20.50

Add Tuneable Polymer High Whistle Key D to order

Add Tuneable Polymer High Whistle Key C to order

Les


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 08:09 AM

I have a brass Tony Dixon whistle, £52 from Hobgoblin, one of the newer models I think.

A geat whistle :)


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 11:28 AM

My favourite whistle right now is the Clarke shiny metal D Shaw lookalike bought from Hobgoblin's stall at the Fylde back in September. I keep trying more expensive whistles but (as yet) I've not heard anything that justifies the price. A life-long lover of the Clarke C, it took me a while to appreciate the new-fangled genius of the Clarke D, but it really cracks on those harmolodic / harmonic partials. Hear it on Teanlowe Fire Dance recorded yesterday & just this minute uploaded on my Myspace page:

http://www.myspace.com/sedayne


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 03:51 PM

My Clarke D is annoyingly unreliable and rather quiet even when it's working properly, but Les's Shaw D is the business (cheers, Les).


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 05:04 PM

Exlnt. Summer, Summer on Wednesday at The Beech then?

Les


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 05:13 PM

Summer, summer... is that Samradh, Samradh? I still play that but only on my old Generation Bb...


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Subject: RE: Tin Whistles
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Nov 09 - 05:46 PM

Hi Sean, good call, as ever! Fanny Power? We keep an empty table in the corner for you both, honest -ish

Cheers
Les


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