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pennywhistles for dummies

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jimmyt 10 Dec 02 - 02:34 PM
Áine 10 Dec 02 - 02:42 PM
Liz the Squeak 10 Dec 02 - 03:25 PM
Willa 10 Dec 02 - 03:52 PM
Sorcha 10 Dec 02 - 04:18 PM
Alice 10 Dec 02 - 05:34 PM
Guy Wolff 10 Dec 02 - 07:22 PM
Willie-O 10 Dec 02 - 08:17 PM
smallpiper 10 Dec 02 - 09:01 PM
Alice 10 Dec 02 - 09:21 PM
weepiper 11 Dec 02 - 12:32 PM
jimmyt 11 Dec 02 - 12:41 PM
PageOfCups 11 Dec 02 - 02:43 PM
John in Brisbane 11 Dec 02 - 07:48 PM
John in Brisbane 11 Dec 02 - 07:51 PM
jimmyt 11 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM
Leadfingers 11 Dec 02 - 09:21 PM
poetlady 11 Dec 02 - 09:44 PM
Alice 11 Dec 02 - 09:54 PM
John in Brisbane 12 Dec 02 - 02:27 AM
Liz the Squeak 12 Dec 02 - 02:41 AM
Sarah the flute 12 Dec 02 - 03:46 AM
Steve Parkes 12 Dec 02 - 04:05 AM
Mark Cohen 12 Dec 02 - 04:51 AM
IanC 12 Dec 02 - 04:59 AM
Bob Bolton 12 Dec 02 - 06:57 AM
alison 13 Dec 02 - 02:54 AM
Sarah the flute 13 Dec 02 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Allen Woodpecker 13 Dec 02 - 06:58 AM
Willie-O 13 Dec 02 - 09:31 AM
alison 14 Dec 02 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,allen woodpecker 15 Dec 02 - 08:53 AM
alison 15 Dec 02 - 07:13 PM
Melani 16 Dec 02 - 02:58 PM
Pied Piper 17 Dec 02 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,FishDoc 29 Nov 09 - 07:55 PM
Leadfingers 30 Nov 09 - 08:51 AM
Mr Happy 01 Dec 09 - 06:11 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Dec 09 - 06:52 AM
Leadfingers 01 Dec 09 - 08:40 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Dec 09 - 09:15 AM
Jack Campin 01 Dec 09 - 09:21 AM
Leadfingers 01 Dec 09 - 09:25 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Dec 09 - 10:02 AM
Nick E 01 Dec 09 - 12:29 PM
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Subject: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: jimmyt
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 02:34 PM

I am interested in knowing more about pennywhistles, but in my area, there are few or no opportunities to hear them played. I dabble with some whistles D and Bflat in a folk group I perform with, but I need more info on what all whistles I need to play most keys. I have had some help from Leadfingers in a chat room, but I didn't write down his suggestions, so thought I would open this question to help some other North Americans who are "Whistle Impared" Suggestions on decent brands would also be helpful Thanks in advance.

Search for "Whistle" threads


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Áine
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 02:42 PM

"Suggestions on decent brands would also be helpful" -- Generation, Generation, Generation -- 'nuff said! ;-)

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 03:25 PM

Generation are the best certainly, but for a breathier tone, Manitas likes the Sweetone ones.

There's a set of plastic ones downstairs too, but I can't remember the make. They seem quite decent.

The Clarke's Original Tin Whistle has a lovely feel to it, it tapers a lot more than most, and comes in a fetching gold and black paint job. It's got the clear, sharp tone that cuts through most sessions. It's also got a square shaped mouthpiece that some players, particularly those used to recorders or Generation whistles, find awkward and take some getting accostomed to.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Willa
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 03:52 PM

Try this site.
http://www.chiffandfipple.com/table2.html


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 04:18 PM

Yes, but the Clarke book is FANTASTIC!


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Alice
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 05:34 PM

Go to Brother Steve's site. Learn how to halfway cover to make a note sharp or flat and a D whistle will take you a long way.
Sound samples and tutorial are at Brother Steve's:
Click here

Alice


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 07:22 PM

The cooperman fife & drum co here in Connecticut make a very nice (a bit airy ) maple one for under $20.00.. I like it because in the key of D you can flatten out a C note, Raulph Sweet makes a tunable wooden model for under $100.00 . He is in Enfield Ct There are also some very great heavey brass ones.( I am guessing they are Irish) . Some one stopped at my pottery shop with a few vertions of these brass ones (I think in the $80.00 range)and I loved them !! Robin Willium's "How to play the penny whistle" book was always a great resorce as well as his fiddle book . I am shore there are newer ones that the gang here can talk about.. I played bagpipes for a bit in the 70's and seem to use alot of doubleings on the wistle because of it.. Our pipe sargent would call me a "Tinker Piper " I'm afraid at this point .. All the best , Guy


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Willie-O
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 08:17 PM

I have become very fond of an Acorn brand D whistle. It's black, costs a couple of bucks more than the Generation which brings it up to all of $12 Cdn. It is smaller and has a much sweeter, reedier tone, not as loud as the Genny. When I can't find it and have to play my Generation instead I am dissatisfied, although the latter certainly is LOUDER. The Generation sounds more like a recorder to me.

I play whistle along with about ten fiddles, usually without amplification, so an ideal whistle would be louder than the Acorn but otherwise more like it than like the Generation.

And I fully agree about Robin Williamson's pennywhistle book. Like his fiddle tune books, it has nifty tunes and includes guitar chords (good ones).

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: smallpiper
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 09:01 PM

Try the plastic Suatu whistle very good tone once warmed up and loud enough for sessions they come in various keys.

Guy wolf I tend to believe that a tinker piper is a real piper ie someone who has moved beyond the military tradition of piping. I was once told that you couldn't slide or bend notes on the pipes - I soon discovered that not only can you do it but it also sounds fantastic! I'd rather be a tinker than a square!


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Alice
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 09:21 PM

I have a Sindt on order and I'm looking forward to having it in my hands. My collection of inexpensive whistles includes two Susatos, one I bought in the late '70's and one I got recently. Can't say I really like the Susatos. The Sweetone is easy to play but too out of tune, the Feadog the one I play mostly, a free one I got that is called a Doolin whistle, from the Shanna Quay web site www.shannaquay.com, is the next best after the Feadog for being in tune. I have Generations in F, the little G whistle, and Eb, but not a D, so I don't play them much. Can't wait to get the Sindt!! It will hopefully be ready in March.

I recommend Geraldine Cotter's Book, TRADITIONAL IRISH TIN WHISTLE TUTOR. I have Robin Williamson's book from back when I bought that first whistle, but I like Cotter's book better.

Alice


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: weepiper
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 12:32 PM

Personally I don't much like Generations or Susatos. Of the cheaper whistles the nicest sounding I've heard has been a Sweetone (but from what Alice says above it may have been a flook?). I've tried a couple of Dixons - nice to play but too quiet for most sessions.

My friend has several Sindt whistles in assorted keys, and they're very nice, but feel a bit top-heavy to me....

My favourite at the moment is my Kerry Songbird, which has a similar head design to the Sindt but is made of aluminium and has a thicker barrel so feels better balanced to me.

The only whistle you're likely to need for a long time is a standard high D. The next one I got after that was a high C, good for playing tunes in G minor and F (and C obviously!), but a D with a few half-covered holes occasionally will take you a long way.


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: jimmyt
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 12:41 PM

Thanks for all the info, folks. As you can see, this whistle stuff is a bit confusing for an old yank!


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: PageOfCups
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 02:43 PM

Has anyone rated different brands of whistles based on "fingerability?" I've got peripheral neuropathy (annoying, creeping numbness) that's gotten bored with tormenting just my feet and has moved on to my hands. This makes it hard to find the holes in a whistle. Any thoughts on what whistle(s) might be easier to play, and/or any "cheats" for better accuracy in fingering the beasties?

PoC


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 07:48 PM

PoC, I've had some limited experience in designing products for those with special needs but have a couple of initial suggestions:

- If you lack the sensory feedback needed to half-hole accidentals then perhaps using a crossfingering technique may help - the vast majority of notes are either open or closed.

- You could instal barriers along your whistle to encourage your fingers to move to the right spots. Just for starters you might try clipping the lightweight PVC hose clamps used in plastic irrigation pipes - the type with the compression ratchet closure. They're common in hardeare shops here, and presumably elsewhere around the world. The commonest size is meant for 13mm pipe but should work on the larger diameter whistles. If it actually works, you'd need seven of them.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 07:51 PM

PS - I find this whole thread thoroughly undeserving of the BS: tag and recommend that it be removed.


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: jimmyt
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 07:55 PM

Where should it be, John? I am relatively new to Mudcat, and I looked through the list of tags, nothing seemed to fit! Sorry !


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 09:21 PM

Surely its a music thread.And the problem with Generation is they are mass produced with minimal quality control.This means thet sometime the mouthpeces are absolute CRAP.If you get one that works with at least one note in the third octave,stick to it.
I personally us Tony Dixons which I think are very good value for money,and also have a set of Chieftans,which are a lot louder and easier to mic up,and are not quite as pricey as the Overtons,though
they are definately NOT cheap.
Page of Cups,a cheap way to mark the holes might be plastic cable ties,which are probably cheaper , easier to find,and simple to fix,and would not 'get in the way'of your playing.


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: poetlady
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 09:44 PM

I love my Clarke. I can't imagine liking another whistle as much. I've dropped it off the balcony several times and it still plays fine. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Alice
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 09:54 PM

jimmyt, regarding thread titles, you don't have to choose a prefix at all. If it is a music thread, just type in the title of the thread. BS is for non-music subjects. Many people filter out the BS prefix, so they would miss this thread.

Welcome to Mudcat.

Alice
(I'm in Montana)


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 02:27 AM

jimmyt, Alice's reply expressed it very well. My posting was not meant to imply criticism. I normally filter out the BS: threads, but yours happened fortuitously to be top of the page before I hit the Filter button. Welcome to Mudcat!

I'm not a whistle player but am interested in providing notation tools for beginners.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 02:41 AM

I think the above posting possibly refers to the infamous Jubilee clip. It's a band of metal or plastic with a fluted surface. It is circular and has a key or screw attached which when turned, moves a gear along the fluted surface. This makes the band smaller or larger depending on which way you turn it.

Personally, I find a ridge of sticky tape easier and can add a decorative touch. I ripped cartiledges in my right wrist several years ago, losing all sensation in the ring and little fingers. I used the tape method to keep my fingers close to the bottom holes. With recorders (especially the plastic 'school' variety) it wasn't so bad, because they already have ridges moulded in. In the end I gave up the whistles and stuck to the recorder.

LTS


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 03:46 AM

I'm glad the vast majority of experts out there reject the horrible Susato in favour of the Generation - my sentiments entirely!!!


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 04:05 AM

I enjoy playing whistle and recorder. I find it easy to do tremolo by controlling my breathing, rather than waving a spare finger about, bagpipe-style. The only problem I have is enough to put the mockers on public performance: I can't change register quickly. When you go up (or down) the scale, you get to a point where all your fingers are off and you have to put them al back again PDQ (or they're all on and have to come off, which is not quite so bad), and I can't do it! Of course, people who have heard me play mandolin might say we should be grateful for small mercies ...

Steve


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 04:51 AM

Since I've been learning to accompany Irish music on guitar, I thought I'd go back and try once more to learn the whistle. I used to play clarinet long long ago and have played recorder occasionally, so I know the basics, and now it's just a matter of, uh, yes....PRACTICE! Which I don't really have time for now, and I'll have to live with that. I used to have a Generation D, but the only one I could find here in Honolulu is a Feadog (sorry, still can't do fadas). Seems OK to me, but I'm not a good enough whistler to know for sure. When I run into someone who is, I'll ask.

By the way, the book I have is "The Complete Irish Tinwhistle Tutor", by L.E. McCullough, who used to be in Devilish Merry along with my old friend Larry Edelman (who is now in Denver, if anyone is remotely interested). The last time I looked at the book it seemed OK but not particularly user-friendly. I'm interested in seeing Robin Williamson's book, if it's still in print.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: IanC
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 04:59 AM

Some of the books in the Tin Whistle section of the Basic Folk Library might be useful. Some have already been mentioned here.

:-)


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Dec 02 - 06:57 AM

G'day PageOfCups,

If I needed to place dividers between the hole - I would tie short "whipping" segment with macramé string (or, in my case - whipcord). If the whistle were straight-sided (cylindrical) as most are, I might just use a bit of PVA or other glue to coat and fix in place. If I did it on a Clarke or similarly tapered one, I would start with an Araldite base, whip the area and subsequently fix and seal with more (5-minute?) Araldite.

This series of short string whippings would look more 'sympathetic' ... even "folky". On a wooden whistle (well, if I had made ... anyway) I might turn the oversize diameter to create a series of ridged separators ... not much relevance to cheap whistles.

I first played evil old (1960s) Generations that did not have good mouthpieces. Once they worked out how to make a plastic mouthpiece, there was little further problem (pace Leadfingers - not too many whistle players even know that there are any third octave note available ... and a good ear - good quick adjustment - and a quick touch to any third octave note all help!).

Clarkes have been very sloppy from the factory, post Clarke family ... but are amenable to extensive 'tweaking' - starting with making the wind channel they shape it should be. Sweetones are a fair compromise if you baulk at a bit of tin manipulation. (Chiff & Fipple whistle web site reckon they are the most popular cheap whistle in the world).

Susatos can work well (pace SarahtF) and give good hard working tone in a large group or session. The narrow bore "A" is a bit tight for many, but I've lived with a wide range of bore characteristics. My "A" actually cracked in the slidng part of the head joint (probably due to an over-enthusiatic adjustment, late one night!) - but a definitely non-decorative 'whipping' holds it nicely together ever since.

Mark Cohen: If you thing L.E. McCullogh's book was a bit less than user-friendly ... you should try listening to his playing examples on the accompanying tape ... It nearly made me take up glockenspiel!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: alison
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 02:54 AM

I think its a fault Bob, you are now the 4th person including myself that I know of who has an "A" with a crack in it......

said it before.... can't trust a susato..... Tony Dixon whistles are excellent though.... and as my second choice... blue topped generation every time!!


slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 03:48 AM

It's the tuning and trustworthyness of the top register that's Susato's problem - I just wouldn't risk playing it except in a VERY LOUD pub session

sarah


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: GUEST,Allen Woodpecker
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 06:58 AM

I've tried a good few down the years, so here's my tuppenceworth.
A good generation is worth it's weight in gold, but for me the redtops are more consistent and nicer than the blue. Oak make a nice whistle in D, but sift thru loads to find a good one. Chieftains can be a pain, tuning wise. Susatos are rather plasticcy and vulgarly loud, though they do have their place. Overtons are beautiful if a little pricey. I wouldn't touch a Tony Dixon with a bargepole (maybe I'm spoilt having had an Overton for years). If money's not a problem, Mike Burke out of Murphysboro, Illinois makes absolutely fantastic whistles in a range of keys and materials (starts about $100). Believe me, these are seriously great whistles. Mike Grinter from Australia also makes great instruments (wooden) - check out Ciaran Tourish (Altan) who plays Grinter whistles. A word of advice, though, don't sacrifice tone for volume. If a whistle sounds loud AND crappy, everyone will hear how crappy it is. Good hunting!
a.w.


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Willie-O
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 09:31 AM

So nobody else plays Acorn?

If they're that uncommon, maybe I should pick up a few spares.

W-O


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: alison
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 10:27 PM

I checked Mike Grinters site... couldn't see whistles anywhere..... he seems to make flutes and recorders...... are you sure its a whistle and not a wooden recorder?

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: GUEST,allen woodpecker
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 08:53 AM

Hi Alison. How're ya doin'? We've corresponded before on stuff so I'm quite certain you know the difference between a whistle,a flute, and a recorder. Mike Grinter makes possibly the most sought after flutes in trad and classical music. He also makes recorders I think, but this instrument is of no relevance to me (like many school children, my first experience of music was the damned recorder - it put me off playing music until the age of 18). He makes great whistles as well, but the one thing he doesn't do is update his website very often. That's why there's no whistles on there. I have a low D, which is fantastic, and I've been lucky enough to have recorded with it recently - it sounds even better than I thought. Other Grinter players include Paul O'Shaughnessy, Mike Katz, and I think John McCusker. His whistles are made of wood and take a bit of looking after - pretty fragile - but the craftsmanship and his experience as a flute maker mean the tone is spot-on. I would honestly recommend Mike's whistles to anyone who is serious about playing. a.w.


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: alison
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 07:13 PM

fair enough Allen...... I thought I might have been looking in the wrong place!!......hope he updates it sometime... I'd like to see them.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Melani
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 02:58 PM

I learned to play from Robin Williamson's book, but found when I tried to play with other people that he seems to specialize in really weird arrangements of standard tunes. I had to relearn several (mostly from the fiddle book) in order to play them successfully in company.


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Pied Piper
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 10:44 AM

There are a lot of bad whistles made. One common problem is to use a tube that is too large in diameter. This makes the Whistle sound stronger in the low register but puts it painfully flat in the second octave. Another common problem (for which there is no excuse) is to make the holes the wrong size and in the wrong place. Particularly common is for the low D note to be grossly sharp.
Generation D Whistles are a good compromise for price and quality but in my experience intonation in the top octave is improved if you fill in the little space underneath the windway with blue-tac or something similar.
Remember if you have a good Generation top you can make your own body from readily available (in model shops) brass tubing. It's not rocket science and you'll learn a lot about intonation on the way

All the best PP.


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: GUEST,FishDoc
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 07:55 PM

I, too, am a beginner with tin whistle, and have a Generation and Clarke in D but would like something slightly better with a more "mellow" sound. I have been looking into Tony Dixon whsitles at the lower price range, but can't decide between the all plastic and the aluminum with plastic mouthpiece. Which do those of you who are familiar with Dixons think I should buy if I feel that I can only buy one?


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 08:51 AM

I have All Plastic , and the Alminium bodied D from Tony Dixon - And quite honestly I have no preference . I must agree that the main problem with Dixon's is that they ARE a little quiet for a noisy session !


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 06:11 AM

Another advantage of the all plastic ones is they're not so much affected by moisture, so don't go rusty!


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 06:52 AM

Tony Dixon, black plastic in D - changed my life, well a bit of my life. Good consistent notes over nearly 2 octaves.

Just out of interest how does one limit the dribbling problem?

L in C


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 08:40 AM

Dont Dribble , leave THAT to Footballers !


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 09:15 AM

Well Mr Fingers, I know this is hard to swallow, but a swift response to my question would save stuff running down my leg and onto the floor

L in C


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 09:21 AM

Hold the end over your beer.


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 09:25 AM

Sorry Les ! I DONT have a dribble problem , so cant give you any pointers ! Sorry to be facetious about your problem .


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 10:02 AM

Would it be right to assume that this a a'Man problem' that women don't suffer from?

L in C


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Subject: RE: pennywhistles for dummies
From: Nick E
Date: 01 Dec 09 - 12:29 PM

I am surprised that some like the Clarke Sweetone over the Clarke Traditional, at about a $2 difference in price (Sweetone being cheaper) I think the Original is the clear choice, but then I have realy liked my Susatos so what do I know? Seems almost universally panned in this thread, I love the D, I did buy a low D that has irregularly shaped holes and is tough to play smoothly, but I got a low F that sounds great, is properly made, easy to play and was only about $40


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