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22 messages

WHISTLE Recommendations?

13 Oct 00 - 11:16 AM (#318059)
Subject: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Gracie

I've tried a number of whistles and have found that most of the cheaper ones play out of tune. I like my Susato whistles but I'd like to find a good one with a more typical sound. I've been told that Copeland's aren't as good as they were since he is not well and has handed the whistle-making on to someone else. (Of course, my source could be all wet on this matter...) I'd love to hear recommendations from the group. What are your favorite whistles? How much do they cost? How much is too much to pay for a great-sounding whistle? Looking forward to your responses! Gracie

13 Oct 00 - 12:18 PM (#318100)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Jeri

Take a look at Chiff and Fipple, where there are review of different whistles.

Copelands, as far as I know, are just as good as they always were. Mike Copeland is still making them. I have one, and I love it. The only drawback is a D whistle costs $200.

As far as how much they cost, it varies. It looks like there's an extremely good whistle made by John Sindt that costs $65 for a D. I played one once and loved it. I guess how much you pay depends on what sort of sound and appearance you're looking for. As far as cheap whistles go, I like the Generation ones. Still, you have to mess with a bunch of whistles to find one with a sound you like.

13 Oct 00 - 04:43 PM (#318302)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: georgeward

A number of us around Albany, NY play John Sindt's whistles and love 'em. And his price is, I think, really fair for what you get. Try Jeri's Chiff and Fipple link above for his address. -George ::-.--O

13 Oct 00 - 04:54 PM (#318313)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: georgeward

Gracie, you might also check out the current "Clarke Sweetone Tuning" thread for another approach the the problem.Let me see if I can do this: Clarke Sweetone Tuning
Link fixed. I added an "http://" and a space between "a" and "href." --JoeClone

13 Oct 00 - 04:56 PM (#318315)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: georgeward

Ah,well. No time to try again now.

13 Oct 00 - 06:35 PM (#318367)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: GUEST,Dave Auty


I agree with George and Jeri, the Sindt whistle is very very nice with a good clear tone. I believe that Mary Bergin plays one. The longer you have it the better it gets! There is quite a long waiting list but its'well worth the wait.

Good luck,


13 Oct 00 - 07:59 PM (#318389)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: pastorpest

I agree with those who direct you to the Chiff and Fipple. I have a Pat O'Rriordan D whistle and C whistle which are both wonderful with a pure sound. I also have an A & B flat set of Glen Shultz, water weasels, made from plastic plumbing pipe. Glen's whistles have a breathy quality and are wonderful in a different way. I went to Glen's home to pick up the whistle set and he encouraged me to try all kinds of his expensive wooden whistles, all of which were great whistles. I think after you read the reviews on the Chiff and Fipple of the high end whistles decide what suits your taste. The good makers are careful to make good whistles. Choosing among them is a personal thing.

13 Oct 00 - 08:13 PM (#318395)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Peter K (Fionn)

I recently got a D whistle from Mike Burke somewhere in the US of A, after seeing Dale (mine host at Chiff & Fipple) positively rave about it in his newletter.

At the tuning point, there's an 0-ring in the outer tube which gives a good feel to the sliding movement and will prevent the usual problems of brass moving on brass. This needs more development in my view, (maybe two o-rings)as there is just a hint of play between the two tubes. But it's good thinking.

The other main feature of the latest Burke whistle is that the mouthpiece is lined with Delrin, whatever Delrin is. The aim is to stop clogging, and here I agree with Dale 100 per cent - it really works. I can play constantly anything from 20 to 40 minutes without a shake-out, which is right off the scale in my experience. God knows where the stuff goes.

Tuning through the range is good (but the usual lousy distinction between C and Csharp), and it's a nice tone.

In the end though, and though I know it's plastic and sounds slightly recorder-ish, and is a bit flaky on the top octave, my D Susato at about one tenth the price, is very nearly as good. You can only play them when you know the tune though. I've never found a way to play a Susato quietly.

13 Oct 00 - 11:23 PM (#318497)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Jeri

Haha! It was George's Sindt whistle I played!

14 Oct 00 - 12:26 AM (#318573)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: GUEST,Tom Dowling

Try a 'Tweaked' (BUT NOT CUT) Clarke 'D' from Thom Larson at I have been buying my whistles from Thom for about two years and have been consistently more than satisfied. Thom does wonders with the classic Clarke, which is a tapered metal bodied whistle with a wooden fipple. For under $25.00 it is an exceptionally durable and sweet sounding fine whistle. Jumping up a notch, I also bought a Paul Hayward Silkstone (Green, by the way, though you can also get it in a brilliant red) from him that is like a very high end Susato without the sharpness. Overall, I would describe the sound of the Silkstone as 'round and full bodied.' Oddly enough, Thom has been selling these for less money than Mr. Hayward. The tweaked Clarke D is an exceptional all around whistle. I would not recommend the additional Thom Larson custom option, i.e., the cutting of the mouthpiece, but that is a matter of personal preference. If you contact Thom I believe you will not regret it.

Tom Dowling

14 Oct 00 - 01:16 AM (#318593)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: GUEST,Heather

I must say that I have heard Tom's Silkstone and Clarke whistle's and they are beautiful (no doubt in part due to the player himself). They both have very distinct and beautiful sounds. I must add, however, that I have only every purchased a set of Generation Whistles from the Whistle Stop and I love the sound I get from my C,D, and Eb whistles! They may not always be in tune with other "brands" of whistles but for solo playing or playing with other instruments, they are the best buy of whistles (in my humble opinion).

14 Oct 00 - 02:53 AM (#318616)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: georgeward

Joe, thanks for fixing my link!

14 Oct 00 - 06:42 AM (#318639)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: alison

Generation every time..... Sweetones comes a close second.... I hate the breathy sound of the Clarke (with the wooden fipple)...... but that's just my preference.....



15 Oct 00 - 11:11 PM (#319530)
Subject: There is a Cure for the Breathy Clarke!!
From: GUEST,Tom Dowling

As they come from the factory, the Clarkes (both the C and the D)do require a lot of breath. However, they can be 'tweaked' to reduce the windway. The result is a fine sounding and reasonably priced instrument. (See reference to 'Tweaked' Clarkes, back a few messages in this thread.)

Tom D.

29 Jul 04 - 08:49 PM (#1236749)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: GUEST,Sedgewick

I just received a Shaw d and love it dearly. This is the untweaked version and it plays very well and I can trust it.

30 Jul 04 - 07:40 AM (#1237018)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: GUEST,Dáithí mag Fhionnaín

Good man - I just bought a Freeman tweaked version of a soprano Shaws, and am very pleased with it. I usually end up playing a plastic Susato in sessions though as nothing else has the punch to stand up to all the other instruments!
Good luck - Dáithí

30 Jul 04 - 07:51 AM (#1237021)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Dave Hanson

I have a whistle playing friend who says ALL Generation whistles play out of tune, but Paddy Maloney, Sean Potts, John Shehan and plenty more good players of Generations can'be all that wrong.

30 Jul 04 - 08:01 AM (#1237028)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: VIN

Don't think Generation would still be on sale or in business if all their whistles played 'out of tune'......what's that sayiing about a bad workman?

30 Jul 04 - 08:21 AM (#1237040)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: jimmyt

I have to put in a word on behalf of Tony Dixon Whistles I bought a set on Leadfingers'recommendation and I have to say I think they are terrific.

30 Jul 04 - 08:36 AM (#1237049)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Vixen

My favorite whistles right now are my new Ralph Sweet D and my Susato C. I wish I had a Sweet C and a Susato D...The Sweet is very mellow and (dare I say it) sweet. The Susato is clear and loud. Both are tunable and reliable in both octaves.

I have a Susato G and Low D, both of which I'm still learning to play better. They too are clear, loud, and reliable.

I also have Clarke Sweetones, Generations, an Oak and a Feadog, none of which I enjoy playing like the Sweet and Susatos. They all have more "chiff" and tonal variations, and inconsistencies between octaves. I don't know if that's cause I can't play them right, or whether they are flawed, but the Sweet and Susato whistles make me sound like I know what I'm doing AND I can afford them.

fwiw, my $0.02. Your mileage may vary!


30 Jul 04 - 08:51 AM (#1237057)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: Leadfingers

Thanks for the nice comments jimmyt - I personally do not like buying ANY instrument without trying it first , so buying on the Net is NOT my first choice . Especially as whistles from the same maker can vary enormously in both tone AND volume , regardless of price . As to the problem with Generation whistles being out of tune , Hot water will dissolve the glue on the mouthpiece , making them tunable , though I
still think their Quality Control as far as the way the mouthpieces work leaves a lot to be desired . I once went through a sops entire stock of generations and did NOT make myself at all popular by telling the Shop Owner that they were all crap and should be returned for replacement .

30 Jul 04 - 10:00 AM (#1237110)
Subject: RE: WHISTLE Recommendations?
From: The Fooles Troupe

Many people find that a whistle that is set slightly sharp cuts through the noise of a pub, or session, or a large band - that is why piano accordions are often tuned sharper than A=440 - to A=442 or even up to A=445.

If a whistle is very slightly flat or sharp, a good player can 'think' it into tune. There's a very lengthy explanation why that happens ... this is left to the student to explain this... ;-) {I studied some Tertiary Maths...}

But if the instrument is not set 'true' to itself, it is much more difficult to 'think' every note true, unless you play only the one instrument all the time.

I have dozens of the damn things - some are more suited to certain types of music than others (different tones & timbres, volumes and capability to easily play in different parts of the range) - and if I have not played a particular one for a while, I tend to forget the pattern of 'pushing' the individual notes into tune for each particular whistle.

Loosening the mouthpiece will allow the instrument to be 'flattened' slightly by increasing the overall length, or 'sharped' by decreasing the length, but

1) you may need to cut off a small length of the barrel inside the mouthpiece to get sharp enough

2) if the holes are not correctly spaced, then no matter if you put any one note in tune, you won't get the rest there. For instance, you can't lengthen a D whistle to get a C, or shorten a C to get D - the ratios of the distances between the holes are a constant thing, but the actual distances between the holes vary for each home key pitch of an instrument.