Finding a good whistle?

Finding a good whistle?

Hey all fellow whistlers. Im pretty new to playing. Ive been playing the whistle for about a year and am about ready to upgrade. from my standard "feadog" whistle in D. i was just wondering ifyou had any tips or good whistles that i could get that are not to costly. ive seen good ones like burkes. but that is just a bit out of my price range i think. just wondering what would be a good whistle to bring my playing to another level.
Thanks a bunch

~Jon

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I know that there are lots of different ones out there……. I just happen to like my Susato whistles, however.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I really like the new Dixon trad. About $25 US, in-tune, tunable - just a nice whistle all around.

Eric

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I reckon you’re best off just playing a generation until you’ve saved enough to get a good whistle. Otherwise it’s a bit of a gamble with some of the mid-range whistles. It’s a bit of a gamble with Generations too but at least they don’t cost much! and if you’re lucky you can get a quite nice sounding one.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I agree with sneetch. I bought a burke brass D at a festival recenlty (which i love) after wasting money on more than a few mid priced whistles. The two that i play now are a burke d and a generation Bb so i guess the proof is in the puddin :)

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Buying a higher priced Tinwhistle may not be all its got up to be.

Keep working with your first TW and in time it will soften and mature. I have a 15 year old Feadog which is very very nice - for something that cost less than $5 at the time.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

A fair point. However if 15 years is a little outside your acceptable waiting time for a nice sounding instrument…… see above postings :)

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Find a shop that has a decent stock of generations, 100 maybe, and go and spend an hour or so trying every one. Be systematic. Start by dividing them into two piles, the maybe and the ruled out. Then do the same again with the maybe pile etc. until you are down to just one. You’ll end up with a cracker that will be better than most $100 whistles.

Posted .

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Blow your nose before testing and go to the doc for antibiotics after. :-D

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Certainly try before you buy- my SOs’ experience was posted earlier here, but two wooden whistles and a bit of home woodwork later we have one that is in tune with everyone else and has a pleasing tone, but it took 15 months to get there.
A Susato is a good mid-price bet if you don’t want the hassles and can’t get to try first.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I love Oaks. I think they have a lovely tone, (maybe something to do with what I think is a heavy wall thickness) and the right price too. I’m on my 2nd one and I’ve tried many others, including some high price range ones. What keeps coming up is, if it doesn’t sound better than mine then I won’t buy it. Having said that I’d love to find that SPECIAL one :) . Preferably tuneable.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I vote for a good Oak whistle too, and I have a few high price ones, but the Oak is all I play these days..
10 american bucks, typically.


M

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Save money, and buy a Clarke (or if you must spend more money, a Shaw). Be a REAL tin whistle player.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I have an Oak, which is my favourite whistle of those I own. Great tone, in tune. My only criticism is lack of volume, particularly on the bottom D and E. But it’s ideal for part-time whistle player like myself.

Supposedly, the Feadog ‘Heavy’ whistle is an exact copy of the Oak, so if you’re in Ireland, you’d save yourself money and trouble buying one of them instead of seeking out an Oak. But I haven’t tried a Feadog ‘Heavy’ myself.

Cilian O’Brien’s ‘improved’ whistles are beautiful. He takes ordinary, bottom of the range, plastic headed whistles and makes subtle adjustments to the tongue, windway and finger holes. These are a dream to play, having a similar kind of tone to Generation, Feadog etc, but cleaner, louder - even on the bottom notes - and more in tune.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I really like my Susatos. They’re not very expensive and I love the "pop" in the low register. I have both the small bore (SB) and very small bore (VSB) and I like them both, the the SB is my main whistle.

I do also like my Oak whistle (which was what I started on). It has a very sweet tone.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

FWIW - I currently have a O’Briain improved Feadog, and I much prefer my Dixon trad.

I’d compare it to an Oak, but I haven’t had an Oak in years and feel no need to buy another whistle since I’ve had the Dixon.

Eric

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Susatos are good - but you have to like the sound - to my ears something like a Clarkes has the ‘real whistle sound’ - but the Susato’s are clear and loud and more easy to play in tune.
As Mr. Spoon rightly says, some tweaked Generations etc can sound wonderful, and are cheaper that the posh whistles.
Some whistles you can get now are VERY loud. It’s unlikely that anyone will actually say anything to your face if you sit next to then playing one of these, but they will hate you very, very deeply.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

That’s a good point Ottery - whistles carry better than the player usually realizes.

As my wife says when I’m palying whistle in the house, "whistles and bagpipes are meant to be played outdoors, on a field or moor, very far away from me."

Eric

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I’ve seen the usually mild-mannered JerryH turned into a mild-mannered man with an headache after sitting next to a man with one of these super-sonic beasties ….

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I have a Reyburn D that is .. . LOUD. It’s also very tuneable. So I use it for gigs where we may not be amplified.

But I actually far prefer to play my Oak.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

A Jerry Freeman-tweaked Generation D ($34, I think, at Lark the Morning store when I got it a year or so back). Sounds great, doesn’t have a problem in the upper octave, upper G and higher, whereas some of the stock Generation seem to, at least to me. Tried out all the high end whistles, but they don’t sound "whistle-y" enough, they’re too "flute-y" sounding for me.

I have a Susato D, but the higher parts of the second octave are way too loud and shrill, the tweaked D is much better balanced. I love my Susato Bb, sounds great. I think most fiddlers would prefer playing in Eb all night rather than to sit next to a Susato D!

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Any whistle will sounds sweet once you get used to it, even a Susato D.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I like my aluminum Burke D. And I have a 4 euro D feadog that I picked up in Westport ‘for the heck of it" that is also excellent.

I am surprised at the comments about clarks, oaks and generations though.

I have posted that my personal foible is to buy inexpensive whistles when I see them. So I have a bunch. Have had terrible luck with newer clarkes, Oaks and Generations….don’t even get me started on Generations. I am at the point I give them to Herself to support her floppy potted plants.

I am wondering if the more mass produced these are getting, the less quality we’re getting? Or do they just send junky ones to the States where I get sucked into throwing away $5.95 on a whim? (or they are aimed at the faux wannabe Irish players who get excited about whistle playing every March 17-jus before they start drinking too much bottled Guiness?) Alot of people have mentioned preference for the ones I’ve mentioned.

One of my first D’s-I still have it and use it- is an Oak D. Really good whistle. The newer ones, particularly the C I picked up are very difficult to play. Sound it very poor. Particularly when over blowing on the second octave.

When I bought my Burke (the hand made aluminum one- great whistle btw) I bought some brass clarkes from the same supplier figuring they would be reasonable quality…for the heck of it. Nice brassy tone on one. Shrill, squeeky on the other.

In reading the sites about the cottage industry for tweaking mass produced whistles, the common issue seemed to be the molding of the plastic fipples. Often alot of extraneous stuff in the airway.

For what it’s worth,
I havent found a Generations that is decent even though I here alot of pros swear by them. I swear at them.

Susatos are too clean to the point of being shrill. Personal taste though.

I stopped at my third Oak. two out of three were crummy.

Batting .500 on the clarkes

Any thoughts from the more experienced (avoided saying older!) players about the trend in manufacturing quality?

Re: Finding a good whistle?

Missed one thing. To be fair and balanced.

I needed a high F. Bought a Generation in Donegal. Terrible. Bought a Susato at the World Folk Music Company on the South Side of Chicago. Really nice. Sound is extremely clear. Almost sounds like a fife which is what we used it for on several marches we were playing.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I have had the Clarke I play now for about seven years, and have a spare one tucked away that is also good. Hopefully, if the quality of the new ones has gone downhill, those two whistles will last as long as I do. But I myself have never gotten a bad Clarke, at least not the old style ones with the wooden fipple.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I’ll have to look at those. On another posting, the wood Beazley (I think) whistles were recommended. But they seem like awefully high maintenance. Fipples in particular.

Are the old style ones sensitive to splitting on the end grain as I am told the wood whistles tend to be?

Re: Finding a good whistle?

I haven’t played ‘em all, (who has?). I want to like the cheapies. I really do. But, to my ear, the hand-finished whistles are superior, as well as being more consistent. I really like Jerry Freeman’s tweaked whistles, especially the Mellow Dog. I bought a D/C set, and think that’s about the best you can do for your money. It’s about $50 US for the 1 head / 2 body set. I think they’re outrageously good. Burkes are very fine, but they cost. Same for many of the others. I’ve tried, but haven’t found a Gen, Oak, or similar cheap one that really worked for me. If others have, more power to ‘em.

Re: Finding a good whistle?

If you like the "feadog" a tweaked one makes sense. Some of it depends on how you like to play.
Going to composite or conical with wooden plug … etc. is going to be a new experience. It really helps if you can try different whistles.
As far as keeping the price down always keep tone in mind. Your fellow musicians will appreciate you more.
Generally the low end whistles only sound good if: you are lucky enough to find a good one off the shelf or are an extremely accomplished musician or or just pay a little more & get one which has been properly tweaked. Try as many whistles as you can.
Even if you cannot pay more it is always good to play a variety & hear the difference. Some of the plastic models (Susato) have good volume but lack that dirty chiff sound. For me the Shaw’s are a definite upgrade from the Clarke. Keep in mind the windway might want to clog if the wooden plug gets saturated. Jerry Freeman has some Shaw’s. Cillian O’Briain also has an excellent Feadog. Good luck .

Posted .