Best Beginners Whistle?

Best Beginners Whistle?

I’m currently playing a Carey Parks ‘D’ whistle. It’s ‘silent’ mode helps with late night practice, but, well, it’s very ‘moody’. Sometimes the weather (hot, cold, humidity) affects me more than my playing! Any suggestions for a better beginners very welcome.

Tim
http://timwhistles.blogspot.com/

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Well, any whistle, high end or low end, will act moody considering the weather. I think most instruments do. In my experience any woodwinds do.

But it all depends on what you are looking for in a whistle. If you like more raspy or sweeter sounds. What price range are you considering. etc…

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Cheers pipersgrip

Maybe I should of said very, very. But I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s a case of the workman.. I’m thinking I prefer the ‘raspy’. A good thing about the Park’s whistle is that you can increase/decrease this with choice. My price range is.. modest, around £50

Tim

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I’ve never found a whistle that didn’t get clogged from time to time. But if you’re just looking for an excuse to get a new whistle, I’m enjoying the Tony Dixon brass D that I picked up a few months ago.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

The humidity in your lungs has a greater effect than anything the weather can throw at you, as does the temperature of the air coming out. Run the whistle under the hot tap if it’s really cold (you can give it a clean through while you’re at it) and give a quick occasional blast with your finger over the fipple to clear it. Play for at least five minutes before judging the ‘mood’ of your whistle — a lot of it can be psychological. Of course, if you don’t like the sound it makes, get a new one; but that’s a different subject.

Posted by .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Hello Tim

Generation are still very good value, especially for beginners; no expensive mistakes if you see what I mean.

I still use them in many keys, some from as far back as the ’70s.

I personally prefer the red tops, I think they produce a better tone than the blue tops.

Here’s a hornpipe, The Peacock’s Feather, on a Generation Bb whistle which I bought in 1977.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=xUjM8woSAQk


The whistle has never been altered.

Also good value for beginners is the brand Feadóg; they have green flattened tops.

In the end, if one decides that they feel proficient enough, then they might wish to invest in a pricier instrument, but given your post I feel that these instruments can give a good feel whilst being considered as money well spent.

As you did mention that your budget was modest I think these few examples would afford you the chance to try a few without being to out of pocket.

I do hope this is helpful for you

All the best

Brian x

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I’m with Brian.Redtop generations are the go. 1 Mary Bergin can’t be wrong. If you are concerned about the volume you can always get some cobbler wax and dribble it down the egresses of the runnels on either side of the fipple. Have fun!

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Love ‘em or loath ‘em, the one thing that no one can deny is that generation tin whistles are the best value musical instruments in the world.

Posted .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Check into Jerry Freeman’s tweaked whistles. He takes inexpensive whistles — that can be good, but it’s often hit-or-miss — & he makes modifications to improve them. A good deal for a good sound, in my humble opinion.
We currently have his MellowDog D, Blackbird C, & tweaked Generation Bb.

http://stores.ebay.com/freemanwhistles
or, some here (scroll down, they’re mixed in):
http://irishwhistleshop.com/brass_irish_tin_whistles.htm

That said, a plain old Feadóg was the first (& second, & I believe 3rd!) whistle in this house, & it has that great chiffy sound & served well for years, at a ridiculously inexpensive price.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I have to wonder if Ms Bergens are older.

Not a fan of Generations at all. May advice was to buy a good whistle.

Dixons are nice. I have the Burke. aluminum. Want to get the Brass. But I was amazed at how less frustrating it is playing good quality whistle

I do have a good feadog. Unfortunatly, at the time the red color attracted me and it was later the concern for lead in the red coating arose.

so idropped for the Burke

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Mary Bergin does still play her Generations as well as a Guiness high D whistle. She does now also have a Sindt whistle though too.

I think the albums were both recorded on cheap whistles and very nice they sound too. I understand that the Generation whistles used to be better than they generally are now though.

I have a Burke brass high D and like it very much.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

It’s true that you can get a very good whistle basically no money. Generations and other straight-bore whistles like Feadogs can sound brilliant, when they’re the right whistle. I’m still annoyed about dropping my "good" feadog while busking one day - it rolled off a rail and down into the subway tracks, gone for good.
The Clarke conical-bore whistles with the plastic fipples (they’ve been branded, to my knowledge, as "Sweetone", "Meg", and "Woodstock" so far, but they’re always the same whistles) can sound very nice, but they’re awful quiet.
What you can buy for the extra money on a more expensive whistle is mostly volume and consistency. I like the Dixon, mostly because I can hear it and others around me can hear it. All of the $10 whistles I’ve played have been audible in the upper end and completely lost from the bottom F# down. This is a problem, since so many tunes start in the lower part of the low register, and work their way up - it can be awkward to change tunes, if anyone else keeps going on the other one, the switch can go unheard, even if other players are actively trying to hear you.
I used to make sure I was sitting next to a loud player with a quick ear, who would serve as my relay for tune changes, but with the Dixon it’s a bit easier.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

"…it rolled off a rail and down into the subway tracks, gone for good."

What, you didn’t go after it?!

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I once put my favorite whistle – a Generation Bb – in my hip pocket, with predictably sickening results. I was able to get the bend out of it with a dowel, but it still had wrinkles and never sounded quite right again.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

"…you can always get some cobbler wax and dribble it down the egresses of the runnels on either side of the fipple. Have fun!"

That sounds positively pornographic.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I had a "Little Black Whistle" once, truly the worst whistle I’ve ever had. It had no sound at all to it, and wasn’t very well in tune with itself either. It was also made of aluminum, and it dented if you gave it a hard look. After a very short time in which it was hardly played (because it sounded terrible) it looked like it had been through a wood chipper. It didn’t make a difference to the sound, though, it still sounded awful. For a while I kept it around for laughs, but it’s long gone now.

I’m surprised you managed to bend a Bb, though. That’s a pretty sturdy whistle.

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The finger holes present weak spots for bending. I loved that whistle. Sniff, sniff…

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

The whistle I have the most problem with is the high C whistle.

I have a sweettone. Nice if you want to play in a 6 note range. No high end whatsover- characteristically no volume at all. Also have an Oak, a well worn silver whistle of unkonwn provenance and an old generation that works well to stir coffee. Thelot is not worth their weight in salvage fees.

I don’t use it enough though to justify a Burke. Besides, I am saving for a new box and have been able to avoid the obsession to acquire addisional whistles at least for the last year!

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Jon

$10 whistles? I thought the best ones were $3.95? or is that inflation?

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I haven’t seen a whistle for that price in years… typically they’re in the $10-$15 range around here these days.

I have an Oak around somewhere - perfectly useless. There may be good ones, but the one I got wasn’t one of those.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I would consider a Sindt whistle. It would be around that price range, and it has a good chiff to it. I guess 50 GBP would be close to 90-100 USD. I see many people in competitions use them, and I really like them myself. I have never heard of a bad review for one.

Here are some videos of one being played.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjY6hV_DYok

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mjlxufre5w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X6nCQkWAQo&feature=relmfu


Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

As I always do on these threads, let me put in a vote for the good old wooden fipple basic conical bore Clarke whistle. Nice chiffy tone, modest volume, easy to go from octave to octave. I think they now cost just over $10, but I played my last one for nine years before it wore out. If you amortize that investment, it comes out about 10 cents a month!

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Sindts are running about $140 for a D these days.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I second what AlBrown says, and also suggest that a little judicious filing or taping can turn a mediocre whistle into gem. Rather than throw them away or leave them in the bottom of a drawer, experiment with swapping heads, scraping, inserting blue tack, rolls of paper, glue, wax — you might just learn something, and you might finish up with a playable whistle instead of a useless tube.

Posted by .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

And as I normally say in these threads after Al says his bit is NOOOOOO!!!!!

Don’t buy the Clarke conical bore whistle with that horrid wooden fipple. It is the worst thing you could possibly do. A huge waste of money. You will probably get a splinter and you will deserve it!

:-)

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

As a long-time player of Burke whistles, I got caught in a fix a few months back where I had to play a gig and my whistles were in another part of the country altogether (I forgot to pack them thanks to a raging hangover). I went into a shop in Dublin and bought 3 cheap D whistles in the hope that one of them would be adequate. I got a brass Generation that was more-or-less in tune, a plastic Tony Dixon, and an old-style Clarke with the wooden block, and the Clarke was far and away the best of the three. It plays in tune with itself and other instruments, and has a really sweet high octave. My only complaints are that low F# and below are a little weak and it has a bit of a tendency to clog. Definitely worth the €12 I spent on it though!

I’ve since used the Clarke quite a bit in situations where the Burke is a bit too loud. Perhaps the Clarkes are as variable as Generations in terms of quality?

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Pat.

My sense is like everything else, manufacture has gone off shore- if not for the entire whistle, probably the plastic fipple. Chinese slave labor can turn plastic ‘widgets’ and such in profuse numbers at little cost.

With that comes little or no quality control, especialy when the sales people are trying to buy them for a penny a piece and sell them for $5 to $10. (I am in the US. I don’t know what the euro price is- I was surprised at some of the cost numbers quoted here in the euros- That 12 euros is worth $18 or $19 here i think and we are still selling the cheapies under $10)

That’s why the Burkes and Dixons are so much above the rest. They are made by people who know/care about what they are doing.

Part of the blame lies though with Generations and Clarkes. If they are making the business decision to off-shore a key part like the fipple, or the whole whistle for that mattter, they should have tight specs in their contract or someone on-shore checking the product they send out to the stores or fulfill on line.

the 21st Century economy.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?



Posted .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Susato’s are highly recommended by whistle players I know, especially for the nice high B they get where the Burke can be a bit more shrill sounding.
http://www.susato.com/konakart/SelectCat.do?catId=144&prodsFound=71&category=Kildare
These look like what I see some of my friends playing.
Major disadvantage is that they don’t have the volume of Burke whistles so at a loud session they may not make much of an impression

Posted by .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I like Susatos in the keys below D, but I have a D Susato that’s louder and harsher than my Burke (I was playing a Burke when I visited your session a few weeks ago, Paudy).

I once played a high B on my Susato and wiped out the entire bat population of Athlone…

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

There certainly shouldn’t be a problem with the volume of Susato whistles. They are generally quite loud. I have one that I used before I got the Burke. They are perfectly reasonable whistles although the sound is not to everyone’s taste. They are in tune with themselves although mine was not always in tune with the session and I couldn’t sharpen it enough to make it in tune. That may have been more to do with my blowing than the whistle though. Cross fingering works very well on them.

I know a few whistle players who recommend them, particularly for beginners and Cormac Breatnach plays lots of Susatos.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

oh noooo dont give beginners a susato! they are the loudest feckin whistle out there, that IS the problem with susatos!! IMO a dangerous weapon only suited to the expert.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Susatos are the sound of pain

Posted .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Is this possibly the first thing that you two have EVER agreed on? Wow. I am glad I could bring you together. :-)

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Cover yer dogs ears if the kid plays the susasto.

I only started using one after I learned on a good whistle. they are loud and clear.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I was asked by a person with severe hearing deficit if I wouldn’t mind not playing the top notes on a Susato as they were too loud for their hearing aids…and this in a village hall at a clog morris practise.
‘Sound of pain’ I should coco…but like anything else it’s all in the hands of the musician.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

"loud and clear"? So is a feckin fog horn.

Posted .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Another sign of the apocolypse arriving in 2012—llig and piobagusfidl agree on something. Be afraid!

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Get ready for it: I also detest the susato. I had an early one, and the thing was not only piercingly loud and abrasive in its sound, it was also unredeemably out of tune. I suppose maybe they’ve got the tuning down by now, but they’re still hellish to hear.

They might be useful for buskers, but that’s about it.

And to put the cap on the joke, if I remember right they don’t get much volume advantage in the lower end, where you need it. All of the whistles I know except for the wood-plug clarkes can be heard fine in the upper range. It’s the bottom end that’s the problem…

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Cheers all! Way too many to reply to, but I’ll hope to digest all..

Thanks again,
Tim

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Hey hang on, let me be clear; Actually the susato is fine… in the right hands, its when its played by beginners in sessions it becomes the scourge of the divil. Jeez My street cred would be ruined were I to agree with llig and jon! ;-)

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

I’ve owned several Susatos. Bought them from George Kelischek himself in the early days of his whistle experimenting. They varied more than the tin whistles, but I had one or two that had a reasonable dynamic profile up and down the scale. Even so, I never could get used to that too-pure, piercing voice.

Grey Larsen endorsed them early on. I wonder if it was mainly for convenience in playing lots of gigs. Whistles can be tough to mic and mix, and a strong clear voice would be easier for the sound tech to handle. Or maybe he just likes it.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Maybe a susato is fine in the right hands, but I’ve never heard any decent whistle player play one. What might be the reason for that I wonder?

But at least we can agree to not recommend one to a beginner eh?

Posted .

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Yep. They take a lot of air and they are not the easiest whistle to play. IMO as a beginner you want to have a whistle that is pretty quiet because at times its good to be able fit in , blend, without disturbing other players . So it needs to be ‘in tune’ and ideally an adjustable volume.

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

@crackpipe: Adjustable volume? I’d love to see that. Where do you suppose I could find a tinwhistle with adjustable volume?

(but… this one goes to eleven…)

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Okay, that’s cute. Can’t say I’m really taken by the sound on the clips, but yes, that’s a whistle that claims to have a volume knob.
I suppose wonders will never cease, after all.
(Is that really what the beginner needs, though? What about a simple Sweetone/Meg/Woodstock/whatever they’re called this week?)

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

Cheers Jon

You’re the first to pick up on this, after many, but yes, it has adjustable sound. The positive, from a beginners level maybe, is that you can play it almost silent. Good for late night practice without annoying the neighbours!

Tim

PS. I’ve no links whatsoever with Parks Whistles, apart from I’m current playing one

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

…and good for picking up tunes without annoying the session!

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Llig

my point exactly. That was not a compliment in my post

Re: Best Beginners Whistle?

<<Maybe a susato is fine in the right hands, but I’ve never heard any decent whistle player play one. What might be the reason for that I wonder?>>

Maybe you dont get out much? after all dont you just play in one session a week? in one town in Scotland? or do you get out more than that? I can tell you now that at least one top class whistler plays susato’s.