Low D whistle for smaller hands

Low D whistle for smaller hands

I’m looking into buying a low d whistle, and was wondering if anyone knew which ones are a bit better for small hands? I’ve played around on two different ones before, and was able to reach on one but not the other.

Ta!

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

You really expect to be able to play an instrument after "playing around" on it for a bit?

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Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

I don’t think he implied that, llig. I didn’t infer it from his post, anyway.

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

*he (or she)
*his (or her)

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

I have small hands as well and haven’t found a low D whistle I couldn’t comfortably play using a pipers-style grip. What sort of issues did you have with the two you previously tried?

I have no ergonomic issues playing my current Copeland low D or the Burke low D I previously owned.

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

just duck tape the top and bottom holes but don’t flatten them or sharpen them, i have small hands and so needed to cut the reach too

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I have many years of experience on an open-holed instrument,
but I can’t ‘play around’ on any low whistle. If I ever buy one,
I’ll have to practice doing piper’s grip. I suspect it will be the same
for you, baobhanta. When I started on flute, it took a few months
until I could stretch my right hand enough for a ‘normal’ grip,
but low whistle spacing is even worse.

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Well, the Walt Sweet (not Ralph) Onyx has much closer spacing on the lower hand and the ability to rotate the upper and lower hand sections to get the best match for the user.

That said though I do think the learning pipers grip will make any Low D work for most folks. Check out what is said at Chiff and Fipple about all of that.

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don’t certain makers of low whistles have whistles that are specially made for people with smaller hands?

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I have yet to run across a low D I couldn’t play in pipers grip. It did take me a while to get used to pipers but it’s worth taking the time to learn it.

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Eh, my problem with low whistles isn’t reach, but the fact my fingers are too skinny to cover the holes properly. I’ve not been able to figure that one out yet :/

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

Eat more? 😉 If I remember correctly a Copeland low D has somewhat smaller holes than the big bore aluminum whistles like a Goldie or Overton. Michael - if you’re still reading this thread can you confirm?

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I think you’re right, but even those aren’t a problem for me.

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I just think people allow themselves to be defeated far to easily. It can take a while to be able to cover the holes properly on an Overton low D, by properly, I mean an air tight snap shut every time and really, this has nothing to do with your hand or finger size, it’s just practice. I’ve heard skinny 12 year old girls with tiny skinny hands play Overton low Ds with ease.

And sure, there are Low D makers who pander to the self defeatists and make inferior instruments where the holes are to small.

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Perhaps I am "self defeatist" (we already knew that), but the two reasons I gave up on low D whistles and decided to stick to high D ones and the pipes was (a) like snowy owl said, I found the holes too big to be easily covered by my small fingers and (b) even using a piper’s grip, I found the stretch quite extreme and restricted the movement of fingers on the bottom three holes, as my hands could not physically be relaxed and still hold the instrument and cover all holes.

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You mean your hands could not physically be relaxed when you first tried it. I remember that feeling well.

And I remember trying to get a note out of my mates pipes too.

And the first time I put a fiddle under my chin and tried to scape it.

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I owned and played one for about two years. I never got the freedom of movement in those bottom two holes that I had with the pipes, nor the ability to play it without getting sore forearms and wrists from the stretch. The best thing that ever happened was that I drunkenly left it in a pub during Willie Week and never bought another one.

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I think I was probably playing the fiddle for at least a couple of years before it felt comfortable

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Some people get injuries from getting used to things that really are not good for their bodies. They say that soreness has a purpose. How much time does it have to be taking to get used to something before it is sensible to move on the something else instead ? It gets harder as you get older.

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Dunno the answer to that. But footballers get injured all time, should we ban football? Or just ban football for old people? My father-in-law was told to stop playing football when he was forty or he’d be crippled. He carried on til he was 50 and now he’s crippled. There’s no moral there … except that he’s not allowed to whine about it, of course.

I think it’s sensible to allow the individual to decide whether they want to be sensible,

Should we compel Liz Carroll to stop playing the fiddle with a bent wrist so she avoids getting that carpel tunnel thing?

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"I think it’s sensible to allow the individual to decide whether they want to be sensible" So no pressure on people who decide sore arms are a signal to stop then ?

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Yeah, absolutely. It’s up to you if you think it’s worth it, that’s what I’m saying. You set your own standard on where you allow yourself to be defeated. All I’m saying is that most people just don’t make enough of an effort at anything really. And so the plethora of mediocrity.

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"there are Low D makers who pander to the self defeatists and make inferior instruments where the holes are to small."

Is there a problem with the holes being too small? all it does is decrease the volume as far as I know. If someone want’s to play a quiet instrument, let them do it! there’s no problem with that. From what it looks like to me, you’re saying that we should ban all gadgets or gizmos, or whatever, that make life easier.

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I then started learning the freakin’ pipes, for feck’s sakes. I don’t think you can really accuse me of being too easily defeated, Michael. Deciding the low whistle wasn’t the right instrument, but others are, is not being defeatist.

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

So I am a girl and I have tiny hands (5’3’ etc). I like the low D sound better. I bought a "Mountain Made" Pvc whistle from the The whistle smith and it fits my hands, I’ve learned to play it fairly well in just a few weeks, but it is breathy!!! I bought a Dixon Low D hoping it would sound better- and guess what? It does! A lot better!

but….. I can only play the last keyhole with my pinky. I read this thread and I understood the debate, as I am internally having the same debate myself. Reteach myself to play with my pinkie (it can be done and it doesn’t seem too awkward) or lay the breathy one comfortably. I would be interested in the exact spacing on some of these as the Mountain Made on measures 2 3/4 between holes 4-6 and the Dixon measure 3 1/4…. big difference!!!

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I take that back… after playing with it for the last hour, I play better with my pinky. My conclusion is that it will take extra work, but if you experiment with alternate finger positions, you can most likely find something that works.

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I realize this is an old thread, but I found a solution for myself with my small hands on the Low D whistle. There is a man in Brasstown, North Carolina, a George Kelishek, at Susato.com who will customize his low D whistles to anyone’s hands. The whistles are PVC, but they have a nice rich tone. He attached keys to the top of the whistle for me so that I can cover the holes almost as easily as a standard sized D whistle. I have had mine for about a year and have really enjoyed playing it. As I recall the whole thing with the keys cost around $180; but it’s worth it after struggling for years trying to reach the holes on a brass low D I bought 20 years ago. If anyone is interested let me know; I’ll try to post something on YouTube; and there are some demos of it on Kelishek’s web site.

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Yes, drbyrnes, I’d like to see your demo videos of the Susato Low D whistle with keys. I’ve been considering buying one of these. MountainMade asks you to indicate if you are left or right handed for their ‘easy fingering’ whistles. I just bought a Dixon low D and don’t recall a left or right handed option. Hope I didn’t get the wrong one as I just realized I am left handed!

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I have a Burke low D Viper, and the bottom end of the whistle is a separate section that can be rotated so that the last hole for the lowest note doesn’t have to be in a strait line with the other holes, and can be reached more easily by someone with smaller hands

Now I didn’t buy it for that feature, I bought it because it was loud, but its a pretty interesting bit of craftsmanship and would probably be a great feature for folks with smaller hands that like the sound of a low D whistle

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Walt Sweet offers his Onyx Low D with an easy reach option, also. I love mine.

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i`d say, loads of practice required. i have small hands and used to play flute but illness stopped that. I got a generation low D whistle and kept at it, piper style. always conscious that i need to spread my fingers more.
slow tunes come easier but reels and jigs take constant practice and not to be played too fast. generally, slower tunes sound great in the lower octave but its harder to play reels and jigs in the upper octave. the fingers get tired…that`s why i think lot of practivce is needed…don`t give up. i have always played the regular tin whistle and now combine both at sessions. definitely, the piper`s grip is the one…i did try a type of compromise, using the flute style but not great..had more success with the piper`s grip, available on youtube.

Re: Low D whistle for smaller hands

actually, it was a chieftain low whistle in D not a generation…sorry.