Suggestions for a tin whistle

Suggestions for a tin whistle

I want to buy a beginner tin whistle as a Christmas present. I’d like to buy something a step above the entry level whistles for a fiver. Any suggestions?

Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

or €25 from the man himself.

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Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

Yep. Cheaper from him. Easier for me, here in the UK, to get from Big Whistle. Either way, it’s bloody good value and top quality, in my book. 🙂

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Needless to say, you might also want to consider a Freeman tweaked whistle. His Mellow Dog and Bluebird are fantastic options for the money, and are easily available thru his e-bay store.

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Tony Dixon High D brass - can’t go wrong. It’s loud enough for sessions whilst still sounding sweet. £16

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I used to love Dixon whistles, but I went off ‘em. Not enough meat. Not enough chiff. Too pure; too quiet; not piercing enough.

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Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

Horses for courses? "Piercing" is great for a big session—but maybe not so great, for a beginner playing alone in a small room. Although I suppose you can always mute it by covering part of the blowhole with something. Or just blow over the top of the fipple, for near-silent playing.

Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

I use a Feadog whistle, and it’s fine for me. However, I’m not much of a whistle player, the flute is my "biggy" right now. I’m not sure if the Feadog falls into the category of "entry level" but it works well. It’s a bit quite in sessions, but it can still be heard. I also second the recommendation for Jerry Freeman Tweaked whistles. I’ve tried some of them, and they are phenomenal. I can’t speak for any of the others though.

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I vote for the Dixon, too. The trad brass one, lovely sound, chiffy enough in my opinion.

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Jerry Freeman tweaked. Jerry Freeman tweaked. Jerry Freeman tweaked.

Either the Blackbird, or my favorite, the wider-bodied Mellow Dog.

Blackbird:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Freeman-Tweaked-Whistle-Blackbird-D-Tin-Penny-LISTEN-/271103747312?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f1f0ae4f0

Mellow Dog:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Freeman-Tweaked-Whistle-Mellow-Dog-D-Tin-Penny-LISTEN-/281016239414?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416ddf8536

Sound clips for each are on the pages.

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I reckon, in terms of tweaked whistles, that if I’d only played a Freeman, then I’d be ecstatic about them too. But I have Freeman whistles and, in my opinion, the Ó Briain knocks them into a cocked hat. Same general kind of playing characteristics, mind. Just better. But it may be personal taste.

Mind you, I think it might depend where you’re living and/or travelling. This side of the big pond, I’d buy an Ó Briain - ‘tother side, I’d probably buy a Freeman.

But better than any, of course, are one or two of my plain, untweaked, battered old Generations. And I’ve heard plenty of newer ones that are just as good.

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Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

Like I always say on threads like this, I have always been happy with a plain old unmodified Clarke whistle, the kind with a wooden fipple. Too many people focus far too much on the whistle, when most of the quality of the playing comes from the musician.

Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

Freeman whistles.
O’Brien whistles.
Dixon’s Trad.
Parks whistles.
Guido Gonzatos whistles.
Impempe whistles.
Hoover whistles.

BigWhistle.com would be a good source for most of these.
Any would be an excellent choice for a beginner.

Cheap Generations, Feadogs, or Clares aren’t bad either.

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I’ve owned a tweaked O’Briain, and it was a great whistle.

My new favorite is a tweaked Clare 2 piece from Jerry Freeman…love the tone. Not the loudest whistle, but by god that’s often a very good thing. Everyone thinks they need a loud whistle, but you walk away from the session and the damn whistles stalk you like a bill collector - seriously, they’re louder than a fiddle from a distance. That sound carries, and if you disagree…I’ll play a 3rd octave D on my Susato at you.

Eric

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I never played the O’ Briain before. But, the best one I’ve played that’s a "step anove an entry" is the Freeman Bluebird. I also own all three blackbirds, and the only one of those I really play a lot is the Eb.

I have to say, I was extremely surprised by how good the bluebird is for the price. I can’t imagine finding a better whistle for under 30$ USD.

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The real question though, if it’s a gift, is do *you* want to find the best whistle for your friend at this time or do you get a decent Generation & have your friend sort out a better whistle after playing for a while. Gifts can be tricky.
Cheers!

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Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

ethical blend, I’ve got an Ó Briain tweaked and a Jerry Freeman Blackbird, and I vastly prefer the Blackbird. Really, the only thing that stops the Blackbird from being my all-time favorite D whistle is it’s kind of quiet for playing at a session — but that means it’s perfect for playing at home.

That said, I certainly don’t think an Ó Briain would be a bad choice for a pure beginner, and lots of people seem to think the Blackbird is less forgiving than Freeman’s other tweaked whistles, which might make it more awkward for a beginner.

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JERRY FREEMAN TWEAKED - that should do ya!
Cayden

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Yes everyone has different tastes; my favourite high D is the Feadog which I’ve been playing since around 1980, and I tried a Freeman Tweaked Feadog which plays very close to it.

If I ever misplaced my trusty old Feadog I’d buy a Freeman Feadog straight away.

I did buy an off-the-shelf Generation D around five years ago that was very very good. Some will barely play.

Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

Looking at the title of the thread, I’m so pleased that they don’t play whistle on Vulcan or the suggestions may have been unprintable.

My top choice in the price range you are talking would be the Freeman Blackbird. Having said that, his tweaked Generations (Bluebirds) have a lot of fans but I don’t own one myself (I’m trying to give up buying whistles).

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Jerry Freeman stopped tweaking Feadogs some time back,
and so those are only availible on the used market.
But, they are not often seen.
I got on of the last ones sold retail, and to be honest I like
Freemans Bluebirds and Mellowdogs a little better.
Maybe these are just more forgiving for beginners.

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Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

I’ve got a Blackbird too, Sol. I never play it any more. It’s easy to play, I just can’t be bothered. I just play my old-version Reyburn session model high D, if I want a cannon, and otherwise the Ó Briain.

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Re: Suggestions for a tin whistle

By the way… "entry level whistle" may be a slightly misleading term. That’s the fine thing about whistles - cheap ones don’t necessarily have to be bad ones, which have to be replaced by more expensive ones when you’re getting better. You can stay with a Generation (or a Clarke, for that matter) your whole life long. Mary Bergin. Just saying.

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Sorry for a tad off topic,but- Doesn’t Mary Bergin switch to playing sindts now, or am I mistaken? I am not sure if she plays them in addition to her usual generations, or if she switched to them completely, but she does indeed play sindts, at least for some period of time not long ago she did, if not currently.

Also, I will add that the bluebird is a huge improvement on the blackbird. They sound very close, but the bluebird is less stubborn regarding breath control. I do rank these up there with my more expensive whistles, so I agree with megapop’s point about price being irrelevant.. to a certain point, at least.

However, I do also think that the main reason a tweaked whistle is a better choice than getting a generation (or similarly produced whistle) from the start, is because you eliminate the chance of getting a whistle that is no good, due to manufacturing defects resulting from a poor quality control.. and quality control is undoubtedly a common variable that effects what kind of whistle you’ll be getting if you buy a generation without trying it. I would not be surprised if many of the well known players who prefer generations have done at least some sort of slight alteration to the whistle. Either that, or fished around until they found a good one to use. I could be wrong about that , though, so don’t quote me! It’s really hard to tell sometimes, because of who is the person playing it!

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The O’Briain tweaked whistles are excellent (I’ve owned two over the years) but they do require some breath control so may not be ideal for a beginner. The tweaked Freeman Generation whistles I’ve owned have been great and are more forgiving to play. I think they are the best deal out there for a great playing less expensive whistle.

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