Pickups for tin whistles?

Pickups for tin whistles?

This link was posted in another thread a few days ago
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rpfbh/DaFhillte_Episode_4/

In it is a shot of a whistle with what appear to be pick-ups wrapped round it. Is that what they are and if so how do they work? Also, given that it is a BBC recording, can mere mortals afford them?

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Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

BBC recordings make an instrument more expensive?

Pickups on a whistle is a neat idea, you could play while doing cartwheels for instance. Being careful to not land on its end and drive the thing through your brain, natch.

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Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

Microphones, surely? Something like the lapel microphones TV presenters use? Think these are called Lavalier mics or something close to that. No idea which model was used, but you could try asking Julie Fowlis (probably the whistle player you mentioned) on Facebook - she might remember!

Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

One of those fancy Y sticks that they use sometimes for supporting a rifle to keep it steady, like a handy tripod, only this could also double as a walking stick. Mind, you, the only whistles that might need such a support, that I can think of, would be like Colin Goldie’s bass G. I’ve had my hand on one of those, and would love to get one for myself, but it didn’t need a support, or a pickup to carry it from place to place. Mind you, it did take up the whole back seat of our Ford Focus…

For me, microphone-wise, quality of sound is far more important than portability, though there are some decent small mics too, if not cheap… Makes I’m experienced with and have enjoyed using ~ Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Shure, to list only a few. All have ‘lavalier’ microphones, including wireless setups. Going to their websites you’ll be able to see them and get a measure of their size. All these are also makes used by the BBC, and others… I agree with niall, likely a lapel/lavalier mic, of which there’s no shortage in the BBC’s arsenal of choices.

Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

Don’t have any makers name, but my flute and whistle-player in my band uses a small mike on a goose-neck with a small ring fitting on to the instrument. Point the mike at the embouchure and you’re away. A belt-fitting preamp and a long lead and you can dance all round the stage.

Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

Here is a link for something like what Pete is talking about. I’ve seen them too. We played a festival with my jazz trio and the group before us had a flute player using this kind of gear.

http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/flute-whistle-pickups-transducers

Barcus Berry also makes flute and woodwind transducers. The flute transducer might work for a low whistle, but it actually fits in the tube, so a high D whistle would be way too small

I bet if you scratched around a little you could find some other types, too

Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

The trouble with using a pickup right on the instrument itself it you need one for each different whistle you use on stage, which is expensive and takes up a lot of board space, or if you switch the same pickup between whistles that takes time between sets, time you usually don’t have.

When I was travelling with a Celtic folk/rock band, playing two different flutes and several different whistles, I used a headset mic such as a vocalist would use. The mic was on a little boom and you could adjust it to be right at the embouchure of the flutes, the "window" of the whistles. That headset mic worked great but I had to remember to turn it off (there was a waist pack with switches) when I wanted to chat with bandmates while on stage. And remember to turn it back on when it was time to play!

When I played Irish flute with a ceilidh band I used a Barcus Berry flute mic. You need to get the size intended for Boehm Alto flutes, which has the same OD as an Irish D flute on the head. That mic gave a fantastic sound.

Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

I like the idea too and always thought it would be great to move around freely. But really, unless you’re hopping and dancing around you’re generally restricted to a small area on stage. For the limited use and price I never really thought it was worth the extra expense.

I use a Shure sm57 mic for the whistle and concertina and even vocals and it always sounds good. Paid $100 for mine and it’s got a good 12 years on it and still going. Also easy to switch between instruments though if you’re only playing one whistle then that’s not your problem.

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Re: Pickups for tin whistles?

Thanks for all the input folks

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