Mk Low Whistle in D

Mk Low Whistle in D

I am looking to buy a MK low whistle in D. Is it a loud instrument to play in Sessions and a well balance low whistle with the 2 octave because i want to make a recording of laments. I have played in the past on an Overtone low D, Jackie Proulx low D and i have a Michael Burke Low D. Thanks, Daniel

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

I have played a friends MK in a session and I found it gets a bit lost. It is a fab whistle apart from that.
I recommend a Hammy Hamilton low D . You can play it "loudly " without losing tone quality.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

I’ll let you know. I’m about to order one in a week or so. I was told they are pretty good in sessions. They do not have as strong of a low D note as some others but the other notes can hold their own. I sold my Chieftain low D because it was drowned out in group settings. But was told the MK was one of the best. Just depends on what your looking for/ and can afford.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

My personal experience playing MKs in sessions of about 6-15 people: oh you can hear them alright, but not in an unpleasant way. They will stand out tone wise too as they have a reedy quality about them. However, if you are looking for that coveted "cosmic drainpipe" (echoey, loon like sound) sound on slow airs and laments, MK might not be what you are going for.

Fred Morrison is playing an MK in this clip.

http://youtu.be/qVztCC37wlc

Posted by .

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

i found those comments from some one who sell his HH low whistle in D . Here’s Doc Jones review about HH low D:

"The design of the headjoint is reminiscent of a Sindt in that the head itself is moved for tuning purposes. It has a unique, longish fipple with a curved windway. The tube and head are aluminum with the fipple being primarily delrin.
The whistle has moderate to low back pressure and a growly, wonderful, traditional sound. This is a wonderful whistle with rich, complex, undertones.
Hammy is a brilliant instrument maker and has added another winner to his line."

- Pipersgrip: "it is a very good whistle"

I totally agree with Doc and Pipersgrip: it’s great low D whistle, either for beginners or advanced players, easy to play, with lot of character and its own sound, which is complex and a bit breathy. The design of the head is very cool as well, and the tube is light. I used it for practicing because he’s quieter than my MK, especially on the upper notes of the 2nd octave (which are very easy to reach).

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Thanks for the infos, i forget to say that i am playing québécois music and it is less legato style than irish music !

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Fellow Low D players.

I have a cheap & cheerful Tony Dixon one-piece plastic whistle. I am happy with in sessions, it has a pleasantly ‘reedy’ voice, though the high notes can be a bit too breathy at times (that may well be my inexperience). The bigwhistle website is now selling a tapered bore version. Would anyone have encountered a tapered bore Low D? I expect it would have a softer sound than the straight bore, but I would like to hear of others experience before committing to buy.

Posted by .

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Madoc, I think Shaw do a low D with a tapered bore. I’ve never played or heard one though.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Cheers Colman. Someone, somewhere out there will have one!

Posted by .

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

"I am looking to buy a MK low whistle in D. Is it a loud instrument to play in Sessions and a well balanced low whistle with the 2 octave because I want to make a recording of laments. I have played in the past on an Overton low D, Jackie Proulx low D and I have a Michael Burke Low D."

I’ve not played a Proulx (?) or a Hamilton low d. I have owned Low Ds from around fifteen different makers and the loudest have been the Burke and the MK.

A certain volume differential is built into all Low Ds that no maker can eliminate, at least none has yet AFAIK. So even with the loudest, the low range is going to have less volume than a strongly played flute, while the high notes are going to be louder.

I think the only thing a Low D whistle designer can do to try to even out the volumes of the octaves somewhat is to do what Misha at MK has done: tune the 2nd octave a bit sharp, so that to play the octaves in tune you must blow the low octave as strongly as possible and blow the 2nd octave softly.

I’ve taken the Burke and the MK to the same session and they’re very similar overall regarding volume. The Burke is louder, too loud I think, on High A and High B, as loud as four or five flutes. Yet the low range is still lost somewhat.

The big advantage the Burke has is its very powerful Bottom D, stronger than most of the other notes. The weaknesses are a somewhat weak Low E, and big air consumption.

The advantages of the MK are the more smoothed-out volume over the whole range, the strong Low E, and the amazing air efficiency. (I can hold High B twice as long on the MK as on the Burke.) The weakness is a Bottom D that’s the same strength as all the other notes.

About tone, it’s all opinion of course, but the Burke has a clean pure tone and the MK has a dirty gravelly complex tone.

Then there’s the Overton. I’ve had a few different Overton Low Ds starting back around 1980. They’re hard to beat, with a wonderful complex tone, strong Bottom D, good overall volume, and so forth. The fact that their 2nd octave is tuned on the flat side means that the low octave has to be blown at less than its potential and the 2nd octave has to be strongly blown, to keep the two octaves in line. This increases the already existing volume differential between the octaves. The big advantage, seems to me, of the flatter 2nd octave is that you have a load of ‘room’ under the 2nd octave notes for expressive changes in the airstream. Since the MK’s 2nd octave has to be rather underblown, if you back off on the air the note drops to the low octave. The Burke has an interesting 2nd octave, where each note has a small window where it just pops out, but you don’t have much room to play around with the pitch either above or below the note. Overtons have an amazing amount of space both above and below the 2nd octave notes, and the pitch can be varied all over the place.

Also try a Reyburn. They’re every bit as good as the MK, Burke, and Overton, but unique of course, with a very special Native American Flute sort of tone like no other whistle.

No other Low D’s I’ve tried, except certain vintage Copelands, have been anywhere close to these. (But of course there are many makes out there I’ve not had the opportunity to try.)

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Thanks, Richard for those info.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

I bought an MK low D about six months ago and am very pleased with it. It is louder than the Ian Lamb one I have and has a more flutey sound to my ear. the Lamb one is softer and I often use it for slow airs or when playing at home, so as not to upset the house. Also the MK is less prone to clogging and the mouthpiece is more lip friendly for me.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Yes I didn’t even mention the clogging thing, which seems to be a bone of contention.
It seems to break down like this

-there are players who don’t get clogging on any whistle they play.

-there are players who admit that some whistles have more of a clogging issue than others, but claim that advanced players can overcome the problem (just how they do it is never shared). BTW videos of top professional Low Whistle players sometimes show them clearing the windway often as they play, so maybe there’s no mystery to it.

-there are players who admit that some whistles clog, but inhale through the mouthpiece which keeps the windway clear.

-there are players who admit that some whistles clog, but have ways to treat the whistle to lessen the problem, such as using dishwashing soap.

-there are players (like me) for whom some whistles immediately clog and are pretty much unplayable, while other whistles never clog.

For me, I can play a Burke or MK for hours with no problems. I clog Overtons in a matter of seconds.

I play Highland pipes and in that world everyone knows that there are "wet blowers" and "dry blowers" and they have different needs regarding the setup they use. For some reason in the whistle world this fact doesn’t seem to be acknowledged.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

I own Overtons / Goldies and two Mks and from experience I can say that Goldies are the most suitable for sessions volume wise !

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

The problem with low key whistles is the response time. I find it almost impossible to play fast tunes on these instruments, and they only sound when warm. The big bands use to keep them submerged in a bucket of hot water on stage. Get a decent whistle like a Chris Able in D and you’ll find the sound will carry above other instruments.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

Do you know John Dodd where i can listen to the sound of Hammy Hamilton Low D or Low C whistle, please ?

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

"I own Overtons / Goldies and two Mks and from experience I can say that Goldies are the most suitable for sessions volume wise"

Are the "Overton/Goldies" louder or more quiet than the MKs?

Different sessions are at different volumes, might be handy to have Low Ds at different volume levels. It’s why I kept the plastic Dixon Low D: it’s too quiet for most things, but sometimes the MK is too loud.

I’ve owned now five or six different MK Low Ds and they’ve varied. One of them had the loudest low range of any Low D which I’ve tried. But, I sold it and kept the one I play now, which doesn’t have quite the overall volume but has a bit stronger Bottom D and a bit sweeter High B.

Re: Mk Low Whistle in D

ric,

I do not think a low whistle is really an instrument for fast tunes. It is best for mellow slow airs & songs IMO.

Posted by .