Shearwater Low Whistles

Shearwater Low Whistles

Does anyone have any experience with the "Shearwater" Low whistles? I’m looking into purchasing one. Does anyone know if they’re any good? And if any one has any advice on what brand of low whistles to buy/not buy, that would be helpful! Thanks! Moran taing,
Rose

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Hmm! No answers yet! Not that I want to buy one myself, but I’m interested in knowing these things. i looked at the site after reading this post and I think what disturbed me was the reassurance given by the maker that you shouldn’t be concerned if every not is not quite in tune, and that it’s "the nature of the beast’. sure All whistles have their temperaments, but this statement by itself would make me doubtful of buying one. i’ve not come across another maker that makes this ‘excuse’. I may well be wrong, because I’m more of a fiddle player than a whistler, but I’m pretty sure that my Cheiftains are accurate, and my low D, wooden whistle that I bought from Garvie Bagpipes is, according to my electronic tuner, perfect (though it’s a conical bore). Other whistle players please tell me what you think. How normal is this in actuality? I personally wouldn’t want to buy a whistle when the maker says it is likely not relatively fairly note perfect.

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Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Gobby, whistle tuning is always a compromise. A lot of whistles need some variance in pressure here or there somewhere along the scale if you want it very well in tune. Balancing the tuning of the octaves with one another is a bit of a .. well, balancing act. I must say, though, the chieftains I’ve played needed a bit more "compensating" with breath pressure in certain areas than a lot of other makes of low whistles, though they likely vary from one to the next. One’s perception of this may also depend on how personally strict one is with the tuning of their instruments, regarding whether or not it sounds acceptable or in-tune to them, or not. A whistle isn’t a push-button instrument, after all, and often different whistles need played quite differently to get the tuning right. So, there is the matter of whistles being in tune, and the matter of players being in tune.

I do concur that it does seem a bit of a red flag that the maker mentions it, though, as it makes it seem like it might be a bit more out of the ballpark compared to what might be considered a reasonable deviation from spot-on tuning, if there was any need to specifically mention it. I have no idea, though, as I’ve not played them. The maker of those whistles did mention on Facebook that many people remark on how well in-tune they are… FWIW.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

And then there’s the whole can of worms regarding different tuning schemes. To give him the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible that he’s simply had to many arguments on the subject, and is not particularly adept at PR. I may be curious enough to try one of his whistles out at these prices.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Thanks for your comments Christopher and Cheeky. It’s much what I thought. And certainly I agree Christopher that Chieftain’s need a bit of compensation. They are great but you have to bend with each whistle. Good on the maker of Sheerwater for being so honest, but his (?) honesty put me in a bit of doubt, as it may well do to others who don’t know the brand.

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Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

I must add that I listened to the sample tunes on the site and yes, they sound great. Also, despite what I said in the first place, one of the things I first loved about the whistle is the requirement to compensate. I just don’t think, after reading Christopher and Cheeky’s views, that the maker is doing him/her self any favours by spelling this out so much.

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Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

No experience with Shearwater whistles, and I’d love to hear reviews if any of you get one.

About tuning, different makers have different notions of what the octave relationship should be, but as long as they’re within a certain range of tuning all can be easily blown into tune by the player.

For me, I don’t want a whistle that has a bad scale and requires airstream gymnastics to force it into tune. I want to be able to play from Bottom D up to B in the 2nd octave, on an even airstream, and have the needle stay straight up. Most good Low Ds are like that. Especially telling is "going over the break", for example playing B>d>e on an even breath: all three should be in tune.

When I say "even breath" of course you have to increase the strength to get into the 2nd octave but it’s far better if this is an even progression.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Yeah, he doeth protest a bit too much for his own good. Still, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on an alloy F. I have been trying to decide on a low F by one of the well known makers, but frankly I’m paralyzed by indecision in the face of all the choices and preferences and opinions out there with no way to try a bunch out at once, and am a fairly crap whistler who should be working on his fiddling anyhow.

BTW Gobby, I just looked at the wooden low D by Garvie Bagpipes, and it is gorgeous!

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

About Low D Whistle makers, it’s hard to beat Colin Goldie. His whistles combine excellent tuning, a strong bellnote, good volume, nice tone, better-than-average ergonomics (hole spacing), and the best air-efficiency of any of the 20 or so makes of Low D’s I’ve tried.

My current favourite to play is my Lofgren. It performs very much like my Goldie, but has a sweeter/easier/lighter 2nd octave, yet has an even stronger bellnote, and a more complex tone. Drawbacks are slightly less air-efficiency and a bit more widely-spaced finger holes.

My other favourite is the MK which has a gravelly complex tone like no other, and has good volume, good efficiency, and an easy 2nd octave. Drawbacks are a slightly sharp 2nd octave which takes getting used to, and a touchy bellnote. Also various MKs I’ve owned vary in their approach to the D-d (bellnote>Middle D) tuning, some having an in-tune Middle D but a flat bellnote, others having an in-tune bellnote but a sharp Middle D. Except for the D-d oddity the tuning of the scale is excellent.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

It’s certainly true that whistle tuning is a compromise… it simply *is* the nature of the beast. And I think it’s quite refreshing to see a maker acknowledging this, rather than boldly stating they’re offering whistles which are "perfectly in tune" or the like. It just shows that he might actually know what he’s doing.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Thank you all for the comments! I’m definitely going to be looking in the Shearwater brand a little bit more before I would make a purchase. Thanks again! :)
Rose

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Shearwater Whistles
http://www.shearwaterwhistles.com/

MK Whistles
http://mkwhistles.com/mkshop/

Colin Goldie
http://www.colingoldie.de/

MK Pro Low D and Shearwater Low D (Together at last)- Comparison
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS2LaSwEnU0

Published on Feb 4, 2013
Just got a new MK whistle and thought I’d do a quick video playing both side by side.

Goldie Low D and Shearwater Low D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksD6nhVb1Sk


Chiff & Fipple Discussions - Shearwater Whistles
http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=74817

Also mentioned ~ wooden low D by Garvie Bagpipes
http://www.garviebagpipes.co.uk/
http://www.garviebagpipes.co.uk/info/whistle/whistle.html

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Gobby, if the random buyer checks a whistle againsta a standard guitar tuner then it will be out of tune in relation to that tuner and system ET But in tune in relation to just intonation and perfect intervals.i have a hunch that this is what the maker means ….. Cheers
My next whistle is going to be a low C from Hammy Hamilton i think. :-)

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

Having just received my Shearwater F and played a few tunes on it my initial impression is that these whistles are a tremendous value. It’s not very loud (which is fine by me) and it has a lovely chiffy voice. Really, it sounds just like I think a whistle should. I like the balance between the octaves and the high ‘a and b’ don’t jump out at me. It passes my Fred Finn’s test with flying colors. The tuning seems fine to me, and I don’t plan to play it into a tuner. I’m looking forward to getting to know this whistle better, and I would not hesitate to pick up another Shearwater in another key.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

I have a Shearwater Piper’s Low A and I am getting to love it the more I play it. Its a lot louder than other whistles I have, but its as easy to play as you could want, and requires less breath than some of the Soprano D’s. The second octave is easy to reach. The only adverse comment I would make is that if you have small hands like I have, you may find the placement of the holes a bit further apart than say on a Dixon Low G, and its certainly heavier than the rolled metal Soprano D whistles like the Clarkes and the Generations. FWIW, I’m happy enough with it to consider a Soprano D with the extra C to add to my collection as I love the mellow sound it makes. I have no problems with it sounding out of tune and I think the maker is refreshingly honest about what can be done as regards the tuning, and it is simple enough to adjust your playing to keep it in tune when the weather plays up. Someone else may get different mileage out of one but I am in Australia and it works well for me with our extremes of weather, and my playing style.

Re: Shearwater Low Whistles

I have to wait until after the holidays to receive mine, but I ordered a low D, alto G, and he has what he calls a soprano recorder whistle, that is available. This one I’m very excited about because it uses recorder fingering, but it is loud like a good whistle. There are sound clips on YouTube of one other person playing it, and it does sound quite loud, louder than my Mollenhauer Dream recorder, which is considered loud for a recorder. I’m pretty much resigned to doing the piper’s grip on the two low whistles I’m getting.

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