DIY neck support for Low D whistle

DIY neck support for Low D whistle

Having recently bought a fairly heavy (but great sounding) low D whistle, I looked for ways to provide support so that I could avoid finger fatigue (aka death grip) and give myself the best chance of improving the accuracy and speed of my fingering. After trawling through many website products (thumb rests, etc.,) and online discussions, I came up with this simple solution and thought to share it.

I put two 18 x 3.5 mm O-rings on the body of the whistle about 4cm up from the top finger hole. Before I put the O-rings on, I used a third ring, slightly larger at 22 x 3.5mm, which I threaded round the smaller rings and then through itself, thus securing the two together, providing a loop. I then slid the whole caboosh on to the whistle as mentioned.

To look at the whistle now, all you see from the front is the double band of the two smaller O-rings, just up from the top hole. The loop is round the back of the whistle. No damage to the surface of the whistle at all, and quite secure.

I used a cord which is about the length of the whistle to make a loop to go around my neck and through the O-ring loop on the whistle. I was lucky to have a plaited nylon cord with a hook fastener which was just the right length for the neck cord (- you will need to experiment with the length of this cord - start with a longer piece and cut as needed). A piece of ribbon or smooth nylon cord/string, would do just as well, and a plastic-coated paper clip would make a good hook. Rubber bands would do to replace the O-rings, though they wouldn’t look as quite as classy.

This arrangement works really well for me; an *immediate* improvement in ease of fingering and speed, and its way less obtrusive than a modified saxophone support. Hope this is helpful.

Re: DIY neck support for Low D whistle

If it works for you then great I guess. I have never really heard of the need expressed for such a device though and wonder if it is really going to be the solution it might first seem. Building finger strength is essential to this kind of instrument and many of the great players appear to be putting next to no effort into holding their instrument whilst seemingly lifting any and all fingers at will. The bottom hand thumb is the key to it all IMO and at first keeping the instrument still whilst attempting to move around the whistle with the other fingers is certainly a challenge to be risen to and can seem like a one sided battle at times. Once dexterity and strength has been sufficiently built up it is quite amazing how little effort it seems is required to pull it off. A light touch with strength is key to decent fingering and this is in simplest terms a body building exercise.

Re: DIY neck support for Low D whistle

I would have described the MK Pro as lightweight product (500g/7oz). The only heavy-(ish) Low-Ds are the brass ones like Burke Viper (10oz) - and if weight avoidance is concern the Burke aluminium Low-D is very light indeed (about 5oz).

Can’t really see what the purpose the neck strap serves with regard to reducing finger fatigue.

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Re: DIY neck support for Low D whistle

Valid comments, Steve. I’m at the stage with the low D where wrist pain and finger cramps are always in the wings because I don’t have the required strength yet. It will come, but in the meantime the support makes the process of getting clean notes out of the big tube (MK) much easier, and contributes to my motivation.

Re: DIY neck support for Low D whistle

Hmm. I find the right thumb is supporting a lot of weight when you’re playing a low whistle. I don’t play enough to get hand problems, but I think it’s bit more complicated than learning to relax. I certainly have an achey thumb after a big set.

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Re: DIY neck support for Low D whistle

Sounds like a good solution to me. I was unable to figure out how to hold on to my low whistle so I never play it.

Re: DIY neck support for Low D whistle

For more stability, I added a Susato clear plastic thumb rest to my low whistle (for lower hand). It feels a little like cheating, but it works for me.