Price and variety of used low whistles?

Price and variety of used low whistles?

I received a pennywhistle as a gift and I’m hooked. Such a great instrument to pick up for 10 minutes at a time multiple times a day between other work so I’ve made pretty good progress in a short time. It provides me a great outlet for making music after having had to give up guitar and concertina due to severe arthritis in my neck, back, and shoulders. Now I want to move on to low whistles because I like the deep, haunting sound.
What would be a reasonable price for decent used low whistles? I’m thinking I’d way rather aluminum than plastic and pondering whether to try to start with a G or F or dive right into a low D.
Any thoughts from folks who’ve been doing this for years instead of months?
Cheers.
Dawn

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Welcome Dawn! Here’s a start… https://www.irishflutestore.com/ Also Kerry Whistles has just introduced a ew line of reasonably affordable aluminum low whistles called Optima. I have a D which I rather like.

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

> Any thoughts

Basically, if you want to play traditional music with others, a low D whistle is far and away the most useful.

People often like F whistles as a "solo" instrument, as it is low enough to sound nice but high enough to be fast and responsive to play. My personal view is a G whistle would be less useful.

One thing to remember is that a lot of the sound of low whistles is due to lots of reverb and recording trickery, and it doesn’t necessarily have that cosmic honk in person.

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Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

I play a low G , good for mixing with singers . Fairly sociable as fiddlers etc can just play a string down. Like a viola. Couldnt be bothered with the low D . I mainly play a C whistle from Olivier Bouchard.

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Finger stretch may be a problem on low whistle. Will a good Bflat whistle do for your solo playing?

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Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

If we’re talking professional quality Low D Whistles, I’ve bought and sold dozens of them in a quest for the best Low D whistle I can find.

With the alloy/aluminium ones (the ones I tend to prefer) I’ve bought and sold Low Ds from MK, Reviol, Lofgren, Overton, Goldie, Reyburn, Burke, Chieftain, and I can’t remember what else. (I kept a Goldie Low D and sold all the rest.)

They can usually be had in the $200-300 range.

As I’ve said before, I much prefer buying used Low Whistles because I can play them for as long as I like, then if I don’t want to keep them I can sell them for around the same price I bought them for. (There’s no difference in value between a 4 year old instrument and a 5 year old instrument, giving you a year of free rental.)

I’ve also bought a few wooden Low Ds which go for quite a bit more money depending on maker. (I’ve not cared for any of them.)

Yes Low D is the most useful Low Whistle key. It plays the same notes as the Irish Flute and works great in ITM sessions.

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Thanks for the welcome and replies, everyone. I’ve begun the process of researching the info you’ve given me here.

I’m nowhere near accomplished enough to be playing with anyone else; it’s something I would quite enjoy at some point but I lack both skill and confidence yet.

Being in Canada makes it all more tricky. Really the only way to get ahold of whistles seems to be to order them online so there’s no try before you buy. The cost of shipping is one thing but we’re also met with what can amount to pretty unpredictably stiff import duties so there’s that as well. It seems to be all in which border inspector happens to inspect the package; I’ve ordered the same or very similar items from the US at different times to sometimes have no duty at all applied and other times, such steep duty that I’ve refused the package and had it sent back.

That said, I may have found a line on some used Chieftan whistles so I’m going to follow that lead for now. I guess I’ll sort out pretty quickly if I can manage the stretch or not and as you’ve said, I guess if the whistle doesn’t suit me, I can always offer it back up for sale.

Meantime, I also managed to connect with someone who’s steered me in the direction of a couple of meetups in some local pubs so at least I can go out and listen and tap along.

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Wee word of warning: I don’t know what they are like now, but I had a Chieftain low whistle for a short time. It was chronically flat and not tunable, which wasn’t an ideal combination, plus reaching the holes was a b**ch. Best thing I ever did was get hammered enough at Willie Week to accidentally leave it in a pub.

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

I’ve always loved Chieftains and have never noticed any chronic tuning problems, but we all know how individual whistles can be. Having said that, the Low D’s could definitely be a challenge to small hands. Pipers grip is essential (though I now use that on any whistle. I find it much better, even on the high ones).

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Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

I’d had difficulty with stretch and hole-coverage on various low D whistles I’d tried (though I have average-sized hands and don’t have the same trouble with a flute). However, I came across - and subsequently acquired - a wooden low D made by Phil Bleasey, which I find a lot more manageable. Conical bore, tuneable, nice feel, falls under the fingers, and sounds very warm. Current advertised price ยฃ505.

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Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Errr … for ‘Bleasey’ read ’ Bleazey’. Sorry.

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Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

I’m a flutist but I’ve played a Chieftain low D that I really liked. Great tone and no tuning problems.
Chet (from Ontario, too)

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Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

I have an MK low D, which is tuneable, and has an absolutely lovely tone. Unfortunately I have problems with the stretch and am - very reluctantly - going to advertise it. Iโ€™m in the U.K., so not sure if I can help you in Canada given the duty situation

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Thanks, everyone. My cousin has secured a number of used Chieftain low whistles from a fellow who has given up on learning low whistle. Over the next week or ten days, I expect he will be forwarding to me an alto G and alto F. From there, hopefully, I’ll be able to sort how I do with the breath and reach required and then can sort if a low D is feasible. I’m looking forward to giving them a try and since what I’m doing at this point is playing on my own for my own pleasure, I’m not worried that they’re not tuneable (assuming they’re in tune with themselves!).

Last evening a small gang of us went out to a local Irish pub where the local Irish club meets for sessions. We couldn’t stay late, but what a lovely time we had listening while there. I can only imagine it will be some considerable length of time before I’ll be able to join in playing, but in the meantime, I’ve found a "clan" where I can at least live vicariously ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers.

Re: Price and variety of used low whistles?

Alas, the whistles arrived yesterday afternoon! Apparently there was a bit of a misunderstanding; I thought it was a 5 whistle set of Chieftain V3’s and it’s turned out to be a non-tuneable low G and low F, and then a set of tuneable low E, low Eflat, and low D with three collars and a single fipple. So what we originally thought was a set of 5 whistles is… almost 5 whistles? ๐Ÿ˜‰ All this to say the the three lowest cannot be broken up and I now understand why the seller said they had to sell together. I will not complain about not sharing.

I’ve had some success with the G and F. Interestingly, the F actually seems to come easier to me than the G; it’s easier to cover the holes, but also doesn’t seem to take as much air; I’m not sure there’s any logic to that? The stretch on the lowest three whistles is a struggle but I shall persist. I assume the longer I work with the G and F, the easier it will be to attain success with the others.

There are two what I assume are minor issues with the whistles. The first is that one of the collars seems seized to the fipple, or at least my arthritic hands cannot remove it; the second is that one of the corks is very worn. I’m assuming both these issues should be fairly easy to fix?

Now…back to practicing how to relax my hands and fingers because the death grip that seems natural to me just results in squawks and when I can relax, it actually sounds quite lovely. ๐Ÿ™‚