Do you play a non-tunable low D?
I got very lucky recently and bought my husband a set of 3 low whistles through Facebook for a great price. One was a plastic Fidgin Fain, one a Shearwater and the other an old handmade Chieftain. Hubby got very fond of the Chieftain one in particular. (The Shearwater is gorgeous too though!) The only potential problem either of us could see with any of the whistles is that none of them are tunable.
So we decided to sell on the whistles and use the money to buy a new tunable Chieftain, and it seemed the Thunderbird was the modern equivalent. Well, thank goodness we had only sold the Fidgin Fain before we bought the new one, because it arrived today, and it’s kinda crap! You have to suddenly blow way harder to move up the octave, whereas on the old one you don’t have that sudden change in air flow. The sound quality isn’t as good as the old one either, and if anything, the holes are less comfortable to cover. So it looks like we’ll be returning this one.
The striking differences between the old handmade one and the new machine made one leads me to ask: how important is tunability in a low D whistle? My husband’s high D is a tunable Killarney whistle but we figure the high D would sound particularly jarring out of tune, whereas maybe the deep sound of a low D won’t be so bad if it’s not exactly the same as the instruments around it? We’ve played together to try that out and I don’t notice myself having to make big adjustments to my intonation on the fiddle. Is he better off just keeping the gem of a whistle he’s got hold of even though it’s not tunable? Will it be ok to play it in a session?