Recommendations for high D whistles?

Recommendations for high D whistles?

Hi there. First of all I want to apologize in case this question was already made, I tried searching in the discussions but couldn’t find it.

I’ve recently bought a Susato Oriole Bb, but since most music I can find, specially for beginners, is for D whistles I’m considering to buy one. But the Susato are quite expensive for me now, so I want to consider others.

The cheapest and easiest one for me to find are the tin whistles of Féadog, but I’m not a big fan of how they sound, I find them too squeaky from what I saw in videos. I’m willing to pay a little more for a better whistle, preferable one that have a softer sound than the feádog ones. I saw a video with a high D Clarkle whistle and I liked the sound a lot but I also read that their whistle might be hard to maintain.

So do you guys have any suggestions for high D whistles?

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Yesss, the killarneys are the right thin for You. Great whistles for that price.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

I know it’s just personal preference, but I sure wish my Killarney sounded as good as it plays. You might love the sound though. I play my Dixon much more often. The one that TomB-R linked to is a very good whistle, but it might sound a little too rough for you. This one https://www.tonydixonmusic.co.uk/product/soprano-whistle-key-of-d-3/ has the same head and plays about the same, but has a much more smooth rounded tone.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

It sounds like a “Freeman tweaked whistle” is a good idea - if you’re looking for something lower in price but that is dependable….

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Clarke is a great soft and mellow whistle that needs little maintenance. It’s not tunable so playing with others might not sound quite right. A Killarney is awesome. I have both.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

> I’ve recently bought a Susato Oriole Bb, but since most music I can find, specially for beginners, is for D whistles I’m considering to buy one.

This doesn’t matter as long as you are playing by yourself. The whistle will play in exactly the same way. In general, it’s pointless trying to make an intelligent choice buying an instrument until you can play one, so stick with the one you have.

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Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Clarke has a softer sound, but takes more air (if you’re talking about the Clarke Original with the wooden block). I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a beginner.

Calum is right that you’ll play any key of whistle as if it’s a D whistle, though it is true that key will, of course, make a difference if you’re trying to play with other people, so a D whistle is a nice thing to have.

There are various methods for making a whistle mute, from sticking a paperclip or narrow slip of paper into the windway, to partially taping over the windway (the method I use). But the truth is that it just may be that a D whistle is going to sound high-pitched to you and you might either get used to it or choose to never play one.

Here are a couple links to Youtube videos comparing various models of whistle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04wNKrGvc9g


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBRiAYLecNU


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FSVAgo8Yb8

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Jiyuuko, about the Feadog D (and Generation D) they’re squeaky if you have a bad one, but if you find a good one the 2nd octave is exceptionally sweet, and the low octave is full enough.

Though I have two Killarneys and they’re very nice, still my best High D is an old Feadog Mk1 that I bought around 1980.

Here, you can hear my old Feadog D, and an old Generation C, and as you can hear they play exceptionally well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-fQhvleWq8&t=11s


You can still get these early Feadogs and Generations on Ebay for just a few dollars.

Or if you don’t want to take a chance on a vintage whistle, you can’t go wrong with a new Killarney D, or a Jerry Freeman modified D.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

The Waltons “mellow D” is quite good. But the standard one not so much. At least the one I have.

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Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

I’m a practically brand new whistle player so take what I say with a grain of salt.

I received a Clarke Sweetone for Christmas and that got me quickly hooked. It doesn’t take much for air and I thought that was going to be a big deal for me because I have a damaged diaphragm and compromised lung capacity.

It has a great feel in the hand though it looks a little “toy-ish”, the transition between the octaves is smooth, anything I play along with online sounds in tune to me (which is good because it’s not tuneable and I use online tutorials), and here in Canada, it was only around $22 Canadian - a steal. I do find it shrill, though, especially in the second octave and I found myself wishing it had been the Original instead since I’d read that the wooden fipple made for a more rounded, gentler sound.

A few weeks ago, I was able to pick up the Tony Dixon Nickel Trad TomB-R posted about above on Ebay for around $50 Canadian. It’s definitely a rounder, fuller, and considerably less shrill and more mellow overall than the Sweetone. It’s a tuneable whistle though I’ve not needed to do so since it sounds in tune with anything I’ve tried online.

To me, it looks nicer than my blue Sweetone and just feels better in my hands so it’s become my go-to for high D. What a treat to play! The only drawback I’ve found, and it may well be about my skill level rather than the whistle itself, is that it is far trickier to reach the high A & B; I have to anticipate them and really tighten my enbouchure and still it will sometimes sound a little flat or drop the octave even with the expected increased air pressure. It may well be my newness, though, as opposed to the whistle.

I think everyone has their own idea of what sounds good, and for me, sitting in my small livingroom and picking a whistle up for 10-15 minutes at a time multiple times a day, I prefer to listen to the Tony Dixon even with what feels like a bit of a compromise on those high notes. You mileage may vary 🙂

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

That’s odd, Dawn Vee. None of my Dixons behave like that on the high a and b. I have a few other whistles that are like that, and it’s a characteristic that I absolutely hate. I wonder if you might have wound up with a dud?

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

I’m an avid whistler and much prefer the Killarneys over any other whistles I’ve tried - wonderful sound and quality, especially for the reasonable price! I’ve also been impressed with the Clarke Sweetones, for a low priced, off-the-shelf option - much better than any Generation or other basic whistle I’ve tried.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Yes Sedi, a while back I picked up a whole bag of old random whistles and the standout player was a Waltons C.

It’s on par with the best vintage Generation C’s, I think.

I play it on my video above, but with a C# body that I made.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Dawn Vee, it’s true that high B is the trickiest note to get the voicing right for whistle-makers.

That note can be harsh, it can be stiff, it can be touchy, requiring just the right amount of support to sound good.

Too much air and it can go sharp, too little air and it can sound harsh.

One thing to keep in mind regarding high B is that on Low Whistles it’s sensitive to the exact fingering you use.

High B is generally easier to attack and maintain, and has a better tone, if everything else is open:

xoo ooo

When I was just playing high whistles I tended to leave the bottom finger on

xoo oox

but I found that I couldn’t leave that finger on when playing Low Whistles. On some Low Whistles high B won’t sound at all with that finger down, on others high B sounds but is harsh and tricky to attack.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

Ditto on the recommendations for Tony Dixon’s whistles. However, reading that you’re a ‘recorder player’, one who has something against the most common high version of that, the soprano -
“I’m not a fan of the high pitch from sopranos.” - Jiyuuko
There may be a problem here, the soprano is the recorder equivalent of a high D whistle. One of the valued qualities of the whistle is something called ‘chiff’. It’s not as ‘sweet’ as say a flute or an alto or tenor recorder. The tone is quite different. I find that ‘chiff’ somehow closer to the natural human voice, at least mine, giving it a quality I appreciate, an edge, particularly ‘emotion driving’ with slow airs. I love that roughness, that bite, that edge. The ‘best’ recommendation, if it’s the recorder’s tone you’re most familiar with and fond of, with you favouring the alto, would be to bite the bullet and go for a narrow-bore high D Susato. But, as price is another issue you’ve raised - the lower priced choice but still a quality whistle would be to go for one of Tony Dixon’s. His lesser expensive models are relatively mellow compared to other makes, and also consistent, a great first whistle. Purchasing a plastic fippled whistle over the Internet has its risks - in particular with those like the Generations, Feadogs, Waltons… If you were to go with a low D you won’t find a decent one for ‘cheap’. Besides, it is generally best to start with a high D whistle, also because it’s more portable, will fit in a car’s glove compartment, a coat pocket, a backpack. Already mentioned, there are ways to easily ‘mellow’ (mute) a whistle, at least until you get some control and comfort with it, and are less likely to blow sour notes.

Yes, the Killarneys are great whistles, but not inexpensive. They have that ‘chiff’‘ and are valued for that. For now you might find you’re not yet quite ready for that high octave, that ’edge’. It will hopefully grow on you, that you’ll learn to appreciate and value that quality… Or, you may find, like with your choice of recorders, it’s a low D for you, the equivalent of a tenor recorder…

Be wary of the whistle content online, much of it is truly dreadful. One of the best for lessons:

Ryan G. Duns - - - A Jesuit’s Tin Whistle Lesson: Week One
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0Xf1Ume0zA

& the rest he has to generously offer - - -
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCydT2k8knrBXMB0_ypHqvhg

The are a few others I’d recommend, but I’ll leave that up to others… The list I’d make of what to avoid, or to explore and quickly escape - that’s too large and unkind to mention… Bless their souls those with passion but less sense, understanding and/or skill…

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

CeolLachan you touch on something that I encounter often, the quite different preferences about whistle tone and performance from these two camps

1) people who were raised playing ITM, primarily or exclusively play ITM, including both people who have always played whistle and people who primarily play another ITM instrument in addition to whisle

2) people who were raised playing non-ITM genres, and who have come to both ITM and the whistle later, after long experience with non-ITM instruments, styles, and repertoires. This includes people with backgrounds in non-ITM woodwinds such as sax, clarinet, Boehm flute, recorder, etc.

If indeed the OP is in the second group I would expect him/her to prefer quite different whistles than myself both in performance and tone.

Re: Recommendations for high D whistles?

I started out with a Clarke Original, but switched to the Tony Dixon plastic whistle in D several years ago. It’s the most perfect whistle for me. It plays like a dream. Not much breath is needed and sounds so clear and smooth. I have the tuneable one, model #DX004, I believe. Best of luck! Let us know what you decide.