Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Generation Fipple Vertical Line

I just found a few of my Generation whistles from about 20 years ago that I played around on as a kid. Compared to new ones, these have a vertical line on the fipple. Does anyone know why those do and the new ones don’t? Did this slight change in fipple make any impact on the sound? I haven’t got any new ones to play, just noticed it while seeing some photos online of the new ones that they seem rounded/smooth.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

That’s interesting. I’ve just checked my Generation whistles (various keys, some brass, some silvery, most several decades old) and a lot of them have a HORIZONTAL line along the mouthpiece. Clearly quite different from the whistles in LittleJig’s collection.

Some have no line at all. How is this to be explained? Could it be that Generation bought their mouthpieces in from different plastic-product manufacturers who didn’t all use the same type of machine for making them?

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Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Others with more expertise can chime in, but I think the line, or ridge running on top from the mouthpiece to the fipple box is from the original plastic tooling, which is the more highly regarded. I have a few of these and they are certainly nice whistles - in particular a high F whistle which is utterly useless but also the nicest whistle I’ve ever played.

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Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

I have one of those, an eb and a sweet whistle it is. I think the story is that they are pre 80s and not mass produced like the ones post 80s so are more likely to play well. They are highly regarded I think.
You lucky devil.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Well I guess the first thing to clear up is what we mean by "vertical" because it depends on which way you have the whistle oriented. (I doesn’t help to say "the way it is when you play it" because most players hold the whistle at more or less a 45 degree angle.)

For sake of argument I’m going to say that "vertical" means in line with, parallel with, an imaginary line running from the opening in the mouthpiece where you blow in, to the open end of the metal tube furthest from the mouthpiece.

So yes my old Generations that I got around 1980 have a vertical mould-line on the top and bottom of the mouthpiece, that is, the side that has the window and on the reverse, apparently caused from two sections of the mould coming from each side, from the directions your hands come from when you hold the whistle.

On later Generations this goes away, apparently because the mouthpiece was then formed by a single section of the mould coming from the direction your mouth approaches the mouthpiece.

There are people who know the timing of each Generation design change, and also when the Generation moulds had got worn and sloppy, I’ve seen posts about that on C&F. I don’t know those things.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Mh, I baught my Bb nyckel Generation from Hobgoblin 2 years ago and it does have that vertical line too!
It plays well (especially after some tweaking). Its weakness is the bell note but I’m working on it.

Is that the reason why some of people say that the Bb sounds great compared to the other keys?
Or does that mean that the vertical line has nothing to do with pre 80’s / after 80’s?

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

There’s no mystery, at some point just before or in 1982, Generation changed the moulds for making the ABS plastic heads on their whistles.

The only unknown is exactly why they did it, but they ended up with a whistle that is slightly louder, a more complex sound (a bit more in the bass end of the harmonics) and is actually a bit easier to blow. ie. takes a bit less air control and is less likely to squeak.

Maybe those are the reasons they did it, perhaps because they were starting to get a bit of competition from other makes, eg Feagog and Soodlums (later Waltons).

You can tell the older ones because they have slightly different proportions, and from the moulding marks. There’s a ridge running lengthwise on both side of the windway, and an oval mark on the back.

These are a couple of fairly bad photographs I just took of the front and back of the head of an old Generation C whistle:

The whistles that Generation have produced since changing the moulds have a smooth mouthpiece, and no dimple on the back.

I think it’s highly improbable that Hobgoblin have 38 year old (or 36 if it was 2 years ago) Generation whistles on their shop shelves.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Now, dealing with other comments/questions.

Generation whistles are no more or less mass produced now than they were pre 1980s. That is to say that they are "mass produced", but this is a pretty small business in the scheme of things.

A bit of mythology seems to have started about the old-style (pre-1982) Generation whistles. I probably have some bias towards these old Generations. They were the whistles I started out on, in fact, apart from the Clarke C, at the time they were the only tin whistles around.

Fundamentally though, the new and old style Generations are very similar. If you’re used to playing Generations then you will probably notice the differences, as noted in my previous post. The only exception for me seems to be with my old Bb which is rather louder with very well balanced octaves and a good strong tone.

At home, and at sessions, I tend to play the old-style Generations. On stage I’ll often play a new-style Generation D because they are a bit more forgiving when you start to unconsciously over-blow them a bit which can happen when stage monitoring isn’t what it should be. The old-style Cs and Bb get used at gigs too … but if I did not have them than I would undoubtedly be playing the newer ones.

So, which are better? I don’t know. They’re slightly different, the old ones a little sweeter, but also a little quieter.

For context I have 2xG, F, 2xEb, 2xD, 3xC, Bb of the old-style Generations and a number of the new-style (I’m not going to count them).

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Andrew, that is my experience also. A few months ago, one of my grandsons wanted to start learning whistle with an eye to pipes later, so I bought him a new Generation D sight-unseen off of the internet. Sure enough, it plays just fine, if not quite as sweet as my old ones. I have never found anything since that I like better than the Generations I bought off the shelf in 1975-76, but the new ones play just fine.

I don’t really understand all the constant searching for the perfect whistle; most people would be well served by buying a basic one and sticking with it long enough to learn to play it before branching off trying different makes.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

I for one understand the constant searching!

Not for a C, I’ve been playing the same Generation C since I bought it new around 1980. I’ve never played its equal.

But I’ve played hundreds of Generation Bb’s since the mid-1970s, every one I could get my hands on, in shops, borrowed, bought, I have a dozen in a drawer, and I have never found a really good one that wasn’t already owned by a good player. These people had no interest in selling theirs, needless to say.

It’s easy for a person who owns a terrific vintage Generation Bb to dismiss the search. Their search is over.

BTW I finally got a superb Generation Bb! I had to make it. I took a decent (but not great) old Generation Bb head and chopped it and glued it back together with the windway and blade in the ideal alignment.

I also, in 45 years of searching, never found a supremely good Generation D that wasn’t already in the hands of a good player utterly unwilling to part with it. So since around 1980 my D has been a Feadog Mk1 that’s very nice. The closest I’ve come, in a D, is my early Killarney that I modified.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

An Draighean:

One of the wonderful things about tin whistles is how accessible they are. When I complained about recorder lessons at Infant School, it was no problem for my Father to give me a tin whistle so that I could play the tunes that I heard at home and on family holidays etc.

This was, of course, a Generation D whistle. If they’re cheap now, they seem to have been even cheaper back then, but it was a real musical instrument and gave me access to all of those tunes that have been my obsession ever since.

And they still are just that, real musical instruments that are accessible to *everyone*.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

I am in the throes of making a wooden fipple. All though I am to scale with the SUSATO i am copying the plastic wins hands down for sound. Is it possible to just purchase plastic fipples?. Interestingly the SUS fipple has a vertical indent line inside and a corresponding upraised vertical line on the insert This allows the fipple insert a perfect fit. COOL I don’t know if this relates at all to the Generation question.

Re: Generation Fipple Vertical Line

Nope, it’s got nothing to do with the question about Generation whistles.

The fipple on a whistle comprises of the beak, airway, block (if it exists), labium and window. On a Generation whistle, that is the whole plastic head of the instrument.

What you are talking about is a part called the block that some whistles have. Recorders are also fipple flutes and usually have a block that can be removed and the fipple cleaned.

Generation whistle fipples are one piece, so they don’t have a block. Some Susatos have a block, some don’t. Two of my Susatos do have a block, two don’t. The block on a Susato whistle is not meant to be removed.

You can buy Susato fipples/heads separately, they are listed on their website. There is at least one whistle "maker" who uses Susato fipples.