Wet your whistle?

Wet your whistle?

I would really appreciate some advice from you experienced whistle players out there. I seem to have become something of a salivating monster. I can usually manage about twice through a set of tunes on my trusty Chieftain Low D before I simply have to swallow or risk drowning. Is it a mental or a physical thing? How do you guys deal with this slightly indelicate but almost debilitating situation?

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Re: Wet your whistle?

Make sure you have a good seal between your lips and the mouth piece. And don’t hold your lips forward like you are kissing it, keep your lips back near your teeth.

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Re: Wet your whistle?

Thanks Michael. I’ve been trying that but with no success yet. I wonder, is it a middle aged thing - the onset on chronic geriatric dribbling? I had a sinus operation a couple of weeks ago, and I’m still swollen inside. Maybe (hopefully) it’s connected, and will die down. I always breathe through my mouth when playing (but doesn’t everyone? I can’t say I’ve checked). Perhaps nose breathing would help, although I can’t do that at the moment.

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You could make a hole through the middle of your lower jaw and fit a little spit valve to it, which you could operate with the thumb of your top hand when playing.

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Tried that too.

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sitting up straight helps

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I thought it worked the other way - my mouth tends to dry out when playing. You’d need a few pints lined up to rehydrate!

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Common sage is said to reduce salivation (and perspiration), so it might be worth trying chewing a few leaves now and again during a session. Might make the beer taste a bit funny, but If nothing else, it should make the breath smell good (not that I’m saying there’s any problem).

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"A salivating monster" - attacking goatbashers, are we?

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I think I’ll try your sage advice luap. I’ve got some in a jar …

COUGH SPLUTTER CHOKE

Maybe I should try fresh.

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You could try spitting.

Or do you play in one of those new fangled places where they have carpet on the floor, and let women in?

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Wouldn’t stop me.

I must say, I’m glad you’re all taking this seriously. It really is a problem for those of us who like to perform oral sets in public: to swallow or not to swallow. I’m off to Tesco’s for some sage.

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I’ve been playing dry-windcutter instruments (whistle/recorder) from the time I was 5. It’s been a problem for me from the start. I’m a "wet blower," apparently. I’ve just gotten into the habit of clearing the windway constantly during the set. Just a sharp INhalation does the trick.

I’ve played in several recorder consorts, and everybody does this. Don’t feel bad, just try to adjust for it. Playing whistle in ITM means that there will be breaks to, oh, I don’t know… BREATHE?? 🙂 So, just drop a few notes to clear the windway. Unless you’re playing solo, nobody will be that upset that you cut out for a moment.

HTH
-P

Re: Wet your whistle?

Just back from Tesco’s: they didn’t have any sage. Perhaps it’s out of season or something.

Deautiful spitoons, Dick. Look good enough to drink from.

The problem, for me, is time. I play in a band, and do play solos. There’s no time to spit, swallow or let it evaporate. Perhaps a wad of cotton wool’d do the trick?

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Deautiful? That’s er … sow feast lundun fer beautiful.

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I find that keeping my chin up helps, saliva might collect in the bottom of my mouth, but doesn’t flow down into the whistle.
I have the opposite problem with my harmonica, my lips go dry and I need to pause sometimes to lick them. Irish music moves fast enough that you need that extra lubrication to keep up! Not to mention the hyperventilating.
All of the above is why I am pursuing the button accordion, where I let the bellows do all that lung and windpipe work for me!

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Oh bless!

So far I’ve suggested cutting a hole through your jaw, and spitting in public, and you’re pleased that I’m taking it seriously.

Aaaaaaaw! Now I’ll have to be serious.

I’ve found this excess salivation to be an occasional problem, but never long-term. It helps (of course) to breathe in through the mouth and have a good swallow before you start. After that - don’t think about it.

I know - that’s like saying "run round the kitchen without thinking of wolves" - but it really helps when the day comes that you forget about it.

If you are dribbling equally at both sides, then at least you know the floor is level!

Let us know how it progresses once the sinuses have cleared up.

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i know that after playing for a while your whistle gets a bit clogged up with saliva but i don’t see the harm in giving it a quick shake. i can’t say i’m a fan at all of sucking the stuff back into my mouth but each to their own i guess… anyway, it may be your whistle? there could be a build up inside it which is adding to the problem. my mother boiled my whistle - i didn’t want a new one, once you get accustomed it’s hard to let go - even if a new one cost 3 quid…. not suggesting you throw your whistle in boiling hot water, but it worked for me!! also when you aren’t playing don’t hold your whistle in your hand as it can heat up and your hands can sometimes get a bit sweaty. i put down and let it stay cold-ish til i start up again. hope the sinuses cleared up!!

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Just had another idea, from my days as a brass player.
If it is condensation building up inside the whistle (caused by warm breath hitting cool whistle), then blowing through the whistle to warm it up before the solo would help. Before playing my trumpet outside on a cold day, I would blow through it for a minute or so, then empty the spit valves of the condensation that would build up, and then, because I had brought the temperature of the horn closer to that of my breath, could play fairly confident that I would not gurgle before the end of the tune.
This, however, is somewhat the opposite of what mary mccaffrey is recommending above—to keep your whistle cool. All I can certify is that my advice, being free, is worth every penny! 😉

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My real problem is the very quick build up of saliva in my mouth. That of condensation in the whistle is secondary, and more a problem for whoever’s right in front of me. Perhaps I could ask the Salivation Army.

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I find a quick burst with my finger over the blade opening of the fipple gets it through.