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Tin Whistles - What brands to buy, materials, other advice?
Topic Started: 13 Jan 2013, 12:53 AM (4,911 Views)
bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
Hey guys!
Recently I've been thinking about getting a tin whistle lately but I don't really know where to start.
For those of you that have some tin whistles, what brands would you recommend? I'm not looking to pay more $50. Also, what materials should I look at, what are the differences, I read that plastic was better because it doesn't expand when it is heated by playing. Is this true?

Any other generals recommendations or help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance guys,

Sam
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Tentenguy
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That guy

I suggest getting a high D Susato Pennywhistle. Link
You could also get a freeman-tweaked generation high D, C, or B flat whistle (or two of them if you're willing to spend a bit more) B-flat, C, D
(I linked to the tin ones with blue mouthpieces because I prefer their sound, but you could also look here to pick whatever whistles of his you'd like)

Edited by Tentenguy, 13 Jan 2013, 01:17 AM.
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bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
Thanks for to advice. May I ask what the differences are in the sound of the Freeman's with the blue mouthpieces and the other models? Is it quality, material or what?
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Tentenguy
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That guy

Well the difference between the blue-mouthpiece and red-mouthpiece whistles is that that the blue ones are made of tin and the red are made of brass. The tin ones are a bit lighter (density of tin is about 6 to 7g/cm3 vs brass which is about 8.5 g/cm3) and the sound is very slightly different. I couldn't tell you exactly what the difference was, but I like the sound of tin better by a hair.
Freeman's other whistles are a little more expensive, but also a little different (I won't say they're better because they aren't necessarily) I would suggest you listen to the sound samples he provides and choose for yourself.
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bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
Ok. Thanks for the help, I'll look at these some more.
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mandrew
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Devout seeker of perfection
There is a whole thread on whistles if you will look in the "other instruments" section on this site.
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bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
Hmm. I did some searching and didn't find anything, but I'll go look again.
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mandrew
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Devout seeker of perfection
Try this. . .

http://theocarinanetwork.com/topic/6817295/7/#new
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Ocarinadiva
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Play what makes you happy. - Achint

A friend of mine came over yesterday and we spent some time jamming on tin whistles. He has both of the generation whistles in Bb (brass and nickel), and I spent a few minutes comparing the tones. The nickel one with the blue mouthpiece has a slightly cleaner, rounder tone, and the brass one with the red mouthpiece has a brighter tone with a little more texture. His are not the Freeman tweaked ones, but I've heard very good things about them from friends who play tin whistle. Basically, a Freeman tweaked whistle is like getting a very expensive whistle for much less.
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bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
Thanks Mandrew! I'll be looking at that thread, I wonder why I never found it.

Cris, so I'm a little confused. Are the generation whistles also Freeman whistles? Or does Freeman do something to normal Generation whistles and these are sold as the Freeman Tweaked whistles?

Nevermind, I think I understand now. So Freeman tweaks normal generation whistles to be better.
Edited by bamadude313, 14 Jan 2013, 05:40 AM.
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mandrew
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Devout seeker of perfection
I play a D Freeman tweaked Clarke. The Freemans are worth the extra money.
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DeTerminator
Transverse Ocarinist x 4
Here's a whistle forum that you might be interested in...http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewforum.php?f=1

I would recommend this for you: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Freeman-Whistle-Mellow-Dog-D-C-SET-Tin-Penny-LISTEN-/271134403534?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f20deabce I have the set in brass.

It's right in your price range, and the most bang for the buck. Or, you can purchase straight from Jerry Freeman at jerry@freemanwhistles.com

That will give you a great start with the tinwhistle. You will have two flute bodies (in C and D), that will allow you to play a huge percentage of music likely to be encountered in playing the whistle.

Good luck!

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The Rosskonian
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You can call me Ross
I have both a Freeman tweaked Blackbird whistle and a Parks Ghost Whistle, both in D.

I spent a little bit more time with the Ghost Whistle, but honestly I lost interest in whistles when I got a Susato Oriole recorder: http://www.susato.com/konakart/Wide-Bore-Recorders/Kelhorn-Corp./Oriole-Soprano-Recorder-in--c%27%27-%2C-two-piece%2C-single-hole/ORC8/2_4291.do

It has a very similar sound to the Ghost whistle, but is a recorder. This ended up sticking with me much more than either whistle. Also, if you are looking for books, I would suggest just keeping an eye on Amazon's used section for books on whistles, I don't think I've spend more than $10 total on the two or three big books on the subject by just watching until something came up for cheap.

Upon further thought, I realized I haven't touched anything whistle related in a while. If you are interested in the whistles or a method book, PM me and I'll sell you mine.
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alphard
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Double Ocarinist x 5
I recently purchased a cheap Feadog whistle in D. To my ears though, it sounds...rather bad and raspy, unless I blow so softly that my breath is practically a whisper. Is that normal, or have I got a dud?
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mandrew
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Devout seeker of perfection
Irish whistles, by nature, are more chiffy (breathy), sometimes raspy, and that varies a whole lot from maker to maker. To real traditionalists, that is to be desired, not shunned. Quality control for whistles, even from the same maker, can be suspect at best. The whistle is a different instrument than ocarinas or recorders, yet all are basicly fipple instruments. It is what it is, and yours may not be too bad at all. Like ocarinas, they have an ascending breath requirement, and pretty steep into the 2nd octave or above. It does take practice to develope good tone on a whistle. If you back off too much on a whistle, you will have pitch problems.
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Jack Campin
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Opener of Catfood Tins

It's easier to start with a good whistle and graduate to a crap one (like the Feadog). A player with a lot of experience will know how to make any whistle sound good.

The Freeman tweaked whistles are a good compromise. The Susato is reliable, but shrieking and unsubtle, particularly at the top end.
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Ocarinadiva
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Play what makes you happy. - Achint

Jack Campin
18 Jan 2013, 05:08 PM
It's easier to start with a good whistle and graduate to a crap one (like the Feadog).
I agree. About the same time I got my Burke (which I absolutely adore), I also got a cheap Feadog whistle. I couldn't get a good sound out of the Feadog when I started playing whistles, but after playing the Burke for several months, I picked up the Feadog again and it was like a completely different instrument. I think the main advantage of a nicer whistle is that it isn't as much of a struggle to get a good sound when you're starting out, and I think the Freeman tweaked whistles are a good choice for the desired price range.
Edited by Ocarinadiva, 18 Jan 2013, 07:48 PM.
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mandrew
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Devout seeker of perfection
For me, A Burke is to die for! Pricey, but worth every cent. Mr Burke only live about an hour from me!
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bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
Thanks for the all the help. I think I'll pick up a freeman tweaked generation sometime!
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Traeak
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Double Ocarinist x 5
interesting. I picked up a d feadog when a guitar shop gave me some of the tuners they replaced. The low octave is very low breath, but I think has a nice sound. But it definitely falls apart on me a couple of notes in the 3rd octave. I really don't like accidentals much on the tin whistle. it definitely requires a bigger time investment.
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ubizmo


Different whistles are very...different! The problem is, people new to the whistle have no idea what they like or dislike, so it's difficult to make recommendations based on sound/tone. One of the things that makes cheap whistles cheap is lack of quality control. So some in a batch can be very good, while others are poor. Buying a Freeman (or other) tweaked whistle is a way of paying a bit extra to buy the quality control that wasn't there in the first place, as well as getting some corrections to flaws in the basic design. Walton Mellow D whistles tend to be sharp in the low octave. Freeman's Mellow Dog corrects this and other problems.

But it's definitely true that as you practice, any whistle you play will sound better and better. Whistle construction involves various compromises. A Dixon Trad plays very easily and sweetly in the top end of the 2nd octave, but the low notes are weak. No amount of practice is going to change that. Burke whistles have great clarity of tone, but if you want a whistle with a bit of chiff you'll need to choose something else. If you get serious about the whistle, you'll end up with a "stable" of whistles that you use for various purposes, rather than one whistle for all purposes.
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Penycat
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Ocarina lover at first site!
The Freeman bluebird D is a great whistle for under $30. The sound is very sweet and it has strong tone in the low notes. I have a Dixon polymer D as well but like others have said the low notes are very soft compared to the rest. I also have a Freeman tweaked generation Bb and I play it the most because its easier on the ears than continually practicing on the high D whistles but does require good breath control. But..... My absolute favorite whistle is my Abel D/C wooden whistle set. The craftsmanship is stunning and can be played in tune effortlessly. The set is costly but to me worth every penny.
Go on YouTube and look up different types of whistles so you can hear the tone.
If I were to recommend a whistle to anyone starting out it would be the Freeman Bluebird.
Edited by Penycat, 22 Jan 2013, 06:45 PM.
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ubizmo


I've been playing at Irish sessions a fair amount for the past few months, and I've gradually moved from high D to low D whistle and Irish flute. The reason is simply that when you have three or four high D whistles going at a session, the result can be hard on the ears. The low D whistle fills out the sound of the group without contributing to the harshness. The same goes for the flute; it's just taking me longer to get up to speed with the Irish flute.

I've owned a few low whistles. They have their own quirks, of course. So far, my best whistle is a relatively inexpensive Guido Gonzato Low-Tech whistle from PVC electrical conduit. The intonation is right on the money and the sound is strong enough to be heard in a session without draining my lungs so I need to take a breath after every phrase.

Thinking about an MK Kelpie though...
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Jack Campin
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Opener of Catfood Tins

MKs are great. A regular at the Antiquary session plays one - not sure if she was there when you were. It's almost impossible to tell apart from my Zen-On 2400B tenor recorder. And unlike most metal whistles, it never seems to clog.
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ubizmo


Jack Campin
22 Jan 2013, 09:37 PM
MKs are great. A regular at the Antiquary session plays one - not sure if she was there when you were. It's almost impossible to tell apart from my Zen-On 2400B tenor recorder. And unlike most metal whistles, it never seems to clog.
I don't recall anyone playing low whistle the night we were there; maybe she showed up after we left. MKs do have a good reputation. The Kelpie is a bit less expensive than the regular--now "Pro"--model, but isn't tunable. From what I've heard, however, the tuning is very accurate as it is. I find that the string players mostly use electronic tuners these days, so it's less likely to have to adjust to an odd tuning in a session. I've never had a problem with the Gonzato. The Chieftain V3, however, is always a problem, and I've pretty much given up on it.

I'm really at a fork in the road, though. I don't know whether to sink money into a better low whistle or a better keyless flute. The Tipple PVC is good enough in most respects, but the notes above high G are flat. I don't want or need anything fancy--in fact, I'm leaning toward delrin/polymer instead of wood. I don't want to get into the regimen of taking care of a wood instrument again. But I find that my playing on a low whistle is much better than on the flute, in terms not only of finger accuracy but also ornaments, slides, etc. On the other hand, the ability to adjust embouchure makes the flute a much sweeter proposition on the higher notes. The next step up would be a Dixon conical bore flute. I've played them and find them a bit muted and lacking personality. After that, a Walt Sweet Shannon looks like a good bet...at $300 or so. That MK Kelpie isn't much more than half of that...
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miguel from portugal
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Portuguese ocarinist
I have a Dixon... And i love it...
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Penycat
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Ocarina lover at first site!
My boyfriend got me a PVC keyless flute off eBay years ago for $25 dollars. It plays great! I showed it to C&F and was told that it looks like it was made using the Tipple instructions. It has a very strong bell note and I can really give the tone a lot of color easily if I keep my embouchure inshape. Best 25 bucks spent ever!
I would like to get a low D whistle at some point but not sure which one and I am very happy with my PVC flute with the same range.
For my next whistle purchase I have been looking at the Hans Bracker Gypsy whistles, I can really play some interesting tunes in some of the minor scales.
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Gnomeish
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Noobtasitc
I just got my Parks Ghost Whistle (D) in the mail today!

Oh. My. Goodness.

The moment I ripped open the packaging and started to play the Shire theme (...the only song I can play on my Clarke whistle atm) I was just utterly blown away. It sounds so pure and sweet and yet has this nice hollow, ghost like tone to it as well that I love about the tin whistle. It is everything and more than I could have hoped for at only 25$ before shipping.

Thank you to everyone on TON who spoke so highly of it!
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kissing
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tyrannical dictator

Oo, I just got a new tin whistle for myself yesterday; a Generation "British Made" in Eb.
I was at the music store, and could not resist getting something in a key I don't have anything else in yet.

My other whistle is a Walton in D.
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DeTerminator
Transverse Ocarinist x 4
Glad you like your Ghost Whistle, Gnomeish! They really are a great whistle at a great price.
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ubizmo


kissing
30 Jan 2013, 03:19 AM
Oo, I just got a new tin whistle for myself yesterday; a Generation "British Made" in Eb.
I was at the music store, and could not resist getting something in a key I don't have anything else in yet.
Brass or nickel?
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Jack Campin
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Opener of Catfood Tins

I've never heard a Generation Eb I liked (I have a Camac Eb of similar design which I don't like much more). But I think that's what Mary Bergin usually plays so it must have something going for it.

I've got a wooden Eb from somewhere in the Balkans that sounds vastly better and cost about the same. Look for alternatives with a conical bore.
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mandrew
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Devout seeker of perfection
This thread is getting some legs to it, and really ought to be moved to the musical instruments section, where there is already a lengthy thread on whistles.
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Metalhead7777
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Double Ocarinist
I love my Clarke tin whistle in d, just putting that out their, it has the best sound that I have heard out of any whistle, and their cheap. 15 bucks
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bamadude313
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Double Ocarinist
I recently borrowed a few tin whistles of my friend, one a Freeman Tweaked Clarke in D and a Freeman Tweaked Blackbird, but I also tried a few more of my friend's whistles. Out of the 5 I tried, the Clarke by far has the best sound IMO and plays the easiest.

I plan to purchase a Freeman Tweaked Generation (haven't decided the key yet) in the next few weeks.
Edited by bamadude313, 31 Jan 2013, 04:01 AM.
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kissing
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tyrannical dictator

ubizmo
30 Jan 2013, 07:46 PM
kissing
30 Jan 2013, 03:19 AM
Oo, I just got a new tin whistle for myself yesterday; a Generation "British Made" in Eb.
I was at the music store, and could not resist getting something in a key I don't have anything else in yet.
Brass or nickel?
It cost me $10, and they had a whole set, Bb being the deepest.. all the way up to something really high.

Here's a pic I just took now.

Spoiler: click to toggle


The one with the red mouthpiece is the Generation "British Made".
I don't know if it's brass or nickel (I'm guessing brass).

The other is my Walton in D, and a cheap Angel Fife I bought the same day.
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Penycat
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Ocarina lover at first site!
Yes, the red mouthpiece is usually on the brass generations and the blue is on the nickel plated generations.
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kissing
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tyrannical dictator

Does nickel or brass result in a difference of tone?
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Jack Campin
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Opener of Catfood Tins

Generation's awful quality control means that neither is consistently going to be better. The better ones I've tried have more often been brass, but that may be statistical fluke.
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Ocarinadiva
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Play what makes you happy. - Achint

@Kissing
I tried a bunch of tin whistles that belong to one of my friends, including a brass and nickel one by the same brand. The nickel one had a slightly cleaner, rounder tone, while the brass one had a slightly more textured tone. I don't know if this is always the case, but that was my experience. I have a brass Feadog in D, and it has a very textured tone too.

By the way, I don't know if anyone has mentioned Oak whistles yet, but one of my favorite whistles that my friend has is his Oak in D. It's black, and it has a slightly darker tone and is a little easier to play than some of his other whistles.
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Ayuna
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Amateur Ocarinist
Just wanted to say the ghost whistle looks awesome and it looks like you can buy one in the UK too. Tempted :D

I own a Clarke conical tin whistle. I had a lot of trouble with the lower register at first, until I figured out I shouldn't be blowing, but literally breathing into the whistle. Now I am starting to learn to play some tunes :)
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BurningFish
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Pendant Ocarinist x 5
Today, I received a Clarke sweetone in D and I've got to say (it not being my first tin whistle) that it blows the competition away with it's balanced octaves and it's in-tune-ness. It is plastic and only £6
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Ocarinadiva
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Play what makes you happy. - Achint

Ayuna
5 Feb 2013, 10:43 PM
I own a Clarke conical tin whistle. I had a lot of trouble with the lower register at first, until I figured out I shouldn't be blowing, but literally breathing into the whistle. Now I am starting to learn to play some tunes :)
I had that issue with my Feadog D too. I realized later after I'd been playing my Burke for a while that I was using too much breath on the lower register on my Feadog.
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Ayuna
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Amateur Ocarinist
My problem was I was trying to play it like an ocarina :D
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