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Tin Whistle Players

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by HunsBassist, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I seriously doubt that there will be any but I was wondering if there were any Tin Whistle players on this board. Cause I'm having a problem with mine and I was wondering if a more experienced player could give me some advice.

    So here's the story, I've always loved Irish Music, and I've been learning several traditional Irish folk instruments. And one of my favorites is the Tin Whistle, so the other day I purchased one. I'm progressing quickly, playing a lot of Irish songs I've learned and figured out. But now, when I play in the second octave, I'm getting less of the note and more of the Whooshing sound of the air going through the holes. It wasn't like this until Yesterday, I got several days of clear whistle tone before this. Has anyone else had this problem and has a solution? maybe a way to clean it out, or something I have to do to achieve that signature clear whistle tone? Any comments would be appreciated.
  2. Sounds like it just needs a cleaning. You should be able to get a cleaning kit from a music store. Something for a rcorder, flute or clarinet might work. Or you could try to find pipe cleaners (do they still make those :).
  3. What kind of whistle do you have? It sounds like you are losing a lot of tone to the "chiff" (the whooshing sound you describe, which is a quality whose quantity is based on personal preference). Is it a Clarke? I have a Clarke that has too much chiff for my taste. Also, check out your fingering. Use only the pads of your fingers, not your fingertips (hold your fingers flat against the whistle). It will be harder at first, but you will get a much better tone. If neither of those work, you could buy a new whistle, or tweak the one you've got.
  4. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I am not a whistle player, but have friends who are.

    They tell me some whistles are disposable. If some notes stopp coming out right, replace the whistle. From what I understand they don't cost all that much(maybe the brands they buy anyway).

    Yes, you can still buy pipe cleaners(made of felt I think) in a tobacco shop.

  5. "Disposable"? No, not really. It's not like a disposable camera that you use a couple times and throw away. Tinwhistles last. Mary Bergin had a Generation that was bought for a couple bucks that she used for decades. The thing about tinwhistles is that the instrument prices are opposite other instruments (cheap does not negate good quality). For example, some of the best tinwhistles out there, and that are played by professionals, cost less than $15. I have a Meg that cost me $5, and is an excellent whistle. I did have a Chinese-made one, though, that was completely out of tune to itself, and those types must be disposed of ASAP.
  6. Well, I can't help with the problem, but props to you for even mentioning tin whistle on a bass board!

    It's actually one of my favorite instruments too. (I played in a sort of Irish band for a number of years.) Perhaps my favorite player is Joanie Madden, of Cherish the Ladies. She gets an amazing sound; part of it is that she has good whistles, and part is that (as they say of good sax players) she knows how to "fill up the horn."
  7. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    I don't have a pro whistle by any standards. It's a Guinness tin whistle I bought with an instructional book with songs and a demonstration cd for $20 at Raglan's Road Irish Pub in Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World. Thanks for the tips. I'll find some pipe cleaners or a cleaning kit.
  8. No no no no no. You do have a pro tinwhistle (a Guiness whistle is made by Walton's and is a custom-painted Little Black Whistle, which is an excellent whistle with a tunable fipple). Like I said, pro's use cheap tinwhistles. Cheap does not = bad in the tinwhistle world like it does with most basses, guitars, balalaikas, etc. For more information than you could possibly need on the world of tinwhistles, go to the premier tinwhistle site, www.chiffandfipple.com . A quote from them: "One of the great things about the tinwhistle is that it is an amazingly inexpensive instrument. Unlike, say, cheap guitars which are generally are not in the same league as good guitars, cheap whistles really dominate the tinwhistle world and are often favored by fine players (Mary Bergin, Sean Potts of the Chieftains, etc.) Good, cheap whistles (not an oxymoron) found for as little as $5." Also, you can find much information on C&F for tweaking your whistle to correct the whistle's sound, which was the original point of the thread ;) . I really doubt that your problem has anything to do with a dirty whistle that needs cleaning, and more to do with your technique (remember to keep your fingers flat against the fingering holes, don't use your fingertips) and/or a slight manufacturing idiosyncrasy (you may need to file your fipple). I hope that helps. I've delved deeply into the whistle side of tinwhistles (still not an amazing player yet :rolleyes: ) and this is what sounds right to me. That being said, I always reserve the right to be wrong (which happens more often than I like to admit ;) ).
  9. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    +1 for chiffandfipple.com
    +1,000 for Joanie Madden

    I have several Generations (brass and nickel-plated, I prefer the tone of brass), a couple Clarkes (really breathy sounding), a Waltons LBW, and a Faedog that I could never get a clear second octave from. IME tinwhistles are like MIM Fenders, even the cheapos can be really good but you might have to go through a few duds to find "yours". The good thing is whistles are cheap. :D
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    OK, let's see. I just rounded up all of my whistles. I have four Generation whistles in G, Bb, and two in D. That little G whistle will rip your eardrums clean out. One of the D whistles is nickel plated, I got that one in Ireland along with a Clarke C whistle, which is tapered and black. Then I have a Feadog in D, which I also got in Ireland. Lastly, I have a genereic silver-colored tapered one with a wooden plug at the mouthpiece end. It's the POS.

    I can play pretty well when I practice for a couple days, but I don't very often.
  11. +1 on Chiff and Fipple.

    It's probably a combo of a cleaning and using the pads of your fingers and not the tips. I have a few whistles myself. I sold my spendy ones (Burke, Chieftain) and kept my cheaper ones. My fave soprano D's are my Jerry Freeman Tweaked Clarke Sweetone and my brass Clare fitted with a Hoover whitecap fipple. I also own a Walton, a Feadog (both purchased in Ireland), a nickel Gen C with a Hoover whitecap, a Hoover CPVC low D and a Dixon low G. I love ITRAD but I haven't had much time lately to play my whistles.

  12. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    For a tin whistle, I couldn't see myself shelling out more than $30 for an individual whistle, and that's a boutique customized whistle. TW is a great instrument, easy to play well and highly effective when used in the right setting, and bassists with their fast fingers should have no problem with it. Excellent second instrument to take up if you want to expand your marketability.

    In terms of the origional question, the air rush out of the fipple? If it's the general anything-above-the-second-note-above-the-octaive that comes out as a woosh, I've found that that's pretty much the peak of most whistles. The TW is not meant to be a tenor sax in terms of overall range.
  13. This thread makes me want to go out and buy a tin whistle right now. And since they're so inexpensive, I probably will. :p

    Thanks to everyone for the info and links.
  14. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    One more thing about it, actually "mastering" it didn't take much effort I found. Mastering the use of it in a band setting is an complete art unto itself though, that's what makes it great. After about two weeks of getting the notes under your belt, the best way to improve yourself is to start jamming with different styles of music and finding your own style. Sometimes, you can find jam sessions at Irish bars. Just make sure you don't have to acoustically compete with a bagpiper ( :D ).