Well, if you just read the discussion title and thought I was going to answer that question once and for all, you'd be wrong !!!!!

 

There are now dozens of makers offering products at a wide range of prices. For the sake of anyone just starting out in the tooting game, I thought it might be interesting for us all to list our own individual "top 3" whistles and state why. You never know, the trends we see might make interesting reading and shed some light on where good value is to be had.

 

So, to kick things off, in order, my top 3 whistles are :-

 

No 1 - My Freeman tweaked Blackbird in D. Its not actually my favourite playing whistle BUT its the best I have representing a whistle that is still being manufactured. Sad to say, they seem just not to make them like my 25 year old Feadog anymore!

 

No 2 - A one piece aluminium "Ellis" whistle in C. It has a nice even tone over both octaves which appeals to me. The only drawback being that I do prefer tuneable whistles. I gather that they do make a tuneable version though.

 

No 3 - My Clare brass 2 piece in D. OK, so its not got the same tone I like from my old Feadog BUT its dead handy to keep in the car. This one has also had the blu tack modification. You just never know when your going to need a whistle in a hurry do you?

 

Over to the rest of you then, lets see if there are any clear winners in this.

 

 

 

 

Tags: Top, tin, whistles

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1) I've owned and played more whistles than I'd care to list but the one that beats 'em all is my Cillian Ó Briain tweaked Feadóg.  I swapped the brass Feadóg tube for a nickel Generation tube which brightened the tone and I've been playing it now for about three years straight.

 

2) I do like my Sindt but the CÓB Feadóg has more volume and I can push it a bit more which I like the Sindt gets neglected often.  I'm a creature of habit and dont' switch whistles often when I find something I like.  The Sindt is the only "high end" whistle I've purchased and haven't since sold... and probably won't.

 

3) Not sure if you intended to stick with D whistles or not but I can't not mention the Generation Bb.  These are magical straight from the box.  I've tried Jerry Freeman's tweaks on these and thought they ruined a good whistle.  The only thing I do to mine is fill the cavity under the windway with poster putty and remove any bits of flashing lingering from manufacture (which I do to any mass-produced whistle I get).  The difference is noticable to me but not the type of thing that would make or break the whistle... as I said, I think they're fine out of the box.

I will have to be boring and say Generation.. (so far, have a Sindt D coming *only* 12 months from now :-p)

I have Clarke and Susato as well, but IMO the Susatos sound like obnoxious plastic recorders on nitrous and the Clarke is too breathy.

- Cillian O Briain's tweaked feadog is wonderful but I must say it can be very squeaky sometimes, also it lacks
air control in my opinion.

 

- I own 3 Sindts - C, Bb and D. I believe Sindt is the best whistle money can buy - I personally think It's the ultimate Irish sound. The only drawback that all of his whistles still have is the C natural - It needs special fingering/blowing or else it sounds out of tune. You get used to it quickly.

 

- Dixon Aluminium - Tends to be a bit breathy, a but heavy too - but it's quite cheap and sounds really good for recordings! Don't bother playing it in sessions though.

 

- Fred rose - amazing whistle, not cheap and a bit fragile but it's a work of art.

 

Final notes - I believe that Brian Finnegan from Flook plays a Goldie whistle (http://www.colingoldie.de/).

Do give it a try if you get the chance. Burke whistles are interesting but some of them sound more like
piccolos and not Irish whistles, in my opinion of course.

How does a whistle "lack air control?"  Sounds more like a player attribute.

Not sure that was the best way to define it..

It could just be me, it could also be this specific whistle, but when I blow air into the whistle I have to keep it at a very specific level, whereas in other whistles (especially Susato) - I don't have to be careful at all, it will only squeak if I exaggerate.

I think it would be more appropriate to say the whistle is sensitive to blowing force/pressure?

My Cillian O'Briain low D would break into second octave on the low D, E and F# if i blew harder than merely breathing into it. It had virtually no back pressure at all as opposed to Overton/Goldie for example.

Lars - Yes, sorry, I believe your definition describes what I meant the best.
Johnny - Don't you sometimes find yourself "being careful" when playing it? Is it just me?

 

Not on the CÓB Feadóg.  The Jerry Freeman whistles I've tried have all been a little too touchy for my taste and probably have the characteristics you were attempting to describe (at least to my playing style and preferences) but the CÓB Feadóg lets me lean into it a reasonable amount.  When it comes down to it though, it's not going to have the same kind of backpressure as, say, a Sindt but that's not a bad thing, just different.

If you can play a Generation or stock Feadóg without squeaking then you should not have problems with the CÓB tweaked model.  Of course it's quite possible that they aren't all the same either.  I've only owned and played the one I have so I can't say that they're consistent or not.

 

 


Ofer Hopstone Groman said:

Lars - Yes, sorry, I believe your definition describes what I meant the best.
Johnny - Don't you sometimes find yourself "being careful" when playing it? Is it just me?

 


I have been playing Whistle for over thirty years or more. I'm my humble opinion, there are two Whistles that are the best of the best. In no order, The Abell Whistle (Ashville,N.C.) and The Copeland Whistle (Pa.).I have one 'D' Copeland and it is an incredible 'Hoker', with a serious bite) '.It really cuts through all the session chatter. My Abell Whistle Collection .... 'D',C', A', and Low 'G'.They are truly top of the line. I also love my Revoil 'Low D'.......in black anodized aluminum. This is just my humble opinion and 'my tree cents'!! All the best. I'm sure tht opinions are many on this subject!!

The Abell looks nice! They sell the D model for 450$.. ouch.. but I'm gonna have to give it a try one day. Thanks!

 

I used to own a low-D and Low-F by Reviol. First of all I'd like to say that he's a very nice man with a patience of a saint.

The sound was marvelous - a bit breathy but very "warm", if you know what I mean. The space between the holes was too small for my fingers (I'm 1.90m tall) so I had to sell them. Too bad I didn't mention that when I ordered them. Oh well, my Chieftain V3 is still good enough for me.

Yer correct, the Revoil lad (damn, can't remember his name,off hand, was a pleasure to deal with).

 BTW, the lad hails from New Zealand, and his Whistles are wonderful and shipping very expedient!! 

Ofer Hopstone Groman said:

The Abell looks nice! They sell the D model for 450$.. ouch.. but I'm gonna have to give it a try one day. Thanks!

 

I used to own a low-D and Low-F by Reviol. First of all I'd like to say that he's a very nice man with a patience of a saint.

The sound was marvelous - a bit breathy but very "warm", if you know what I mean. The space between the holes was too small for my fingers (I'm 1.90m tall) so I had to sell them. Too bad I didn't mention that when I ordered them. Oh well, my Chieftain V3 is still good enough for me.

Being a (I would presume) Cillian O'Briain design (The Reviol) and it seems like it from reading reviews online, it shares the low back pressure, air hunger and touchy bottom three notes, which is a shame because i liked my O'Briain low-D apart from that.

My next low-D will most probably be a Goldie.. i am tempted by the Burke Viper but at the same time i think it might be a unnecessary stopgap and end with a Goldie anyway.

Also ATM i am mailing back and forth with Ian Turnbull/Impempe whistles about a mezzo-soprano B. I am impressed with what i have seen and heard!

On the general subject - I feel many high-end whistles are pretty soul-less to be blunt.. Yes, they are wonderfully in tune and beautifully made - but - doesn't really sound like a tinwhistle..

Don't want to throw firebombs here, but i play and like whistle for it's sound, and consequently if it doesn't sound like a tin whistle - what's the point?

Just my 100% subjective opinion/p.o.v. : )

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