Always wondered what a Goldie low D is like?

Or a Freeman tweaked high D?

Post your own findings and links to "professional" reviews here and discuss with others!

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I have very little experience with Overton/Goldie Low D's.. the ones i have played have all had (to me) almost ridiculous back pressure.. Might well be a thing you learn to appreciate with time, but just grabbing one and having a toot it feels like inflating a party balloon :) The Lofgren sounds good, can be played softly, leaned into and has pretty even octaves save for playing high A and upwards as a first note, most probably the problem lies with the player - me.. : )

Mike Wallbridge said:

Thanks Lars. So what's the Lofgren Low D like? It does sound remarkably like a Goldie but what are air requirements like and the back pressure? I'm wondering how easy it is to play and whether the low notes are all solid? Indeed I wonder how it compares with a Goldie/Overton to play if you've experience of either.

You've obviously picked up one of Colin's medium of high backpressure examples. I have what he calls an easy-blower whihc still has a medium amount of backpressure but it's certainly not like blowing up a balloon . . . until I get the third octave D & E. Would you mind putting up a couple of photos of the Lofgren head? I'd love to see what the windway and curve of the fipple look like.

I'll see what i can do, will probably be until late sunday before i have the time though.

Kevin Crawford and Colin Farrell trying out the Löfgren whistles, spontaneous comments:

Kevin - "Wow! This is an amazing whistle"

Colin - "This is deadly!" :)

Gene Milligan mezzo 'A' whistle review

After recent inquiries regarding wooden whistles and instruments keyed in A, I did some additional homework on makers and whistles offered. Having gathered what I felt was a sufficient amount of information to make an informed decision, I decided to contact Gene Milligan and have him make me a whistle in the key of A. At this point I had no idea what his required lead time might be, but I was willing to wait as needed for a quality whistle. I also had no idea if Gene offered any consideration of customization requests specific to voicing and volume related matters. Regarding volume, everything I had read on Milligan whistles had them pegged as very loud.

I gave Gene a call last Wednesday and told him I was interested in aquiring one of his whistles in the key of A. Gene told me that he was away from the shop at the moment, but that he thought he had a coccobolo whistle in A back at home. I was pleasantly surprised that he might have an A in stock and the mention of coccobolo got me pumped. I had decided that if I needed to have Gene turn a new whistle for me it would be in blackwood or coccobolo with heavy leanings toward the latter. So I called Gene on Thursday morning at 9:00 AM making allowance for the time zone difference for his location in the Mountain Standard Zone, not wanting to disturb him two hours earlier for not having done so. Upon making contact, Gene told me he had an A keyed whistle in coccobolo. I told him I would take it, and I threw any thoughts of customization requests out the window in trade off for immediate availability. Gene and I discussed payment which I told him would go out in the mail that afternoon. Likewise, Gene told me "your whistle will ship out today and you should have it by Saturday". Gene told me that he would include a swab and a bottle of bore oil in with my whistle and to refer to his blog for care instructions (crucial for wooden whistles). The price of shipment is included in the total price of a Milligan whistle.

So I am at home Saturday waiting to jump my mail carrier when he shows up at my door with the whistle delivery. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I can't wait to set eyes on the whistle, but I impose some self restraint and unpack the whistle with care. WOW WOW WOW !!! :thumbsup: I examined the coccobolo tone body making note of the chestnut hues nicely figured with deeper grains of a rich dark chocolate coloration not quite verging on black. The wood at a nice matte lustre to it reminding me of the hand rubbed finish of the stocks found on quality made firearms. I suspect that like most coccobolo the wooden barrel will get darker with the passing of time. The tone holes were nicely centered and are very easily reached using a pipers grip. This is a nice instrument for anyone wishing to gradually step down toward low whistles. None of the tone holes are excessively large, that making full coverage a breeze. The total length of the whistle is just about 15 inches. The length of the wooden tone barrel from mouth to the brass tuning slide is just under eight inches. The tuning slide is finely machined, highly polished brass that stays put per your desired adjustment. The brass of both the tuning slide and the ferrule at the mouth of the bore are nicely polished, though I admit that I look forward to oxidation lending them a more subtle patina. Regardless, the contrast of the brass, coccobolo, and matte black Delrin whistle head make for a very classy looking whistle.

The Delrin whistle head is slightly under 4 inches in length and is offered only in Milligan,s louder version windway design on his A and G keyed whistles. A softer volume producing windway design is offered on Gene's higher keyed whistles. There is a defined heft to the whistle head end of the instrument, quite perceptible while holding the whistle in hands, but this seemingly fades when the whistle is brought to the players lips. The mouthpiece leans more toward a gentle arc than a pronounced beak in it's design. The opening of the windway is approximately .4 inches wide, just shy of .1 inches in height and is curved. I have not read of clogging related issues and did not note any in playing the instrument. The underbelly of the Delrin whistle head is nicely laser etched with a Celtic logo and Gene Miiligan, Denver and the whistle serial number, mine being 554. There is a matching serial number on the underbelly of the wooden tone body and a listed A key signature. All of the etching is inlaid with an antique looking gold (paint ?) that is consistent with the beautiful aesthetics of the instrument.

I took my first runs at the instrument initially finding the mouthpiece design to feel different than any other whistle I have played. The adaptation to the mouthpiece was very short lived and soon felt very comfortable. The inside bore diameter of .6 inches on this whistle does require some air volume, but this too seemed less noticeable as I continued to adapt to the instruments requirement. Certainly the air requirement is not close to that of tenor low whistles, but offers a good step down for those who eventually want to play low whistle.

Playing through scales and several tunes, I noted that the whistle did not seem to me to be excessively loud, something I can be sensitive to. The tone had what I might describle as a warm complexity to it, a very mild and pleasant rasp in comparison to metal whistles. There is a nice chiff lending toward a nice traditional sound, not unlike flute, but still a whistle. There is a palpable notice of air moving through the whistle though I am not sure if this would be perceptible to anyone other than the player. There is what I might consider light
to medium back pressure. Transition between octaves is smooth and defined with just the right amount of shift in air volume to accomplish it. Increases in air volume as one climbs the second octave are very moderate with a bit more push required at the upper most end. The wide tone body is perfect for people with bigger fingers who might struggle with crowding on a more narrow body whistle. For folks with smaller hands, I think whistle would still be very playable without resorting to the piper's grip. Overall the whistle is very responsive in it's playing characteristics. Fingers seem to easily fall on the tone holes and cover them completely. Notes are easily defined and the whistle lends itself to ornamentation. Variation in the push of air by the player translates into some very nice flexibility in tonal expression.

To sum it up, Gene Milligan is a highly skilled craftsman as is evident by the total package of this whistle, beautiful to both the ear and the eye. The Milligan A will surely hold a place among my favorite whistles and will surely shine for Trad music and particularly airs. :thumbsup:

Anyone having specific questions can shoot me a PM and I will try and help answer them.

Cheers,
Cayden

Footnote: I am posting this review on behalf of Cayden since he asked me to do so.

/Lars

Do you feel like posting a full review of the Lofgren Low D because, from what Marc says, he's getting a lot of interest in them, far more than in his high whistles, and I tbhink potential buyers would like to know much more about them and their playability.

I will see what i can do! No promises though :)


 After listening to audio samples here i liked them very much and finally bought a low F from Marc so I'll jump in to share my impressions. 

As for the physics of playing this whistle is closer to Phil Hardy's instruments - I have an A Chieftain NR and a Low D OS, my bandmate has an A & Bb tunables also which I often played - the design of the mouthpiece is almost the same. So is the backpressure but it seems, that the lofgren has a tad less of it. It feels and sounds like a refined Chieftain - both in craftsmanship and in sound. The whistle sounds very pleasantly, especially when warmed well enough - the tone is sweet and round, with some air in it but not too much. I'd describe the tone as something in between the Chieftain's and the Goldie's, the former being present a bit more. The whistle is medium loud, I'd say, very well balanced across the octaves and the high notes are loud enough but not shrill. Very comfortable to play.

By chance there are only Goldies of Low Fs  around me so I can't help but compare Marc Lofgren's F to them. I think that Lofgren whistles could really compete with Goldies if Marc added a bit more backpressure to his whistles. I don't know how it would affect the tone but suppose that it could make the attack on notes even better though the whistle is pretty responsive and articulation on it is excellent as is.  Amount of backpressure could be at least an option as Colin Goldie does. I wouldn't say I like tight whistles like some of goldies are but yet I prefer a bit of bckpressure as, say, chieftains NR have. To me, it is backpressure that allows to lean into goldies so cool. You can really lean into a lofgren but it can be more, it seems! 

But, to put aside my personal preferences, Marc's whistle is a brilliant Low F which is really a pleasure to play on.


Lars 'Larry Mór' Mott said:

I have very little experience with Overton/Goldie Low D's.. the ones i have played have all had (to me) almost ridiculous back pressure.. Might well be a thing you learn to appreciate with time, but just grabbing one and having a toot it feels like inflating a party balloon :) The Lofgren sounds good, can be played softly, leaned into and has pretty even octaves save for playing high A and upwards as a first note, most probably the problem lies with the player - me.. : )

Mike Wallbridge said:

Thanks Lars. So what's the Lofgren Low D like? It does sound remarkably like a Goldie but what are air requirements like and the back pressure? I'm wondering how easy it is to play and whether the low notes are all solid? Indeed I wonder how it compares with a Goldie/Overton to play if you've experience of either.

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