Praise Whistlers Abroad

Walton/Beginner's question(s)
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Author:  Scotto [ Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Walton/Beginner's question(s)

I was so thrilled to stumble across this site tonight as I was looking for Christian sheet music written for tin whistle. I'm a long-time (almost 30 years) saxophone player who has fooled around with recorders from time to time. But it's only recently that my wife bought me a tin whistle and I've entered the sometimes-daunting world of whistle playing.

I say "daunting" because I'm learning this all on my own as I go. Anything I pick up is usually from a book or from the web. Getting the basics -- just the facts -- about whistles is fairly easy that way. What I'm lacking, though, is a source for experienced, subjective opinion.

That said, I'm hoping you all can help me (and that I posted this in the correct spot!) The whistle I have is one of the gold-colored Walton D's with the green mouthpiece. These are all over Ebay, of course, and I gather they're pretty common among us, well, commoners.

My question is: Can I get a good, "professional" sound out of this kind of whistle? Or do I need to buy something a little more expensive and/or customized? My impression has been that even professional whistlers tend to favor relatively inexpensive whistles, but I'm wondering whether this is true. In the sax world, the best players play some of the most expensive instruments. Is that true with whistles? How do I develop a good sound? And is there such a thing as a "good" sound, or just different kinds of sounds for different kinds of music?

OK, that was actually several questions. Any opinions you all might want to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Author:  jrc [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

Greetings to a fellow sax player!!!

I just got a Walton like the one you describe for Christmas. I was unimpressed; in fact I didn't like it at all, but I also haven't gone back to it and tried to live with it for any length of time.

Whistles are odd beasts - some of my favorite whistles are quite cheap. I have 2 Clarke Originals that I like a lot and a Generation Bb that cost way less that 20.00 each. And I have a Dixon Trad that is OK, but sounds very sterile to me. That goes for about 35.00, I think. And I have a 'high end' Cheiftain Low D that's way cool, but I have no knowledge about his other models.

Search here and on the Chiff and Fipple site for 'tweaks' - there's one about putting poster putty in the mouthpiece that's quite popular. That may help the Walton considerably.

Tell us about yourself - what kind of horns/ instruments do you play. AND .... get ready for the 'chocolate' question. It's coming, I promise.

I'm sure you'll get lots of other advice here shortly - welcome to PWA.



Author:  larrym [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

\:D/ Welcome to PWA, scotto!!! As you can see by my info I'm kinda new here myself. It's a wonderful place to be as you will quickly find out, and there's tons of really good information and knowledge available here just for the asking. Not to metion an overwhelming amount of talent.
It's been quite a while since I've played the Walton's you mentioned and to be truthful I don't remember how I felt about it. My first whistle was a brass Feadog D which I never did care for too much. As far as the inexpensive whistles go I'm quite fond of the nickel Generation Bb and also I really like Oaks in D. Yes, it's most definitely possible to get a "professional" sound from a "cheap" whistle. Up until not so long ago one of the top whistlers around (or should that be "whistlist"?!), Mary Bergin, played Generations.
You'll be getting lots of answers to your questions before you know it, from people whose posts will be much more informative and helpful than mine. So once again welcome to PWA and enjoy yourself!!!!

Oh, btw, what's your favorite type of chocolate??? :D



Author:  TC [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

Scotto, Welcome ! Good to have another sax player on board. Here's another good place to go for tunes :
If you do go to the chiff and fipple site for info on the cheapie vs. expensive whistle debate, be prepared. It has been going back and forth for years apparently and some are vicious to defend their opinions. I'm sure the Walton you have is OK to start with but I would attempt to try any other whistles you may get your hands on. Experience will tell you what works best for you.
I do have one Walton in my bag although it is the Jerry Freeman tweaked mello-dog whistle. Quite the Frankenwhistle, it is a modified Walton body with a different fipple on top. Nice sounding whistle, it gave me the tone I was looking for after starting out on the little black whistle. My advice is be careful as more expensive whistles aren't necessarily easy playing whistles and, as with sax, you need to get your chops first.
One more most important piece of advice :
HAVE FUN ! :laughing:

Author:  Blackhawk [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

I like Walton's a lot. It all depends on whether or not you are playing with others and need something tunable. If not, then I think the Walton's may be fine for you. But truly, it's all personal taste. If YOU like it, then it's good. And I do happen to like mine a lot.

Oh, and WELCOME! :)

Author:  kelly [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

Welcome to the board, Scotto! We want to hear all your whistling experiences!

Indeed, you have asked a loaded question, so I'm glad you brought it here. Opinions vary, of course, but here is my experience:
My daughter called me about an Irish Whistle kit, and brought it home. It was a Walton's kit with music book, CD, and a brass D whistle with the green top. I loved learning to play, but the sound was pretty buzzy and reedy. I didn't know it at the time, but my family was planning murder. Even my cat crawled up into my lap and bawled for me to stop. So, I searched the web and bought a Clarke Original because I thought, "That looks different." And my family, going to the altar and repenting of their plans, breathed a sigh of relief. However, the Clarke requires a lot of air, so I ordered a brass session D from Michael Burke Pennywhistles. My daughter said, "All the problems with your playing I was going to tell you about went away when you got your new whistle."
Since then I have been sold on custom whistles. (a little TOO sold--I've bought too many!)
Yes, you can play well with the "cheapie" whistles, but personally I think you need to give yourself the best start you can. But if you don't want to invest much yet, I recommend the Clarke Original (the guys here will tell you how to "tweak" it), a Generation tweaked by Jerry Freeman, or a Clarke Sweetone or Meg. They'll all keep your cat from divorcing you.
And don't order a Clarke directly from the Clarke Company! Mine took a month to arrive from England! Order through The Whistle Shop or other online store in America!
And, since I'm blowing off here, you might consider Grey Larsen's book, "The Tin Whistle Toolbox" which includes CDs. I learned a LOT from that book!

Author:  RonKiley [ Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

I am one that likes the Waltons especially the C whistle. I also like almost all the cheap whistles except the Clarke original. I am in the minority on that. I tend to play Feadog most often. However, I also like more expensive whistles. One of my favorites is an Alba Q1 D followed closely by a Humphreys D. I will most probably buy a Burke at the Dublin Irish Festival. Here is a secret though. You will play the best on the one you play the most no matter what it is. Keep playing it will just get better.

Author:  Susi [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

I bought a cheap Walton for a friend years ago and I now think it's a really bad one. I bought a Walton Little Black D some year ago and it's turned out to be the cheapo that I prefer to play. I've also heard that many of the pro players play cheap whistles. I have a Dixon Trad and I love it, but I'm always open to new stuff, at the moment I'm thinking of trying a Dixon D polymer, if there is one, I like their polymer whistles. I'd recommend Dixon for beginners because it's stable and very easy to play. But, you may not be a real beginner since you've been playing other wind instruments before.

However, welcome to PWA!

Cadbury rocks!!!!!!

Author:  ConnieS [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

The Walton Little Black is a great whistle, IMO. I gave away my other Walton. I didn't care for the sound.

The thing is, though, everybody likes a different sound. I would play with the cheapies for a while and find out what kind you like. Do you like breathy? You might like the Clarke Original. Do you like Irish traditional? Maybe a Generation. Strident? Your Walton would be a great whistle, then. Pure? Well, I can't think of a pure cheapie right off hand, but there may be one.

I'd play a bunch of different kind of cheapies, to see what sound appeals to you. Then once you've got your licks down, if you still want to, start shopping for a better whistle within the sound family that you like.

Oh, and welcome to the board, Scotto.

Author:  fancypiper [in Heaven] [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

Welcome to the best community on the internet!

For D whistles, I recommend the Clarke Original design and, my very favorite D whistle, the Park Whistle Every whistle (just intonation version). I am awaiting the arrival of one of his Ghost whistles.

A BBS search should show my reviews and opinions if that is worth anything.

I play these quite frequently too:

Generation Brass Bb with a Mack Hoover Blacktop fipple
Michael Bourke Low G and D AL-PRO whistles

Author:  kelly [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

RonKiley wrote:
Here is a secret though. You will play the best on the one you play the most no matter what it is. Keep playing it will just get better.

Ron, I think you are so, so right!

Author:  Adrian [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

This is my favourite Walton player. Andrea makes pots of money playing her Waltons.


I enjoy the Mellow D and the LBW (Little Black Whistle) though they both need to be tweaked IMHO. However, I rarely play cheapies these days as I prefer the tone of better quality whistles. The exception is the Gen Bb which I think is a wonderful instrument.

Some big name players still play cheapies as their performance whistles but all in all I think the majority of people playing professionally use more expensive whistles.

Author:  Adrian [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

kelly wrote:
RonKiley wrote:
Here is a secret though. You will play the best on the one you play the most no matter what it is. Keep playing it will just get better.

Ron, I think you are so, so right!

There is probably a lot of truth in this.

Author:  RonKiley [ Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

The rest of the secret is the one you play the most is the one you like the best.

Author:  jrc [ Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

Scotto? hellooooo....?


Author:  Scotto [ Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Walton/Beginner's question(s)

Sorry, I didn't have the chance to check back until now. Thanks SO much for the great responses. I'm going to look them over and post a longer response next week (the wife and I are getting to enjoy an extended weekend in Vegas!) You guys are awesome!

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