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 Post subject: All I want for Christmas is a low whistle... I think...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:14 am 
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OK, so my mom has asked the burning question to those in the WhOA-- "What do you want for Christmas?" Well, I really want a low whistle, or at least, I THINK I really want a low whistle. But, there's only so many warnings and caveats you can read before you start wondering if you are just fooling yourself or if it will be as great as you think.

So, here are my questions:

1. If I can play a regular transverse flute fairly well (get a good tone unless I'm in the upper part of highest octave), will I have a problem with the air/breath requirements of a low D whistle?

2. And what about this piper's grip? It looks easy enough (though obviously different). I'm a little dubious about sealing a hole with the middle of my finger, but I figure that's just one of those 'adapt and overcome' things that go with learning the quirks of a new instrument. Yes? No?

3. Do I really want a low D whistle? I can't think of any compelling reason why my first low whistle would be some other key than D. Tell me I'm thinking reasonably or steer me in the right direction.

4. Which brand of low whistle do I want? Price definitely has to be under $200, and preferably more ~$150s or less. So, no Copelands for me! After reading about Dixons and Albas and Howards...oh my! :? I'm dizzy and I don't know what to think. Obviously everyone has their favorites and what works for some doesn't work for others... but I'd still like to hear what those with some experience have to say. PLEASE give me your recommendation for an easy-ish to learn whistle in this price range that I'll still be happy with sound-wise once I've gotten the hang of it. Oh, and if you can recommend an online source for the whistle, that would be grand. (I don't want much, do I?) :oops:

Thanks for any ideas and suggestions!

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Shan

"May I never be so engrossed with time that I neglect the things of eternity; thus may I not only live but grow towards Thee." - from The Valley of Vision


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:20 am 
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1. I wouldn't think so. My low whistles take less air than any flute I have attempted to play.
2. You may take a while to relax (the whole key to playing any instrument), but piper's grip isn't that hard.
3. Different pitches have different moods in my experience, so I am working on completing my low whistles (I need a low Eb, then maybe I will be satisfied). You may be developing WhOA and want them all!

My low D is a Michael Burke AL-PRO low D (Replaced by the Viper, I understand) but it is priced currently at $240.00.

Mack Hoover Whistles take very little air to play and are priced around $80, I think. I have several of his low whistles (E, F and G) and they are rather quiet in the lower octave and I have to breath out through my nose in order not to jump the octave.

I used to have a Howard, but I never could play it in tune, so I sold it.

I have to use piper's grip on anything below low A. It may be awkward at first, but after you learn to relax, you can feel the holes "buzz" under the 2nd pad which helps with sensitivity. I also use a hand cream to soften the pads and increase sensitivity.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:23 am 
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I have (or had) the following low whistles

Jubilee
Susato
Dixon
Howard
Overton
Burke
Kerry
Chieftain
Sweetheart
Reyburn
Reviol

In the price range you give, I'd recommend the Dixon Low D. I think it sounds better than the other composite Low D's. It's easier to play than the Howard. It's portable and enjoyable to play--a good beginner whistle that won't grow old when you've played lots. Here's a clip of the Dixon: http://ezfolk.com/audio/play.php?mode=s ... ng_id=9383
You might be able to find a used Burke Low D in your price range.

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 Post subject: Re: All I want for Christmas is a low whistle... I think...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:51 am 
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Shana wrote:
1. If I can play a regular transverse flute fairly well (get a good tone unless I'm in the upper part of highest octave), will I have a problem with the air/breath requirements of a low D whistle?


As a flutist you will have no problem with the breath requirements of a low D. We flutists tend to have a larger lung capacity than most people from all the breathing exercises we do.

Quote:
2. And what about this piper's grip? It looks easy enough (though obviously different). I'm a little dubious about sealing a hole with the middle of my finger, but I figure that's just one of those 'adapt and overcome' things that go with learning the quirks of a new instrument. Yes? No?


You will learn within a few weeks. DON'T give up. It is best not to practice this new technique for long periods of time as your hands can hurt with this new stretching. little and often is best I think.

Quote:
3. Do I really want a low D whistle? I can't think of any compelling reason why my first low whistle would be some other key than D. Tell me I'm thinking reasonably or steer me in the right direction.


As a flutist you will love the sound of the low D. You would not want to go for a very low whistle (i.e. lower than low D) until you had mastered the piper fingering.

The low F is very expressive and does not need the piper fingering. It is worth watching all of this clip. The instrument is an Overton F.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7BqUjUPzd4

Quote:
4. Which brand of low whistle do I want? Price definitely has to be under $200, and preferably more ~$150s or less. So, no Copelands for me! After reading about Dixons and Albas and Howards...oh my! :? I'm dizzy and I don't know what to think. Obviously everyone has their favorites and what works for some doesn't work for others... but I'd still like to hear what those with some experience have to say. PLEASE give me your recommendation for an easy-ish to learn whistle in this price range that I'll still be happy with sound-wise once I've gotten the hang of it. Oh, and if you can recommend an online source for the whistle, that would be grand. (I don't want much, do I?) :oops:


Overton is probably regarded as the bee's knees of low D's by the majority but there are many other great low whistles out there. Try to listen to a variety before buying.

Chieftain whistles are also great (when your wife doesn't steal them). Listen to the Titanic movie. There is also a track or two in our TPE of a Chieftain low D.

The Burke Viper already mentioned is an easy to play whistle and very light in weight.

I'd stay away from the plastics unless you like their sound.

Blackhawk, Keith and Mack have MILLIONS of whistles between them and I'm sure they will have good things to recomend.

Overton low D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvgB4TqDZn4

Chieftain low D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftbsZ-voPu4

Howard low D - don't just watch the cute dog. Enjoy his unique playing style.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVIa40Pl4rQ

Burke Viper low D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiDVopL14ZA

Alba low D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USMN1smpBxw

Susato low D - Cheap and in tune but I rarely play mine now as I prefer the sound of the aluminium whistles. Personally I don't recomend it if it will be your long term low D.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5eJ-lkpRvY

Overton
http://www.overton.de/texte/overtonuk.html

Chieftain whistles
http://www.kerrywhistles.com/

Alba whistles
http://www.albawhistles.com/

Howard whistles
http://www.howardmusic.co.uk/whistles_low_d.htm

Burke whistles
http://www.burkewhistles.com/

Reyburn whistles
http://www.reyburnlowwhistles.com/

Hoover whistles
http://www.mackhooverwhistles.com/

Hope this helps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:55 am 
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I agree with Keith the Dixon is a good starter that is much easier to play than the Howard. The Alba tuneable Low D is in your price range, about $185 for a tuneable Q1 design or standard design. I like the Q1 design. But for low whistke sound the Flute is a good choice. If I could play it better I prefer my Casey Burns Folk Flute.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:38 pm 
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khl wrote:
I have (or had) the following low whistles

Jubilee
Susato
Dixon
Howard
Overton
Burke
Kerry
Chieftain
Sweetheart
Reyburn
Reviol


Keith
You posted at the same time as me. I was right to say you had many. :D

Ignoring the price which are your favorites from your list regarding tone and playability.

For my own interest how did the Chieftain and the Overton compare?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:59 pm 
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I knew this was the place to ask my questions! You guys are great!

Fancy Piper - I'd never heard of Mack Hoover -- his white cap aluminum D seems to be the cost winner. $80 for a D whistle, esp a metal one, is really good. Sounds OK, too.

Keith - Did you like the Jubilee at all? I only ask for curiosity because my husband has declared a ban on whistles made of PVC tubing. (Well, of PVC whistles over $30, anyway! I think the very idea of paying a lot for an instrument made of PVC just bugs him.) When you recommended the Dixon D, did you mean the plastic/composite version or the metal alloy? Looks like there's about $70 difference in the prices. What makes the Howard not as easy to play as the Dixon? And where might I find a used Burke in my price range? Can I think of any more questions to ask you?? :)

Adrian - Thanks for all the links! You must think I'm more of a flutist than I am-- I don't think I've ever done any breathing exercises for flute. Heh-- maybe that's the difference between a flutist and a flute player. :oops: I loved the link to the Low F playing-- that was an excellent reason to think about something other than a Low D to start with. Argh! More decisions! I'm glad to hear your input about the susato. I was looking at it due to price, but my gut said not to go there. Confirmation!

Ron - Alba's sure are real purty! This is the winner to me for looks alone... and it sounds really good, too... hmmm....

Other thoughts, anyone?

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Shan

"May I never be so engrossed with time that I neglect the things of eternity; thus may I not only live but grow towards Thee." - from The Valley of Vision


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:12 pm 
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Shan wrote:
Fancy Piper - I'd never heard of Mack Hoover -- his white cap aluminum D seems to be the cost winner. $80 for a D whistle, esp a metal one, is really good. Sounds OK, too.


Mack is the father of PWA. He has a solid reputation in the whistle world as a whistle maker, and also has the loving heart of a pastor, a gift of encouragment among other gifts, and he is also a talented poet.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:36 pm 
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Shan wrote:
I You must think I'm more of a flutist than I am-- I don't think I've ever done any breathing exercises for flute.


I think you are more of a flutist than YOU think you are. My first observation when I listened to your TPE clip was that you played with full lungs and with steady breath control. This is second nature for flutists and other woodwind players who take up the whistle but others without this background sometimes take quite a while to develop good breath control.

I hope you find your perfect low whistle.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:57 pm 
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I find it very difficult to control the Howard around the octave change. It also takes less air than you think it does so it is easy to overblow. I have an Alba low F and like it a lot. It did take me some time to bond with it though. I have Howard, Jubilee practice, and Dixon low Ds. Of these I like the Dixon best. I have played Alba, Overton, Chieftain and Burke low Ds. I like all of these except the Chieftain. I haven't played a Sweet Resonance low D but I understand it is great. My biggest problem with most of these is I want to play them before I buy them because there is some variation between the best of them.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:59 pm 
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Shan wrote:

Keith - Did you like the Jubilee at all? I only ask for curiosity because my husband has declared a ban on whistles made of PVC tubing. (Well, of PVC whistles over $30, anyway! I think the very idea of paying a lot for an instrument made of PVC just bugs him.) When you recommended the Dixon D, did you mean the plastic/composite version or the metal alloy? Looks like there's about $70 difference in the prices. What makes the Howard not as easy to play as the Dixon? And where might I find a used Burke in my price range? Can I think of any more questions to ask you?? :)


The Jubilee has a nice tone. Mine takes lots of breath (more than most of my Low whistles) and so it is harder to play long phrases.

I don't have the Dixon metal (with polymer mouthpiece) Low whistle, just the Polymer low D -- it's the one in my clip. I think it's easier to play than the low D by Howard because the finger holes are just a tad smaller and seal easier and because, well, it's just easier to get a sound out of (don't know how else to describe it).

For the Burke whistle, check the pre-owned section at the Irish Flute Store. They show up there now and again. http://irishflutestore.com/newsite/index.php

Adrian: I didn't have the Overton long enough to compare it with the Chieftan (the O got traded quickly for another whistle that I wanted more and at the time I didn't have a Chieftain).

My Favorite of the Low D's are the Sweetheart Resonance Low D (rich, woody sound) and the Reyburn Low D (strong and resonant). It's a tie for those two in first place. Then comes the Dixon -- it's quiet and mellow. I don't have a Burke in Low D, but I like the Burke Low G very much and I wonder how a low D would compare. The Chieftain and the Kerry I have are Low F and Eb, so it isn't completely fair to compare them, but I still like the Low D's mentioned more. (Which reminds me that I forgot to list the Abell Low G and Hoover Low G and F I have.) The Reviol is a Low C recently acquired in a trade.


Shan, you also might consider a Low G of some sort. It's a wonderful key to play in, and it would give you a key other than D. But, of course, Low D is great. I've sent you a PM.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:24 am 
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I like the Reyburn as it sounds like a tenor recorder.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:52 am 
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In the Low D category, I've played:

Dixon (the all polymer)
Silkstone
Kerry
Syn
Alba Vibe
Jubilee Practice
Susato
Humphrey

My favorites out of the batch were the plastic ones and in this order: Dixon - Jubilee - Susato. Yep, I bucking the tide here. Maybe I don't have the lung power to handle the others ... dunno. Most low Ds have too much "hiss" to suit my taste. I have a Reyburn Low G & a Hoover Low G that I like, and suspect the Reyburn or Hoover Low Ds may come closer to the sound I want than others. The low D sound I like come from my Casey Burns folk flute ... :D

That's the problem with whistles ... you never know what ones you like until you try them. This causes you to buy more because you're always looking for the 'perfect' sound. However, my 'perfect' sound is not Adrian's 'perfect' sound, or Keith's 'perfect' sound, or fancypiper's 'perfect' sound .... or Shan's .... :roll:

So ....

Quote:
1. If I can play a regular transverse flute fairly well (get a good tone unless I'm in the upper part of highest octave), will I have a problem with the air/breath requirements of a low D whistle?


No, don't think so.

Quote:
2. And what about this piper's grip? It looks easy enough (though obviously different). I'm a little dubious about sealing a hole with the middle of my finger, but I figure that's just one of those 'adapt and overcome' things that go with learning the quirks of a new instrument. Yes? No?


Piper's grip can be modified to suit your needs. Depends on your reach more than hand size. My hand is fairly short in finger length but my reach is larger ... and I can play most low Ds with using a pipers grip only on the bottom hand, usually only the bottom finger.

Quote:
3. Do I really want a low D whistle? I can't think of any compelling reason why my first low whistle would be some other key than D. Tell me I'm thinking reasonably or steer me in the right direction.


Personal taste will answer this question more than anything. I like different keys. I did buy a Low D before any other keys. BUT after I bought a mezzo A & low G the low D got ignored for a while.

Quote:
4. Which brand of low whistle do I want? Price definitely has to be under $200, and preferably more ~$150s or less. So, no Copelands for me! After reading about Dixons and Albas and Howards...oh my! Confused I'm dizzy and I don't know what to think. Obviously everyone has their favorites and what works for some doesn't work for others... but I'd still like to hear what those with some experience have to say. PLEASE give me your recommendation for an easy-ish to learn whistle in this price range that I'll still be happy with sound-wise once I've gotten the hang of it. Oh, and if you can recommend an online source for the whistle, that would be grand. (I don't want much, do I?) :oops:


IMO the Dixon fits your price requirements best. The Jubilee wold give you a decent starter low D with cash left over for another whistle in a different key. Susatos really aren't as bad as some of the fellows on the Chiff say. I found the low D Susato to be fairly easily played and not a "plasticky" tone at all.

My two cents .... ;)


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 Post subject: Dixon
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:48 am 
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Shan,

You really have gotten all the advice you could ever hope for. I read and studied, but when I walked in the Hobgoblin Store I walked out with the Dixon Aluminum for $135. I love the heavy feel and clean look. The pipers grip is fun. I wish I had a little more volume in the low end on occasion, but since I play mostly alone or into a mike at church it does not matter.

I cannot believe how much joy I have gotten from Low A, Low G, and Low F after I got the Dixon. I play all of them without pipers grip. The Susato with the O ring tweak is really fun to play because you have to reign it in or the dog will bark. Not so the Dixon, its smooth always.

Don


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:50 am 
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:thumbsup: :laughing: =D>

I feel for you brother - you got WhOA AND live close to really cool whistle shop!!

I got my Cheiftain from Hobgoblin - by mail.... from a distance, mercifully enough :D ! I don't know if I could 'behave'.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:34 pm 
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I was very interested in trying to play the low whistle but then got the opportunity to try a friend's low whistles, which made me think - oh, never the low whistle! Requires waaay too much air to produce a proper sound. But, I bet it sounds nice if you're able to do it.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:10 am 
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zoukie- your point is exactly what I'm nervous about, though not necessarily from breath requirements. I'd hate to make a big (well, big for me) investment in a low whistle only to end up saying "what was I thinking?!" I guess I could always sell it if that happened, though...

Don - Excellent testimony for the Dixon, and also for the whistles in the other keys. Between you and Adrian, I think I'm starting to lean toward getting a low F before the low D.

Judy - I'm not a big fan of a hissing low D, either. I've been starting to wonder if metal = more hiss and composite = less hiss.

Susan - I didn't think a metal whistle would sound like a recorder. Maybe I don't know what a tenor recorder sounds like. I think I have some pretty horrific grade-school memories associated with the sound of a recorder. <shudder>

Keith - thanks for clarifying the differences between the Dixon and the Howard, and also for the link to the Irish Flute Store. That's pretty cool!

More really great replies! I still haven't decided what I want to do, but I have a lot more to make my decision on now with all this input. I REALLY appreciate that!

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Shan

"May I never be so engrossed with time that I neglect the things of eternity; thus may I not only live but grow towards Thee." - from The Valley of Vision


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:50 am 
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Shan wrote:
Judy - I'm not a big fan of a hissing low D, either.


Ah! I'm begining to wonder if you would be more happy with a simple flute e.g. Irish, folk or bamboo? :?

The mezzo / low keys of A, G and F are wonderful and they are a super way into the world of low whistles. Personally I play them far more than the low D.

The Susato F has a great sound and is low cost. This route has the advantage that you can buy one whistle and the bodies of the G and A and save lots of money. The Susato G also has a rich mellow tone.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:37 pm 
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The real problem with all our recommendations is that our personal playing styles have a lot to do with the sound we each get from a whistle. I don't like Overtons when I play them -- Adrian can make an Overton sing. It's sort of a crap shoot unless you live next to a huge whistle store and can try them before buying.

Buying whistles to find your preferred sound is like kissing frogs Image to find Prince Charming Image -- you have to go through a lot of them to find the best, which is half the fun!

:D


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:38 am 
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Judy K wrote:
The real problem with all our recommendations is that our personal playing styles have a lot to do with the sound we each get from a whistle.


Y'know, I was starting to come to this exact conclusion myself. And, I suppose, if you ask enough people, every kind of whistle will eventually have someone who rates it a frog and someone who thinks it's a prince! Still, given my budgetary restraints, Dixon got the highest rating here... and I think, after listening to a bunch of youtube clips that I'll probably start there. Well, at least that's what I think today... ;)

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"May I never be so engrossed with time that I neglect the things of eternity; thus may I not only live but grow towards Thee." - from The Valley of Vision


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:44 am 
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Adrian wrote:
Ah! I'm begining to wonder if you would be more happy with a simple flute e.g. Irish, folk or bamboo? :?


Actually, I don't think so. The big attraction whistles have for me over flutes right now is that you don't have to have a good embouchure to play them! OTOH, I don't think I'd say no if someone wanted to give me one! :)

Adrian wrote:
The mezzo / low keys of A, G and F are wonderful and they are a super way into the world of low whistles. Personally I play them far more than the low D.


OOOOOH! Just as I start thinking I'm set on what I want to do, I get more options! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA...

Actually, I DO like options. I just don't like not being able to afford ALL the options. :lol:

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Shan

"May I never be so engrossed with time that I neglect the things of eternity; thus may I not only live but grow towards Thee." - from The Valley of Vision


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:01 am 
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I didn't like my Cheiftain at first ... but it grew on me. It is quite chiffy, but I' coming to appreciate a more 'primitive' sound.

jrc

Edit: I should add, it's a low D.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:32 am 
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Judy K wrote:
It's sort of a crap shoot unless you live next to a huge whistle store and can try them before buying.


I think the truth is that the 'buying-whistles-we-have-not-played' game is a lot more risky playing craps.

Flutes are much easier to buy, unless you are at Dana's level.


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