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 Post subject: Nickel vs. Brass
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:22 am 
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Location: Cleveland, OH
Hi.

What's really the difference in sound between a brass and nickel whistle?

My 1st shipment of whistles should be arriving today. I have a few generations in the order...the nickel ones...I got them cuz I thought they looked 'perrrttyy' :) and wanted some variety. Then I noticed that it seems most people use Generation brass. Well, there prolly isn't that much difference between the two if they're both not tweaked.

Wondering if it would be worth it for me to send my nickel Generation Bb whistle to Tommy for tweaking...or if I should get a brass one. I thought I read somewhere that nickel is brighter in sound than brass. I also read Tommy's tweak makes the whistle quieter. So perhaps a tweaked nickel would cut thru a little better than a tweaked brass? dunno

I listened to Days of Elijah last night....yeah...I so wanna play that whistle solo:) Pulled out my praise band chart book from church and it's in Bb. the only Bb whistle I ordered was a cheapie Gen. nickel. Not sure a nontweaked nickel Generation Bb is gonna sound that good! haha. Robin Mark is prolly playin on some whistle that costs as much as my car payment:)

I'm sooooo excited...I hope they arrive this afternoon so I can start playing!

If anyone has a decent Bb whistle they would part with, let me know.

I have newbie fever!...WhOA has already set in....I've spent sooo much money already! and i need to get a half way decent drum stick bag for my whistles.

and I want a low A......and maybe a G...

HELP! AAAACCKKK stop the insanity!

Hmmm my next post will be "Poor newbie whistler accepting donations"

~Kim


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel vs. Brass
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:03 pm 
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Location: Colorado, USA
KATaylor5 wrote:
Hi.


I listened to Days of Elijah last night....yeah...I so wanna play that whistle solo:) Pulled out my praise band chart book from church and it's in Bb. the only Bb whistle I ordered was a cheapie Gen. nickel. Not sure a nontweaked nickel Generation Bb is gonna sound that good!


Hi Kim,

Years ago, I played that whistle part on a Gen nickel Bb and I think that it sounded fine ... the volume shouldn't be a problem if you use a mic and are set at an appropriate level in the mix. But I'm not sure what the setup is at your church. Also note that the song has a key change to C, so if your praise team is going to do that, you'd need to switch whistles. See ... you'll need a whistle in every key, eventually. :)

Lisa


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel vs. Brass
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:04 pm 
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KATaylor5 wrote:
the only Bb whistle I ordered was a cheapie Gen. nickel.


I have one of those that a friend gave me, except they put a different mouthpiece on it first. It has a nice sound now, but it does seem like one of the quieter ones to me.

Kitty

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I, the LORD, do all these things."
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:46 pm 
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I own numerous Gens of both types and they all sound the same to me--good (when tweaked, even with just the sticky tack tweak).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:18 pm 
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I have a nickel Gen Bflat that I just love. the nickel sounds a slight bit mellower to me but that could just be me :) I have had Gen Ds in brass and nickel.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:25 pm 
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Location: Cleveland, OH
I do have some C whistles coming...an original clarke, a generation, and a sweetone....not tweaked but...whatever :) So I'm covered for the key change.

the Generation Bb is the only Bb whistle I ordered.

Where is that UPS guy!!!! I want my whistles!!!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:27 pm 
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The Gen Bb generally just needs the sticky tack tweak and it is good to learn how to do that tweak yourself but sometimes the Gen Bb is ok straight from the shelf.

The nickel Generations are a little bit brighter in sound than the more mellow brass ones. As they are so low cost most people can aford both.

Gen D whistles normally need expert tweaking to be worth playing.


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 Post subject: Re: Nickel vs. Brass
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:06 pm 
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LisaD wrote:
KATaylor5 wrote:
Also note that the song has a key change to C, so if your praise team is going to do that, you'd need to switch whistles. See ... you'll need a whistle in every key, eventually. :)

Lisa


I agree we certainly with Lisa (the real expert) that we eventually need to have whistles in every key. But personally I have also found it very useful to learn to play in different keys on whistles. I find that it is very easy to play in the key of C on a Bb as it only requires half-holing with the bottom finger of both hands which can be done well and at reasonable speed. This is useful for playing the key of E on a D whistle which is useful for a quick key modulation. Of course, you wouldn't want to play reels etc like this.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 4:23 pm 
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I think any whistle has two sounds. There are a very few that have also said this, and I have never written that I have felt this way also. There is the sound that the player hears, and the sound that some one listening hears. Many times I have asked my wife to tell me the differance between two whistles and sometimes she will say they sound the same.
I think the player hears some of the moving air that is not noticeable across the room. I have tried the same fipple on a brass whistle, and then played it on a nickel whistle. I cannot hear the differance. Maybe there are a few with very accute hearing that can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:26 pm 
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I notice no difference between my brass and my nickel generation Bb, except the nickel is *very* slick- if I have sweaty hands, it almost gets away from me! But I like the look more, so I usually use it.

I don't have sticky tack, so I tried mud, but it didn't improve the sound. :P Then it eventually fell out.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:46 pm 
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Location: Sparta. NC USA
I can't tell any difference in sound between the brass and nickel plate tubes.

I prefer the brass as it isn't as slippery.

When I relax and the tune just seems to flow out of the whistle, the brass whistle will stay in my hands wheras the nickel will drop to the ground (unless I rub some beeswax where my thumbs hit).

I can hear more difference between brass and aluminum than I can between brass and nickel plate.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:49 am 
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I have a nickel Gen D and a brass Gen D .... the nickel one has a much better tone to my ears. But, I think this may be one of the legendary 'good-right-out-of-the-box' Generations, so it's probably an unfair comparison.

Don't forget to add a few plastic (ABS, delrin, whatever) whistles in your whistle stable, eventually. I really like Tony Dixon's line -- a good sound for a fair price. My first 'upgrade' was a Dixon tunable with the internal brass tuning slide. Boy! Did that whistle ever improve my playing. A lot of the sqawks heard from my Walton's Mellow D disappeared immediately with the Dixon.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:58 am 
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Judy K wrote:
I have a nickel Gen D and a brass Gen D .... the nickel one has a much better tone to my ears. But, I think this may be one of the legendary 'good-right-out-of-the-box' Generations, so it's probably an unfair comparison.

Try swapping the fipples and see if the brass isn't better. If so, it's the fipple's fault! I tried several fipples on my Generation D, but the red fipple sounds the best and the octave is better in tune with it.

I want either a whitecap or a blacktop fipple for the Generation D tube. The blacktops made my good Generation C and Bb whistles into great whistles.


Last edited by fancypiper [in Heaven] on Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:01 am 
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Location: Cleveland, OH
Thanks Judy.

Yes, preacher has a Dixon tuneable Bb for sale and I bought it:) I saw that he had a Kerry Low D for $60...I should have checked here before I placed my whistle shop order! ($113 for the kerry) Well, I know a little better now.

Going the plastic route I'm not sure I should fill out my 'stable' with Dixon's or if I should go with Susatos. The low F, G, A, trio or the Bb, C, D, trio would make a nice Christmas present from the fam :lol: The Syns are attractive at $50 each. AHHH sooo many choices!

It will be a long time before I go the Burke, Sweethart, etc. route. Little too pricey for me! I still have several clarinets and saxophones to main with reeds and whatnot. Hard for me to justify spending $150+ on just one whistle!

I hope to begin whistle lessons soon. I'm sure if/when I'm ready to upgrade, my teacher will tell me to go for it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:08 am 
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I don't like the Susato. They are too loud, and the top hand octave notes are hard to hit and make sound right with rolls, cuts, etc. If you get one, only get one to see if you like it.

I have one of their first designs from back in the 70's, I think. I have tried their new design and it is very similar to that one.

BTW, the company wanted to hire our band to record some, but I just can't play a susato well enough to record, so I declined. Since I am the only one that leads with the whistle (our harper plays a little, but usually does flute rather than whistle) in the band, the band had to turn them down.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:21 am 
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KATaylor5 wrote:
It will be a long time before I go the Burke, Sweethart, etc. route. Little too pricey for me! I still have several clarinets and saxophones to main with reeds and whatnot. Hard for me to justify spending $150+ on just one whistle!

You better not ever play one of Burke's whistles then! You might find it isn't very hard to justify a few of his whistles. I did and want some more, but medical bills come first, it seems...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:11 am 
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Kim, I have opinions that run contrary to the majority of whistlers so consider this a 'warning' before reading farther .... ;)

I have played some of the lower toned Susatos and liked them. They are louder than a lot of whistles, tuning is decent. I even found the Low D easier to play than a Silkstone Alloy low D. I don't own any Susatos at the moment, though. I also don't have any Burkes, now. They are a mellow whistle (I had a couple of brass Ds) but the tone seemed 'bland' to me. One way you might be able to try a Burke before buying is attend the Dublin Irish Festival (unfortunately it was the first weekend of this month ...). I've heard Mike Burke usually has a booth there every year.

I have a Syn D/C set you may borrow for a couple of weeks if you would like to try some before ordering. Another nice whistle to consider is an Alba. As far as plastics go, I forgot to mention Mack Hoover's PVC whistles. I have several of these, PVC Ds plus a whitecap E, etc. As nice as the whistles are, they can't match how great Mack is. He's the best!

Another oddball piece of advice -- get to know the whistles you just got before making too many decisions on where to go next. We all have 'favorites' to suggest. Take each one with a grain of salt. My favorite this week may not be my favorite next week ..... :mrgreen:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:14 am 
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Location: Cleveland, OH
I have spent alot of time on tinwhistletunes.com and listened to many of the Burke sound clips and on the Wanderer's site....yeah, I was drooling:) I was pretty much like, 'yeah, I want one of those' haha.

It was like undergoing hypnosis :shock: "It's a Burke,..it's a burke,...you want one...you need one...it's calling out to you...Kimmmmm, Kimmmmm, come find me"

I need to stop listening to sound clips for awhile.

sorry, we're kind of off the nickel vs. brass topic. Sorry everyone!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:24 am 
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Burkes are brass .... (think Christmas list).

I have a nickel Copeland. That's a GREAT whistle and my pick over any of the Burkes I played ....

Soooo .... brass vs nickel -- back on topic. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:50 am 
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I am sorry but it is not brass or nickel. it is brass and nickel. You know the old ad, "sometimes you feel like a nut sometimes you don't". I have a Susato D. It is a very nice whistle. It requires that you seal the holes properly or it will complain. I do not have a Burke. For 3/4 the price you can buy a Humphreys which is a great whistle. It is easy to play and sounds great. Earlier this morning I played a brass Waltons mellow D and a nickel Feadog Pro. I enjoyed playing both of them. One is not better than the other they are just different. Another thing to consider is aluminum. The Alba whistles are very good. I have an Alba Q1 that is one of my favorite whistles. Everywhere that a play it people comment on how nice it looks and how great the sound is. My granddaughter who was a music major in college and a member of the marching band just commented the other day that she really liked the tone of that whistle. The bottom line is the whistle that sounds nice to you and that you can play well is the best whistle for you. I need a number of whistles to fit my moods. I have at least 13 Generation whistles 7 in brass and 6 in nickel. I have them in all keys from Bb to G. I NEED them. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:29 am 
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OK Ron, it is not nickel and brass either. :D Nickel and brass would be an alloy. It is nickel on brass or nickel plated brass. ;) The nickel plating makes the tone tube a little thicker, and when the head is removed the nickel plate should be removed where the fipple fits on the tone tube, or the extra thickness may cause the fipple to crack. So what causes the nickel plated whistle to sound brighter? :?: I don't know.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:34 am 
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You'll find a wide range of opinions on Susatos - some lovem' some hatem'. Best advice - try a few for yourself. I've got a C, D, Eb & E that I would not part with. The issue for many is that they are made from some kind of plastic - like stuff and reminds them of their 1st recorder.
To see what a Susato can do go to the website kerrywhistles.com and go to the "movie" tab then scrooll down to the one called "pro-files". There you will see and hear demos of whistles by great players. In particular there is an awesome clip of Kevin Crawford o f the group "Lunasa" playing a Susato D. It is amazing. you can also check out other whistles there as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:33 am 
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Dear KaT,
A certain heroic dwarf named Gimli once said, "If anyone is asking my opinion, which I know they are NOT..."

I like Adrian's comments--I have no problem half-holing on one or even two notes of a song, especially a slower praise song. This can cut down on the whistles you MUST buy.

Though buying whistles, especially FINDING them in your mailbox, is big time fun!

However, remember your options: If you buy a bunch of cheaper whistles beccause you "can't afford" a Burke or Sweetheart, remember that EACH of those cheapies costs $10-$20 plus shipping. It doesn't take long to rack up some serious money that way.
Why not save that 50 or so bucks and put all your loose change in a can twoard a Burke, Sweetheart or a Syn, or another good custom whistle?
Nowadays, when even a fast food meal can cost seven bucks, I find it hard to believe MOST people couldn't save enough for a Burke or a Syn.

My Burke D is my absolute favorite whistle. I would not describe the sound as "sterile" but as "pure." My Syn C/D set comes in a VERY close second.

Kelly

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:39 am 
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Location: Cleveland, OH
Kelly,

yes you bring up an excellent point. If I spend all my money buying every cheapie and tweaked whistle out there, I could have bought one or two of the good ones.

I think I'm gonna 'chill' for now and work with what I have. I can always sell my starter whistles to another newbie!

I just know me....I get all excited about something, do the research, buy a bunch of stuff, play with it awhile, and then it ends up sitting around the house. Though, if I bought a burke and ended up not playing again, it would be easy to sell it.

When it comes to buying 'good' stuff I really take my time to research things. I don't like making quick decisions. Since I was impatient and wanted to get started with whistling right away, I thought I'd start with the cheapies for some variety.

I think what I'll do is just keep an eye on this site and if things come up for a good price, I'll go for it. Though, the funny thing is, when there is a really good product out there, they are hard to find used because no one wants to give them up. Anyone want to sell a Burke D? haha


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:27 pm 
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Actually, Kat, if you can play your present whistles awhile, every so often someone sells Burkes on the Chiff and Fipple site, usually for about a hundred bucks, a significant savings.
I'd be willing to bet that ALL your whistles won't be "sitting around" for long. The whistle has this simplicity, this bright, happy sound, this "I'm here when you want to play," personality. Whistles are portable joy!

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