Tune A Penny Whistle? To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=34036
40 messages

Tune A Penny Whistle?

07 May 01 - 12:42 PM (#457030)
Subject: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: GUEST,Tom

Is it possible to tune a penny whistle? I have a Generation and another one(name?)that is about a 1/2 step flat. I tried soaking in hot water to lossen the fipple but it didn't work. Any suggestions or are they not supposed to be able to be tuned? Thanks, Tom


07 May 01 - 12:47 PM (#457038)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

If you can't loosen the fipple, you're sunk, as the tuning is achieved by changing the distance between the fipple and the first hole. Try tapping (gently) around the plastic where it joins the metal -- perhaps that will loosen the glue.

Good luck!

Alex


07 May 01 - 12:55 PM (#457047)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

Ya... but if the whistle is flat, should the fipple be pulled out or pushed in???

This has haunted me for some time...

;-)


07 May 01 - 01:03 PM (#457054)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

Pulling the fipple out makes the tones LOWER. Pushing the fipple in makes the tones HIGHER.

Thus, if the whistle is flat, push the fipple IN. If the whistle is sharp, pull the fipple OUT.

Or are you pulling my leg, Clinton?

Alex


07 May 01 - 01:10 PM (#457059)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

Not at all MT... I've always been curious to tune whistles... One of the bands I'm in has a Bb whistle around somewhere that we only use occasionally, but I'm positive that it's a few cents low and it drives me NUTS!!

So potentially, this may only be 'fixable' with major surgery.. If the fipple is currently pushed in as far as it can go, then I might possibly have to Dremel the whistle down a hair eh... I may wanna experiment on a few cheepo Clarks or something first... LOL!!

Fortunately, all we use are the 10 dollar, red and blue and green plastic fipple ones... Pretty much disposable flutes eh...

;-)


07 May 01 - 01:11 PM (#457060)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Whistleworks

Dear Tom,

There are many good tips on just what you're asking on www.chiffandfipple.com

If those fail, and, if you absolutely positively cannot loosen the plastic mouthpiece, go out and spend a couple bucks on a Susato, which is a plastic whistle that sounds very nice and has a tuning slide. These are very inexpensive and are worth the price.

Very best of luck to you,

Bob Pegritz


07 May 01 - 01:13 PM (#457063)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

Yeah, Clinton, the really expensive ones have sliding fipples already, so it's only on the cheap ones that you need to risk ruining the thing to make it tune.

If it's pushed in as far as it will go, as you say, you may need to take the mouthpiece off and dremel the thing. Thank goodness for Dremel, eh?

You can hear when something's only a couple of cents flat? You have a better ear than I do.

Alex


07 May 01 - 01:17 PM (#457067)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

Moslty I can hear the difference when we're playing together, and the whistle is a little flat compaired to the guitar... And it's probably more than a few cents, but you know what I mean eh...

;-)


07 May 01 - 01:40 PM (#457078)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

Maybe the guitar is out of tune? Have you tested the whistle against an electronic tuner?

Alex


07 May 01 - 01:45 PM (#457089)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

The guitar is ALWAYS in tune... remember the tuner thread from a month ago or so??

LOL!!!


07 May 01 - 02:04 PM (#457105)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

Look, is this a musical question, or a political question? I can help you if it's the former; if the latter you may have to ask MAV or somebody else more political than I.

:-P

Alex


07 May 01 - 02:36 PM (#457148)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: JeZeBeL

I agree with whistle works. I own a susato D whistle and it was great at first but now it is flat. But I can't make it go any sharper so I have to get the junior hacksaw out tomorrow to nip a little bit off, and then if it goes sharp I can always flatten it!!

If you cant get the glue off ur generation though you're b******d.

Go on buy a susato, the sound gorgeous, and if you play in sessions with people like Sam Pirt, you can still be heard!!!!

Emma xxxx


07 May 01 - 02:38 PM (#457153)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

Get the glue off your generation?!?!

LOL!!

Sounds like good advice for the Baby Boomers!!

:-)`


07 May 01 - 02:49 PM (#457167)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

I was thinking the gen-x'ers.

Alex


07 May 01 - 02:55 PM (#457172)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

You would MT... but we're gonna be around after yer gone!

LOL!!


07 May 01 - 02:59 PM (#457181)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

More's the pity! But I guess SOMEBODY has to work as cashiers at Old Navy. Otherwise they might start playing that "music" --and at those levels-- where *I* shop!

Alex


07 May 01 - 03:17 PM (#457212)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Clinton Hammond

LOL!!!

;-)


07 May 01 - 03:40 PM (#457239)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Geoff the Duck

A friend plays a "BIG" whistle (low D, I think). The problem with something of that size is that if you start playing with it cold, it moght be in tune, but as your breath warms it up it slowly gets flatter in pitch, so during a gig he needs to re-tune it at intervals until it reaches its maximum expansion.


07 May 01 - 03:44 PM (#457243)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

Myself, I fall into that very strange group of people who get called baby boomers, but are really too young for the title.

-The Vietnam War was over before I was of draftable age
-I was still in my 20's when "Thirtysomething" went off the air
-When they started defining "Gen-Xers" as people in their 20's, I was already in my 30's.
-By the time I got to high school, drugs were for losers.
-My mother is younger than Ringo.
-I am not a Baby Boomer. I am not a Gen-X-er.
-I have fallen through the cracks.

Therefore I refer to myself as a member of "Generation W" (one letter before "X").

Nobody cares what we think about, or like, or don't like, because there are too few of us.

In this way we will take over the world.

Alex
(High school graduating class of 1979)


07 May 01 - 04:02 PM (#457261)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Ruthie A

The only thing I would recommend would be a Susato. My friend holds the metal body of the whistle (just down from the 'B' hole) over a cigarette lighter, which melts the glue completely. It also creates a foul smell and fills the room with evil black smoke. Always worth trying.

Ruthie


07 May 01 - 04:16 PM (#457277)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Big Mick

For an earlier thread on this subject which had some pretty good tips, CLICK HERE . Lots of good ideas and links.

I have a tunable Chieftain Low D which can be had in the US for about $125.00. Great whistle. I also have Susato's, which have a lovely sound, but I find them to be unreliable in the second octave. Generations, in my humble opinion, are wonderful whistles for your everyday playing. One should be careful and be certain to play the high end whistles before buying. Once you start acquiring whistles, be sure and store them in their own separate socks. If you don't, the little beggars will begin having sex and multiplying faster than rabbits. That is the only explanation I have for all of these damn things I have. My wife isn't buying it though.

Mick


07 May 01 - 05:11 PM (#457333)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: SeanM

I don't know if it matters (as for entirely unimportant reasons I play wooden block Clarkes), but I was under the impression you had to use hot soapy water to loosen the Gen fipples. Something about the soap breaking down the glue...

M


07 May 01 - 10:59 PM (#457552)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Uncle Jaque

Generations, over the past few years, have indicated some serious quality control lapses at their point of origin. It is a rare Generation that will play decently without a modicum of "tweaking". There are some "Pro" Musicians who swear by them, but I will stick to my Clarke "Traditionals" in "C" and "D". I have heard rumors that Clarke was going to expand into other keys, but these have not been forthcoming much to my disapointment.
One trick with the wooden-plugged Clarke is to sand the exposed end smooth and soak it with mineral, almond or sesame seed oil. This will prevent it's swelling and shutting down the fipple as it gets wet from playing.
I picked up a little "F" Generation on a lark, and got it to play reasonably well by slightly blunting the windcutter blade with a strip of emery paper, filling the cavity behind and under the window with candle wax (dripping it in, then forming it while still warm & soft with a coffee-stirrer stick) and trimming the mouthpiece back about a quarter - inch and angling it downwards to facilitate tounging.

There are a few ways to "cheat" on tuning a non - slide equipped whistle: trimming a little off of the end will sharpen it, but will also throw intonation off if overdone. Sometimes a bore reducing constriction right at the muzzle will flatten the tone and add a certain resonance. I stuck a 5/8" brass gas line reduction flange on the end of my 3/4" brass tubing "low" whistle (salvaged from a floor lamp from the dump) to good effect. Your hardware or plumbing supply store may help you come up with a suitable fixture at a modest price. If you masking-tape over the tone holes and slowly roll a fingertip over the muzzle while blowing the base note, you can hear this effect and get an idea how much constriction you need or can get away with. I have been known to roll up a little strip of paper and stuff it up a whistle's nose or cover a wee bit of it with a smidgion of duckt tape - not a particularly aesthetic modification, but occasionally effective.


07 May 01 - 11:22 PM (#457563)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: GUEST,CLETUS

Mizter Big Mick........I dun kwit storin them whizzels in my sox cuz it jez wuzzint workin out for me. Firzt thing wuz thet it hurt ta walk sumpin awful an then the whizzels smelt reel bad an all but whut wuz even worz wuz thet iffen I did much wokkin at all it bent the dam thingz up soze I cuddint play em worth a darn. Paw sez iffen I bot bigger bootz mebbee thet wud hep, but I wuzza wundrin whut you thot.

CLETUS


07 May 01 - 11:43 PM (#457573)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Big Mick

Clete, m'boy, who you trying to kid???? That sock of yours would be stuffed with a regular E. Only guys like me can fit a Low D in our sock, and that is only if'n we ain't wearin' them. In which case I wouldn't have room for a guitar pick.............

Mick


08 May 01 - 03:30 AM (#457655)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Sarah the flute

I've sawed down a Eb whistle to make an E from a Generation - works a treat. Hot SOAPY water removes the glue then use some grease to put the top bit back on. I find whistles need regular replacement as they have a tendency to go out of key after a while. My Susato is fine on the lower register but a bit unpredictable on the top so altho' they are quieter I prefer the generations for most stuff.


08 May 01 - 03:42 AM (#457658)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: alison

I just love my Generations, I do prefer the sound of the blue top silver body ones to the red / brass variety.

to get the top off you need to use REALLY hot but NOT BOILING water........

Susato's have a lovely tone.. but the small D whistles are unreliable (as has been mentioned) on the top register...... although the low Susatos, ( I have a D, F & A)...all play wonderfully........

slainte

alison


08 May 01 - 07:11 AM (#457699)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Ella who is Sooze

Try using boiling water straight from the kettle... leave it to soak and then the glue should break down.

I have done this to all my generation whistles and it works a treat.

You just have to make sure you get all the glue off from inside the fipple and around the metal. So clean it off thoroughly or it will stick again.

Only thing though, be carefull that the water isn't so hot that it melts the plastic. (add a small dash of cool water)

Ella


08 May 01 - 09:16 AM (#457777)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: alison

boiling water will melt the mouthpieces...... let it cool a little,

I put it in a jug and leave the whistles mouthpiece down in it until the glue softens....

slainte

alison


08 May 01 - 09:25 AM (#457787)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Uncle Jaque

Funny you should bring up the sock thing; my introduction to the whistle about 30 years ago was while at a NH State Police training seminar. A fellow student there, "Patty Doyle", an Officer from the Nashua Police Dept. as I recall, was a Piper. We were billetted in an old sanitorium on a hill, and after classes Patty would go out the rocks overlooking the NH lowlands and play a few tunes - a practice which I much appreciated, having always had a deep affection for the Great Hieland Pipes and the Auld Scots music. Once I noticed something odd sticking out of one of his "hose" (those knee socks worn with the kilt) which was obviously not a skein dubh, or one of those little daggers traditionally carried there. Upon inquiry, Pat pulled out a Clarke "C" which he used to tune his drones and chanter with, and occasionally work out a tune on.
Shortly thereafter, I aquired my first whistle - a "C" Clarke which I still play (and it is still quite nicely in tune by the way) . I taught myself to play after a fashion by ear in my cruiser late at night when traffic was slow while parked in a crossover between lanes of I-89. What I learned transferred over to the Fife when I finally got into reenacting many years later, and I still take my whistles out back in the evening while supervising the dogs and give them some music to poop by.


08 May 01 - 10:02 AM (#457815)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Uncle Jaque, your tongue shouldn't be touching the whistle, even when you're tongueing. Aim it at the top of your top teeth as when saying "t", Or stop the airflow farther back in your mouth, like when saying "k". (t-k-t is the sequence most people use for triple-toungeing.)

My issue with Generations is that the f sharp on a D whistle is usually a bit flat. Presumably I should be able to address this by enlarging the second hole from the bottom, but I've never had an appropriate implement to hand to experiment. A[art from that quibble, I can't go along with your suggestion that most Generations need tweaking. I agree with Alison's oft-made point that they are remarkably good value. Occasionally poor ones do slip through, but generally they're fine, in my experience.


08 May 01 - 11:58 AM (#457914)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Blackcatter

On the topic of whistles multiplying:

I always make sure I get females from my breeders.

If it's too late for that - use some of them condom thingies. just make sure you use the unlubricated type and stick the correct end in them.

By the way - I've talked my friend into tuning his guitar to my whistles.

pax yall


08 May 01 - 12:05 PM (#457921)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Don Firth

Slight thread creep.

Some years ago I walked into the Folk Store in Seattle and said, "I'd like to buy a penny whistle." The guy behind the counter said, "All we have right now are the nickel ones." The conversation that followed for the next couple of minutes was pure Twilight Zone until it sank into my feeble mind that what he was trying to convey was that all he had were the nickel plated ones!

Don Firth


08 May 01 - 12:08 PM (#457925)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mousethief

Where's the Folk Store?


08 May 01 - 01:05 PM (#457975)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Don Firth

The Folk Store
5238 University Way NE
Seattle, WA
206-524-1110

It's a very small shop on upper University Way, east side of the street. With my mobility currently limited, I haven't been there for some time, but they used to stock miscellaneous supplies such as strings, capos, song books, a few musical instruments. They also sold used instruments on consignment. Good place to find out what's going on, who's singing where, etc. I presume that's all still true. I don't know if they are affiliated with the Seattle Folklore Society or Victory Music. Maybe some Seattlite who has been there more recently can give more current information.

Don Firth


08 May 01 - 01:19 PM (#457988)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Seany

I have discussed this issue with a number of people of varying professions,

My advice :

I have heard it said that blowing harder or softer can alter the pitch and make a note sound a bit flat (blow softer) or a bit sharp (blow harder).

Sometimes dirt can build up around the finger holes and in the mouthpiece. Maybe cleaning the out-of-tune whistle will help.

Psycologists advice :

Maybe once you start to believe a note is sharp or flat then there is more likelihood that you will actually hear it as being sharp or flat simply because of the way your mind and senses interact.

Psychoanalysts advice :

You need to ask yourself 'Why have I lost confidence in the sound of my whistle ?'.'Is it the whistle that needs tuned or is there a bum note somewhere in my life ?'

Spirtualists advice :

The six holes on your whistle represent the six seasons, spring, summer, autumn, winter, life, death. Your autumn is not aligned with your winter causing life to feud with death. Alas.

Dentists advice :

Your teeth need realigning.


08 May 01 - 01:47 PM (#458018)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Big Mick

That is feckin' Brilliant!!!!!!!!!! ........... ROFLMAO. Great stuff, Seany!

Mick


09 May 01 - 06:54 AM (#458557)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mcpiper

I have slotted holes in whistles to sharpen them, and once to flatten a note by slotting the hole downwards and using tape to tune, in fact one of my D Generation whistles has a long C sharp hole, which I tape down to give me C natural to play in G key. It is not uncommon to see highland bagpipe chanters with tape and/or undercut or slotted holes to tune them in band situations. Sometimes desperation calls for desperate measures, always have the means available to both slot or tape holes when needed. Better advice than this I cannot give you.


09 May 01 - 07:09 AM (#458561)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: Peter K (Fionn)

You mean it's possible to play highland pipes in tune? Only kidding, mcP - thanks for the useful advice.


09 May 01 - 08:07 AM (#458578)
Subject: RE: Help: Tune A Penny Whistle?
From: mcpiper

Yes Fionn, but it gets worse. I am trying to learn to play the banjo. When I have learnt, there will be no joke or insult that can hurt me. I will be complete, my work here will be done.