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I am planning to buy a tin whistle. However I do not know whether it is a proper. I would like to know how I can identify whether a tin whistle is faulty or not. What are the characteristics of a good tin whistle?

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2 Answers 2

The first thing I’ll say is that players of whistles, flutes, bagpipes, and similar instruments have a fabulous forum going at www.chiffandfipple.com. Check out that site, and search through the forum archives. There is also a buyer’s guide. It’s a few years old, but still useful, and way more detailed than anything I could write.

The single most important thing to look for is a whistle that is in tune with itself as you play a scale. If it isn’t, it’s not good for anything but a window prop. This can be tested by playing it with a tuner, if your ears aren't up to the task. You can find a tuner app for android of an iphone, or borrow one from just about any musician.

You also need to decide what key. The key in this context means the note that is played when all the finger holes are covered, and varies between instruments. If you want to play Irish stlye music, get a whistle in D. If you are playing with others in some other genre, as them what keys they usually use. If they can’t easily answer, just get the D whistle to keep it simple for yourself. A whistle can easily play in its own key, and in a key with one fewer sharps, or one more flat. So a D whistle can play easily in D and G, while a C whistle can play is C and F. C and D whistles are easy to find, anything else is hard. If you are planning to play alone, it doesn’t matter.

A whistle that can be tuned is a nice plus, but not essential for a beginner. As you get good enough to play with others, you’ll need to be able to tune so that you aren’t slightly off key from them, or just be willing to irritate them by playing out of tune. But as a beginner, if you are playing only with yourself, or with someone who can tune to you, you can get by with an untunable, cheap whistle.

Make sure you like the sound of the whistle. If you don’t, you won’t play it.

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There's no such thing. I think the only way you're going to like the sound of a tin whistle straight out of the box is if you're going for a raw, unpolished sound.

You have to file the holes on the tin whistle yourself until you like the sound you get out of them; that's what Chris Collins did. It's kind of like the same situation with toy pianos, you have to take a file to them, too.

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