Michael Burke Irish Whistles and Low Whistles
The fact that you can find inexpensive tin whistles for a couple of dollars doesn't mean that a true and well made one hasn't to be a precision item. Michael Burke has devoted his skills to hand craft instruments with clear tone, balanced and in tune in two octaves. Committed to make the finest professional penny whistles out there this small company based in USA and run by Mr. Burke self and his wife was the answer to my search.
Not a long time ago looking for a low whistle (lets say a tin whistle with a pitch lower than Bb) was really a hard task, and when found it was only the Low D. I felt a little bit scared to try as my hands are small and it the slow whistle is too large holed or the stretch too big, then it was an impossible thing no matter how relaxed I was. Then I found my Burke Low D whistle and I was happy ever since. seriously.
But sure you can find higher keys, in fact "ANY" key! :)
Detail of the Low whistle
The instruments are made with great care. The body is cylindrical and the sound is clear, clean and sweet. As owner of quite a few low whistles, I fell in love with my Burke. I do know you'll be pleased and will never regret your house. It's the one I use most and definitely the one I possess I love the sound most... and I confess I would have not complaint to have more keys. Lightweight, well balanced, easy to grip and quite gentle to the small hands one mine with a split low D piece.
They also have a lot of models in stock in a wealth of keys reducing your wait time and make effort to ship your order as soon as possible. I wish I could grab quite a few of them... But I know in some time soon I'll replace my actual high D whistle for a Burke one too.
Most of the models are offered in different keys and in Brass, Aluminum and Composite, depending of the kind of sound you're trying to achieve. Brass is sweeter and Aluminum is louder. You can watch this video where they compare different burke whistle materials and the size of the holes so you can make a decision of what kind of sound you're looking for.
I also recommend to opt for the thumb hole. I opted for this and never regretted. Explaining what it is in a standard D whistle this option is a way of providing a perfect C natural on your D whistle so that you can play in the key of G or other scales that need a flattened 7th. It also allows you to get an octave C natural on the D whistle as well, to extend the scale and also to add options for ornamentation. The extra tone hole is located on the back of the tube between the top two tone holes and the note is played by playing a "B" and lifting the thumb. If you keep your thumb in place, the whistle will play exactly as a regular 6 holed whistle. The option is available on any model in any key. This is a great option that allows you a very accurate second scale on your whistle. I also came from recorder playing, so somehow I was always missing it.
Above: me on stage playing a Low D Viper Aluminum Low D Burke Whistle.
I've already recorded quite a lot of songs with it for the new album, so will upload some excerpts very soon. I tell you that the Irish whistles are instruments very versatile and not only for traditional Celtic style.
The Viper Aluminum Low D is the most powerful and loudest low D they make It has moderate back pressure, a very big and powerful low end and great balance in sound between the octaves. The second octave is very accessible with moderate blowing and this low D can be used to play any kind of music at any speed as can be shown in our sound sample. By the way it's available in Low C too (SIGH!)
I recommend you also their handy roll case with slots for different keys, affordable and really useful
And you can listen samples of most of the whistles available at BURKE WHISTLES official website