O'Brien tunable Low D whistle
Maker - O'Brien Pennywhistles (David O'Brien) www.obrienwhistles.com
Material - Anodized Aluminum with Delrin mouthpiece
Dimensions: Length - 22"
Distance between 1st and 3rd bottom holes - 2 11/16ths"
Diameter of 2nd hole from bottom - 7/16ths"
Bore - 7/8ths"
Weight - 6 oz
Price at time of review - $150.00 USD
direct from maker.
whistle was originally kindly lent to me by David O'Brien for the
purposes of review for this website, however, I ended up liking it so
much I bought it from him!
David is based in Canada and makes a line of high whistles out of
wood, aluminum and brass. He is known for his rover and collapsible
stowaway whistle models.
body of this whistle is anodized aluminum, but unlike most other
anodized whistles which tend to be colored, this one is anodized a
shiny, almost mirror like silver. While pretty, this surface
unfortunately tends to show scratches easily. The black delrin
head/mouthpiece design is rather ingenious. Unlike most plastic head
whistles that tend to have a large head that fits over the outside of
the body (like a Howard or Kerry), it's outside contour is flush with the whistle body
and the bottom of the head forms the female part of the joint/tuning
slide which fits inside the body of the whistle. This means that the
aluminum body itself required no work or shaping in the creation of the
whistle, something I'm sure went along way to keeping the overall cost
of the whistle down. The mouthpiece itself is also very comfortable.
The one big issue I had with this whistle visually was that the finger
holes were not lined up straight in line with each other and they were
somewhat roughly/unevenly machined to boot. Overall though it is a nice
looking whistle, I especially like how the head maintains the
dimensions of the body, lending it the sleek look of the more typical,
all aluminum whistle designs.
whistle has a gorgeous, sweet, pure tone in both octaves with very
little breathiness. The low fundamental is not as resonant as I would
like but still retains the sweet tone of the rest of the whistle.
Volume: I would describe the
volume of this whistle as being soft to moderate. The second octave is
slightly but noticeably louder than the first. While it's sweet tone
carries, it is not a loud whistle overall and would most likely not
work well in a session without amplification. Perfect practice whistle
This whistle has low to moderate backpressure. Overall it takes a very
light breath to play, and the cool thing about this is that the amount
of airpressure required is very consistent throughout both octaves,
unlike most whistles that require less breath pressure on the bottom
notes and more at the top. This makes the whistle feel almost
effortless to play. While the slightly low backpressure usually causes
a higher air requirement, the low amount of breath needed to play the
whistle mitigates this effect. The low fundamental is a bit touchy and
can break easily, but this isn't too much of an issue for as mentioned
the whole whistle requires a lighter breath anyway.
Responsiveness: This whistle is
moderately responsive. I would not call it sluggish by any means at all
but ornaments can feel just slightly slow compared to more responsive
whistles. However the whistle itself responds very well/quickly to a
light breath pressure, and transitions effortlessly between
Clogging: I had no clogging issues with this whistle, most likely due to the head material and design.
Tuning: All notes on this
whistle were within a 10 cent tolerance except for the second octave D
and B, which were around 20 cents sharp. C natural was OK with OXXOOO
Summary: I really liked the
tone and playability of this whistle, and that coupled with it's low
cost made me initially think it would make a great beginners whistle.
But after additional consideration, it's low breath requirement is not
typical of most other makes of low whistle, which might cause
difficulties for someone who learned on this whistle to move/graduate
to another make/model later on. I do think this would make a great
practice whistle for more intermediate and experienced players, as it
helps you work on your breath control. If one wanted to be really
picky, you could possibly criticize the overall craftsmanship of the
whistle, but this is certainly and understandably mitigated by the low
price point. That aside, I really liked this whistle and enjoyed
playing it allot, and would recommend it to any low whistle player
looking for something different to try. Four holes.