Chieftain non-tunable V3 Low F whistle
Maker - Kerrywhistles (Phil Hardy) www.kerrywhistles.com
Material - Aluminum
Dimensions: Length - 19 3/16ths"
Distance between 1st and 3rd bottom holes - 2.5"
Diameter of 2nd hole from bottom - 7/8ths"
Bore - 3/4ths"
Weight - 5.5 oz
Price at time of review - 115 GBP direct from Maker
Hardy has made many changes and improvements to his well known
Chieftain line of whistles over the years, but none perhaps as extreme
as the latest version, the V3 (which aptly stands for Version
Three). Even though I had sold my V3 low D previously as I was not
personally taken with how breathy it's tone was, I decided to try
a V3 in F as I liked the sound of one I heard on a demo video off of
the Kerrywhistles website.
On a side note, a very
informative and interesting video history of the Chieftain line of whistles can
be viewed here on the Kerrywhistles website. It is entitled "Know your
Chieftain" and is narrated by Phil Hardy himself.
This whistle takes my favorite "tube with holes in it" zen aesthetic to
the extreme. The head/mouthpiece is just a continuance of the cylinder
shape of the body, with no demarcation of where the body stops and the
head starts. The head is the biggest change from the old Chieftains,
featuring a curved labium/blade, curved windway, and a rounded/sculpted
mouthpiece, compared to the old, square cut style. The
end of the whistle tube has also been nicely rounded, indeed the blade
seems to be the only sharp edge on the instrument, and even that is
curved widthwise to fit inside the tube. This curved roundness,
along with the new shiny aluminum finish, give the whole whistle a kind
of modern, urban style/feel.
Tone: While the tone of this
whistle is still on the breathy/airy side, it is not nearly as
noticeable as it was on the V3 Low D, most likely due to the higher
pitch, this whistle really only gets overly breathy on the bottom two
notes. Unfortunately this breathiness did keep the low fundamental note
from being as full as I would like. On the rest of the notes the purer
tone seems to win out or cover up the "white noise" portion of the
tone. I did not find the whistle to be overly shrill at all, the
combination of lower volume and higher backpressure seemed to lend this
whistle a mellower feel.
Volume: One of the biggest
surprises about this whistle was that it wasn't as loud as I thought it
would be, being in the moderate to quiet range compared to other
whistles, and it is certainly no where near as loud as my MK low
F. I would suspect that the bottom octave would get lost in
larger session environments, as the bottom octave is considerably quieter than the second octave.
Backpressure/air requirement: The
first noticeable difference between the F and the D V3's for me was
backpressure. The Low F has a noticeably high amount, quite a bit more
than the Low D. However, I would not say that it has too much, I didn't
feel like I was blowing my brains out and the benefit of playing longer
phrases with one breath was evident.
Responsiveness: Thankfully, the V3 low F kept the best feature of it's larger Low D sibling, which was it's incredible responsiveness. Ornaments are lightning quick and ultra snappy.
Clogging: I did not experience
any clogging issues with this whistle once it was warmed up, but it
would clog right away if I tried to blow the whistle when it was cold.
Tuning: This whistle was very
well in tune, even the high octave only hung one or two cents flat. The only
noticeable issue was that the E natural was 5-10 cents flat, but the Eb
on using the standard OXXOOO fingering.
Summary: In some ways I think
this is a better whistle than it's low D version. Good tuning, good
looks, near perfect responsiveness. Only draw backs would possibly be
volume (slightly on the quiet side), backpressure (may be more than
some like, but once again, backpressure is a personal preference, not a
bad thing in and of itself), and for me the lack of resonance on the
low fundamental. Still, in the end it is another well made, high
quality whistle from Kerrywhistles. Five holes.