The Questions People Ask a Whistlemaker
Thoughts from an unusual but incredible profession.
The most obvious difference is the tuning slide, which for those that are performing is often a necessity. The tone holes on the Kelpie are also optimised for ergonomics, whereas the Pros are optimised for tuning. Both are, however, great instruments and if you look at the price of other musical instruments you get a lot for your money. For this reason people often just decide to treat themselves to a Pro, though there is also a lot to be said for starting on a Kelpie to see how you get on, and then if are using it a lot, then you can treat yourself to a Pro or another Key knowing that it's going to get some good use.
In the several decades we've been making them, we have had very few Low D's returned because of hole spacing.
It's a question that more often comes up for women who suspect smaller hands might affect covering the tone holes, which is understandable. Women tend to be more supple than men however, and we don't actually see any correlation along gender lines.
That said, you should not expect to just be able to play it effortlessly immediately - there is some practice and play-in time required to stretch out the hands, and there can be a little pain initially while hands adjust. It's nothing like learning to do the splits or putting your foot behind your head, but this gives the correct idea - that stretching out happens when you stretch.
Generally, be prepared to put in a little practice and, unless you are very unlucky, you should be fine. If you were to have issues then make use of our returns policy. You can read more about this here.
We sometimes get asked if offsetting toneholes is an option. We understand some advice does suggest that having offset toneholes can be benefical during the early stages of learning to play, but we have spent a number of years experimenting with offset toneholes and the results are in some ways surprising and at odds with the perception that offset toneholes are more ergonomic and easier to play with...
Perhaps countintuitively, offsetting toneholes does not actually bring toneholes closer together - it actually makes them further apart!
Furthermore, in terms of the ergonomics, becasue our hand position is not defined when we play a low whistle, it is actually at least as easy to find a good/comfortable position with straight alligned tone holes. This is true irresepctive of our stage of development - beginner / intermediate / advanced. If there was in fact any advantage then higher end whistles would adopt offset toneholes, but actually the opposite is true.
It's certainly understandable how offsetting toneholes might seem better or more sophisticated, but this is one area where keeping it simple is actually more effective.
We usually dispatch orders twice a week - on Monday and Friday. This is sometimes reduced to once a week due to external pressures (e.g. pandemic). Although typical delivery times are less than this, please allow the following for delivery.
UK - 3 days
Europe - 10 days
Worldwide - 20 days
Typical postage rates (actual shipping rates are calculated at checkout and depend on package weight and current exchange rates)
UK - Free Shipping
Europe - €15.50***
Worldwide - $23.50***
*Please note: orders over £400 (or currency equivalent) get free Worldwide postage.
Fortunately, whistles are not large and can be posted around the world at very reasonable rates considering the distance they have to travel.
The actual shipping rate for your order is calculated by the online shop according to the weight, destination, value of your order and the exchange rate at the time of order.
To give an idea here are typical postage rates:
UK - Free Shipping
Europe - €15.50*
Worldwide - $23.50*
Please bear in mind that worldwide postal services are very good. We send hundreds of packages a year and it is very, very unusual for one to go missing. Sometimes there are delays due to worldwide circumstances (e.g. pandemics, postage fluctuations like Christmas) or local circumstances/fluctuations. Tracking allows us to check the whereabouts of a package but, unless your package has been delivered to a neighbour without you knowing, tracking a package doesn't speed up the delivery itself, it just allows us to check its whereabouts in countries where postal tracking is available. This page has further information on which zones of the world have tracked shipping (please note: we find postage is still reliable in the 'signed for' zones).
We normally dispatch twice a week. Although typical delivery times are less than this, please allow the following time frames for delivery.
UK - 3 days
Europe - 10 days
Worldwide - 20 days
These are meant as a guide - delays are possible depending on how quick your local postal service is. We do find, even if there is a delay, that postal services around the world are reliable in terms of getting the package to you. We have found postal services in some countries are slightly more prone to delays (Russia, USA, France) but it's generally a very small number of parcels that are affected. In any case, we ask that you bear with us and with the postal services while your package is delivered.
Yes. Shipping to your door in insured.
When ordering it possible to mark the order 'for collection' in the shopping cart. You should be aware however, that we are a busy workshop rather than a shop and an appointment will need to be made for the collection to double check we will be open when you come to collect. As we offer free UK postage many people do find that easier, although do feel free to email us if you do want to try arranging a time for the collection.
Products that can be added to the shopping cart are generally in stock and available for order. Note: this information is updated daily and will be much more current than anything you may have read on other websites/forums (which may be months or years out-of-date). If we are out of stock of a particular whistle then we will generally have it back in stock within the following time frame. Please note these can be considered as a guide to maximum waiting times (because the item may have been out of stock for some time prior to you trying to order).
Key D - 3 weeks
Key F - 4 weeks
Key G - 7 weeks
Key A - 9 weeks
Only our UK customers have to pay VAT (but other customers may be liable for a customs charge depending on the import policies of your country/economic market/zone).
Our shopping cart automatically calculates whether VAT is applicable and clearly displays it when you go to checkout. Sometimes it requires confirmation of which country you are in, in which case it waits for the delivery address to be entered in the checkout process.
You will not be unfairly charged sales tax of any kind. We are required to charge VAT to our customers within the United Kingdom. Outside the UK, customs charges may apply (which are roughly equivalent to the 20% sales tax UK customers pay).
UK customers pay VAT and packages entering other countries may have a customs charge applied according the local import policy.
Customers in the EU may pay customs duties on orders over €150, but we will not charge you VAT when you make your purchase (our shopping cart calculates it automatically). In other words if you pay customs charges it will be roughly equivalent to VAT you pay on items from your home country or within the EU.
Customers outside Europe may pay a customs charge roughly equivalent to what European customers pay. Packages entering North America including USA and Canada rarely have any customs charge to pay.
You can login to your account to downlaod an invoice for your order.
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Order history > Click on order > Download invoice [ red button top right on page ]
Yes, although we don't receive many, we welcome returns. We will happily refund the cost of the instrument, or replace it if you need to try another.
D whistles - either high or low whistles - generally are the starting point because they tend to offer the ability to play in more social/common keys of music, which comes into it's own when playtign music with other people.
The usual route is to learn a little on a high D whistle to learn breath control, the basic fingering patterns and some ornamenation. This can then be taken forward to low whistles to get comfortable with covering toneholes while making use of the skills developed on the high D. Some people are however much more motivated to learn low whistles than high whistles, and there's not any particular reason not to start on low whistles. So like many things there is no definitive answer to this question.
In terms of which keys of low whistle to start on, people do often start on Low D because it is the original Low Whistle. This means developing suppleness in the hands early on, which then makes jumping on the smaller whistles between the high and low D easy. That said, again there are no rules here, and it is possible to learn in between keys first.
Generally though, in most genres, if you will be playing music with friends and musicians, it's good to give preference to the High/Low D initally, and then augment the range of keys you can play in at a later date.