Some easy techniques on playing Low D whistles that really work

Playing the Low D whistle is a little different than any of the other whistles. I have received many responses to the following article from folks around the world. Taking the time to read the steps about playing the Low D apply to all whistles and will give you a step up on being a good whistler.

1. The length and size of the bore on the Low D penny whistle creates a small time lag on the bottom two notes of the whistle that must be compensated for with a tiny pause when you are playing.

2. When first playing the Low D, try playing down the scale from top to bottom and see how you must breath to blow the low notes. Some players say to blow from your stomach and others say relaxing your throat is how they get the best results. I would describe the technique in this fashion…Inhale a deep breath as if you were trying to relax and then exhale slowly as if a great load was off your mind. You will now be blowing a larger, slower, column of air with less force into the whistle and the low notes will
become very solid and formed.

3. Practice bouncing from low octave note to high octave note by increasing the air into the mouthpiece. Do not blow extremely hard or you will hit notes in the third octave. Practice bouncing the notes up and down until you get the feeling for how the whistle reacts. It is easier to go up the scale than to come down and hit the lowest three notes correctly, because of the air volume necessary to fill the bore capacity and the necessary drop in pressure. Practice the drop from high E to low E as a test to see
how much control you have gained and repeat until this repetition feels comfortable.

4. Hold the Low D irish whistle close to your body and as vertical as possible. The mouthpiece should be at almost right angles to your body and you should blow the whistle with the mouthpiece held comfortably against your lower lip. If you blow across the mouthpiece with your lips just covering the airway and not in your mouth (like a small whistle) there will be and increased volume to the sound and minimal moisture going into the whistle. This is because the saliva glands in your mouth are only in the bottom of your mouth
and the top of your mouth is basically dry.( Mother Nature wants you to have moisture to swallow your food and air going up your nose when you breath!)

5. Keep your whistle dry. Place your thumb over the sound hole and blow into the mouthpiece to clear out any moisture. Dry the bore on your whistle frequently and clean the bore on a regular basis. A new whistle will play better every time you buff the bore using the shotgun cleaner and drill technique that I have described several times on the website(See the short article with pictures on cleaning your whistle). The more you buff and clean, the smoother the bore becomes and the better and longer the whistle
will shed water. Dry silicon spray on a cloth passed through the bore is a good technique after the whistle is buffed and dry inside because it decreases the surface tension in the bore.

6. Relax and pick a slow tune to play. The Low D whistle is capable of playing at a speedy rate, but starting out, just slow down and enjoy those low notes and try to play them as full as you can. When you are up to speed on your technique, you should be able to feel the notes vibrant inside the whistle. The Low D can be played very softly with very little air or can be PUSHED and played aggressively with an large increase in volume.

7. Two tunes that are good for practicing low whistle technique when starting out are Wayfaring Stranger and Greensleeves. Almost everyone knows these songs and it is easier to correct mistakes and improve your playing if you know the song well.

8. One of the most important techniques in playing the Low D is to raise your fingertips well above the finger holes to eliminate shading the holes. There is a lot of air coming out of the finger holes and you must not let your fingertips flatten the sound by being too close. I tell beginners to BOUNCE their fingers high when playing.

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