I get a lot of calls and emails from folks inquiring about other whistle makers and instruments that they may have acquired second hand. Here is what I say.
1. Don’t buy second hand unless you can physically play the whistle and find out if it fits you and the type of music you are playing. Many whistles that are second hand have been modified by previous owners and may not be the same sounding instrument as it was when new. If the seller doesn’t want the instrument and is trying to sell it, maybe you won’t want it either. Would you buy a car without trying it out?…same deal with a whistle or anything else.
2. Do not put your faith in on line reviews that are out of date or based on second hand instruments that were once owned by the writer and are now traded off. Don’t take anyone’s word on how a particular brand plays or how wonderful it is. They are basing their opinion on one instrument out of perhaps hundreds of dozens made by the same whistle maker. Stradivarius when making violins surely didn’t make every instrument with the same sound. Whistle makers usually have several models in the same key, so find the
one that suits you best.
3. If you are a professional musician and are looking for an instrument that has a specific sound, go to the maker and play instruments until you find what you are looking for. The cost is minimal and whistlers should be as picky as a guitarist (play on words) or a violin player.
I get dozens of folks that drop by in the run of a year that are looking for a specific instrument. These folks are looking for their specific sound and they usually find an instrument that suits their needs. Often times they switch from a whistle to a flute or fife to get the sound they require. I sometimes regret I am off the path in Northern Maine as I’m sure many more folks would show up if the shop was farther south. But there again, I would miss all my Canadian friends that come by on their vacations and
play a tune and purchase instruments.
4. Don’t take chat room advice on buying whistles. It is entertaining to a degree to chat with others interested the same things you are interested in. However, many “chatters” will say they own or owned a particular whistle or flute and give it a thumbs up or down in favor of another brand. This is not always the truth and you have no way of verifying anything the “chatter” tells you.
5. No whistle maker wants to sell you an incorrectly made whistle or a whistle that does not fit your type of music. I see and handle dozens of instruments from other makers each year.The only thing that is consistently wrong with these instruments is a problem anyone can fix. Without fail, the instrument has simply never been cleaned!
6. Check to see if the instrument you are going to purchase is still being made. Many online stores are selling old inventory,unpopular models or the maker is out of business or deceased and has been for some time. Warranties are no good to you if there is no one home anymore to make them valid.
7. Check the web site you are reading to see if the postings are current and really valid. If the web site is a cemetery of old information, Antique Reviews and long gone makers, let the writer know in a kindly manner to put those entries in an RIP (rest in peace) directory so everyone is reading valid, up to date information.
Help yourself and help everyone else at the same time by letting others know the information they are reading is current.
You may also want to read the best places to play your whistle.