Pedro Eustache playing a modified flute with Howard Head on the Hanz Zimmer Live tour. He also plays a black silk on one of the Pirates of the Caribbean love themes.

“Thank you David and Brian for such a beautiful sounding low whistle that I can actually play. This is my fourth low D whistle but, only the first one that I have been able to actually play a tune on immediately. I was shocked to see how easily I could finger and play the notes I was seeking. The black silk version is not only esthetically beautiful to look at but, plays so easily I am over joyed and so happy I decided to order from you. Your guarantee is very good and very enticing to me which is one of the reasons I ordered from you. I figured if you had this much faith in your instrument I would probably not want to send it back. You were correct! This is a keeper for me. After my experience with the other three low whistles I was thinking it was not the instrument for me, how wrong I was. I had previously sold all my other low d whistles because I found them too difficult to play. I am so thankful I purchased this Howard Low D whistle. Thank you very much for such a wonderful product for I have finally found for what I have been seeking.” – Franko Google Reviews

Silvia – via email

Your low whistle in D is a very special and fine instrument! I love it!

Every day I can’t wait till all my work is done to spent finally a little time with my friendly whistle to check out the pipers grip and the mouthpieces. Great craftsmanship !

Also I found, that it can be played with a wide dynamic range, almost like my singing voice. I’m very impressed for the soft quiet sound quality in contrast to the capturing but still beautiful loudness (even in the lowest tones) and the reliable intonation in both!

Big compliments for this professional, versatile, precise but picturesque and animated low whistle. That needs time to be discovered completely. An adventure, a growing friendship. 🙂

For me it has an elegant and modest personality, perhaps like a great artist has, that is satisfied and happy with his creative work, with the process and progress to express the soul behind something.

My whistle search finally has come to an end. Thank you !

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Review by Ian Jones – Google reviews

This is a fairly long review of The Low D whistle by Howard but it’s comprehensive. Please, bear with me.

As my first Low whistle, I can say that the learning curve from High D to Low D was not as bad as others have made it out to sound, at least not with this whistle. Yes, the pipers grip was a little challenging, but after just a few hours I was able to reliably get the low d to sound. And what a beautiful sound it is!

I scoured the internet for reviews on many different brands and decided that the price was right and, from the sound samples on youtube, this one had the sound I was looking for. I noticed a lot of other whistles kind of faded out a bit in the low end and I wanted a powerful sound down low. This whistle has a very robust low end with a sort of haunting overtone. In my opinion, this whistle has just enough chiff/breathiness. It is still present but not overly so, this keeps it from having a recorder or clarinet sound. The low D note has a bell like quality, very pure and sweet with a nice resonant sound. The tone is solid throughout its range, and the upper octave is very pleasing, it doesn’t get overbearing or shrill in any way. I don’t have a dedicated tuner, but the tuner app on my phone says that it’s no more than 10 cents sharp or flat between notes all the way through its range.

I am truly impressed with the craftsmanship and attention to detail on this whistle. When I first unboxed it I immediately ran my finger along the bottom edge of the brass body. It is incredibly smooth and well rounded (seriously, it’s impressive). The holes are all nicely finished with the color of the body turning to the inside edge (not sure if it’s paint or enamel). This makes them very comfortable for the fingers with no rough edges. The inside of the body almost has a mirror like finish, not a scratch on it or a fleck of the body color. The head is very comfortable, both shape and feel, as well as air pressure/volume required. I am used to playing the High D whistle and I think the Clark Original D (the one with the wooden fipple) has a greater breath demand than this low D whistle. The tuning line is nicely engraved at the top as well as the Howard logo. It has a nice feel in the hands, being made of brass it feels very solid, but it’s not as heavy as I was expecting. I’ve played for hours straight and have not felt like it was too heavy (my hands hurt a little, but that’s because I’m still adjusting to the pipers grip). Overall a very nice presentation.

Communication is something that is usually not a factor in a review, but David has been such a pleasure to speak with, I have to bring it up. I found a molding mark on the head and thought it might be a crack. David responded back that day and assured me it was just a remanent of the manufacturing process. He sent me a link to a video on how they make the heads. But the real reason I bring this up: he offered to send me another head, just so I could compare them and be sure. That’s how customer service is supposed to work. You can really tell he cares about your experience with his instrument.

Overall, I would, honestly, give this whistle 10 out of 10. It has a beautiful sound, is well built, easy to play, and even though it is brass, it’s not very heavy. Bonus: you can actually communicate with, not just someone who cares, but the person who actually made the whistle. If you are thinking of picking one up as your first Low D whistle, as I did, you will not be disappointed. If anything were to happen to this one, I would replace it with another Howard whistle without hesitation.

Alexandra G.Alexandra G.

This is the MOST BEAUTIFUL WHISTLE. I absolutely have fallen in love with it. Can't stop playing it. The sound is gorgeous, and it is very responsive. Im a vocalist and playing it feels like anextension of my voice. Thank you David for creating it!

Cal S.Cal S.

The whistle sounds and looks great and it was easy and quick to order on the website.

David W.David W.

So my wife bought me a Howard low d whistle foe Christmas. well it's a brass tube with six holes drilled into it, with a plastic mouthpiece, kept on with PTFE tape.
So the brass tube is cut to length and the ends are de-burred to perfection, where the ends are nicely rounded with no sharp edges.
yes the tube has six holes, placed along it's length, but normally if you drill these holes they will end up oddly shaped. So these holes are machined and not drilled as they are perfectly round. and just like the ends they smooth as silk, with no sharp edges.
Part of the magic in these whistles is in the mouthpiece, of which I went for the balanced one, which is very comfortable on my lips.
The whistle is very easy to maintain as you can gently twist the head off and then clean the bore right through.
The whistle takes little or no time to warm up so you can be playing it very quickly from picking it up.
As for playing I have never played a whistle before let alone a low d whistle, but when using the pipers grip you soon find where the hole are without too much stretch.
The air required to play this whistle is quite low which is very good as you don't need to keep taking a breath.
As for the sound, this instrument is exactly as I wanted, which is low mellow and where I can get the haunting sound where you play a note and slowly remove a finger to change note, to the next note or even the next octave.
The plastic case is very simple but does a very good job of protecting the whistle.
I would like to also add that the service from Howard whistle's has been second to none with their quick delivery and the superb packaging.
David Wisbey, Cambridge

Andrea V.Andrea V.

Beautiful design, lovely low sound, extra free tape, excelent fast delivering to Czech Republic! Really recomend.

Ryan C.Ryan C.

As seen on videos and what I've read have been accurate I have got such a great sound from it

Karen S.Karen S.

Vielen lieben Dank für die schnelle Lieferung.
Die Classic Low D spielt sich einfach toll, der Klang geht unter die Haut:)

Daniel W.Daniel W.

Purchased this whistle for my mum's birthday. Really impressed with the high-quality of both the workmanship and the service provided! Thank you very much! Highly recommended! A+++

thomas l.thomas l.

Highly recommanded low d whistle

Glenn S.Glenn S.

First I would like to say that the delivery time was amazing. Ordering from England and receiving the Whistle here in Canada in less the fifteen day was great. Thanks DHL for the delivery service.
I've now spent some time with the Howard, Low D whistle and I'm extremely pleased with the Instrument. To start, the craftsmanship. The all black satin finish feels great in the hands. Smooth holes lets the finger drop into place for great coverage and accurate performance. The tuning lines at the top of the whistle is a great help. In my perches I choose the, 'Chiff', mouth piece. The airy reed sound give the music a more hauntingly feel. To conclude, Howard Whistles are built with a high quality and craftsmanship. This instrument is a great start for veteran and novice players alike.


Glenn G. Smith/Stone Forest Studios
Glenn G. Smith at Stone Forest Studies

Wun E.Wun E.

Beautiful instrument and carefully packed. I specially love the rich tone and easy to get clear note. Speedy delivery.

Steven P.Steven P.

Good reliable service and speedy delivery. Would use again.

Rebecca M.Rebecca M.

I am so pleased with my purchase. I can't imagine my life without this whistle. The pipers grip was easy enough to learn , with practice. The sound is hauntingly beautiful, practically plays by its self. An absolute wonderfully crafted instrument. Beware you may become possessed by it and all of your daily chores will fall by the way-side. Thank you for your dedication in keeping this legacy alive.

Kerry J.Kerry J.

I have fallen in love with the classic Low D Whistle. Not only does it look beautiful, but it's tonal quality across the range is absolutely glorious. The depth and resonance to the instrument makes it a pleasure to play.

Brenda B.Brenda B.

Bought as a surprise and he loves it.
Arrived quickly and was well packaged.

Donald S.Donald S.

The whistle was delivered very efficiently and quickly. It is well made and simply gorgeous! What a beautiful, deep, true and haunting sound! The stretch is quite difficult and will take time to be a natural position. The low D, when played as a duet with the high D whistle is lovely.

Herve D.Herve D.

I am very happy to own a Howard low D. The sound is magnificent and the second octave easy to play. It was delivered very quickly. Thank you.

Ruth W.Ruth W.

So glad I bought this whistle gorgeous tone, (Once I got my fingers around Pipers grip)
Know this beauty will be a friend for life, thanks.

Oliver H.Oliver H.

very high quality instrument, everything is just the way it should be!
just play is my motive abd i really liked brians statement that to play for your own satisfaction and enjoyment is the best motivation there could be.
i lack another low whistle to compare the sound, but this instrument to me has a pure, strong tone that is a joy to play.
to me playing this flute is just one thing: magic

Zamzagul P.Zamzagul P.

Very Good!

mark m.mark m.


Jamie T.Jamie T.

The whistle arrived adequately packaged and when my daughter played it Christmas day it sounded wonderful. Very well made and faultless.

Mr A.Mr A.

Delighted with my nickel whistle. Link to YouTube advice was a great help with developing the piper’s grip and other related information. I would definitely recommend Howard Music.

Mark H.Mark H.

The whistle is very well engineered. I went for the nickel plated version. Lower Octave notes are full and warm. More problematic as you go up into the higher octave, though I suspect that is me needing to master air pressure management. Pipers grip is required for this instrument so that skill needs to be acquired. I think most low D whistles have inbuilt compromises but I'm very happy with my purchase and would buy again from Howard if necessary.


When I first started playing the low D penny whistle, I went on a bit of a spree and must have purchased in the region of 40 – 50 in my first few years.  Having played saxophone many years ago when I often paid £100.00 or more simply for the mouthpiece I was amazed to discover I could now buy a WHOLE instrument for that (and it didn’t require an annual service, re-pad, new springs etc every year)

I had plastic, metal, tuneable, fixed, factory made, handmade etc but I soon found I had certain preferences:

An ABS or Delrin head; I don’t feel comfortable placing metal in/near my mouth for the health implications, and I don’t care for the warming up/clogging issues associated with metal.

I prefer a brass bodied whistle; perhaps it stems from my sax days but I feel ‘proper’ instruments are made of brass, aluminium is a nasty reactive metal prone to corrosion (from saliva) and oxidation and although a plastic body is suitable for a starter/practise instrument I wouldn’t use one as my main whistle, I also think that brass imparts unique overtones/harmonics that you don’t find with any other material.

A strong bottom D and E; these notes were fragile on far too many instruments I tried, either very quiet or prone to breaking into the second octave too easily

Volume balance between the octaves; I realise that acoustics mean that whistles will always be louder in the upper octave, but some whistles I tried the difference between the two octaves was VAST.

I discovered that only one whistle offered all me these, the Howard and it’s been my whistle of choice for some years. It’s not perfect, no whistle is and there will always been some compromises, but with a Howard I have; an ABS head, a hand finished brass body, a very robust bottom D and E and the closest octave volume match on any whistle I’ve played.

And there is also something special about the Howard tone, I don’t know if this is imparted by the head, the body or some interaction between the two but the lower octave has an almost organic  ‘woody’ quality and the upper a flute like sweetness quite unlike any other Low D I’ve played.

So as a long time Howard devotee I was firstly saddened when Brian Howard (the eponymous maker of the Howard Whistle) closed the business and retired to Gibraltar (where he still makes his famous chanter reeds) and excited when Howard Whistles was re-launched by Brian’s apprentice David O’Hagan.

A very professional new website appeared announcing the ‘improved’ Howard Whistle range and despite having a perfectly adequate Howard Low D (and I’d promised myself I’d never buy another Low D) I succumbed and purchased a new ‘improved’ Low D in nickel.

Have to admit I was more than a touch sceptical about the ‘improved’ claim, my ‘old’ Howard did all I asked of it, I failed to see how this could be improved but how wrong I was. On removing it from the package I could see immediately that David had done a lot of work improving the finish of the instrument; the Howard logo, tuning line, are now laser etched, rather than simply stamped or a sticker as before, but the biggest change is the head, it’s beautifully smooth and polished with no trace of moulding lines, it has less bulk at the windway and now tapers slightly making it incredibly comfortable in the mouth.

But although they are not visible to my untrained eye after a few seconds of playing its obvious some changes have been made to the innards of the head as it now has:

Better backpressure.

An easier transition to the second octave.

An even greater balance between the octaves.

Stronger than ever bottom D and E.

In a word, it’s lovely and I’ve barely put it down since I bought it. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a whistle that ‘plays itself’, to get the best out of it (especially at the very top of the second octave) you need a decent embouchure and breath control BUT put the work it and you will be rewarded, I promise.

For £120.00 or so you are getting a superb hand crafted instrument (and it is ‘hand crafted’ the only thing ‘automated’ is the laser etching and coating, everything else is done by David in his workshop) so if you are looking for a Low D, try a Howard, you won’t be disappointed.

Finally; I actually felt a bit bad that my ‘old’ Howard was now being neglected but after jokingly telling David this by email (without wishing to embarrass him, David is great bloke and his after sales service is brilliant, VERY responsive to emails/texts) he very kindly sent me a new head free of charge as he wanted some feedback on the changes, apparently this is a further ‘improved’ head so be warned you may have to endure another indecently long review very soon.

Leslie H.Leslie H.

Another great instrument. Added this one with Reed whistle head to my other Howard deluxe with balanced whistle head. Both are the best purchase you can make for a low D Whistle. Top of the class !

Nicole W.Nicole W.

Balanced head. This is my first low whistle after diving head first into whistle playing four months ago. I practice daily for 1-2 hours and adore having music in my life again. I graduated from high d to Eb down to G and then, finally, this low D. I’m pleasantly surprised that the air requirement is quite possibly less than my cheap pvc G by another maker. The stretch of the finger spacing takes some getting used to but I was playing a couple slow tunes right out of the box. The tone is so beautiful, round, organic sounding without being too breathy for my taste. The brass finish has started to tarnish due to the contact with my hands but this is to be expected and doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m hoping to expand my collection with a black one with the two other heads. I love my purchase!

Jeff K.Jeff K.


Stuart M.Stuart M.

10/10 for my new Howard low D whistle - and 11/10 for the service! Amazing tonal flexibility, great intonation and brilliant to swap messages with David about all things low whistle! Really tremendous.

Jeremy H.Jeremy H.

Only had the whistle for a couple of weeks and am still getting used to it..a beautiful instrument, very sensitive to play and will take a bit of getting used to but I will prevail.
I am certainly glad I made this purchase.

Rosemary P.Rosemary P.

I ordered my Low D on a Saturday evening and by Tuesday lunch time I was happily playing it. Great service. I consider myself a novice, have had a Low D ( non-tunable) for about 15 years but only started playing in earnest about 3 years ago. My Howard Low D is fantastic - exactly the sort of mellow, sonorous tone that had stirred me to want to learn to play. It's well crafted and very comfortable to play and maybe now my playing will improve too!

Daithi A.Daithi A.

Since I got I so love playing, it has such a wonderful melodious sound. This my fifth whistle and 3rd low D. I only play my Howard whistle now.


Howard Low D Irish whistle, brass, tunable
two parts, hand-crafted instrument
Pitch: D (~voice flute baroque recorder), sound scale: d1-e3[f3] ; manually tuneable with a tuning slide
Materials: brass and ABS resin, not or difficult to oxidize
Tube: polished brass with (medial) thin wall, the diameter is normal, the length is smaller than usual (1-2cm - playability)
Holes: round, perfectly developped bore, suitable for half-fole playing, and for trill, sound vibrato; fingerhole placement is usual but a bit closer (mm)
Mouthpiece: solid ABS resin, removable, easy to clean; nice, blockflöte-like design with relatively large/wide window and at the end with a small upward arch, beak: moderately narrow, comfortable; windway: straight. Summarize: suitable for sensitive, sophisticated playing (of course within the Celtic style)
Intonation: reliability (notes), ’clear&traditional’, soft tone
Tone/timbre: beautiful, deep, refined, velvety, “mystical, fairy tale-like”, rich in overtones and bass recorder-like (mainly in the first octave)
Back pressure, air requirement: in first octave medium pressure force, second octave relatively strong (but lighter than the thick-walled high ones); octave change, sound leap requires some experience
Playability: technical level easy, overall (artistical) level medium. The instrument player also has a lot to do to show the characteristics of the instrument.
General feel: It feels great to play on it. The style of the instrument is between traditional and sophisticated, meditative Celtic music, especially suitable for slow, lyrical tunes (airs). It may also be interesting as participant instrument of transitional genre (Celtic and other folk music, world music, baroque music: Turlough O'Carolan).

Kathryn C.Kathryn C.

I am very happy with my new whistle. I like that although it is a big whistle the air needed to play is not big as well. I can almost cover all the holes, just getting my brain and fingers to work together. I would certainly deal with Howard Whistles again, the service was very prompt and I really appreciated the Free Shipping (all the way to Canada). I started my musical career late in life 44 years old, I tell everyone I can, it’s never too late to start, it just makes me feel good whenever I play any of my instruments. Back to whistling. Cheers k


First a disclaimer: This is my first Low D whistle so I'm not in a position to compare with other makes and models. I am however an experienced musician and sound engineer so I know what to look for with regards to pitch, timbre, build quality etc.

For my first low whistle I opted for a Howard B-Stock since the instruments had consistently good reviews and the £80 price tag was very competitive. Having received it and been playing for a week I can safely say this was an excellent investment!

Delivery: The whistle arrived in a basic plastic sleeve for protection and entombed in a hefty layer of bubblewrap. Also included in the package was a roll of tape for the mouthpiece/barrel connection and a 'Howard' sticker. Nothing fancy, just the basics of what you need

Build Quality: In terms of build, tone and playability the B-stocks are identical to the full price instruments, just with some minor cosmetic blemish e.g. scratched paintwork. In my case the Howard logo engraving was a bit squiffy and inconsistent but still visible. Certainly not a problem there! The main body of the whistle is a surprisingly thin, straight-bore brass tube. The finishing is very nice, no sharp edges or anything anywhere and the inside of the whistle alone feels very smooth and polished. The abs resin mouthpiece feels very smooth and has a slight wood-effect on the outside which is very pleasant to touch. The whistle is tuneable and a small strip of tape is included to ensure a proper air seal (a roll of tape is included in the delivery) The tuneable mouthpiece has a firm enough grip that it won't slide around unless you want it to, and moving it is smooth and easy to precisely adjust. The engraved tuning line is an excellent help for this as a visual reference. The paintwork over the barrel was even felt good in the hand without being too slippery

Playability: Again, I'm very much a beginner but found I was able to cover all the holes effectively and got the hang of the pipers grip within a day or two. The holes seem quite large; I'm a 6ft tall man with fairly average hands for my size, but somewhat slender fingers. It was a little tricky at first trying out the pipers grip but that seemed likely down to my novice technique. I'm not experienced enough to comment on backpressure but I've found it very easy to access both octaves whilst playing and it all feels quite natural and intuitive. Air requirements are minimal to get a note out of it, as far as I can tell

Tone: Very impressive! Volume seems even between both octaves, though I do struggle a bit still getting the high A and beyond, though that's likely down to my technique. As other reviews note, there is a certain reediness to the sound that I really like, and it's backed up by a surprisingly fat fundamental tone, with less breathiness than I've heard from other low whistles in videos. I use quite a bit of tongueing in my playing and at times the sound coming out resembles a Japanese Shakuhachi to my ears! Some notes also sound like a concert flute as well, overall a very pleasing sound

Conclusion: I absolutely love my Howard whistle and would recommend it to anyone. The B-stock is an absolute steal but after playing one I would confidently buy one at full price. Overall the whistle seems very well made, suitable for recording and performance. It sounds great and makes me want to practice more.

Barbara D.Barbara D.

I took a lot of time reading opinions and information before I made my purchase - almost put off by the comments about size and pipers hold etc. This has been a really great buy! It arrived quickly, beautifully packaged and excellent value too. It sounds terrific - mellow and haunting just what I was after. Thanks.


I am still not good on the 2nd register yet, but that is my fault. Out of my 5 whistles this is by far my favorite. I had problems with the pipers grip on the bottom hand but solved the problem using my pinkie on the last hole.

Gerardo P.Gerardo P.

Very happy with my "B" stock whistle. I barely can see any issue with it ! It looks and sounds like a brand new one !

tony m.tony m.

enjoying my new low D down here in oz.Its always a challenge to take on another instrument,but the sound that this whistle produces is well worth the effort.Good music from good practice.Highly recommended.Thanks again.

Peter W.Peter W.

As an instrument maker myself, I can see the quality of the craftsmanship is superb. Once you get used to the pipers grip the whistle produces a great sound over both octaves. The tuning allows a great deal of latitude for the player to adjust to other musicians. Postal service was very fast. Thank you for a brilliant instrument.

David W.David W.

B stock with no noticeable flaws. Lovely sound and solid build quality. Easily played in tune. I'm very happy with the instrument.

Mr M.Mr M.

quick service received a b grade whistle with very little noticeable defect to powder coating which was a little small dimple patch, many friends do not notice this so otherwise a great sounding whistle and easy to play and great value and very quick delivery

Eric M.Eric M.

I have a few other low D whistles, one cheap PVC, one moderately priced heavier PVC, and a nicely built thicker ABS plastic tunable. The cheap one sounds cheap but is relatively easy to play. The moderate priced one is easy to play due to finger hole arrangement (piper's grip not required), but is a bit out of tune with a weak E. The ABS is hard to play for the low D and E - just a little too much air pressure breaks the notes to higher octave and just right pressure sounds good but very quiet.

Still looking for the “perfect” low D, I decided to give Howard Whistles a try. I opted for the B stock since I don’t really care what it looks like (but the whistle they sent me in white is absolutely gorgeous - I can’t tell what makes it B stock). It plays wonderfully using the piper's grip. Tunable and the low notes come through nice and strong without too much breath control. The higher notes take a fair amount of air pressure to sound good, however. And the fipple tends to clog after a tune or two. Thus, the four stars.

This is definitely the best low D I’ve bought to date. It may even keep me from chasing the unicorn (i.e., the perfect whistle) - for a while, at least.