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Review by Ian Jones – Google reviews
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.