Buying whistles on the Internet
(note: film rights not yet sold. Spielberg offered $1,200,000 and I told him to get out of my house!)
If you're lucky enough to live in a place where you can go in and inspect a variety of whistles, play them in the store, and talk to someone who knows something about them, by all means do so. The problem with retail buying is that most music shops stock one or two brands of whistles, if any at all. Salespeople rarely know much about them, if anything. (One really nice sales guy told me he was sorry but, no, he had no tinwhistles but he thought he had a pennywhistle somewhere). Almost no stores let you try out the whistles in the store. (In honor of my friend Wendy at the House of Musical Traditions, I would call this the Questionable Saliva Effect). Thus, whistle e-commerce. I have had dealings as a customer with virtually all of these shops, or else Iíve communicated with many of their customers. Iím sure there are other people selling whistles on the Internet, but this list certainly includes nearly all shops who do.
The following are NOT paid ads. This page is presented to Chiff & Fipple readers as a service. .A statement on Tin Whistle Table Ethics: I HAVE NOT accepted cash or free products from any of these folks, in exchange for links. Also, as it turns out, none of them have offered--BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.
Musical Traditions 7040 Carroll Ave. Takoma Park,
MD 20912, USA
301-270-9090, fax 301-270-3010. Located in the D.C. area, these folks offer a fine website, an ironic attitude that I find fun, and an excellent variety of whistles, in addition to other instruments from all over the world. They also sell music books, instructional books and videos. Customer service is very good. Like these other companies, they appear to handle my order for a couple of $7 whistles with the same attention and courtesy as if I was buying a pipe organ or something. Prices are very competitive. Wendy Morrison works for HMT and is herself an experienced musician who has performed and recorded extensively as a whistle player (and accordionist!). She has been invaluable as a resource for Chiff & Fipple. And, by the way:
Margaret Tice runs this South Carolina shop which specializes in an amazingly thorough catalog of Celtic recordings and a nice selection of whistles. Margaret Tice handles my orders with fabulous speed, courtesy, and attention. It's a small outfit but wonderfully responsive and helpful. Margaret is my first call when I need an obscure or imported CD
Song of the Sea. In Maine. A great little family company offering international and folk instruments of various kinds. Anne and Eddie Damm run it and are just terrific. If Eddie is around, he'll play a whistle over the phone for you. The first time I called them to make an order (I've made many) Anne spent a long time on the phone with me and worked especially hard to sell me stuff she thought I would enjoy. She sold me a bunch of stuff I hadn't planned to buy.... Hey! Wait a minute. They have been extremely supportive of this website and provide lots of useful information. They've also sent some whistles to us (free) for our review. They're lovely people. Song of the Sea now stocks Copelands!
Whistle & Drum.Dedicated to selling whistles & bodhrans. A very fine website. Features primarily higher-end whistles, including some harder to find in the U.S., such as the Cillian O'Briains and Silkstones. Very good people to deal with. www.whistleanddrum.com
Andy's Front Hall Andy Spence recently sent an email of greeting to Chiff & Fipple, and I am happy to mention Andy's Front Hall on this page. For over 20 years Andyís Front Hall has been a mail-order source of selected recordings, books, instruments and accessories. Over the years they've developed an in-depth knowledge of the available literature and recordings as well as loads of info about writers and performers. Located near Albany, New York). There's a great print catalog, and a growing website.I've not had occasion to do much business with Andy's, but I've heard from several subscribers who have and who were very pleased. They sell a full line of Generations, Clarke's, Feadogs, Susato's, etc., & also sell Glenn Schultz's plastic whistles and his fine wooden whistles. Prices on whistles are quite good.
Paul O'Donnell e-mailed recently and made us (uh, me) aware of his store, Celtic Treasures. I recently visited their website and was impressed with the format and the ordering process. I haven't had occasion to order from Paul's company yet, but I look forward to hearing more about it from Chiff & Fipplers! Paul has a nice array of tinwhistles, nice photos, and a very well-designed layout that makes online browsing very easy.
VISIT THE HUNGER SITE AND DONATE FREE FOOD SO EASILY YOU WONĒT BELIEVE IT
Celtic Fire, Ltd. Plymouth, MA. Specializes in bagpipes but carries a nice selection of whistles at competitive prices. They carry Howard Lows at excellent prices. They feature Thin Weasel Woodwinds of both the wood and plastic variety. The webpage includes good descriptions and very fine photographs of the Thin Weasel products.
I've gotten some nice endorsements from trusted sources on Phil Brown's new business, Big Whistle Music. Phil is a fine whistle player in England. In addition to his own CDs, his website includes information for whistle players. He also sells/distributes other CDs, whistle books/tutors, and a nice line of whistles, specially featuring Overtons by Bernard Overton. "(Phil is) a very friendly and helpful fellow indeed. He spent quite a few times on the phone convincing Bernard Overton to make some special whistles for me. .. I do recommend Big Whistle and Phil's great service with full heart..." -- Claus.von.Weiss of the band "Morris Open"
Phil's website is at http://www.bigwhistle.co.uk
Elderly Instruments. This company sells used and vintage instruments of various kinds and also a nice variety of whistles at excellent prices. I was most impressed by their print catalogs.
Folk Notes Dennis DeHartog operates Folk Notes, a full service music store in Indiana, in Amish country. In addition to dulcimers,harps, percussion instruments, and other types of instruments, Dennis carries a nice selection of winds, including whistles at good prices. I've enjoyed exchanging email with Dennis, who offers very attentive and personal service.
Hobgoblin Music This is a English company with some U.S. stores. They even have a US homepage with prices in dollars, accessible from their main page. Their prices appear to be good. These folks allowed me to use some of their great photos on this website. Thanks to Chiff & Fipple European Correspondent Han Speek for suggesting I add this link. Their Internet address is http://www.hobgoblin.com/ and their whistles section can be accessed directly at http://www.hobgoblin-usa.com/local/cartwhis.htm. (US SITE) or http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/cartwhis.htm (EUROPEAN SITE)
Melody's Traditional Music and Harp. Also known as Melody's Harp and Traditional Music. Or vice versa. Several Chiff & Fipplevisitors recommended this store to me. I recently exchanged e-mail with Mary and am happy to add this link. They specialize in harps, but they have a nice selection of other instruments of interest to Celtic musicians. They stock a limited variety of tinwhistles, but do include the Ralph Sweet wooden flageolets. Subscriber Johnny Petree writes: ďI ordered a Cooperman Bodhran from them for my son. I can tell you that the service and follow-up were just great. Mary and Karen are two of the nicest people that I have ever done business with.Ē Go visit their site at http://www.melodystraditionalmusic.com
Lark in the Morning. Truthfully, Lark in the Morning is something like the be-all and end-all of world instrument stores. There are a few stores out West. This is a big website. In the whistle section, they have pictures, sound samples, you name it. They probably have the most comprehensive selection on the planet. If you order from them, they'll send you their musical instruments paper catalog, which is one of the damnedest things I've ever seen. Itís amazingly comprehensive and is almost like a course in world musical instruments. Itís something of a reference book, really. They've got all kinds of weird instruments. If there isnít an Indonesian Nose Harpsichord, there soon will be. Some of these instruments look like, if you played or handled them wrong, they'd come to life, jump up, clamp onto your head and drill holes in your skull. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. They now sell a wooden whistle that is exclusive to them and quite good.
So, visit all these nice folks and tell them Dale of Chiff & Fipple sent you. This keeps me in a position of unequaled power in the whistle community.