Michael Grinter whistles
A Report from the Chiff & Fipple Australian Bureau
I received this report via email from Mark Walstrom in August 1999.
I got a new high-end whistle I want to tell you about. I include some photos too. First of all, I am not qualified to do a real review of it since my wife and I have been playing Irish music on Generation whistles for many years (actually, a combined 35 years-yikes!) and have limited experience with expensive whistles. . Up until this week my best whistle was a Generation Bb shortened to a B by pipe-maker,Geoff Wooff ( to play in pitch with my pipes). This new whistle was built by Michael Grinter in Australia. http://www.castlemaine.net.au/~grinter/ He is a first-rate recorder and †flute maker who has begun making whistles. As far as I know,he has only made a few, pitched in low F but has plans to make more in other pitches. Kevin Crawford and Sean Smyth in the band,Lunasa, play these F whistles. I bought the whistle from my friend Paul Groff at Groff's Music in Cambridge,MA (617) 499-9928. He has established a relationship with Grinter and sells his instruments here in the US. Paul has 3 of Grinter's wooden flutes (also first-rate) at present, but no whistles. He does have more whistles on order. This beautiful 2-piece whistle is made of Kingwood, a type of rosewood, although he uses many kinds of wood. It has brass rings and a brass tuning slide. The wood is turned very thin so the whistle feels light as a feather. The craftsmanship is impeccable. The mouthpiece is similar in shape to a Susato but all wood, with a cedar plug pinned in with a brass pin. †The tone holes are pretty large and the lowest hole is set very low so one must have fairly big fingers and hands to do it justice. I can play it without using piper fingering. My wife's small hands won't do the job and she is looking forward to a smaller,higher pitched whistle like it. †The whistle is loud and easy to blow but requires a fair bit of air, especially in the upper octave. The intonation is excellent across both octaves. The low D is easy to hit and cran. The sound is more like an Irish flute than any whistle I've played. Playing fast, it has the woody chiff that can give the 'bark' some flute players use. The thing in really alive, you can feel the vibrations in your hands as you play. The big round tone sounds wonderful playing airs. It is a great whistle and Grinter is sure to rank among the top makers.
More photos below: