and Dale Wisely
Chiff & Fipple Publishing Magnate
New players of the low whistle will eventually discover that the typical tin whistle grip - playing with the fingertips - leads to the rapid onset of a physiological phenomenon known as 'Numb Thumbs.' This condition has several deleterious side-effects, including an inability to brush one's teeth and dropping expensive low whistles on one's foot.
In order to avoid Numb Thumbs, it is necessary to play the low whistle with a modification of the style used by bagpipe players. This is called "piper's grip" or "piping fingering," or whatever.
Numb Thumbs Grip: Leading Health Menace to New Low Whistlers.
The figure below demonstrates the regular whistle method of finger placement. This Will Result in Numb Thumbs.
(Do Not Attempt This at Home)
Note how our model's hands look cramped and arachnoid. If he keeps this up, a finger or two will spontaneously snap and he'll have compound fractures of his finger bones and that will hurt like hell and he'll never play low whistle again.
Low Whistle / Piper's Grip: The best thing since sliced bread
Note that the fingers are gracefully and modestly curved and quite relaxed.
Keep the fingers relaxed. Do not squeeze the tube between the thumbs and fingers. Using the middle joint of each finger will allow the holes to be covered without exerting great pressure, thus avoiding Numb Thumbs.
Some players use the pad of the middle joint of all three fingers of each hand. Perhaps more common is an approach that uses the middle joint for holes 1, 2, 4, and 5 (covered by the index and middle fingers of both hands), and the pad of the first joint of the ring fingers to cover 3 and 6.