The Walkabout Whistle


Whistle White Walkabout

A great sounding , practically indestructible whistle you can take with you everywhere. The idea for the Every whistle was born while kayak camping on a small beach in the Florida Everglades. Customer requests prompted the development of the "Walkabout" version. It's great for carrying in your pocket. The longer two-piece tends to fall out when you sit down.

There is a case available for the Walkabout whistles that makes it slip nicely into pocket or purse.   (Click here)

Select the key or set of keys you would like to order below. When you click the "Add To Cart" button you will have the opportunity to change the quantity ordered.


Everyone wants to hear what a whistle sounds like before purchasing one. Here's a few clips to give you an idea. (But you do get a money-back 30 days to try it yourself.)

"The Gentle Breeze" air played on an Every whistle (Walkabout model) by Tiffany (click to play)

"The Kesh" jig played on an Every whistle by Seamus O'Dunn (click to play)

"Lark In The Clear Air" played on an Every Walkabout D by jon Cook (click to play)

The mouthpiece on this model is carved concave to allow it to comfortably be played in a nearly vertical position. The Ghost whistls for example uses the simpler 45-degree cut found on a number of other whistles. The 45-degree cut is quite a good approach, I just like the undercut mouthpice better for holding the whistle lower while playing.


In short, because a CPVC whistle can take abuse and still be a fine whistle.

Some whistlers turn up their nose at the mention of a whistle made from PVC water pipe. This is understandable since it is an inexpensive material, easily found nearly everywhere you go and has absolutely no snob appeal. Being a whistle snob is not a bad thing. There are many dimensions to the simple pennywhistle, and many ways to enjoy them. Since they are relatively inexpensive as musical instruments go, you will no doubt have a collection. (Bet you can't own just one!) So why not have some that you enjoy displaying and handling? Fine woods have attracted the eye and hand for centuries.

Ok, back to the PVC. I started making whistles because I was camping in Florida and wanted to have one I could take with me and not be concerned about how it was handled. Not only was I camping, I was camping via kayak, on beaches in the Everglades.

You probably have spent a day at the beach sometime during your life. (If you have not, get to it - you are missing something.) Remember how it was impossible for you to keep the sand out of anything? You food, your hair, any crack or crevice caught some sand. OK, now stick around after the sun goes down. In sub-tropical Florida that means you are now living at the dew point, the sand and water is salty and attracts water. Everything is damp, and sand is everywhere. Repeat for several days. You get the idea.

What kind of whistle could thrive in that environment? One that was virtually indestructible. It didn't take long for me to decide on PVC pipe as the starting point. It is already the correct dimension for some keys, and is easily worked. Both of these attributes allow me to offer them at a reasonable price.

As materials go PVC is the modern version of tin. It is inexpensive, easily worked, and widely available. Whistles should be made from PVC today. Not exclusively but they should be available. They should be everywhere. I'm proud to say I make PVC whistles.

The magic of the pennywhistle is not so much in the material, but in where the material is and is not. In other words, the magic is in the holes. Thanks to Glenn Schultz for proving it with his Water Weasels. They play wonderfully. Need proof? Just try and pry one of Glen's Water Weasel's from a whistler.

Now I am not comparing these whistles to Glenn's. Mac Hoover once told me to just make whistles that please yourself, and don't worry what others want. You won't be able to please everyone, he said. So that is what I did. I made whistles, and I made more whistles. And I played them. And I made some more. I hope you like the result.

Complex machining adds to the cost so I have tried to keep these whistles simple to make.

There are no metal parts. You can put the whistle straight into the dishwasher to clean it, should it need cleaning. In fact that is the last step before I ship your whistle to you. I separate the parts and put them upright on one of the posts. Make sure you turn off the heat dry cycle, after all the whistle is plastic.

The tuning slide is quite stiff by design. I hate a whistle that changes tune while I'm playing because the slide moved during a rousing reel. If you prefer a lighter touch when tuning you whistle, just take some fine sandpaper or steel wool and rub on the bit that goes inside the other until it is as you like it.

The Tone Ring

Whistle voicing and tuning is a compromise. The physics make it so. It is possible to design the whistle so it is at it's best at a certain frequency, and all others are slightly less perfect. Some tunes spend a lot of time in a small range of notes. This is one reason why some players will change whistles based on the tune.

What if there was some device on the whistle that would let the player move the location of this sweet spot? The tone ring on the "Every" line of whistles allows you to strengthen the notes in the lower octave by placing it such that it forms sides on the sound window. To favor the upper register more, push the ring down away from the mouthpiece.

Another thing the tone ring allows you to do is muffle the whistle. On the web I have seen lots of threads asking "How can I quiet my whistle so I can practice without disturbing others." My favorite approach had been the blow across the top method. The downside is this only gives you the lower octave notes. When the tune goes into the high octave you have to think it higher. Also, the breath requirements were not like playing the whistle properly.

By turning the tone ring to either side and just leaving a quarter or less of the window exposed you can play both octaves and not raise a ruckus. This also helps preserve your hearing. It won't teach you how to blow the notes into tune, but it is very close to proper playing. You can practice breathing and supporting the high notes this way too. But, changing the window, alters the tuning and you will have to sharpen the whistle as you close the tone ring to stay in tune with your mates.

This works so well I practice at night in a hotel room while I am traveling.

Here are two versions of the B part of Connachtman's Rambles, one with the tone ring in un-muted position and one in the muted position:

Connachtmans B part un muted (click to play)

Connachtmans B part muted (click to play)

The microphone is designed to pick up whatever it can and make it sound good, so you can't really hear the difference in those clips. People often as me how quiet can you make it? That question was asked on the Chiff and Fipple Whistle Forum and here is a response from MTGuru (used by permission):

"Closing down the tone ring progressively lowers the overall pitch, down to around 1/4 tone flat. The change seems pretty uniform across the range, though, so the whistle stays in tune with itself. Of course, you can then adjust the tuning slide to compensate. The difference in the slide position is only ~3 mm, so the effect on overall intonation is pretty small.

At the 3/4 closed position, the volume difference is roughly -6 dB in the lower register and -10 dB in the upper register. And almost fully closed (around 1.5 mm gap), the difference is roughly -10 db in the lower register and -20 dB in the upper. Significant in either case, and both octaves play normally.

Just keep in mind that the readings weren't done under what you would call strict lab conditions. I just plopped my Radio Shack digital sound meter (C weighting) about a foot away on the desk. I played D-G-B-d-g-b with the ring in the three positions (open, 1/2, and almost closed) using average breath pressure for each note. Then averaged the differences for each octave. And repeated the procedure to make sure I could reproduce the results.

In theory, -6 dB is about 2/3 volume, -10 dB is half volume, and -20 dB is one-quarter volume."

But my favorite way to let people know how quiet the whistle is came from a customer e-mail:

"Love the whistle.. I can even practice in bed with out disturbing my wife and dog!"

Back to the Whistle

Here's a video a session mate made showing off her every whistle:

Select the key or set of keys you would like to order below. When you click the "Add To Cart" button you will have the opportunity to change the quantity ordered.

Whistle White Walkabout

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