Welcome to Parks Whistles
(To buy stuff, click on "STORE" above, or the links to the right)
Black High Whistles Available
Here is a family portrait of the whistles currently available. The black and white high whistles are available in the two-piece "Everywhistle" model and the three-piece "Walkabout" model. The keys available are: D, C, Eb and Bb.
Click the links at the top right to navigate to the pages with information about the various whistles.
Custom C# Now Available
A fellow e-mailed me needing a whistle to put a track on a recording that was to be done in C#. I made him a C# whistle, and because of that I now have C# whistles available in black.
What's that? You didn't know I had black high whistles? Well I do! I have found some black PVC pipe of a proper size to make high whistles in England, and Phil from Big Whistle is kind enough to aquire it, cut it to shippable size and post it over to me. The cost of the whistles is a little higher due to the difficulty getting the material, but if you like the look of a black whistle it's way worth it. And I think the slightly smaller ID and softer plastic make a sweeter sound than my white Everys. Not by a bunch, but some.
To allay any fears you might have about the playability or tone of the new whistle, here's the e-mail I received from the fellow I sent the C# to.
My brand new C# whistle arrived today in the mail. I am very pleased with the way it plays and sounds! It plays so effortlessly and I love it's appearance as well.Thank you so much for making this "special order" whistle.
I opened it up right away and played a number of jigs and reels, hornpipes and waltzes and I am in love with the ease with which the whistle plays. It takes no effort at all to tear it up! The feel of the whistle in my hands is wonderful also. I have played some whistles that were way too heavy in the hand. And some of those whistles were not inexpensive either! Yours has a great feel to it. Is it called balance? I don't know what you would call it, I just know that when I pick it up and begin to play it feels "right" in my hands and is easy to play.
Do you have plans in the future to make low whistles? If and when you do, please let me know. I'd be interested in a low A and a low G.
Thanks again Carey for me new whistle. It looks sharp and plays so sweetly!
Breanndán Ó Beadlaoich house concert
A fantastic opportunity just fell in my lap, so how could I not seize it? I held a house concert at Parks Whistles headquarters, clearing the living and dining rooms of bulky furniture gave plenty of space and good acoustics for an afternoon workshop on West Kerry tunes and an evening concert by Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, well known button accordion player from Boys of the Lough and Beginish.
Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich working his magic.
Brendan and myself having a few tunes with coffee the following morning. What a pleasure to have this nice fellow and so much music in the house for two days. If you are not familiar with Brendan and his music, that's easy to fix. There are several YouTube clips of him playing in various venues around the world, and his latest CD will give you a taste of the music he performed during the evening concert. (Available from http://www.brendanbegley.com/)
So now those who are waiting for me to ship their whistles know what has been holding me up. My apologies. It's back to the shop today!
Open Letter To A Beginner
From time to time I get questions about my whistles, and I'm happy to tell people about them. Considering that for every person who asks there are several others who wonder, I thought I'd just put my reply to Mike on my blog where everyone can read it.
Thanks for asking Mike!
Yes, while an advanced player will find a lot to like in the Every Whistle, it is also quite suitable for a beginner. In fact, I was a beginner myself when I designed it, and thus I wanted it to be easy to play. Air requirements are low for the volume. The only way to use less air is to make a smaller wind way, which would make the whistle quiet to the point where it would not be useful in a session.
That said, by closing the "Parks Tone Ring" down, not only do you make the whistle quieter, but you also reduce the air requirements.
My whistles are appropriately loud and shrill at the top of the second octave when the Parks Tone Ring is fully open. Not as loud and shrill as some however. In time, when you learn to finesse the whistle you will come to control and appreciate this character as appropriate to the music and the instrument. But by closing down the "Parks Tone Ring", the upper octave is the first to be tamed, giving you a nice somewhat airy sound without reducing the volume very much.
At the other extreme, if you close the Parks Tone Ring until it is open only a crack you can play at a whisper. I've had one customer who wrote to thank me for the tone ring because it allowed him to practice on a cross-country flight without disturbing the passengers nearby. But my favorite was a fellow who wrote to tell me he could play in bed while his wife was asleep!
So yes, by all means, try one of my Every Whistles. If you find it not to your liking you may return it.
Here is one of my customers, Tiffany, playing "An Feochán" (The Gentle Breeze) on an Every D whistle.
You can't rush the training of your muscles. You just have to play, play and play some more, and the skill and ability will accumulate within you. Only play when you enjoy it, and put the whistle down when it is no longer fun. You need to do this to allow your body to assimilate what it has learned during the session. I find several shorter sessions per day are better than one long one.
In the early stages you are teaching your body how to make the sound you want, so the notes of a tune or song are not as important as just making the sounds. Play things you know by heart. Don't struggle with dots on a page and try to learn to map them to finger positions. This will only be a liability in the future, involving way more of your brain than is helpful. Learn the tune so you can hum or whistle it with your lips before you try to play it, then play without looking at the dots, unless you just can't figure out what that one note is - then identify the note and put the paper away again.
A friend at our session recently related a story. He was at a music seminar and one of the students asked another "So can you read music?" The second replied "Oh yes, I went to Juilliard. How about you?" "I can read music some, but not so much that it gets in the way of my playing."
Good luck, and enjoy the journey.
Parks Whistles Announces New Bb Alto Whistle
It's been a long time since I announced a new whistle. The much requested Parks Bb is finally available from the web site. Many thanks to the individuals who tested and gave feedback on the prototypes of this whistle. And many thanks to the company who makes black PVC. (I wish the made it in a smaller size too.) I think they look and sound great. Check them out HERE.
Workshop with Christel Rice
In December of 2009 Christel Rice gave a workshop at the home of one of my session mates from Tampa. It's always good to meet and hear other players, and a workshop is great because the point is the transfer of information. Small workshops in a private home are the best!
If you are not familiar with Christel's music, you can check out her web page at Christel Rice. If you are familiar, go see what's new. You can find Christel on MySpace and on Facebook.
Here we are playing a tune on my whistles. Christel said she loved how it played and wouldn't hesitate to use it on stage. I told her that was awsome, and could she please send some photos when it happens?
Of course we couldn't resist having a few tunes on our flutes either. C'mon back Christel, it was fun!
New Lathe Arrives at the Shop
It has been a long time since I posted anything here. That's because I've been busy making whistles to fill orders that I have not had time to do anything very interesting. Here's a shot of the thing that has consumed the last week of my life. An Emco Maximat V10-P, which is a 5x25 all geared lathe. I know, this is whistle web site, what's up with the tooling? Well, this baby will allow me to work larger diameter, longer length material. Translation - Whistles in more keys! If you want more details of getting it here, check out the blog (link in the nav bar above.)
St Patrick's Day in Fort Myers
There's much more about this in my blog (click the link above) but I wanted to mention here that when Cherish The Ladies came to Fort Myers, Florida for St Patrick's Day this year I spent a little time with Joanie afterwards and gave her one of my Walkabout whistles. She was surprised at the form factor when I handed it to her in it's little pouch. And she was surprised again when she played it!. Detail in the blog. Don't forget you can leave comments for me in the blog too.
Old Favorite Back In Print
I have just found out that "Field Guide to the Irish Music Session" by Barry Foy is back in print. Hooray! If you've worn out your copy or "loaned" it away, now is the chance to get a new one. If you have never read it, now is the chance to get one. Great stuff. Order from Frogchart Press directly at: http://www.frogchartpress.com
14-Aug-2008 Better whistles through technology
Not too long ago a couple fellows from Australia and New Zealand came up with the idea and technology to take a recording of someone playing a flute and pick out the notes, then plot the results. This gives a picture of the tuning of the instrument when it is actually playing a tune rather than when the player is staring at a tuner needle. Here's an example of a plot:
In this case I did not play a tune, because I am not going to be the player. When testing my whistles I try to play both above and below proper tune for the note. The chart is designed for a flute, so the note names are an octave lower than they should be. I tricked it into working for the whistle by telling it A=880 not 440.
All whistles I make are now being checked with this technology that is called Real Time Tuning Analysis or RTTA. I check them when I am voicing them and again when the whistles are finished. The final plot goes into a database along with other information on that whistle, filed by serial number.
If you want to read more about RTTA, or download the various software programs, you can find the information on Terry McGee's web site HERE. At the moment Terry asks you not to post charts on a living maker's instrument without their permission. You have my permission to post plots of my whistles if you like. If you see anything interesting let me know!
PS - Check out the blog for the latest insight into what's going on in my workshop. (view blog)
Making music with something as simple as a section of pipe with a few holes is magic. I want to share that magic, everyone should know about pennywhistles.
Love it or return it. If your whistle ever needs repairs, I will work on it for free.
The fine print: If you bought it from me, you have 30 days to send it back, no questions asked, and I'll refund your purchase price. If it's been a year, I'll be like "C'mon now, were you in a coma?" but will hear your story and try to make you happy. In between there are shades of gray and I hope I can fix your whistle because you musta liked it at one time, or I'd have it back before now. If there's a question, I prefer to screw me than screw my customer.
Here is how you can contact me. I have obscured the e-mail addresses to thwart web crawling spam bots, if you have any problems with e-mail just ring me.
Postal address: Carey Parks 129 SE 28th Terrace Cape Coral, FL 33904
General Information, Sales, Customer Support:
Every Whistle $55
Walkabout Whistle $60
Every Whistle $65
Walkabout Whistle $70
Bb Alto Whistle $95
Ghost Whistle $30
Tabor Pipe $30-70
Whistle Cases $10
Gig Bags $29.95