April 2, 2016 By James Hall Off

Which Clarke whistle is best?

Clarke Wood Top and Clarke Plastic Top

Clarke Sweetone tin whistle with plastic top and a Clarke Original with wood top.

What is best for one person is not necessarily best for another, in many cases it depends on how the whistle will be used. In this article we will cover the different Clarke tin whistle models and their uses. There are four different models of tin whistles made by The Clarke Tinwhistle company. These I would put into three categories, wood top whistles, premium plastic top, economy plastic top whistles.

The Meg Tin whistle: This is Clarke’s economy plastic top whistle. The main difference between a Meg whistle and the premium plastic tops is that it plays a bit softer. This can be a plus if you have a classroom full of students. And its lower price also makes it ideal for the beginning Tin whistle player.
(Note: The Meg whistle was discontinued by Clarke in 2018)

The Sweetone Tin Whistle and the Celtic Tin Whistle: These are both Clarke’s premium plastic top whistles, they are identical in play-ability and only differ in their decor. It is difficult to describe the sound in words. The premium plastic top whistles have very precise wind ways and are acoustically accurate in design. So what you get is a very clean, bright sound with good volume. If you are playing with other people the crisp sound can help your Tin whistle be heard over the other instruments. I would describe this as a modern sounding Tin whistle.

The Original Tin whistle: This is Clarke’s wood top whistle. There is a lot more handwork to produce this whistle and it is very much the opposite of the premium plastic top whistles. Where the plastic tops have very precise wind ways to spread the air across the fipple (the edge that divides the air), the wood tops have a dome-shaped wind way that puts more air down the center of the wind way. The plastic tops have very flat fipples and the originals have a dimple formed in the metal. By looks alone you would think that the plastic tops would be superior, and in some ways they are. They use a little less air to produce a sound. But, as they say you can’t judge a book by its cover. These little imperfections give this whistle its unique sound. Beautiful, mellow and slightly breathy are words I would use to describe this whistle. So if you’re looking for a historically accurate sounding Tin whistle, or if you want a mellower less modern sound this would be your choice.

So which whistle is best? If you want a bright modern sounding whistle or you are playing with other instruments without a microphone than the Sweetone or Celtic would be my choice. If you’re playing in a quiet space or with a microphone and you want to mellow more musical sound. I would choose the original. If you still can’t choose, tin whistle’s are not very expensive. You may want to try one of each.

Download: Clarke Tinwhistle Fingering Chart – PDF

Clarke Tinwhistle - USA
Happy Whistling,
James Hall
Clarke Tinwhistle – USA