The Essential Guide to Finding the Best Tin Whistle + Reviews
This quick guide will help you find the best tin whistle, particularly if you’re in a hurry and you’re tired of browsing through all the long tin whistle reviews out there. We wanted to keep things simple so we tried to present you with the best offers and in order to do that, we analyzed each model and the value that it offers. With this in mind, we concluded that the Woodi WI-921 WI-922 Set of 2 Irish Whistles can be a great choice. They are some well-balanced whistles that can give you the deep and high tin whistle notes you expect from something like this. They also look really good. Thanks to the lightweight material they will feel lighter than other whistles and that will help beginners that don’t have the endurance to hold a whistle for too long. If you can’t find these, look for the Black Clarke Sweetone D Traditional Irish Tin Penny Whistle.
Our Top Choice
The whistles are really well balanced and they can give you the low tunes that you want from them, as well as the high notes. The sound is a beautiful one between a recorder and a traditional whistle. Let’s not forget that the looks are impressive, although not traditional.
The holes have plastic bits left there from the fabric and that can be annoying.
Made of quality materials and having a solid construction, these whistles will help you improve and will work for many years. Thanks to being fully tuneable, they have an advantage over other whistles.
You won’t find a whistle better suited for traveling thanks to its compact size and the cover it comes with. It doesn’t require the use of too much force, given that it has a tapered design. You will notice that its second octave sounds great and it doesn’t break if you know how to play a tin whistle.
Playing the higher octaves can produce a breathy and annoying sound.
Compared to other whistles out there, this one has a mellower sound and a certain shrill to it. That is thanks to the tapered design. It’s a rather easy instrument to play, thanks to the thoughtful design.
Also To Consider
The instrument is constructed using quality materials and that always means durability over time. The craftsmanship is exemplary and the instrument has been polished to perfection to give it the tone that you expect from it. Beginners and advanced musicians will have fun with it.
Given that this is an instrument for children, it gives the impression of a toy.
With so many colors to choose from, this tin whistle gives you the opportunity to find your style. This can be a great gift for a child that wants to play music, but you need to make sure you get the color right.
10 Best Tin Whistles (Updated Reviews) in 2020
When looking for a tin whistle there are certain characteristics that you need to pay attention to. Every tin whistle review should present the essentials that always make a difference. We focused on those particularities and here is how we created the following top of impressive tin whistles.
- 1. Woodi WI-921 WI-922 Set of 2 Irish Whistles
- 2. Black Clarke Sweetone D Traditional Irish Tin Penny Whistle
- 3. Waltons Blue Whistle Tube – Fun & Colorful Tin Whistle
- 4. Waltons WM1525 Waltons Little Black Tin Whistle D
- 5. Generation Whistles Brass D
- 6. Clarke Sweetone Blue Tin Whistle — Key of D
- 7. Generation Whistles Brass C Tin Whistle
- 8. Clarke Original D Standard Penny Tin Whistle – Key Of D – Includes Gift Box
- 9. Clarke Celtic Tin Whistle, Key of D
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Woodi WI-921 WI-922 Set of 2 Irish Whistles
Well-made and coming with a solid construction, these whistles will keep you playing for ages. They play true-to-pitch throughout their entire register and they are fully tuneable. Compared to other similar whistles, they have a mellow tone, and if you are looking for a brass tone, these are not for you.
Sounding similar to a recorder, they don’t have that sharpness and airiness. They will take some finesse to play and that means they are better for more experienced tin whistle players. If you experiment with them for a while you can get to play the high registers with relative ease. Beginners can play them with a bit of help from a teacher.
Getting nice and clear notes that won’t squeak is an easy task with these whistles, especially because they don’t have many unpleasant overtones and they can blow really clear notes. The lower register is what makes these whistles impressive.
These are some really well-balanced whistles, capable of offering ample lower tin whistle tunes while still having the dynamic ability to provide high-register notes.
It’s a beautiful mix of a sound between a traditional whistle and a recorder, without many of the minuses of both of these.
The looks are impressive, although they can’t be called traditional.
Lighter than other metal-based whistles, they will feel good in one’s hands, especially if it’s a beginner playing them.
The fact that these whistles can be tuned is a really nice feature, as it gives you more variety, and the fact that you can take off the top piece makes it easier to store them.
Being relatively easy to use, the whistles can work great in the hands of a beginner.
The holes have some small plastic filaments left there from the factory, and although that doesn’t affect sound that much, they can still be annoying.Buy from Amazon.com for ($18.99)
2. Black Clarke Sweetone D Traditional Irish Tin Penny Whistle
Being tapered rather than straight, this traditional Irish whistle has a mellower sound and much less shrill compared to other models. To make it easier for the player to form a seal around the holes, they are beveled. This will help with avoiding all of that high-pitch screeching noises that appear when you change your finger positions.
Even the packaging looks nice, with the black microfiber bag looking exquisite, and it looks great when you place it amongst other instruments. It has a great overall tone, and it’s worth having it in your house. Thanks to how easy this instrument is to play, even the beginners will have a fun time using it.
Getting the high octave notes will be easier with this whistle. There is a seam down the back that looks good but is distracting at first, so you need to make sure you get over that part.
Given its compact size and the cover that it comes with, this whistle is great for traveling.
Thanks to the tapered design, you will not need to blow with too much force into it, which makes it even more suitable for beginners.
The second octave of this whistle sounds great, as it never breaks if you know how to play it.
If you are looking for something of a mellower sound compared to other tin whistles, this one is the choice for you.
It looks really nice, and the soft black whistle pouch that it comes with will keep it protected, looking good.
The sound is slightly breathy sometimes, especially when you are trying to play some of the higher octaves where you need to blow harder.
When it comes to the lowest two notes, you will find it hard to take them properly.Buy from Amazon.com for ($15.35)
3. Waltons Blue Whistle Tube – Fun & Colorful Tin Whistle
This is part of Waltons’ Tin Whistle Rainbow Edition, and the purpose of the colors here is to allow the customer to fully express his or her creativity choosing the desired color. The key that this whistle comes in is D, which should allow you to play an impressive variety of tin whistle music, and the mellow tone that you would expect from an Irish tin whistle.
The brand prides itself on standing above others when it comes to quality while keeping a modest price for its products. Thanks to the many colors that you can choose from, this whistle makes for a great gift – just make sure you get the color right.
When you purchase the whistle you will also get a complimentary instructions booklet meant to teach you how to play the tin whistle. Being an instrument meant for beginners, this was a needed touch.
Being the top-selling brand in Ireland, Waltons produce some of the most competitive whistles out there.
When purchasing this whistle you know that you are receiving a high-quality instrument constructed using quality materials.
The craftsmanship is exceptional and the whistle has been polished to perfection to give out the mellow tone that is so popular.
Alongside the whistle, you also get an instruction leaflet that teaches you some easy tunes for beginners.
It’s an instrument that is easy to play by beginners but also gives advanced musicians the possibility to obtain a wide dynamic and a good-quality sound.
Because Ireland is the home of tin whistles, this model is designed and manufactured there for the best results.
The tone isn’t the greatest, given that this is primarily made to be an instrument for beginners.
Although advertised as a bundle, the package only includes the whistle and a booklet with tin whistle songs.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.5)
4. Waltons WM1525 Waltons Little Black Tin Whistle D
Made for absolute beginners, this whistle will feel light in your hand and will help you on your path of achieving whistle mastery. It doesn’t feel cheaply made, although it’s so lightweight. The whistle is highly playable and that is why it’s good for beginners. You should buy it if you want to get a starting point and make sure that you want to invest your money and energy into an eventual upgrade.
The unfortunate part of this whistle is that it doesn’t come with tuning or volume control, so everything you do will have an impact on the end sound. But that is a good thing if you are willing to work and learn fast. Getting the ideal embouchure with this one will take some time but the tuning is great.
It’s strong enough to withstand the daily struggles of a young musician, but not that expensive.
The tone produced by this instrument is a light and sweet one, ideal for young musicians.
It is not exceptionally loud and that means it’s good in an ensemble, as it won’t cover the rest of the music.
This one is a great solo whistle and it plays well into a microphone, giving little to no air if played correctly.
It’s such a light whistle, which is great for young players that need to hold it high for extended periods.
This whistle is a great one for those looking to learn as it offers the basics needed for that.
Some may prefer a mellower sound, especially those intermediate players looking for the ideal Irish tin whistle music (and they will be disappointed that this tin whistle isn’t adjustable in pitch).
It feels like a toy, and given that it is made for young beginners, that is probably why.Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.88)
5. Generation Whistles Brass D
The main selling point of this whistle is its design – once you get it out of the box you will be impressed with how it looks. Then again, at first, it won’t sound great, but you will need to have some patience to get it to work well. Although not advertised as adjustable, this Generation tin whistle can actually be modified if you hold its tip into hot water for a bit, and swish the whistle head around it.
When playing the low registers they are clear and deep and the whistle proves to be very responsive. However, when switching to the higher notes, things become more difficult, and the sound is a rough one if you don’t have an ideal embouchure. Transitioning smoothly from low to high notes is difficult and that is why this is not such a great instrument for beginners.
The good thing about this tin whistle is the fact that it doesn’t require that much air, and you can play it with ease, allowing for a less breathy song.
Even if this comes all the way from the United Kingdom, it still reaches you in a couple of weeks, which should say a lot about the quality of the service offered.
It plays really smooth once you clean it a bit, especially in the lower registers where it excels.
Looking amazing, this tin whistle will catch the eye of your audience.
This seems like a toy made for kids, but it’s hard to play, which makes it neither a suitable instrument for beginners nor for intermediate players.
The part of the plastic that touches your lips is a bit rough and you have to use sandpaper or something similar to give it a smoother finish.Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.65)
6. Clarke Sweetone Blue Tin Whistle — Key of D
Don’t let the plastic of this whistle trick you into believing it’s a bad one, as it is entirely capable of giving you a good playing experience, being a suitable choice for both beginner and advanced musicians. The sound coming out of it is a clear, crisp one, with decent volume, and that makes it good for a variety of applications.
Tuned in the key of D, this Sweetone Blue Tin Whistle comes with the brand’s precision plastic mouthpiece. This makes it easier to play and helps it produce the crisp clean sound. Producing a good tone with it requires very little air, which makes it a good choice for young students. Its excellent playability will help more experienced players experiment more with it.
This model comes with a tapered bore, and the tapered sides have an effect of bringing the finger holes closer to one another, and as such increasing the sound accuracy.
Thanks to the holes that are neatly packed together, reaching higher notes is an easier task with this whistle.
Weighing only 0.078 pounds, it is one of the lightest whistles out there, and that means it’s great as a travel companion, or as a whistle for young students.
The precision plastic mouthpiece makes this instrument an easier one to play and that will help you reproduce clear and crisp tone, especially in the higher registers.
It requires little air to produce quality sounds, and this is why you would want to use this instrument if you are a beginner that doesn’t have that much force yet.
The plastic this instrument uses is actually strong and can withstand bad weather better than some competitors.
It isn’t that loud, and it requires more force if you want to be heard in a group.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.99)
7. Generation Whistles Brass C Tin Whistle
Tuned in the key of C, this small tin whistle will be a great companion for young players looking to get accommodated to playing an instrument. This is a really responsive tin whistle when it comes to the low registers as it is capable of giving out a deep and clear tone. The design is one that will always impress, given the bright colors.
This makes the instrument suitable for younger audiences and players – getting it out of the box you can see how eyecatching it is. You will need to have a bit of patience with it, as it won’t sound great right from the beginning, but that may also be because of the player. It is not an adjustable whistle in terms of volume or tone, but you can put it in hot water a while and swish the head around its tip to modify it.
Once you get to know how to use it a bit it plays really smooth, especially when it comes to the lower-end notes.
It looks really well and will certainly catch the eye of your audience, no matter who’s watching you.
It’s not the kind of whistle that requires too much air to be played, and that is why it’s a good choice for beginners or younger students that don’t have too much force.
Coming all the way from the United Kingdom, it’s surprising the service quality that you get for it, and how fast it gets to your door.
The plastic part that you put your lips on is a bit rough and you will need to give it a smoother finish.
It feels like a toy made for kids and that makes it unsuitable for professionals that are looking for another kind of design.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12)
8. Clarke Original D Standard Penny Tin Whistle – Key Of D – Includes Gift Box
Coming in a gift box, this is the ideal present for a loved one, especially if he or she is a beginner that looks to play some quality tin whistle music for beginners. It has a very traditional look and feel, but a beautiful black design. It is made of tin, and it has been coated. Having a fold around the back, that means it also has a ridge on the inside.
It’s a tapered ball whistle with a traditional wooden block, and that is why it requires a lot of air to get the notes through. Furthermore, it also has a breathy quality to it, but because it is a traditional design, these are the things that you have to put up with. The colors and patterns are exquisite and it’s an instrument that is easy to play.
Being quiet on the lower notes, it plays really sweetly in the upper octaves.
It gets into the upper octaves quite easily, and although you might hear a screech or two here and there if you are a beginner, that is no big issue.
The wooden block gets wet relatively fast and that means the instrument will play better faster.
Made of quality tin, you know that this instrument is built to last and to leave a good impression on the ears of those listening.
It comes with a gift box, which makes it a great choice if you want a gift for a loved one.
It uses a lot of air because of the traditional wooden block styling that means there is not a well-focused airflow, and you will need a lot of force to play it.
The instrument has a breathy tone, which might be a trait of Clarke whistles, and while there are some that like it, others don’t enjoy it that much.Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.94)
9. Clarke Celtic Tin Whistle, Key of D
Having the same characteristics as the Sweetone whistle, one of Clarke’s best-sold models, this one comes with some upgrades in terms of appearance. The green metal flake finish and the gold Celtic know logo make it look like it has been crafted by mystical creatures. It also comes with a large fingering chart and a song sheet enclosed, to help you learn the basics if you don’t already know.
This model has the Clarke precision plastic mouthpiece that makes it easier to play and helps it produce a crisp clear sound that also has good volume. This is also why the whistle requires little air to produce beautiful sounds. Thanks to its great playability it is an instrument well-suited for beginners or experienced players alike.
Its tapered sides and bores have the effect of bringing its holes closer together, which in turn increases the accuracy and range of higher notes.
Made of 100% man-made materials, and handcrafted, the pouch that this tin whistle comes with has a beautiful shiny black eel skin look and is made to last.
Weighing 3.19 ounces, this is a lightweight model that is suitable for every kind of player, from the small child to those looking for a professional tin whistle.
Thanks to the precision plastic mouthpiece, this whistle is easy to play and it will give you the opportunity to produce clean crisp music, especially if you are playing in higher registers.
Its holes are neatly placed closer together, and this makes reaching higher notes an easier task for everybody.
Producing good notes requires little air, and that is why this whistle is good for those younger players that don’t have too much force.
This is not the loudest whistle out there and if you want to be heard in a group you need to put more force into playing it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($13.95)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
One of the best things about these whistles is that you can always find an affordable tin whistle that does a good job. However, whether you’re buying a cheap tin whistle or an expensive one, there are some things that you need to consider. So let’s see how to find the best whistle.
Although called a tin whistle, this instrument is not necessarily made of tin, and while some early models used that specific material, nowadays you can find tin whistles made of a wide variety of materials. The material used has a certain effect upon the sound of the whistle, and especially the resonance and hardness of the material have their say in the final sound.
Soft materials like wood or plastic will create a more absorptive surface where the body of air has a more difficult time to resonate. Aluminum, for example, is a harder material that has better resonance, but it’s still softer than tin or brass. Carbon fiber is tin stiff, hard, and so on. There are some physicists or musicians that argue that the material of a bore wind instrument has no effect on the sound quality, but most people think otherwise.
There are some musicians that spend thousands for a silver or gold instrument, just because it sounds better – and not because it only looks more impressive.
Aluminum is often used for making tin whistles, and although it’s a new material, it’s starting to get more and more popular. Its advantage is that it is lightweight – you need a thinner tube to reproduce the same sounds. With a thicker tube, you can make the body quite inert acoustically. Aluminum is known for being a soft metal, which makes it easy to shape and it provides a mellow sound while still being strong.
The bad part about aluminum is that it’s inert and the sound doesn’t really get enhanced by the body. Furthermore, aluminum is reactive to saliva and because of that, corrosion will appear in the whistle over time. This is why other metals such as brass have been more popular over the years, thanks to its impressive resonant properties.
The advantage of brass whistles is that they have a wonderful sound, and the internal finish will have good acoustics and will help the player. On the bad side, thicker walls will mean a heavier instrument, this is why it’s not always the best choice for young musicians.
Originally made from tin, the whistles made by Clark, one of the oldest brands, gave the name of the instrument. There are some advantages to this metal, but mostly, it’s not ideal, because it has few desirable acoustic properties. The pro point for tin is that it’s cheap to make and it has some history behind it in the making of instruments.
Having excellent acoustic properties, and being relatively cheap to manufacture, wood is a widely-used material for instruments. It has a superb sound, but its huge disadvantage is that it’s sensitive to humidity, and for an instrument like a whistle, this will most often affect the tuning and playability.
Carbon fiber is a newer material that is starting to gain more popularity. It is hard and resonant, and it’s similar to hardwoods. The disadvantage is that it’s expensive to produce.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is the tin whistle hard to learn?
While being an easy instrument to learn, the whistle can pose some problems, depending on overall music knowledge. The good thing about this is that there is always more to learn and if you are the kind of person that likes continuous progress, this instrument is ideal for you. A lot of learning this instrument depends on previous knowledge you have in music and playing other instruments.
The theory will always move across a wide range of instruments, and if you already have the basis of that, you will find it way easier to play the tin whistle. Given that music played with this instrument largely portrays Celtic music, having some knowledge in that area will help. Learning to play accidentals will be the difficult part, but playing them isn’t a requirement, although a complete musician will know how to do that.
The best tin whistles will always help you progress faster.
Q: What sound does a tin whistle make?
If you don’t already know what is a tin whistle, maybe you’ve heard of flageolets or penny whistles, which is another name for them. They are small and high-pitched instruments that are blown like a recorder. They are usually made of brass, aluminum, plastic, or nickel, but other materials such as wood, tin, or carbon fiber can be used. The difference between a recorder and a tin whistle is the fact that the later comes with six finger holes and not seven.
These whistles are easy to play and come at very low costs – finding cheap tin whistles will be an easy thing to do. A quality tin whistle is capable of producing a smooth sound that can surpass that of other more expensive instruments if placed in the right hands.
Produced en masse for the first time in Manchester, England, somewhere before the end of the 19th century, tin whistles had a unique sound.
Q: Is a recorder the same as a tin whistle?
While pretty similar in the sense that they are bot fipple flutes, and many people don’t know the difference between a tin whistle vs recorder, they still have differences. Tin whistles have 6 holes and they are diatonic instruments, meaning that they can produce 7 notes, while the recorders have 7 holes and are chromatic instruments, producing 12 notes.
Both of them are pretty inexpensive, and you will be able to find affordable tin whistles at around $5. The sound differs a bit though, as the recorder has a harsher and airy sound, although that can also depend on the material. The recorder will also sound stronger, while the tin whistle has an earthier feel.
Their designs can sometimes be very similar, and some people may face a hard time differentiating between the two. While you could argue that you can play the same music on these two instruments, their difference in tonality range comes as a counter-argument.