Tin Whistles are easy to learn and offer a very distinctive tone. Despite their simplicity, they are a very versatile instrument.
If you like Celtic music, search no more. A tin whistle is definitely something you should try. Its simple design guarantees pretty quick learning, even if you don’t have any experience in playing music.
On the other side, if you play the flute or any other woodwind instrument, this is a perfect way to get some new tones and expand your playing. A thin whistle could be a perfect gift as well, for either winter holidays or St. Patrick’s Day.
One of the best things about these instruments are the price. A decent-quality tin whistle is often very cheap. Of course, you can find professional instruments as well, which would cost you hundreds of dollars.
A tin whistle is actually nothing more than a type of fiddle flute, so it likely originates from ancient bone flutes and similar kinds of instruments. A modern tin whistle dates from the 1800s. The first factory-made instruments were produced by Robert Clarke. Another common name for these instruments is a penny whistle. The reason probably sits in the fact that the usual price for the instrument in that time was one penny. Others would say that’s because a tin whistle was predominately used by children and street musicians.
Tin Whistles are easy to play, but if you learn to master it, you can really play some fantastic music. Check out this old video below by Mary Bergin from Ireland’s main TV network.
Our Pick of Top 7 Tin Whistles
1) Clarke CWD Celtic Tin Whistle, Key of D
This Clarke CWD Tin Whistle is a very popular Tin Whistle and definitely a very good one. It offers plenty of quality for the price. In terms of base design characteristics, this is a pretty common penny whistle, which comes in the most common tuning, the key of D. It comes with its own fingering, as well as with five traditional Celtic tunes. Another great thing about this tin whistle is that it comes with a beautiful green gift box, decorated with gorgeous Celtic patterns. The product is made in England.
2) Waltons Little Black Tin Whistle
If you’re looking for a nice budget option, the Waltons Little Black Tin Whistle is the one for you. Although an affordable price is definitely its strongest point, this tin whistle actually offers pretty good quality too. A nice look and decent sound is a combination that ensured very good customer’s ratings. It is a pretty common whistle which, due to its affordable price, looks like a natural choice for beginners. Not only that you get a decent instrument, but the instruction booklet is included as well. The Waltons Little Black Tin Whistle could also be a nice addition for all those woodwind players who want to expand their sound.
3) Cocobolo Penny Whistle in Key of D
Some of you are probably skilled flute players or professional musicians who play numerous woodwind instruments. If you belong to this group, expanding the range of instruments you play is a natural thing. Still, you would prefer a professional, hi-quality piece of gear, which is appropriate for studio recordings, live performances etc.
The Cocobolo Penny Whistle is the right choice for you. This one is a handcrafted tin whistle, which is made of the exotic cocobolo wood, used for all kinds of woodwind instruments like clarinets, flutes, oboes etc. This wood guarantees warm, but also smooth tones, versatile enough to be used for various kinds of music genres. It is tuned in D but can be also played in E, G, and B major. To ensure longterm use, it features a mouthpiece made from the quality ABS plastics.
Besides the instrument, the product includes a nice handmade bag and written lessons.
4) Feadog Pro Tin Whistle
For full four decades, Feadog has been producing tin whistles. This is a renowned Irish manufacturer, which sells its products around the world. This particular tin whistle is one of its most popular products and that is for a good reason.
This instrument offers great value for the price. It is made from nickel, which is a little bit thicker than usually, which makes this whistle heavier than most similar products. Such design definitely leaves an impression of a good quality and also provides very rich and mellow tone, perfect of emotional Celtic tunes.
The whistle comes in a nice little package box, which also includes an instruction booklet, which explanations of basic techniques and several easy tunes to start with.
5) Waltons Irish Tin Whistle CD Pack
The tin whistle is generally very easy to play. However, if you are a complete newcomer to music, there is no better thing than a good instruction video. Waltons definitely had this in mind, so it offers a nice package, which doesn’t include just a decent-quality whistle, but also an instruction booklet and CD. On the disc, you won’t just find just basic playing instructions, but also a complete breakdown of 27 popular Celtic and international tunes, which are easy to play and perfect for beginners to start with.
Speaking of the instruments itself, you can count on a pretty satisfying quality. The whistle comes in the most common tuning, in the key of D major and delivers a nice mellow tone, perfect for traditional Irish music, but also versatile enough for other kinds of musical genres.
6) Clarke SBDC Pennywhistle Boxed
Another affordable, but well-designed tin whistle on the list. The strongest point of this whistle is its well-designed mouthpiece. A wooden fipple definitely has a positive effect on the sound, which is a little bit more flute-like. It is rich, transparent, clean and warm. A combination suitable for various kinds of genres, not just for Celtic music. Rest of the instrument is made of tin.
The whistle comes in the key of D. A common tuning in a combination with the manufacturer’s reputation guarantees customers’ satisfaction. After all, you can find hundreds of positive reviews on the network. The only disadvantage is the fact that this whistle is a little bit more complicated to play, so I wouldn’t recommend it to you if you are an absolute beginner.
7) Generation Nickel High D Whistle
The Generation Nickel High D Whistle is another very affordable tin whistle that looks like a perfect choice for newcomers, as well as a perfect St. Patrick’s Day gift. Despite the cheap price, you can count on a pretty good quality. The whistle is made of nickel, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, due to mellow and super-bright tone. On the other side, if you like such tonal characteristics, this is the product for you. The whistle is simple and pretty comfortable to play. A nice plastic mouthpiece makes the playing even more convenient. The product is made in England and is becoming more and more popular these days.
How to Play the Tin Whistle
The Tin Whistle is an easy instrument to learn. However, like any instrument it requires some practice. Check out this great video to learn the basics!
Which Tin Whistle to Choose?
As you can see, the market is full of tin whistles and such wide choice could be confusing if you are a beginner. My advice would be to go for some more affordable product, a package which besides the instrument also includes some kind of instructional video, either on paper or on a CD, which would make the learning easier. On the other side, if you are an experienced musician, keep in mind that these whistles can be made of different materials. Each material offers a different tone color, so choose according to your preferences.