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The Abell Flute Company - The Abell Whistle

Almost all cultures in the world have an instrument related to the whistle; i.e., an end blown "flute" with a simple fingering system.  Our whistle is descended from the Celtic and Gaelic musical traditions and is used primarily to play the dance tunes and airs from Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany.  Although some beautiful music can be produced on the popular, inexpensive metal whistles, these instruments are somewhat limited in their musical attributes; therefore, we have designed some important changes into Abell Whistle to address the qualities we felt the metal whistle lacks.  One, our whistle must be able to produce a strong, centered, rich tone easily through two octaves; two, it must be tunable in either direction from concert pitch without compromising intonation or tone quality; and three, it must be manufactured simply and with an elegance worthy of the music for which it is intended.   It is the combination of African Blackwood and Sterling silver that fulfills our requirements of beauty, durability, and tonal quality. 

The Blackwood is a very stable wood providing a warm, reedy tone while maintaining structural durability; and the sterling silver, while elegant in its own right, offers the ability to build the whistle with a tuning slide without sacrificing simplicity or beauty.  The silver tuning slide not only satisfied our requirement for the tunability of each whistle, it also allowed us to design interchangeable bodies onto one mouthpiece in different keys.  

(Please refer to price list below for options.)

All Wood used in the construction of the Abell Whistles is well seasoned, instrument-grade hardwood from the equatorial regions of Africa, the Caribbean, and occasionally from Australia.  The individual pieces are carefully inspected and handpicked from the stock received from the suppliers and stacked to air dry for a minimum of one year from the time they arrive at the shop.  At each stage of the manufacturing process, each piece of wood is allowed to rest for a period of time, insuring that the integrity of the wood is stable before moving on to the next stage of production.  The wood is treated at each stage with a light coating of almond oil acquired at a local health food store.  The care taken to handle and inspect each piece of wood throughout the various stages of production helps to insure that the finished whistle will play for many years with relatively low maintenance.

January 2016

   African Blackwood with sterling silver
Standard (Key of D) $450
Low G $550
Keys of A, Bb or B $500
extra interchangeable bodies for the above (each): $200
  Keys of C, Db, D or Eb $450
  extra interchangeable bodies for the above (each): $150
  Keys of E, F, F#, or G $400
  extra interchangeable bodies for the above (each): $150
  Extra head-joint for any of the above whistles: $300

Single case for any of the above whistles:  $50

Cases are soft and made from nylon waterproof pack-cloth, padded, and lined with burgundy velvet.

Cases by Daniele O.

Note:  The above whistles are ascending in pitch with the G as the lowest and the F as the highest.  The D whistle is comparable in pitch to the standard D tin whistle.

Other woods available upon request.   Delrin (A matte black plastic, impervious to weather and changes in temperature and humidity) available upon request.  Price is the same as wood.

Terms:  Balance due upon completion, payable to Abell Flute Co.

To place an order, please contact the Abell Flute Co. directly from the information provided below. Current delivery on new orders is between 3-4 months, depending on the specifications required.

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Available Whistles

Care and Maintenance of the Abell Whistle

The Abell Whistle is designed and manufactured to be played comfortably under a wide variety of conditions as soon as it arrives from the shop.  There is no need to "break in" the whistle, nor is there any reason to limit playing time.  The most important habit to develop in maintaining the whistle is to shake or swab the moisture from the whistle after each playing session.  The majority of the moisture will naturally drain from the end of the whistle during playing, but it is recommended that the inside of the whistle be kept relatively dry during periods of storage.

An occasional light coating of almond oil on the outside of the whistle will keep it looking nice; however it is important to keep the metal slide pieces joining the mouthpiece to the body clean and dry.  No oil or lubricant should be used on the slide pieces as these substances will collect dust and grit that might cause the slide to become sticky and bind.  It is recommended that the inside of the whistle be oiled about once a month with almond oil after the whistle has had a chance to dry out completely.

It is also recommended that  the windway be swabbed out periodically with a soft cotton pipe-cleaner (using a little warm, soapy water and drying out the windway with a dry pipe-cleaner will be effective on particularly dirty windways).  Be sure that the pipe-cleaner used is the soft, cotton type and not the type with stiff metal spikes running down the length.  The Sterling silver bands on the outside of the whistle can be kept clean and shiny by occasionally rubbing them gently with a clean, soft cloth making sure that the cloth is free of anything that might scratch the silver.

The Abell Whistle will give many years of reliable and enjoyable service by keeping up with the few maintenance tips mentioned above:  swabbing the excess moisture from the whistle after each playing session, occasional oiling with almond oil inside and out, occasional swabbing of the windway, and occasional cleaning of the silver bands.

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111 Grovewood Road Asheville, NC 28804  USA  828 254-1004 VOICE, FAX abellflute@gmail.com