Clearing the Windway

 

After you've played your whistle for a little while, you may notice the tone has changed. It may be harder to hit some of the high notes, or the volume may have lowered. This is because condensation has built-up in the windway. The difference that a clear windway can make is just amazing!

You'll find that condensation and foreign matter is much more of a problem in whistles with narrower windways, and for these you may have to clear the windway much more often. Below are a few remedies you can try.

 

 

  • If you need to clear the windway while you're playing, you have a few choices:

    • Place your finger over the windway opening (so the whistle won't make any sound), and sharply blow through the mouthpiece.

    • Keeping your fingers in playing position, wrap the little finger of your right hand around to cover the end hole of the whistle. Blow into the windway opening (you'll be holding the whistle kind of like a flute now), so that the air comes out the end of the mouthpiece.

    • If you're in the middle of a tune and you don't have time to do either of the above, you can suck in through the whistle to get rid of the condensation. Obviously, you don't want to do this if you've just used the "dish soap method" below...

     

  • Occasionally, you should use a piece of stiff paper (a business card works perfectly) to clean the windway. Cut a strip of the paper off, then fold it over once (to stiffen it up more). Run in and out of the mouthpiece to dislodge any foreign matter. Blow through the mouthpiece (with the windway hole covered) after this to make sure that you get all foreign matter out of the windway.
     

 

  • The next fix comes from subscribers to Dale Wisely's  The Chiff and Fipple Newsletter, and works quite well - especially on whistles with narrow windways. Rub a small amount of mild dish soap in the windway, using a small piece of paper folded over to reach inside the windway. Don't over do it, or you'll be tasting dish soap for a while. This remedy usually makes a big difference on how long you can play before your windway becomes clogged.
    PLEASE NOTE: we don't really recommend using dish soap on mouthpieces that have wooden fipple plugs (like the Original Clarke or the Shaw).

 

 



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