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
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"
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).