Make Your Whistle Tunable
Most metal whistles with plastic mouthpieces can be made
tunable. We recommend that you don't do this if you only have one whistle -
there is a risk of doing irreversible damage to your whistle!
Note that many/most metal whistles
with plastic mouthpieces do not have the mouthpiece glued on!
Generation whistles are an exception; Generation mouthpieces are glued on.
You'll find that the Nickel Generations mouthpieces are a little more stubborn
than the Brass ones.
If your mouthpiece is not glued on, you
should be able to move it without using the steps shown below (some are a little
more stubborn than others...).
If your mouthpiece is not glued on, but won't
move, use your thumb to gently press the mouthpiece side to side, then twist it,
it should start moving. Do this carefully; you don't want to crack your
For glued-on mouthpieces:
First, you'll need to break the glue seal. You can do this with
hot water. Heat a cup of water in the microwave, making it about the temperature of a hot
cup of coffee. Don't make it boiling, or you could melt your mouthpiece.
Next, place your whistle - mouthpiece first - into the hot
water. Most whistles only need a few seconds to break the seal. Some whistle (Like
Generations C's) can be much more stubborn. Take it out of the hot water and - using a
towel, because the whistle may be hot - twist to remove the mouthpiece.
Note that leaving it in the hot water longer doesn't usually help -
leave it in for just a few seconds; if you can't break the seal, make the water
slightly hotter and put the mouthpiece back in for a few seconds again.
Wipe any excess glue from the mouthpiece and whistle. You
may need to dip it in the hot water again to loosen the rest of the glue.
Test for fit. To make the mouthpiece slide more smoothly,
you may want to use a dab of cork grease (made for clarinets, etc. - you can now order Cork Grease from our New Items
Page). If the mouthpiece is now too loose, you can use a little
plumber's tape. Your goal
is to make the barrel slide
smoothly inside the mouthpiece, but not so easily that it may move when playing.
One thing to
keep in mind is that these whistles were designed to be in tune with the
mouthpiece pushed all the way on. This means that once made tunable, you'll be
able to tune the whistle to a flatter tone, but not to
a sharper one (but there's a way to fix this too - see
Make Your Whistle "More
As mentioned above, we
recommend that you don't do this if you only have one whistle - there is a risk
of doing irreversible damage to your whistle!
If you've now made your whistle tunable,
but you find that the tone is too flat, you can make it tunable in each
direction by cutting a little off the length of the barrel*.
NOTE - DO NOT cut AT ALL from
the "lower end" of the whistle!!!
If you were to cut from the lower end of
the whistle, you'd ruin the intonation of the whistle! You'll need to
shorten the end of the barrel that goes inside the mouthpiece (see the picture
After you've made your nontunable whistle
tunable by following the instructions above, take the mouthpiece off again, then
cut a little off the end of the barrel that goes into the mouthpiece.
Just cut a little at a time - it's much easier to cut more off later if needed
than to buy a new whistle because you cut too much off!!! Start by cutting
just 2-3mm or so and see if that's enough. We'll say it one more time here -
DO NOT cut the lower end of the
There are numerous ways to cut the metal
You can use a pipe cutter (small pipe
cutters are very inexpensive; you can get one at your local home center). Make
sure that you don't tighten the pipe cutter too quickly as you're cutting, or
you'll distort the barrel.
Or, you can use a hacksaw to cut the
barrel (again, make sure that you don't use too much pressure, or you'll distort
Or, you can set a piece of sandpaper
on a flat tabletop and sand the end of the barrel down (this takes longer, but
it's very easy to see how much you're taking off as you go). If you use
sandpaper, make a small mark on the barrel (with a pen, pencil or marker) at the
point that you want to shorten the barrel to. Then just sand it down to that
Ideally, you want your whistle to be "in
tune" with the mouthpiece pulled out slightly (so that you can tune a little
either way, when needed)
whistles that are designed by the whistle maker
to be tunable are in tune with the mouthpiece pulled slightly out,
so that you can tune the whistle a little sharper or a little flatter, as