If you’re into trad, you know how much a good instrument can cost. Fiddles–hundreds to thousands. Concertinas: thousands. Accordions flutes, even whistles can be hundreds for really nice ones by known makers. There are exceptions, of course, but you usually get what you pay for.
It’s nice to buy the best instrument you can afford, but if you’re like me, you try to do things as cheaply as possible. Not that I won’t save up for months for that $2000 concertina, but if I can, say, MAKE an instrument, I will. That brings us to whistles.
I play the concertina mainly, but I’m also getting back into the tin whistle. After doing a little online shopping, I decided to make one myself. I found some excellent instructions at a gentleman named Guido Gonzato’s website (http://www.ggwhistles.com/howto/). Turns out–whistles are actually really easy to make! My first was a high ‘D’–the kind you hear most people playing at sessions. I keep that one in the car for lunchtime practice. I just recently made a low ‘D’ as well, which is a lot of fun both to make and to play. Both whistles cost me less than $3.00 each to make, I would say, including the casting resin I used for the fipple blocks. None of the materials are so exotic you have to order them online–pvc from Home Depot, casting resin from Michael’s Crafts.
So if you’re into whistle playing, and you’re even moderately handy, making your own whistle is fun and kind of addicting. Plus you get to have the only whistle with weird writing on the side–you’ll definitely stand out at sessions. :D