My name is David O’Brien, and I make Irish whistles in Campbell River, BC, Canada. I have been making various whistles and selling them for approximately twenty-five years. I started with copper plumbing pipe, selling over eight hundred whistles and sets online and through music stores.
Now I make three-piece wooden pocket whistles that I call Rovers, as well as other types.
The Whisolo (whistle + piccolo) is a chromatic instrument with the same range as a soprano D. It has a piccolo body.
The Chromalow (chromatic + low) has a flute body and the same range as a low D.
I make two kinds of brass whistles, the Rambler and the Stowaway. The Rambler has a two-piece body and comes in C or D, as well as C/D sets. The Stowaway is a telescopic whistle that comes in C, D and B flat.
I made my first whistle in Bhutan, in the Himalayas. I had a blue top Generation with me when I taught there for two years in the 1980s. I noticed some of my students playing a bamboo whistle and I asked them about it. They said they made them from local bamboo, so the next non-school day I hiked up the hill with a few of my students to a bamboo patch that had the right diameter for whistle making. They showed me how to cut the windway, blade and plug and how they used a hot nail to burn finger-holes in the green bamboo. I still have a couple of the bamboo whistles that I made almost 40 years ago.