Timmy's brother, Chris, is a flutemaker in Asheville, North Carolina. He produces Boehm system wooden flutes, headjoints and penny whistles, handmade in grenadilla (blackwood) and sterling silver.
Chris' flutes are being played in orchestral and chamber settings around the world, and his penny whistles have set a standard for the best available instruments anywhere.
Below is Chris' description detailing the qualities of his penny whistles. If you would like more information about The Abell Flute Company, just click and go to Chris' website at www.abellflute.com.
Almost all cultures in the world have an instrument related to the whistle; ie., an end blown "flute" with a simple fingering system. Our whistle is descended from the Celtic and Gaelic musical traditions and is used primarily to play the dance tunes and airs from Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany.
Although some beautiful music can be produced on the popular metal whistles, these instruments are somewhat limited in their musical attributes; therefore, I have designed some important changes into the Abell Whistle to address the qualities I felt the metal whistle lacks:
One, our whistle must be able to produce a strong, centered, rich tone easily through two octaves; two, it must be tunable in either direction from concert pitch without compromising intonation or tone quality; and three, it must be manufactured simply and with an elegance worthy of the music for which it is intended.
Our penny whistle is the combination of African Blackwood and sterling silver which fulfills our requirements of beauty, durability, and tonal quality. The Blackwood is a very stable wood providing a warm, reedy tone while maintaining structural durability; and the sterling silver, while elegant in it's own right, offers the ability to build the whistle with a tuning slide without sacrificing simplicity or beauty. The silver tuning slide not only satisfied my requirement for the tunability of each whistle, it also allowed me to design interchangeable bodies onto one mouthpiece in different keys.
We currently offer whistles in the key of A, Bb, C, D, Eb, and F with the A, Bb as interchangeable, the C, D, and Eb as interchangeable, and the F alone.
written by Chris Abell