Having played most of the different types of penny whistle over the years I have concluded that the Clarke original is the best design amongst the mass produced whistles, for the following reasons:
- The tone of the instrument is fuller than the whistles with the plastic tops; almost flute like.
- The conical bore means that it is more in tune across its whole range.
- Although it is not tuneable they always seem to be well in tune at normal pitch (A=440Hz).
- The wooden fipple plug is naturally warmer and the windway is larger which means that it is less likely to be blocked by condensation.
- It has a more even response, requires less air in the upper register than some of the tighter whistles, although it needs a bit more air in the lower register.
- Because it can take more air it is potentially louder than some other whistles, but the volume is more controllable.
- There is a bigger separation between the lower octave and the upper octave overblow which allows for a greater dynamic range in the lower octave without accidentally squealing the note that is an octave above.
- It is inexpensive: you can get a Clarke original whistle for under £10.
- They are made in the keys of C or D.