Tin whistles come in a variety of keys and ranges. The low D whistle is one of the larger iterations of the instrument. It has a deeper pitch and a unique sound that’s worth adding to your arsenal. The larger size does mean the holes are spaced wider, though, and it can be trickier to play if you have smaller hands. If you’re looking for an easy-playing option, check out one of the models below.
These are our reviews of the 4 best low D whistles for small hands on the market:
Dixon DX102 Low D Tuneable Alloy Whistle
- Dixon DX102 Low D Tuneable Alloy Whistle
- Price: $139.95
- Price as of 10/26/2020 03:43 PDT(more info about ad)
We’ll start it off with this exceptional whistle from Dixon. You might balk a bit at paying its price for a tin whistle, but Dixon’s construction quality and material makes it worth it. It uses an alloy body that gives it a surprisingly sweet tone that’s bright but with none of the tinny edge you might expect from a tin whistle.
The plastic mouthpiece (see full specs) also has the benefit of making it easier to blow the notes, making it a great choice for a beginning player. It won’t get quite as loud as an all-metal whistle, but in our mind the higher playing comfort is a fine trade-off.
Adjusting the intonation and positioning of the holes is easy with this Dixon model, which is one of the reasons we love it for players with small hands. It’s a bit heavier than you might expect, but the flip-side to that weight is it gives the tone more depth and resonance. If you’re looking for a pro-quality whistle that anyone can play, this is a fantastic choice.
Susato Kildare Low D Whistle
Susato is a leading name in tin and penny whistles—they’re the brand that’s preferred by a lot of professionals, and that quality extends into their beginner instruments, like this Kildare model. The all-plastic construction both mellows out the sound and makes it a bit easier for you to cover the holes. That’s great for a beginner (and the people listening to them practice).
Like the Dixon above, the Susato Kildare (see full specs) is tunable, with two pieces that can be turned and adjusted in relation to each other. The holes on this one are also a bit smaller than you’ll find on a lot of low D whistles, which is good news for skinny fingers.
One other thing we like about the plastic construction of the Susato Kildare is that it makes the instrument a bit lighter. If you want a whistle for small hands because the player is a child, a whistle that doesn’t weigh as much will also make it easier for them to play and practice. With these in mind, we consider this one of the best low d whistles for small hands period.
Dixon Trad D Whistle Nickel
Here’s another one from Dixon that’s on the entry-level side of the price spectrum. It has a nickel body and a plastic head, a similar construction to their high-end whistles. The metal of the body is thinner and lighter so it has a brighter tone, but it’s not so bright that it’s abrasive—a great whistle tone.
This is a great whistle for beginners because it’s more forgiving with your technique than most. The holes are easy to reach and cover and the mouthpiece is free-blowing. The intonation does start to go a little wobbly as you go higher in the range, but it’s definitely manageable. The instrument is tuneable, too, good news if you want to play with other musicians.
If you’re looking for the best value in a whistle, this is it. It outplays any other instrument in the price range. The combination of price and playability make it an ideal choice for beginners, but even more serious musicians will be impressed by how it sounds and plays.
Clarke CWD Celtic Tin Whistle, Key of D
If you’re looking for something more in the price range that does justice to the name “penny whistle,” this model from Clarke is an easy-playing and great-sounding option for beginners that costs just a song.
This whistle won’t get quite as loud as a professional model, and you can’t adjust the intonation, which can make it a bit tricky to play with other musicians. It’s well in-tune with itself, though, and the positioning and spacing of the holes is comfortable under your fingers.
It’s also a bit surprising that this is the best-looking option on the list. The Celtic knot emblem under the mouthpiece is a nice touch. The glossy finish isn’t just for looks, either. It gives the whistle a nice feel in your hands that will make you want to pick it up and play it. This is likely the best low D whistle for small hands if you’re on a serious budget.
Low D Whistles for Small Hands: How Important Is Tuning?
Aside from basic qualities like the construction and materials, there is one key difference between cheap tin whistles and professional models: whether you can adjust the tuning. An adjustable instrument will let you adjust the pitch center of the instrument; a fixed instrument is locked, meaning all adjustments have to be made with your embouchure.
If you plan to play the instrument on your own at home, its pitch relative to concert isn’t particularly important as long as it’s in tune with itself. If you want to play with other people, though, you’ll want a whistle that can be adjusted, or else to play with people who don’t mind adjusting their pitch to match yours.
If you have small hands, there’s another reason you might want a tuneable instrument. It also means you can turn the body relative to the mouthpiece, putting it into a more comfortable position for your fingers. Changing the angle can help you avoid stretching your fingers as far and that’s great if you struggle to reach all the holes.
A low D whistle can be tricky to play, but if you get the right instrument and use the right technique you can make it work, no matter the length of your fingers. Best of luck finding the right one for you!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him