My daughter has this fake, fat, plastic "microphone" toy that when sung or talked into, an internal spring adds rich echo to your voice. Guitar reverbs often employed springs to create a rather convincing reverb/echo. I have seen these plastic "microphones" at local dollar stores and at K-Mart. On a whim, I taped this dollar-store echo "microphone" so the business end was near the fipple/window of a Clarke "C" tinwhistle and the resultant sound is VERY nice indeed - not just for the player, but for the listener! It very much adds to the sound.

Click here to see a photo of this affair.
Silly? you bet -- but it really works.
Click here to hear a very short MP3 of this "echo-whistle".
I'm a sucker for such an echoey sound -- as a long-time spelunker, 
I used to seek out echoey cave rooms that made my fiddle sound 
like like a whole band -- I could relate a few tales about 
confused cavers wondering what that sound was echoing way back in 
the cave -- on more than one occasion they thought it to be 
bagpipes. Anyhow, the echo produced with this super simple 
tinwhistle setup very much approximates the cave's echo.

This has given me lots of ideas -- maybe a little less
awkward-looking echo chamber fit to the whistle's belly? -- 
or an expanded version attached to a fiddle -- lot of
possibilities. Has anyone heard of or messed with similar
low-tech, no electricity reverb?

LATER NOTE: After recently looking in vain for a source for these 
"plastic microphones" (K/Wal Mart; Dollar Stores etc) I finally 
found them for sale at Jo-Ann Fabric stores (nation-wide chain, I 
think) for $2.49. There's a Jo-Ann's label on them and is called 
an "Echo Microphone" (Jo-Ann product number 655-1113). Although it 
is the identical microphone described above, they now use a 
slightly different method of mounting the reverb spring ends, as 
there's noticeably more extraneous buzzing than with my original 
one. I easily fixed this by first pulling out the fake "antenna", 
coating the end of a shish-kabob stick (or anything similar) with 
a small gob of silicone sealant and then carefully applying a gob 
to the contact point where the spring ends hook onto the plastic. 
Once dry, no more rattle.

EVEN LATER NOTE: At a small local toy store today I found another 
brand of echo microphone! This one has a larger diaphragm that 
makes the thing noticeably louder than the "JoAnn" model. In 
addition, the springs are mounted more solidly than the "JoAnn" 
model and there is no extraneous buzzing. It's called a "Magic 
Mic" made in China for "Toysmith", Auburn, Washington 98001. It's 
their item # 181 & has a pink, see-through body (you can see the 
spring easily). It's the same general shape as the JoAnn model.

Dennis Havlena
northerm Michigan
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