"The fife is great. Great tone and tuning; it played clearly and easily on the upper notes. ["CONSTITUTION"] is a joy to play! Thanks for making such great fifes."

Robbie, Florida, March, 2019


"CONSTITUTION" fife received today in good order. Looks - and plays - great! Even the double high D screeches right out. Low octave rich and full. Very nice; it'll be even better once I get more accustomed to it as I run it through its Paces next week.

Jim West Seneca, NY March, 2018

"My "CONSTITUTION" just arrived, and wow wow wow!!! It's even better than I remembered [from an earlier tryout]. So rich, so smooth, so responsive! It simply sings - I love it!"

"KD" New Hampshire March, 2018

"We have participated in several events with those new [CONSTITUTION] fifes and have received accolades on the sound and tone."

Thomas W. Ray     Palmyra, NY     July 2018
Director - C.A. Palmer Fife & Drum Corps





"Out of the box, the thick delrin construction feels very sturdy. The surface of the delrin reminds me of vinyl records. The finish is very nice, while the finger holes are noticeably hand worked. Now, this is not a problem. It just says that hands-on care was put into carefully voicing and tuning the instrument."

"I put flute together and boy was I blown away! While many people praise the ease of the reedy Irish tone, the most striking feature I find is the extremely wide dynamic range. I can play the flute sweetly and quietly up to the higher octaves. I can also honk it out loud and reedy should I want a more powerful sound. Whether it is for quiet practice at the apartment or at a loud gig, this flute will definitely suffice. In just a little time, I will get to know the full potential of this beautiful instrument."

Ruben Claro A. Reyes IV, Fluting halfway around the world, September 2015

 "Dollar for dollar the "SHANNON" flute, by Walt Sweet, is hard to beat. I appreciate [the flutes made by the other respected makers], but Walt Sweet's flute works beautifully. It is in perfect tune and plays very easily. It feels great in the hand and has good volume and a solid low D. It is indestructible and low-maintenance. It's a perfect beginner's flute, and then some. I am selling one for $275 and I will take it back if the buyer doesn't like it, and I'll offer a full refund. This would be a great travel flute or a flute to keep with you in the car, that you wouldn't have to worry about very much. The flute is available in the US but I can also mail the flute to anybody in the EU, when I get back there in July, with no expensive shipping or tax implications."

Julia, Clare County, June 2013 

"I have both a [beginner's flute] and a Walt Sweet "SHANNON". Both have ergonomic hole designs, very comfortable. The delrin "SHANNON" is more of a "powerhouse" for when I need to be heard. It's got a real booming low D, and takes practically no effort to maintain a strong, reedy tone throughout (that "session edge" tone). Also, it's really easy to play in-tune, staying on pitch virtually no matter what I do."

Cameron, Seattle, Wa, June 2013

The very first time I played "SHANNON," I didn't need to adapt myself or adjust the flute. This is the first flute I feel that way about, and we're clearly made for each other. All I can say is, "Wow, you have a winner." The sound is rich and woody, the articulation crisp.

  • Good volume in a session. I was able to hear myself playing much better than on my R&R style flute, despite the R&R having equal if not larger tone holes (not sure how you pulled that off).
  • Very nice embouchure hole. The tone is easily varied and responsive as heck, yet easy to play, too, which is a rare combo. Thank you for sticking with an elliptical hole instead of the boxed oval that some folks use.
  • This is THE most-in-tune flute I've ever played.
  • Fnat, G# and Bb half-hole very well. I can even make an attempt at Eb. The other accidentals are really good.
  • The slender tenon at the tuning slide is superb and the internal O-rings work great! Very stable, tunes well (and your marker of two O-rings is right on pitch with my blowing style).

Eric, Kansas City, MO, July 2012


I recently had the privilege of playing one of Walt Sweet's "SHANNON" flutes. Aesthetically, the "SHANNON" is a beautiful instrument. Fit and finish are exceptional and the graceful lines show Walt's artistry. There is obviously a lot of attention to detail. The tone holes and tenons are nicely finished as well.

Of course, none of that matters if the thing won't play and boy does the "SHANNON" play! The tone is rich and complex and the volume is excellent. The volume between octaves is nicely balanced as well. I have to say I was surprised by what good volume it has for a flute with smallish holes. The ergonomics of the flute are very nice. Even a person with small hands could manage this flute.

The flute is made of delrin which means it requires virtually no care. At this price point, I think every serious flute player should have one of these beauties. The "SHANNON" is a flute that could go to places that a wooden flute wouldn't dare to go, and play like a champ when it gets there.

Doc Jones, The Irish Flute Store         Buhl, Idaho                  July, 2012


"I just received the "SHANNON" and WOW! It's definitely the best Irish flute I've ever played, hands down: "the best." Just love the response and would play this one professionally. Who cares if it's not wood? I think the pricing is great. And the o-rings are super for the joints. Congratulations. I think it will be a big hit! And made in the USA! Which is something I stand for wholeheartedly. Beautiful clean workmanship. Impressive. I can't wait to try your other flutes."
Susan Eberenz, New York Woodwind and Brass, New York NY        June 2012


"The new Shannon Low D Irish Flute, by proven whistle and flute maker Walt Sweet, offers authentic Irish Flute sound with superb intonation, a sleek design, and the stability only high quality polymer can provide. The strong low D note, good control, and clarity in moving between octaves make this flute a joy to play."
Michael White,        Heritage Music, Salmon Arm British Columbia         April 2012


"I received the Shannon flute today and it's a beauty. Congratulations! I love the the full sound and the ease when going between octaves.  Thanks again for your fine work." 
Maureen,       San Francisco CA    April, 2012


"Simply The Best:  This is one amazing flute: my goodness, what a sound.  I cannot put it down. One of my guitar playing friends, commented on how it sounds like, "two flutes at once." Very loud, great complex woody tone, and comfortable. I have played several Delrin flutes over the years, and have paid a great deal of money for some, but this Shannon beats them all, hands down. I cannot compliment you enough on this flute, and thank you for convincing me to give it a little time."
Malcolm Susman,        Los Angeles CA         Dec 7, 2011




"Just wanted to say many thanks for a fabulous whistle. I've had it about a month now, it's my third low whistle, the first was a [famous make]. Your [ONYX low D pennywhistle] stands out in many ways: the tuning, the strong low D, ergonomic fingering, just the right amount of resistance and a nice "chiff." Just love it!"
Graeme, South Australia               February, 2019


"Got the whistle Friday, and after a day of playing and getting used to the new ergonomics, all I can say is wow! What a great whistle: nice chiff, solid bell note, not shrill on the high end, low air requirements and beautifully finished. My playing just went up a notch."

Scott, Minnesota                 January, 2015



This is my second "ONYX." The first I had foolishly traded away, and couldn't wait to get back to the real deal. I can tell you over the years I've played nearly every low whistle there is, and in recent months I've owned both a [famous make #1] and a [famous make #2]. Quality whistles, both of them. However, in my experience, neither of them matched the "ONYX" which is much easier on the hands, has a richer bell note and is very expressive. What a super whistle you have produced.

Randy Thomas                    July, 2012


I received the whistles today!  Beautiful craftsmanship and beautiful playing.  Both the "BLACK PEARL" High-D and the "ONYX" Low-D are excellent instruments, beyond any of my expectations.  They will be played and enjoyed for quite some time.

Bernard Keilty                    Milford CT                   June 2012


I've been saying for years that somebody needed to make a conical low D in Delrin. Well, Walt Sweet has gone and done it and what a Low D it is! The "ONYX" is machined from solid rod-stock polymer and has the look, feel and tone of polished blackwood. Because of the conical bore, the hole spacing is much more forgiving than most low Ds, allowing quick ornamentation and much less hand fatigue. The tone is wonderful, the bottom D is rock-solid and you can really lay into it. Octave breaks are clean and the craftsmanship is top-notch. Walt has hit a real home run with this one. I almost always play flute when I'm looking for this octave, but the "ONYX" has been sneaking into my gig bag a lot lately. Well done, Walt!

Patrick P. Jones          DVM Buhl, Idaho           January, 2011



My needs for a whistle are simple: make it easy for me to make pleasant music. The "ONYX" has surely done that in the category of low D whistles. I've always been a fan of offset holes, and found that the reach was natural and not at all uncomfortable for me with my small woman's hands. (N.B.: the only low D whistle I've ever cared to play was the original Sweetheart low D. I've owned three other low Ds that I'm dissatisfied with). The mouthpiece is comfortable, there is an adjustable thumbrest, and the balance of the instrument is such that I don't need a tight grip to keep it in place. The air requirements are the best I've played yet. My test for that is simply running the scale as many times as I can. Now as for those scales...

I was sold. I love that thrum on the low D. I went up to the next D and felt the thrum THERE too, then with no real effort, I went up to the third D, and it was mellow and delightful! I've played it for a few hours and haven't lost my breath, gotten achey hands, or found a note that makes me unhappy.

I'm truly delighted with this low D. Walt has designed another winner.

Amy L. Bissell          New Britain, CT           August, 2010


The "ONYX" whistle is just a fantastic instrument! It requires only a little pressure to produce a beautiful, clear sound. The body, made in two parts, allows you to adjust the joint between your hands. This feature allows a playing position that's more comfortable than on any other whistle we've ever seen before. Great Job!

Johannes Schultz, FolkFriends           Hamburg, Germany           February, 2011


Your "ONYX" in low D is a great pennywhistle. I found it very easy to play. It felt and handled good with easy-to-reach holes (I'm 5'8" with average-sized hands). It sounded great with a good bottom end; the tone is much like that on my Delrin® flute made by [insert famous maker's name here]. This kind of instru-ment should be in the hands of a pro to gig with, and I'm thrilled to have one of the first ones made!

Ed Gilkison           Lakebay, Washington            July, 2010


The "ONYX" whistle arrived today and I can play it!! I'm amazed and so very happy. I really thought my skinny fingers prevented me from playing low D's. My thanks to Mr. W. D. Sweet for designing this lovely instrument. I'm one happy girl right now.

Kathy Willett          January, 2011


The "ONYX" whistles and "STEALTH" fifes arrived last night - they are great. Thanks for making such quality instruments - they play like silk! I'm sure we'll be ordering again soon. Thanks again, Michael White

North Art Heritage Music Salmon Arm           British Columbia           February, 2011



I received the whistles today!  Beautiful craftsmanship and beautiful playing.  Both the "BLACK PEARL" High-D and the "ONYX" Low-D are excellent instruments, beyond any of my expectations.  They will be played and enjoyed for quite some time.

Bernard Keilty                    Milford CT                   June 2012


I played "BLACK PEARL" all day today (had the house to myself). I'm really happy with its responsiveness. I have much more control over tone, volume and articulations with this whistle. This whistle is everything I had hoped it would be. Once again, Walt has been a delight to deal with. I'm very pleased. Thank you so much!

Deb South           Dakota         February, 2011


Also, please see http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=80462

So, now I've done it. I just bought my first "real" whistle.

Up 'til now, my few whistles have all been the under-ten-dollar variety, and have served their purpose well. However, I suddenly found myself with a surplus in the instrument cash department and these pretty little "BLACK PEARLS" were calling my name.

I think I'm in love. I never knew that I, (a pretty good fifer and a fair fluter) could make a whistle sound so pretty. I'm not enough of an expert to give as detailed and accurate a review as [Audrey's], but I recommend "BLACK PEARL" highly to anyone who wants an indestructible, beautiful sounding whistle.

Chris Myers           Rhode Island           2009


This whistle is nice and stable. Transitions between octaves are smooth and easy, just not "hyper." Octave balance is good overall. It's got enough volume and presence to hold its own in a session, but it's not going to break anyone's eardrums. Clogging simply doesn't happen. That curved windway does exactly what it's supposed to do.

The sound is absolutely enticing. Full, round and rich, with just the right amount of chiff; that lovely, wild, characteristic pennywhistle sound. It's a real pleasure to play. In the world of tunable plastic whistles, this one is definitely "best of breed."

Audrey Nickel           Santa Cruz Mountains, CA            December, 2008


I played your new "STEALTH" at the jam (thanks!) and liked it a lot. The middle register is clearly superior to the [prominent make #1]. I don't know why anyone would play a [respected make #2 or traditional make #3] after trying the "STEALTH". I'm with you all the way. Walt, I'm switching fifes.

Bill Hart, Jr.           New Britain, CT           August, 2010


I'm so glad that you've created the "STEALTH" fife! Finally, there's a fife that looks just like a traditional Ferrary / Cloos model but has the power of the more modern, "engineered" instruments. It is my everyday fife.

Kerby Lovallo           Ellington, CT           February, 2011

Note: It is on Kerby's insistence that the "STEALTH" came into being.


Wow! I just played a "STEALTH" fife by Walt Sweet. Totally awesome experience! Looks like a Ferrary, plays like a dream. So much power, so little effort. . . . right-on tones. . . way cool in the high tones as well as the low ones which are really, really, REALLY easy (and audible!), a nice bonus for a one-piece fife.

Looks like I will have to keep my "STEALTH" with me at all times, an excellent fife from an excellent maker. It is just a fabulous instrument, can't get over how easily it plays and how wide-ranging the sound is. And without all the effort that has to go into one of the big-bore fifes, which is pretty amazing. Powerful little guy, yet no need to get asthmatic to produce even the high tones.

Sue           New York           August, 2010