Walt Sweet's Onyx is made of black polymer and pitched in the key of low D (tenor voice, non-transposing). As with his other instruments, the conical bore and profiled, undercut toneholes give rich harmonics with ease of playing. The player can lean on a note to build the tone: low D is robust and freely speaking. Ornamentation is crisp with ample "chiff" for that familiar pennywhistle presence. Built on the essentials of an Irish Flute, the Onyx adds the latest dimension of expression in Irish Traditional Music.
Players can easily tune this 3-piece instrument by moving the slender tenon that slides in the head's internal o-rings (while other o-rings serve as tuning spacers). The tip of the mouthpiece is turned slim for comfort. The curved windway tends to shed moisture and reduce the chance of clogging. Backpressure is moderate, and the response is balanced throughout the compass (with resonant lows and gentle highs). Transitions are easy, smooth and stable.
The head and block are machined in polycarbonate so they can be welded together; the body is acetal (like Delrin) for performance, satisfaction, a beautiful finish, low maintenance, durability and affordability. Laser engraving complements the fine workmanship.
Comfortable hole spacing on the left hand (2.86", 73mm) and right (2.70", 69mm). The F# hole has a diameter of (0.35", 8.9mm). The A-hole (left hand, #3) is offset for easy reach. An adjustable thumb rest is included. Lengths are 9.1" (head), 8.2" (upper body), 8.2" (lower body) or 23.1" assembled (231, 208, 208 and 587mm respectively). A joint between the hands means that the player can adjust the angular position for comfort. Not found on other low whistles, this feature greatly reduces hand fatigue.