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How To Choose A Piccolo

Congratulations! You are about to buy your first Piccolo...

Figuring out which Piccolo to buy can be thrilling, though perhaps a bit intimidating. In our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning Piccolo’ series, this part is designed to help you embark on your journey in the best possible way.

How To Choose A Piccolo

Things you should know before buying your first Piccolo

  • Decide your budget? Piccolos can be made from a wide range of materials from affordable plastic student models to handmade precious wooden instruments and even 14k solid gold piccolos!
  • You get what you pay for – piccolos can be tricky to play in tune so a more advanced model really helps with this.
  • Student model piccolos are often more expensive than similar standard flutes – their small size makes them harder to make so they cost more!
  • As most piccolos are made out of wood, they make a very different sound to a flute. Don’t think of them as mini flute, they are so much more than this….
How To Choose A Piccolo

What Should My Piccolo Be Made Out Of?

You can change the sound of your piccolo with a different head joint. You will be amazed how much this can affect the sound, it is also a great option if you want an upgrade but don’t want to replace your whole piccolo. Mancke head joints offer a fantastic range of different materials and head joint shapes and are specially designed to fit onto any piccolo.

How To Choose A Piccolo

Keys, Mechanisms And Other Jargon? What Does This Mean?

  • High G sharp facilitator – This makes it easier to play high G sharp but venting extra keys – available on top of the range piccolos.
  • A split E mechanism is a must as this makes it easier to play Es without splitting.
  • Headjoint Cuts – You can buy head joints with different cuts with names like Wave, Crest or Reform. Try a few and see which you prefer, most shops will be happy to send you a selection of different shapes so you can try before you buy.

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How To Choose A Piccolo - Summary

Piccolos hold their value pretty well so it is possible to sell on your current instrument if you want to upgrade after a few years. Booking your piccolo in for a service with a woodwind repairer every 18 months will keep your instrument in peak working order.  It might take a few days to adjust to playing the piccolo if you have only played the flute before, take time to find your sound before making a decision on an instrument. 

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