How To Choose A Piccolo
Congratulations! You are about to buy your first Piccolo...
Discovering which Piccolo to purchase can be exciting, if not a little daunting. As part of our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning Piccolo’ series, this section will help you start your journey as you mean to go on.
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….
What Should My Piccolo Be Made Out Of?
Wooden piccolos are by far the most popular as this material makes a beautiful mellow sound which balances the high register of the piccolo perfectly.
Most piccolos are made of Grenadilla wood but they can also be made from Palisander and Cocuswood. These different materials do not just change the sound but also the appearance of the piccolo. In general, more expensive models will also use older wood that has been aged carefully to improve the sound of the instrument.
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.
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.
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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