Choosing a piccolo

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Duckykissy
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Choosing a piccolo

Post by Duckykissy » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:25 pm

I'm a reasonably serious amateur flautist, I play first in my community band and I'm really really wanting to learn piccolo. I've been playing for 18 years now, and currently play an Amadeus 900. But with the exception of a few months for marching band (10 years ago), I have no piccolo experience. And honestly I've never played a good piccolo or even a decent one... The one I had for marching band was like an off brand of Sky, it was awful. Anyway I'm looking and pricing things to see just how much I need to save up. For my purposes it would need to blend in with the band so I kind of want to stay away from all silver. I also would like one that holds up very well because I would like to keep it around for 5-20 years.

Given that information is it better to go for a student model, because I am just learning piccolo and it probably won't ever be my primary instrument. But doing this is chancing the idea that I may have to sell and search for a step up within a few years. The models I'm looking at at this level are around 2000 AUD: Yamaha 62, Pearl 165E, and Trevor James (probably not, but it's cheap). But for these how solid is TJ model? What is going on with the love hate relationship with Pearl head joints? And are the steel springs on Yamaha going to feel like concrete switching between it and my Amadeus?

OR should I go with a more intermediate one given that I want to grow with it. This means that it's a quality instrument that I won't ever have to step up from, but I'll have to wait longer to get it and would they be harder to learn on? The models I'm looking at at this level are at about the 4,000 AUD range: Resona, Powell Sonare, and Hammig 650/2. But then my questions for these are how does the Powell's resin sound versus the wood? (I've looked this up on Youtube, but recordings can do odd things to sound so I'm not sure how I feel about it) Do the Powell's square keys feel odd? Are the Hammig piccolos really 4.5k worth of awesome? I've seen Resona's sound be comparable with Pearl 165E - is there really that little difference?

Given my area these models are kind of it for my options and even still I'll have to travel 8-24 hours round trip/ pay 100 + dollars in shipping just to try them out and no store carries all models. So I was wondering if someone would be able to help me narrow it down a little or answer any of my questions.

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pied_piper
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by pied_piper » Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:38 pm

Looking at the list of piccolo models you are considering, all of them are very good instruments. The Yamaha YPC-62, Pearl 165E, and Powell Sonare are all nicely made piccolos, and I would consider them advanced intermediate or pre-professional models in the $2000 price range. As a semi-pro player, I play a Yamaha YPC-62 and find it to be a fine piccolo. Regarding the feel of the springs, the Yamaha has a nice light action. In a blind test, I doubt that many players could tell the difference between stainless steel springs and gold. For an advanced amateur, I can highly recommend the Yamaha and the Pearl. I've never played the TJ, so I can't offer an opinion on it. In my opinion, I would not suggest investing in a Hammig or other high-end piccolo until you are sure you are ready for it.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

KatHands
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by KatHands » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:13 pm

Hi there! I have been reading as much as possible on piccolos lately. I am a "middle-aged amateur" flautist. I play in our church orchestra. It is composed of as many volunteers as possible, but we always have a number of pros too, so the excellence bar is pretty high. (I mean, we all want to sound good, right!?!) I've been Flute 2 for years, and acquired the picc part 4-5 years ago. I have a Gemeinhardt <C> picc that is almost 40 years old (composite body, silver head). It served me pretty well for the occasional part or the "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" finale, but this year the piccolo part is much more prevalent and lyrical. Honestly, the thing sounds like a train wreck. I can NOT justify the purchase of a fine picc (even $2000). So, after having it checked out locally, I sent mine to factory for pretty much an overhaul and to have a composite and/or wood head joint fit to it to see if it helps the sound.
Well, I also tried the Pearl 105 (Wave head) when I had mine checked out. It was the only picc they had. Upper register did not speak well at all for me. I chose against it.
So, I have now been offered a decent trade-in price for a new Roy Seaman Storm. I'm trying it now. I have the Wave and straight heads. After a couple hours on the Wave, I'm thinking it sounds pretty good. I've just seen the comments on the Gems, and wonder if I'm completely crazy to put more money into one. With my budget, though, I'm afraid getting a used "better" picc would be risky condition-wise.
I'd appreciate some honest input. Thanks!

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pied_piper
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by pied_piper » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:51 pm

The bottom line is that you should choose a piccolo that works for you. Every person is different. If you are pleased with the sound and response of the Roy Seaman Storm then that should be the deciding factor. It is a reputable brand backed by Gemeinhardt. I can't speak personally but many people have had good comments about the Storm. Here is a video by Dr. Nina Perlove trying one. She is a Gemeinhardt Artist and college flute professor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbvAf8-iDxY
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Duckykissy
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by Duckykissy » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:38 am

pied_piper wrote:The bottom line is that you should choose a piccolo that works for you. Every person is different. If you are pleased with the sound and response of the Roy Seaman Storm then that should be the deciding factor. It is a reputable brand backed by Gemeinhardt. I can't speak personally but many people have had good comments about the Storm.
KatHands wrote: I've just seen the comments on the Gems, and wonder if I'm completely crazy to put more money into one. With my budget, though, I'm afraid getting a used "better" picc would be risky condition-wise.
I'd appreciate some honest input. Thanks!
I actually just up graded from my Gem flute to my Haynes. After 15 years of hard use, the technician was shocked that mine was still intact. Although admittedly the mechanism did fall off about 7 -8 years ago and had to be re-soddered. But back when I was living in the US I tried more advanced models of Gem and still the quality of sound was just lacking. Anyway, between that bias against their flutes and the lack of brand availability ( I would have to have it shipped in from the US, pay duty & customs, or if I'm lucky buy one used on ebay), I'm not going back to Gemeinhardt.

You guys have been a huge help though. I think I'd love to try the Resona, but lets be honest at 4.2 k it's way out of my price range so I might try out the different YPC 62 (The nearest store has both straight and wave heads) and if they would let me the Pearl too. I think I'll stay away from the Pearl 105E seems like there's a lot of bad review about it and the shop has it only 400 dollars less than the 165E. And hey, if I'm lucky maybe they'll have a used Resona, Powell, or Hammig.

fluteguy18
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by fluteguy18 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:23 am

Try them out. Buy what you like. As for the springs... you'd be surprised to realize that a lot of companies are switching to stainless steel. Really what matters is the geometry of the spring, and the tension that was set by the technician (which is a partial by-product of the geometry).

I for example have stainless springs on my Miyazawa, and it's lighter than many flutes I've played with gold springs. That being said, I made them that way...

KatHands
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by KatHands » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:24 pm

Thank you! Yes, I know it's a matter of playing the instrument and finding the right one for the player. Yet, I appreciate different opinions.
I just need to settle on one and practice, practice, practice! My Gem (silver head/plastic or composite body) has a lip plate. I really want to move away from the silver so obviously I'm adjusting to not having the lip plate on the Roy Seaman. Some times it (the Storm) sounds great, other times I just fall apart, especially on the high F#. So, obviously, I think I must take the blame there, not the instrument! ha! I've been studying a lot about relaxing the embouchure and having "faster air." Oh, if I could only do it as well as I can research it! haha
Also just playing a couple gigs a year makes it hard to keep the chops up. And the confidence! But I SO enjoy being a part of it all. I just need to work hard now so I can have fun in my concerts in a month!
(Btw, I am in USA. Gemeinhardt customer service has been very good.)

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pied_piper
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by pied_piper » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:42 pm

Duckykissy wrote:I think I'd love to try the Resona, but lets be honest at 4.2 k it's way out of my price range so I might try out the different YPC 62 (The nearest store has both straight and wave heads) and if they would let me the Pearl too.
Hmm. The Resona sells for about $2500 USD so after conversion rate that would be about $3500 AUD. Here in the U.S., that's only about 10% more than the Yamaha YPC 62. Although, the Australian market may be able to import Yammies from Japan a little bit cheaper than the US market, so in the end your difference may be a little bit greater. I am quite satisfied with my YPC 62. I first got a straight head but I later moved to a wave head. I also double on other woodwinds and found that the wave head works much better for me. YMMV... :D
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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pied_piper
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by pied_piper » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:53 pm

KatHands wrote:I really want to move away from the silver so obviously I'm adjusting to not having the lip plate on the Roy Seaman. Some times it (the Storm) sounds great, other times I just fall apart, especially on the high F#. So, obviously, I think I must take the blame there, not the instrument! ha! I've been studying a lot about relaxing the embouchure and having "faster air." Oh, if I could only do it as well as I can research it!
Flutists often have trouble adjusting to not having a lip plate on a wood piccolo. Many players tend to place the piccolo too low when it needs to be higher up and closer to the lips (rather than below them). Once I discovered that, it made a world of difference. Another trick to forming the proper embouchure is to say "pooh". That is very close to a good piccolo embouchure. Next time you have difficulty with the sound, try saying "pooh", keeping your lips in that shape and then putting the piccolo in place and playing. I think that will help stabilize your sound. :wink:
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Duckykissy
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by Duckykissy » Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:52 am

pied_piper wrote:The Resona sells for about $2500 USD so after conversion rate that would be about $3500 AUD. Here in the U.S., that's only about 10% more than the Yamaha YPC 62. Although, the Australian market may be able to import Yammies from Japan a little bit cheaper than the US market
Yeah I think we do get the Yamaha's straight from Japan- I've seen them for 1800 on sale and they average around 2000. Also anything imported worth over 1k has like 20% charge added to it for duties and customs, so that's part of the mark up too. It's just more expensive here. The prices also seem to reflect the Australian dollar so it could be worth it to wait until it's closer to 1:1 with US before making a purchase (currently 0.71 USD: 1 AUD), but no ones knows when that'll happen.

KatHands
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by KatHands » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:53 pm

I was trying to figure out how to copy a section of a comment and reply, but nothing I've tried worked as I see you all doing it. :roll: haha
Nonetheless, to pied_piper, I want to say thank you for your embouchure advice. It has helped! I'm working daily on tone and certainly seeing improvement! I am also adjusting to the wave head joint and feeling confident in going with the Roy Seaman Storm. I'm feeling much better about it all! Thank you! :)

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Classitar
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by Classitar » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:53 am

KatHands, Welcome! The quotation marks " will provide you with the quote

KatHands
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by KatHands » Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:23 am

Classitar wrote:KatHands, Welcome! The quotation marks " will provide you with the quote
Got it! Thanks! 8)

fluteguy18
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by fluteguy18 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:20 pm

Naturally you need to try them, but my vote would be for the Resona if you're settled on that price range (assuming that as PP said that they are similarly priced as they are in the U.S.). I personally have a Yamaha 62, but the Resona wasn't available when I bought it. That being said, I've also recut the headjoint and it no longer plays like any other Yamaha I've ever played. (I came across a Haynes piccolo that I liked that had similar headjoint measurements so I copied it) :wink:

Duckykissy
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Re: Choosing a piccolo

Post by Duckykissy » Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:20 pm

fluteguy18 wrote:Naturally you need to try them, but my vote would be for the Resona if you're settled on that price range (assuming that as PP said that they are similarly priced as they are in the U.S.).
Resona really is the one I want (without trying any of them first that is). Sadly a new Resona is 2k more here than the Yamaha. If I go for immediately I could do a rent to own for Yamaha or Pearl models. But I'm thinking about possibly getting a used instrument. The shop that sold me my flute have awesome technicians and sell used pics and flutes. At the moment they have a Hammig 650/2 for 2750 (New is 4325). Although, that means waiting again. :? I'm half tempted to go with the Di Zhao composite for 7-800 and just wait several years for a Resona.

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