Piccolos--wood vs. silver vs. plastic

Flute History and Instrument Purchase

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Piccolos--wood vs. silver vs. plastic

Post by sparklingdiamond »

I'm looking to buy a piccolo to march with. Yes, I know, you're never supposed to march with wooden piccolos. But, I was thinking... the school has a couple old, crappy silver-plated yamahas that I could use for practice and then use a wood one for competitions? Or is even a little bit of sun going to ruin a wood picc? I'm really concerned about a silver piccolo sounding too piercing as I have a wide-ranged solo that goes pretty high in one of the songs for next year. Also, if wood is a no-no, i'm going to go ahead and guess that silver is a better choice than plastic? Thanks

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Post by fluttiegurl »

I would never recommend taking a wooden piccolo on the marching field. Too many risks, though I have seen players do it. There are many more factors than just sun (water, dropping the piccolo, heat, cold, etc. - not to mention leaving it on the equipment truck enroute), and they are rather expensive. Metal is not necessarily better than plastic. If you like the sound of wood, I would highly recommend trying some plastic ones. You may be very surprised.

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Post by powayflute01 »

I don't consider myself a piccolo expert by any means, but I completely agree with fluttiegirl-- taking a wooden piccolo on a marching band field is NOT a good idea. I don't know what kind of climate you live in, but humidity could cause the wood to warp and if the piccolo gets wet, it could cause the wood to swell. I marched on a really old silver piccolo (like 1930's old) and even though it sounded incredibly shrill and obtrusive on the field, it sounded great from the stands. I also have several friends who marched on plastic piccolos and were really pleased with the results. I think you should try both and see what you like.
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Post by embum79 »

Definitely don't march with a wooden piccolo. Save that for concert band.

However, I'm a real believer that you need to find a good quality piccolo for marching band too. For example, Yamaha makes some really nice plastic ones that have great tone and won't get ruined in the rain. Some solid silver ones are nice too. I would not recommend just using any old silver-plated piccolo... they may be cheap and won't get ruined on the field, but there's nothing worse than trying to play one of those junkers in tune. It's a mess.. none of the other piccolos can get in tune, and then the rest of the band hates you (like they don't already have strong opinions about piccolo players anyway). Okay, they won't hate you, but you know what I mean. :)

Whatever you get, just make sure you're able to try it out with a tuner before you buy/rent it. Test it against other piccolos too. There are SO many cheap and crappy piccolos out there... they have keys and play the notes, but that's about all you can say for them.

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Post by fluttiegurl »

Great advice! There is nothing worse than a piccolo that won't stay in tune! That is one of the many reasons why I am highly against buying off-brand flutes/piccolos.

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Plastic Piccs are fine!

Post by Cass »

I marched with a Gemeinhardt plastic picc for 4 years in HS and I'm student teaching right now. I would recommend using one of those. I only messed it up once, and that was because I was really stupid and had too many cokes--I got new pads my Senior year of HS and my Junior year of college. It is a fine instrument that serves my needs--by no means a concert instrument, but perfect for outside performances.

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Post by Band_Geek »

Even though Ive been playing the piccolo for about 2 months, I find it a lot easier to play with silver-plated piccolos. After my school's honor band is over, my teacher lets me play a wooden piccolo and it is not a good idea if your a beginner.

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Post by amhso »

don't try a good piccolo to start with. it's like flutes. handing a first year flutist a gold flute...won't help them at all. they will learn slower and worse than someone that started with a beginner instrument. and especially in marching, don't get a wooden picc. you're just going to waste your money. the good sound won't be heard much or paid much attention to, and the piccolo will go bad.

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Post by FruityFlutie »

This year I marched with a plastic picc. I alternated between two different ones: A plastic one with a silver headjoint for competitions, but for normal Friday night football games, I normally used the one with both the body and headjoint plastic.

I would strongly recommend using a plastic one for marching band- they're more durable and can withstand a lot more abuse than a silver or wood one.

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