I have three piccolos, so I know a thing or two about buying a new piccolo. Each piccolo I’ve bought has served a different purpose, and I had to go through a few things before upgrading.
Whether you’re looking for your first piccolo or to get a better one, you should consider a few factors. That way, you’ll be able to decide if you need a new instrument and how to choose one.
Before we get into the tips, this post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure for more information.
1. Your Playing Level
First, you need to consider your current playing level on the piccolo. If you don’t play the piccolo yet, you should think about your flute playing.
While you can play piccolo without learning the flute, it’s not recommended. Having some experience on the flute will help you transition to the smaller instrument, and you’ll have more choices regarding piccolo models.
Knowing your current playing level on the flute and piccolo will narrow your options to the right models. For example, a new player probably isn’t going to want an expensive wood piccolo. But a professional won’t want a cheap student instrument.
2. Your Playing History
Once you determine your current level, you should think about how often you’ve played the flute and/or piccolo recently. If you hardly play the piccolo you have, buying a new piccolo may not change that habit.
On the other hand, if you practice piccolo daily and want to get a better sound, you should consider an upgrade. Buying a new piccolo is also great if you’re serious about the flute and want to expand your skills.
I had been playing the piccolo pretty regularly before I made my first and second upgrades. That experience made both purchases much more worth it to me.
3. Your Musical Goals
Another thing to consider is your goals as a piccolo player. Of course, you know how much you’ve played recently. But what about the next few months or years?
Knowing your goals can help you determine the best model for you and if you even need a new piccolo. For example, if your goal is to play piccolo in an orchestra, buying a new piccolo may help you get a better sound to help reach your goal.
However, if your goal is more focused on the alto flute or something not related to performance, you may want to stick with what you have. Or you might choose to get an intermediate model.
The Short Term
As you look at your musical goals, think about the short term. You should figure out if you really need a new piccolo now. I learned this the hard way when I bought a piccolo as I finished my masters.
While I’ve used the instrument over the past year, it hasn’t gotten as much use as I thought. The pandemic has continued to rage, and I’ve only had one performance on the piccolo so far.
Hopefully, 2022 will be different, but the short term is important. If you don’t have a use for the piccolo soon, you may want to stick with what you have.
The Long Term
Before buying a new piccolo, don’t ignore the long term either. You may not use the instrument much in the next year. But you may start to use it in a couple of years, and you might use it a lot at some point.
It may be worth investing in the best piccolo you can get if you expect it to last for many years. As long as you take good care of the piccolo, you may get plenty of use out of it, even if not right now.
This is important to think about before you pass on a piccolo. If you find one that is a good fit, you may want to get it when you can. That way, you’ll have the instrument that works for you.
4. Your Buying Situation
Something that might encourage you to buy a piccolo is if you have easy access to making a purchase. Buying a new piccolo is a lot easier when you have it with you than to order one online.
So if you find yourself at a flute festival, you may want to buy a piccolo that day. The same is true if you take a few piccolos out on a trial or if your teacher orders a bulk trial for the studio.
I was able to buy my current piccolo after a trial of a few. Sure, I could have waited and bought one later, but it may not have been as easy, and I may not have gotten the same exact model.
5. Your Budget
Of course, I can’t talk about buying a new piccolo without mentioning the cost. My first piccolo was relatively affordable, but it was used, which helped bring the price down.
When I upgraded, I paid a little over $1,000 for an intermediate instrument. And last year, I spent over $5,000 on my current piccolo.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars, and you can find some good models for a few hundred. But that means there are plenty of options for piccolo players with any budget.
Consider This Piccolo
If you’re looking for a good piccolo you try, you can’t go wrong with the Pearl 105. This piccolo is an intermediate model, and it’s composite, which means it’s a mix of wood and plastic.
The plastic stabilizes the wood, so you don’t have to worry about it cracking. But you can still get the warm tone you would get from a full wood model.
I played on that model for over three years. It’s the piccolo that got me into grad school and most of my masters degree. And I still use it if I need to play outside or if I can’t play my wood model for some reason.
Buying a New Piccolo Made Easy?
Buying a new piccolo isn’t always easy. But if you know what model to look for and how much you can spend, you can take away some of the stress. Then, you’ll be able to find an instrument you love.
If you’re ready to buy a piccolo, check out the Pearl. And if not, keep saving up and keep practicing your flute and current piccolo until you’re ready for an upgrade.