How do grenadilla vs. grenaditte piccolos compare? If you’re looking at getting a new instrument, you should learn about both materials and their differences and similarities.
That way, you’ll have a better chance of choosing the perfect piccolo for you. Read on for the basics and what you need to know about these instruments.
By the way, this post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure policy to learn more.
What Is Grenadilla?
Another name for African blackwood, grenadilla is a wood that’s common among woodwind instruments. It’s probably the most popular piccolo wood out there.
The wood looks very close to black, and that gives piccolos their signature appearance. You might also find grenadilla clarinets and oboes, and even some flutes.
What Is Grenaditte?
Grenaditte is a composite material that combines grenadilla with plastic. The plastic helps stabilize the wood, and it’s also more affordable than buying a full wood piccolo.
After playing a metal piccolo for a few years, I upgraded to a grenaditte model. It sounds and feels very similar to some grenadilla piccolos.
Grenadilla vs. Grenaditte
If you’re looking for a new piccolo, you should compare grenadilla vs. grenaditte. That way, you can make sure to get the right model for your needs.
Here are some differences you should know about the two options.
Of course, the most obvious difference is the material makeup of grenadilla and grenaditte. Grenadilla is just wood, so it has all of the features and risks of a wood piccolo.
On the other hand, grenaditte uses grenadilla and plastic together. That gives you all of the benefits of a full wood instrument but without the risks, such as cracking.
I’ve found that grenaditte piccolos sound very similar to grenadilla models. However, the full wood instrument can still have a slightly warmer tone since there’s no plastic in there.
But if you want a warm sound that you can play almost anywhere, a composite piccolo is great. Grenaditte is the perfect material to allow you to play well in a variety of scenarios.
Another thing to keep in mind is what brands carry piccolos in the different materials. Many piccolo brands have at least one wood model, though not all of them.
However, grenaditte piccolos are much more rare. The only brands I know of that make grenaditte instruments include Pearl, Roy Seaman Storm, and Guo.
So if you don’t like those brands, wood might be the better choice for you. Other brands make plastic piccolos, but they don’t use a composite material (or at least not grenaditte).
You might want to consider your piccolo playing level when shopping for an instrument. Grenadilla piccolos are almost always at the intermediate or professional level.
Some grenaditte models are affordable for beginners and intermediate players. Of course, you can continue to use a grenaditte model as you advance.
You could also get a grenadilla piccolo early in your studies. But I wouldn’t recommend that, especially if you aren’t sure if you’ll stick with the instrument.
Risk of Cracks
One of the biggest downsides of a grenadilla piccolo is that it can crack. I thought I was careful, but somehow, my wood piccolo developed a crack last year that required a repair.
If you stick with a grenaditte piccolo, that shouldn’t be an issue. The plastic can help stabilize the wood, so you can play the piccolo inside and outside without problems.
There might still be some risk, but it won’t be as big as it would be with a wood model.
When you’re buying a piccolo, you need to have a budget. Depending on your budget, that might affect your decision between grenadilla vs. grenaditte piccolos.
Grenadilla piccolos almost always cost more than grenaditte models, at least when you’re comparing new piccolos. Now, some models come close in pricing, such as the Pearl 165 (grenaditte) vs. the Lyric piccolo (grenadilla).
But for the most part, composite instruments are more affordable than wood ones.
Why Play a Grenadilla Piccolo
If you want to choose the right piccolo, consider if a grenadilla model is best. It can work great for many players, but it’s not for everyone.
You might want to invest in a wood piccolo because of the following reasons.
You don’t have to have a wood piccolo to be a professional musician. However, it’s pretty common for pro and other serious piccolo players to use a grenadilla model.
The wood offers a warm sound and is easy to blend with other musicians. If you want to play the piccolo often, it makes sense to save up and invest in a grenadilla instrument at some point.
Another advantage of grenadilla is that there are more models in the wood compared to grenaditte. As I mentioned, I know of only a few brands that use that type of composite material.
However, many other brands make grenadilla piccolos. Some are handmade while some have a few machine-made parts, so they can vary in price.
Why Play Grenaditte
Before you decide that a grenadilla piccolo is the right choice for you, consider a couple of benefits of grenaditte. It may not be as popular, but I enjoyed my Pearl for a couple of reasons.
Here’s why you might want to get a composite piccolo, at least for now.
I’ve already mentioned it, but grenaditte piccolos are usually cheaper than wood models. That makes them a great choice for beginners and advancing players on a budget.
When I got my grenaditte piccolo, I couldn’t justify spending a ton of money. I had just enough to cover the cost of the piccolo, and it was an emergency, so I couldn’t wait.
If you want a good outdoor piccolo, grenaditte is probably the best material you can get. You can get a similar sound as on a wood piccolo, but grenaditte can withstand temperature and humidity changes better.
A couple of weeks after I got my Pearl, I had to play an outdoor concert. If I’d gotten a wood model, it probably wouldn’t have done very well in the August heat.
Are There Piccolos that Use Grenadilla and Grenaditte?
The Pearl 165 is a popular model that features a grenadilla headjoint. However, the body uses grenaditte, so it’s a nice compromise between the two materials.
You can get the wood sound from the headjoint, but the body is a bit more affordable. Also, you can buy a separate composite Pearl piccolo headjoint so that you can use the model outdoors.
How Do You Choose the Right Material?
To choose between grenadilla vs. grenaditte, try piccolos that use each material. Compare how they feel and sound, and make sure the models you try fit your budget.
Then, you can figure out which suits your playing better, and you can buy the piccolo that’s right for you.
Grenadilla vs. Grenaditte Piccolos: In Review
Before upgrading your piccolo, you should compare grenadilla vs. grenaditte models. Both materials can make excellent instruments, but one might be better for you right now.
If you want to learn more about the best piccolos and accessories, head to the resources page.