How much will your next piccolo cost you? Before you start shopping, you have a lot to consider to help set a realistic budget.
From the brand to the model level, the price of two piccolos can differ significantly. Consider the following factors to help determine how much you can expect to pay for a piccolo.
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What Affects the Cost of a Piccolo
To figure out how much a piccolo will cost you, it’s important to know what goes into instrument pricing. Many factors can increase or decrease the price.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you shop for your next piccolo.
One of the most obvious things that affects the cost of a piccolo is the materials. You can find piccolos that use plastic, metal, wood, or a combination of those materials.
There are even composite piccolos, where wood and plastic are blended together. Plastic piccolos tend to be the most affordable, while wood instruments cost the most.
If you’re looking at metal piccolos, solid silver will cost more than silver-plated models. So even if your piccolo is plastic or wood, solid silver keys will usually increase the price.
Another thing to consider is if you’re looking for a handmade piccolo or one that’s machine-made. Since machines can work faster, the piccolos produced by them will be cheaper.
Machine-made piccolos are great for beginners and some intermediate players. However, as you approach the professional level, you should consider getting a handmade instrument.
That way, you can get a better, more refined sound. You’ll also enjoy more options regarding specs, brands, and other things that can affect how an instrument responds.
You might also want to look at the brand to help figure out why one piccolo will cost more than another. Some brands charge more for their instruments, even when you control for materials, specs, and hand crafting.
I’ve noticed American brands, such as Burkart and Powell, tend to charge more than companies such as Hammig and Yamaha. While Hammig was the most expensive when I compared those brands, things can change.
Powell and Burkart raised their prices significantly more in the past couple of years. Even when it comes to their intermediate models, the Powell Sonare and Burkart Resona cost more than similar Yamaha and Lyric piccolos.
Next, you should consider the various specs and if there are extra specs on one piccolo. Using the Hammig line as an example, most of their piccolos feature a G# mechanism.
The Hammig 650/2 and 650/3 are almost identical in terms of the features. However, the 650/3 has the G# mechanism, while the 650/2 doesn’t, so the 650/2 is a few hundred dollars cheaper.
As I mentioned, solid silver keys can also affect the price, even if everything else is the same. Consider what specs are non-negotiable to you to determine a more realistic piccolo cost for your next instrument.
I’ve also noticed that some brands charge extra if you select a wave headjoint over a traditional cut. Some companies don’t charge any extra for the different styles, so you can choose whichever one you prefer.
If you like a different headjoint cut, though, prepare to pay extra. Some charge a few hundred dollars more for you to select a wave headjoint cut.
Now, paying more for the best headjoint for you can be well worth it. But it’s still something to think about as you shop around for a good instrument.
New or Used
Of course, you also have to determine if you want to buy a new or used piccolo. New piccolos almost always cost more than used piccolos, but the price difference varies.
Student piccolos tend to hold their value less than professional instruments. So while you might get a used student model for half off, you might only save 5 or 10% on a used professional piccolo.
To broaden your search as much as possible, consider new and used models. You might just surprise yourself with the sound you can get on an older instrument.
Beginner Piccolo Cost
If you’re new to the piccolo, you may wonder about the average beginner piccolo cost. I’ve seen some models go for around $700 to $900 on the new market, while others come closer to $1,300.
Used models may cost less than $300, but the price could also stay close to $1,000. A few beginner piccolos to consider include:
I’d recommend those piccolos for anyone who is completely new to the piccolo. You can use them inside and outside, and they’re easy for most flute players to get a sound on.
Intermediate Piccolo Cost
After you get some experience playing the piccolo, you might be ready for an upgrade. A lot goes into choosing a piccolo at the intermediate level, so I’d recommend you look around and try as many models as you can.
But if you don’t know where to start, I totally understand. Here are some of my favorite intermediate piccolo models:
I’ve played all of these, and they work great for advancing students. The Pearl is nice because it’s composite and so won’t crack, but all of the models are around $3,000 or less.
Professional Piccolo Cost
Maybe you’ve played an intermediate piccolo for a while, but you’re starting to outgrow it. I had that happen, so I decided to upgrade once again near the end of 2020.
Even if you don’t play professionally, a professional piccolo can come in handy. Here are a few brands I’d recommend, though you NEED to try the piccolos yourself to choose one:
Professional piccolos from those companies start at around $5,000. If you look at the top Yamaha line, you can get away with spending closer to $3,000 or $4,000.
Why Does a Piccolo Cost So Much?
A piccolo may cost a lot for a few reasons. The biggest factors are the materials, hand crafting, and the specs. Minor factors include the brand and if the piccolo is new or used.
Be sure to try as many piccolos as you can within your budget. That way, you can get the best instrument for you and your playing.
How Can You Save Money on a Piccolo?
You can make a list of the features you need and those that you can live without. Then, you can stick to piccolos that only have the features you really want.
Of course, you might need to save a lot of money for the piccolo of your dreams. However, you’ll be able to spend a bit less than you might otherwise.
Can You Upgrade Part of Your Piccolo?
If you want a better sound but can’t afford a whole new instrument, you can do a smaller piccolo upgrade. I’d recommend looking for a new headjoint since it will improve your sound the most.
You can also look into the LeFreque Sound Bridge or other smaller things. Then, you’ll be able to get a nicer tone from your current instrument.
Piccolo Cost: In Review
It can be hard to predict the piccolo cost of your next instrument. But you should consider the level you’re looking at as well as the specs, materials, and brand.
If you’re ready to start shopping for a piccolo, head to the resources page. I have a list of brands and models you can check out.