If you’re looking to play the piccolo more, you may want to consider how to choose a backup piccolo. You might not always be able to use your primary model.
From needing maintenance to not wanting to take wood outside, you need a second piccolo. Read on to learn how you can choose a good piccolo to add to your collection.
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Keep Your Old Piccolo
One of the easiest options for how to choose a backup piccolo is to keep the one you have. Whenever you’re ready to upgrade to a better model, don’t sell or get rid of the piccolo you’ve played on.
The nice thing about this option is that you already know how the piccolo works. If you’ve played on your current piccolo for multiple years, if you ever need to go back to it, that won’t be a problem.
Of course, this may not always work if your old piccolo simply no longer plays well. But it’s at least worth considering before you shell out a ton of money for a backup piccolo.
Consider Where You Play Piccolo
Another thing to keep in mind is where you play the piccolo. If you just upgraded to a wood model but occasionally play outdoors, you may want to invest in a plastic or composite model.
That way, you can still get a good sound when you play outside, but you won’t have to risk your wood piccolo cracking. I had to pay to repair a crack on my wood piccolo, and while it was worth the cost, it still hurt to pay that.
So save yourself the trouble and only use your main wood piccolo indoors. Get a good-quality backup piccolo that you can use when playing outside.
Determine How Much You’ll Use It
Another thing I’d recommend you consider is how much you’ll actually play your backup piccolo. After all, it’s a backup, so there’s a good chance it will sit in storage for most of the year.
I only really use a backup when I need to play outside or when my main piccolo needs maintenance. Both of those things don’t happen all that much.
But even if I never played outdoors, I’d still want a composite piccolo. Depending on where you store your backup, the wood could expand and contract with the temperature and need a crack repair.
Review Your Main Piccolo
You should figure out the brand and model of the piccolo you primarily play. Consider if the brand has a more affordable model that could work as a backup.
For example, Yamaha makes piccolos for students through professionals. if you play an advanced Yamaha, you could get a student model to keep on hand.
You already know you like whatever brand your current piccolo is, os there’s a good chance you’ll like its other models. Of course, this doesn’t always work because some brands don’t have student models.
Think About Your Flute
In my case, I can’t get a lower-level model piccolo from the same brand since I play on a Hammig. However, Pearl is the brand of my C flute (and alto flute).
Pearl makes a great couple of composite piccolos that are suitable backup instruments. If I didn’t already have a Pearl piccolo as my backup, I’d look into the brand to see if it worked for me.
Since I have one, I know the Pearl piccolos do work well for my playing style. So if your piccolo brand doesn’t have any suitable backup models, consider your flute brand.
Set a Budget
You may need to set a budget when deciding how to choose a backup piccolo. I’d recommend saving at least $1,200 if you need to buy a new piccolo for your collection.
There are piccolos you can buy for less, but they may not be as good. When you’re looking for a backup piccolo, you need the best you can get with the right specs.
Cheaper piccolos might not have the right materials, such as all plastic or composite builds, which is what I recommend. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can get away with spending a bit less for now.
Do a Piccolo Trial
If you’re buying a new backup piccolo, you may want to go through a piccolo trial first. Choosing the right backup piccolo is arguably more important than choosing the right main piccolo.
You’ll need to buy a piccolo that you can pull out of storage and play at a moment’s notice, especially in an emergency. Make sure you test the range and intonation of the piccolo.
Consider if you can play it cold right after assembling it. If possible, test at least a few different potential backup piccolo models to help choose the ideal one for you.
Go With Your Gut
At some point, you’re going to have to choose a backup piccolo. While you should take the shopping process seriously, you also don’t want to overthink it.
If you do that, you could start to think that none of the piccolos will work for you. And that makes sense because your main piccolo is probably of better quality.
However, if you want more flexibility to play piccolo when your main one needs maintenance or if you want to play outdoors, you need a suitable second piccolo in your inventory.
Best Backup Piccolos
As you consider how to choose a backup piccolo, you may wonder what models are worth trying. We’re all different players, and not everyone is going to like the same backup model.
Give the following piccolos a try to see if one meets your needs.
I currently have a Pearl 105 that I use as my backup piccolo. After playing it as my main piccolo for over three years, I got to know how it works, so it’s easy to pick up and play.
This piccolo is made of grenaditte, which is a special composite piccolo so that it won’t crack. It also features a split E mechanism, so that high E is easier to hit.
I love how this piccolo has a more ergonomic design for the key placement. That means even if you have slightly larger hands, you can still hold and play it comfortably.
The Yamaha YPC-32 makes for another excellent backup piccolo. While I’ve never played this specific model, I have played and enjoyed Yamaha piccolos.
This model has a metal headjoint and a plastic body, so it’s great for use outdoors. It also features a split E mechanism, so you can play in the high register with ease.
If you play a Yamaha flute, you’ll probably enjoy this model. It’s not too expensive, and it’s of great quality so can last in storage and when you need to play it.
Another model you can use as your backup piccolo is the Jupiter JPC1010. This piccolo features a plastic body and headjoint, so it’s perfect for use indoors and outdoors.
I love how this piccolo doesn’t have a cork on the body tenon, so you don’t have to worry about that drying out. That can really come in handy if you have to keep the piccolo in storage for months.
Whether you started on a Jupiter C flute or currently play a Jupiter alto or bass, you may enjoy this piccolo. It’s one of the more affordable models on this list of backups.
If you’re a serious piccoloist, you should know how to choose a backup piccolo. That way, you’ll have one on hand when you need to do an outdoor gig or if your main piccolo needs maintenance.
Be sure to consider some essential specs and features. Then, compare some popular models from Pearl, Yamaha, and Jupiter.
Don’t forget to use a drone when you trial a backup piccolo to make sure it can play in tune.