If you want to give the piccolo a try, you may not want to spend a ton of money. So you might look at getting the Mendini MPO-EN to test out the instrument.
While that can work, don’t rely on this piccolo for much more than that. I’ve had the model for a few months and played around with it, but it’s not a substitute for better models.
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What Is the Mendini MPO-EN?
The Mendini MPO-EN is a very cheap piccolo that you can find at some general online retailers. It features a plastic resin body, which is very common among student piccolos.
This model also has silver-plated keys and a silver-plated headjoint as well as a split E mechanism. The piccolo feels pretty normal to play compared to more expensive models from reputable brands.
However, it can be a bit difficult to get a sound out of, especially a clear sound. The embouchure hole on this piccolo is way larger and more square than a lot of other piccolos out there.
If you buy this piccolo, you’ll get a cleaning rod, polishing cloth, cork grease, and gloves. Everything comes in a case with a zipper, and there’s an outside pocket to store your accessories.
Now, I like how the case comes with a shoulder strap, which is rare for piccolos. However, you don’t need the gloves, so I don’t understand why they included them.
- Very affordable
- Easy to buy online
- Decent specs
- Not the best quality
- Not very in tune
- Frustrating to play for serious players
Who the Mendini MPO-EN Is For
The Mendini MPO-EN isn’t really the best choice for anyone. If possible, I’d recommend saving up a bit more money and putting it toward a piccolo from a reputable brand because Mendini is a cheap brand that cuts some corners.
However, it can be a suitable choice for beginners who have no other options. Maybe you don’t live near a music store with a rent-to-own program, and you’re on a tight budget but want to try the piccolo.
You can play around on the Mendini piccolo to see if you like the small instrument. If so, you can start to save up for something better to help you advance.
Who the Mendini MPO-EN Is Not For
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the Mendini piccolo to anyone unless absolutely necessary. There are many more piccolos on the market that are of much better quality.
You can find some used piccolos for only a little bit more than the price of the Mendini. So if you can wait and save up a bit, I’d suggest you do that.
However, if you have to go for a super cheap piccolo, Mendini is better than others in its price range. That doesn’t make it good, but it’s not as bad as it could be.
The Other Mendini Piccolo: Mendini MPO-S
Mendini also makes an MPO-S piccolo, which is similar but has an all-metal body. In the past, I’ve seen this model with the standard silver plating, so it looks like more reputable models.
Unfortunately, the only color available now is blue, which may look cute and fun. But it’s not very professional, and most music directors won’t let you play it in their ensembles.
With only one exception (GUO), a colored piccolo is a clear sign that an instrument is cheap and not worth your time or money. So if you have to go with a Mendini model, go with the MPO-EN.
Where to Buy the Mendini MPO-EN
You can buy the Mendini MPO-EN from online retailers like Amazon and eBay. I’ve also seen a listing for it on the Walmart website, but you probably won’t find the piccolo in a Walmart store.
Most reputable flute stores and even general music stores won’t carry the brand either. After all, it’s cheap, and it would probably look bad on the store to stock these instruments.
Other Cheap Piccolos
As I mentioned, Mendini is pretty cheap, but it’s not the worst of the cheap bunch. If you’re looking to try the piccolo and are on a tight budget, you might come across some other brands.
Here’s what you need to know about other cheap piccolos. They may look great (and make cute lamps), but you should only play them if you’re looking for a short-term solution.
After Mendini, the Glory piccolo is probably the second-best of the worst. I’ve known some people who have played a Glory piccolo or flute, such as to see if they like the instrument.
But other than that, this brand isn’t very promising. Sure, it comes with many of the same accessories as the Mendini, but one of those is cork grease, and this is an all-metal model that doesn’t use cork grease.
I do like how it comes in a nice, protective case. But it comes in a variety of colors, so I can’t even recommend trying the standard silver model.
Another common cheap brand you’ll find online is Eastar, not to be confused with the holiday Easter. The Eastar piccolo is very similar to the one from Glory.
It comes with all of the same accessories, but it also includes a piccolo swab for the inside of the instrument. I haven’t tried this model or brand, but it can’t be good.
There’s both an all-metal model and a model with a plastic body, so you can get the style you prefer. But unless you have no other option, I wouldn’t spend your money on it.
Paititi is yet another one of the cheapest musical instrument brands out there. The Paititi piccolo may be fun to say, but it looks very cheap, especially compared to more reputable silver-plated piccolos.
I like how some of the keys are offset, so you can play it with larger hands. But the G# key is in a very awkward place, so I imagine trying to play the piccolo and not hit that key is almost impossible.
I’ve struggled with that issue with my Armstrong piccolo, so it may be worse on this cheap model. Plus, this brand makes piccolos in various colors, something no reputable brand ever does.
A newer cheap piccolo to me is the SNOQ piccolo. At first, it looks cool because it has a plastic body and gold (probably gold-plated) keys and the same material for the headjoint.
I have to admit that the offset keys are nice, especially for a cheap piccolo. But I imagine the gold is not real gold, especially for the low price of the instrument.
Even my gold plated flute cost WAY more than this piccolo. There’s got to be something more to the material to make it that way while still being super cheap.
Better Piccolos to Try
While it may be more fair to compare the Mendini MPO-EN to other cheap piccolos, I can’t in good conscience recommend any of them to a player.
Instead, you should look at piccolos from better brands. Yes, they’re more expensive, but they’ll last longer and give you a better experience so that you can enjoy playing the piccolo.
Here are some piccolo models that are actually worth your time and money.
I got my Pearl 105 shortly after I graduated from college and couldn’t borrow a wood model anymore. This piccolo is composite, so it sounds like wood but won’t crack like wood.
It has silver-plated keys and a split E mechanism, so you can play high notes more easily. I love how easy it is to get a good sound throughout the registers.
While it is quite a bit more expensive than some piccolos, it’s so worth it. It got me through most of grad school, including my two recitals, and no one could tell it wasn’t wood until I told them.
My first piccolo was an Armstrong 204, and it worked great. I used it during college for marching band and over the summer when I couldn’t borrow a school-owned Yamaha.
The piccolo is entirely silver-plated, so it looks and feels like a small flute. But it’s still a piccolo, so you need to learn how to form your embouchure accordingly.
I love how it has a place to rest your left index finger so that it doesn’t collapse against the small bore of the piccolo. However, I wish it had a split E because that would make learning the piccolo a bit easier.
The Yamaha YPC-32 is probably the most similar to the Mendini of these more reputable piccolos. It has a plastic resin body and a silver-plated headjoint.
However, Yamaha has a much better manufacturing process. The build quality, sound, and response are all much better than the Mendini piccolo.
This model features a split E mechanism and comes with a case with plenty of room to store your cleaning rod and cork grease, which you will need for this model.
Another plastic and metal combination model is the Jupiter JPC1000. You can get a good sound on this instrument, so it’s good for solo and ensemble playing.
It’s also suitable for use indoors and outdoors. Now, I haven’t played this exact model, but I know that Jupiter flutes and piccolos are great for students.
This model is a bit more affordable than some others, but it’s still not as cheap as the Mendini. However, the cost is still well worth it if you want to be the best piccolo player you can be.
Is the Mendini MPO-EN Good for Beginners?
The Mendini MPO-EN can be okay for beginners who are on a budget. If you want to give it a try, you should go into it knowing that the piccolo probably isn’t going to last very long.
You’ll most likely need to save up and upgrade to something better within a year if not earlier than that. However, I think it does have a place for beginners who can’t afford something better right now.
Is the Mendini Piccolo Good for Advanced Players?
Sadly, the Mendini isn’t a good piccolo for advanced players. There are so many better instruments on the market, and if you’re advanced, you can justify spending more money.
If you try to play the Mendini, you may just frustrate yourself. That stress isn’t worth saving the money, especially if you already have a piccolo that works just fine.
The Mendini MPO-EN is one of the most popular cheap piccolos out there. As controversial as this is, I think you can make it work as a last resort if you want to try the piccolo.
However, it’s not a good instrument for long-term use, so you’ll need to upgrade soon. If you want to learn about better beginner piccolos, I have a whole list of reputable brands and models.