I remember wanting to play the piccolo but not having a lot of money. If you’re in a similar situation, you should compare a Mendini vs. Armstrong piccolo.
These are a couple of the most cost-effective brands, but they’re quite different. Keep reading to learn how they compare and decide which brand and models you should try.
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Mendini vs. Armstrong Piccolo Similarities
When comparing the Mendini vs. Armstrong piccolo models, you may notice some similarities. To a point, that can make you think they’re interchangeable, and you could make an argument for that.
Here’s what you need to know when comparing these two brands.
Level of Player
Both Mendini and Armstrong make piccolos for beginners and other students. Now, they (mostly Mendini) may claim they make instruments for professionals, but that’s not the case.
You can’t get a good professional instrument for the low prices, even of the highest-priced Armstrong piccolo. So while you could start your piccolo playing with these brands, I wouldn’t want to use their models long-term.
As you look at the selection of piccolos from Armstrong and Mendini, you’ll notice the two brands use similar materials. You can find all-metal models and models with metal headjoints and plastic bodies.
Now, Armstrong also makes at least one wood piccolo and one piccolo with a plastic body and headjoint. But the first two types of piccolos are by far the most common.
Mendini vs. Armstrong Piccolo Differences
Arguably the differences between a Mendini vs. Armstrong piccolo are more important than the shared features. Keep the following things in mind before you choose one brand over the other.
When it comes to the new market, Mendini piccolos are way less costly than Armstrong instruments. I’m talking a difference of close to $1,000 in some cases.
Even if you’re looking for a used piccolo, the cost can still differ widely. A used Mendini can go for as little as $50, while many used Armstrong piccolos will cost you around a few hundred dollars.
Another major difference that I think is even more important than the cost is the reputation of these brands. Armstrong may not be the most popular brand today, but it’s been around for decades, and it’s still beloved by many flute players and techers.
Compare that to Mendini, which is relatively new, and it doesn’t have the best reputation. The brand is okay, but you have to know what you’re getting into before you buy an instrument from them.
Best Mendini Piccolos
If you’re looking to try one of the most affordable brands, Mendini is a suitable option. Consider two models that you can buy from them.
The Mendini MPO-EN is a cheap model with a silver-plated headjoint and an ABS resin plastic body. It comes with quite a few accessories, from cork grease to cleaning supplies.
I first gave this model a try in May 2022, and it played okay. The sound wasn’t the best, but you can’t expect the best from a student model piccolo.
However, it also comes with gloves, which you don’t need for your piccolo. But it is one of the most affordable piccolos you’ll find, so you can use it to see if you even like playing the instrument.
A similar model is the Mendini MPO-S, but it comes with a silver-plated headjoint and body. You can also find this piccolo in different colors, such as blue.
Now, I wouldn’t go for a colorful piccolo because it can stand out. But this model is even cheaper than the other Mendini piccolo, so it could be an alternative if you’re super tight on cash.
Don’t expect this model to get you into music school or the finals of a major music competition. However, it comes with the accessories you need to start playing and test whether the piccolo is right for you.
Who Mendini Is For
A Mendini piccolo is a good deal for people who have no other option. If you’re a beginner or you’re coming back to the piccolo after a multi-year break, you may want to use it to get started on the instrument.
Who Mendini Isn’t For
I wouldn’t recommend Mendini to anyone with any sort of piccolo experience. If you’re looking to upgrade from what you currently play, there are tons of intermediate models from other brands.
Best Armstrong Piccolos
As you compare Mendini vs. Armstrong piccolo models, don’t forget to look at a couple of models from Armstrong. I think the brand is a great choice for students, but you need to get a good instrument.
The Armstrong 204 is the model I got my start on when I was in college. This model is all silver-plated, so it looks and feels like a teeny flute.
I love how it has a finger rest to keep your left hand from cramping up due to the small bore. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a split E mechanism, so that note can crack more easily.
Still, this piccolo is a great choice for students and even some intermediate players. It got me through two years of college marching band before I decided to upgrade.
If you’re looking for a piccolo with a different body, you may want to try the Armstrong 307. I like how it has a composite body because that can give you a warmer sound.
The keys and headjoint are silver-plated to help keep the cost of the instrument down. Now, this model doesn’t have any offset keys, so it can be hard to hold.
However, you can still play the piccolo, especially if you have smaller hands. If your hands or fingers are a bit larger, you may need to get used to the different hand position.
Who Armstrong Is For
Armstrong makes great piccolos for beginners and lower-intermediate students. You can choose from a few different models based on your needs and goals. It’s also a great choice for anyone with an Armstrong C flute.
Who Armstrong Isn’t For
I wouldn’t recommend the brand to advanced players or piccolo specialists. And even if you’re a piccolo student, you may not like how it sounds if you tend to prefer flutes from Japanese brands.
Is Armstrong a Good Piccolo Brand?
Armstrong is a great piccolo brand for some players. While it doesn’t make top-of-the-line instruments, their student models are of great quality, and you can get a decent sound as a beginner.
Is Mendini a Good Piccolo Brand?
Mendini isn’t the worst piccolo brand, but it’s not the best either. It’s okay for some people but only if you go into your purchase knowing that the instrument isn’t going to last very long.
Which Piccolo Is the Best?
I can’t say there’s one piccolo that’s the best for every player. The best piccolo for you depends on your experience, playing preferences, and other features.
Be sure to try a few different piccolos in your price range. Compare them to see which one responds well to you and your playing to know which one to buy.
How Much Is a Decent Piccolo?
If you want to get a decent piccolo that will last for a couple of years, expect to spend at least $1,000 on a new instrument. You can get away with spending less if you find a used model.
However, you should at least save up around $400 to $500 for a good model. Even if the sale price of a used piccolo is lower, you may need to spend some more money on repairs to make the instrument playable.
When you’re new to playing the piccolo, you may want to compare a Mendini vs. Armstrong piccolo. Both brands have their pros and cons, and neither is right for everyone.
Be sure to consider a couple of specific models from the brands, and compare them to each other. Then, you can buy the right piccolo for you.
Don’t forget to use a piccolo fingering chart to learn how to play all of the notes.