If you want to improve your piccolo skills, an upgrade may be in order. To help buy your next model, consider the Pearl 105 vs. Yamaha YPC-62 and how they differ.
Then, you may find one model is the better choice for you. Or you might decide you want some other piccolo.
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What Is the Pearl 105?
The Pearl 105 is a composite grenaditte piccolo that’s perfect for beginner and intermediate players. I upgraded to this model after I sort of outgrew the Armstrong 204, which is a metal model.
However, I’ve known of some beginner piccolo players who start with the Pearl. The composite material makes it perfect for use indoors and outdoors without the risks of cracks like with a wood piccolo.
It also has the feel and tone of many wood models, so it sounds better than some student instruments. I love how it has a split E mechanism, and the keys are more ergonomic, so the piccolo is comfortable to hold.
You can choose between a traditional and wave style headjoint to get the response you want. This piccolo is one of the more affordable composite options, so it’s nice if you’re on a budget.
- Composite material
- Sounds very good
- Easy to play
- Multiple headjoint styles
- Good for beginners and advancing students
- Not full wood
- Weak low register
- Hard to play high B
Who the Pearl 105 Is For
As you shop for a piccolo, you may wonder if the Pearl 105 is for you. I bought the piccolo a few months after finishing college since I had to give the school-owned piccolo back.
The model worked well for me for a year or so out of school plus two years of my master’s in flute performance. Consider the following scenarios where the Pearl piccolo is perfect.
If you’re new to the piccolo, the 105 is an amazing piccolo to consider. You can get a similar sound that a more advanced player would get on an expensive wood model.
This piccolo is about the same price or cheaper than many similar models. That also makes it an excellent choice for piccolo players with some experience who are looking for an upgrade.
I’d also recommend the Pearl 105 as an outdoor piccolo, especially when you compare it to the Yamaha YPC-62. Whether you play in a marching band or simply outdoor concerts, it’s great.
Wood piccolos can crack when they go between extreme temperatures. For that reason, many players only use their wood piccolo inside, so the Pearl is a great backup for outdoor gigs.
If you’re a woodwind doubler, you may need to play the piccolo occasionally. This is particularly common among Reed 1 books in the world of musical theatre.
I’ve seen plenty of Reed 1 parts that call for alto sax, clarinet, flute, and piccolo. But you may not play piccolo often enough to justify getting a wood model, so the Pearl fills that need perfectly.
What Is the Yamaha YPC-62?
The Yamaha YPC-62 is an intermediate wood piccolo model. I believe it’s the model I got to play when I was in college and had to borrow a school-owned instrument for indoor concerts.
This model uses grenadilla wood, which is the standard woodwind instrument wood. I love how it has a split E mechanism, so it’s easy to play in the high register.
However, the low register has quite a thin tone, so it can be hard to play loudly in that range. But you can choose between a traditional and wave cut headjoint to get the response you prefer, so that could help you play better down low.
To keep the piccolo from being too expensive, this one has silver-plated keys. It’s still the more expensive model when comparing the Pearl 105 vs. Yamaha YPC-62.
- Grenadilla wood
- Professional craftsmanship
- Easy to play
- Good for advancing players
- More expensive than some
- Not for outdoor use
Who the Yamaha YPC-62 Is For
As you compare the Pearl 105 vs. Yamaha YPC-62, you should consider if a wood piccolo is better for you. The Yamaha piccolo is a nice choice, and I’d recommend it to multiple types of players.
If any of the following apply to you, give the Yamaha a try.
Since the piccolo is made of wood, I’d only use it if you play exclusively or almost exclusively indoors. If you tend to play outside a lot, you won’t want to take this piccolo.
The wood can crack, and you may need to spend a lot of money on repairs (it happened to me). Luckily, you can use this piccolo in most climate controlled environments without any issues.
As you gain experience playing the piccolo, you’ll probably outgrow your current model. You may even outgrow the Pearl 105 if you currently have that piccolo.
If you’re not ready to spend $5k+ on a piccolo, the Yamaha YPC-62 is a great alternative. You’ll get the standard wood sound without having to go broke.
If you’re a flute major in college, you should get the best piccolo you can afford. But for some students, the YPC-62 is the best model that fits their budget.
This piccolo can be particularly useful for flute majors who aren’t the biggest fans of the piccolo. If you do really like the piccolo, though, I’d suggest saving up for something even better since you’ll probably play the piccolo more often.
Pearl 105 vs. Yamaha YPC-62: Who They Aren’t For
The Pearl 105 and Yamaha YPC-62 fill a need in the world of the piccolo. However, that doesn’t mean they’re perfect for all players.
Consider the following types of piccoloists who should avoid these models (at least right now).
Players on a Budget
The Pearl and Yamaha piccolos may not be as expensive as some, but they’re not cheap either. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look for more affordable options.
Who knows, you may luck out and find a used Yamaha or Pearl for less than the new price. But if not, you can find plenty of other suitable models.
As someone who loves the piccolo, I knew that the Pearl probably wasn’t going to be my forever piccolo. Near the end of grad school, I upgraded from the Pearl to a Hammig 650/3, and I love it.
However, I do still have the 105 as a backup piccolo and for any outdoor performances. So if that’s what you’re looking for, the Pearl could be your next backup.
Other Piccolos to Consider
If you find that neither the Pearl 105 or Yamaha YPC-62 is for you, you have options. There are tons of piccolos out there, and I can’t begin to cover all of them.
However, you should consider the following models which are similar to the Pearl and Yamaha instruments.
The Pearl 165 is similar to the 105, but there are some differences. First, the 165 has a grenadilla wood headjoint rather than a composite headjoint.
This model also features synthetic omni pads compared to the regular pads on the 105. However, both models come with traditional or wave headjoints, and both have a split E mechanism and an ergonomic design.
If you get this model, you can buy a composite headjoint separately, and it will fit in the case. That way, you can still use it outdoors but use the warmer wood head inside.
A similar model to the Yamaha is the Burkart Resona piccolo. This is one of the most popular wood models I’ve come across, and I got to try one in 2017.
It uses grenadilla wood and has many of the same specs as the Yamaha. But it comes from Burkart, which is a flute and piccolo maker rather than a general musical instrument brand.
Also, if you prefer the sound of American flute brands, you may prefer this piccolo.
Perhaps you want a full wood piccolo, but the Yamaha is a bit out of your budget. I’d recommend the Lyric piccolo, which I also go to try in 2017, shortly after it first hit the market.
This piccolo uses grenadilla and has a silver-plated mechanism and a split E. For better or worse, it only comes with a wave headjoint, but I like that cut.
The piccolo is a nice choice for students as well as casual players who only have a couple thousand dollars to spend.
Many piccolo players will compare the Pearl 105 vs. Yamaha YPC-62 at some point. If you want to upgrade your instrument, both are great models to try.
Be sure to consider the similar and different specs so that you can choose the model that better suits your needs.
And once you buy that piccolo, be sure you check its intonation using a piano keyboard and drone.