Imagine you get your dream piccolo but it stops working well after a year. If you want to avoid this, you should consider some piccolo maintenance tips.
While you may still need to upgrade eventually, regular instrument care will keep your piccolo in working condition. Then, you can use the instrument you love for longer.
Before we get into the tips, this post contains affiliate links. Click here to read the full disclosure policy.
Consider the Material
First, you should consider the material your piccolo is made of. Metal, plastic, composite, and wood piccolos are all different. They all require unique piccolo maintenance routines.
If you have a metal piccolo, you can maintain it very similarly to your flute. You can use the cleaning rod and a piccolo swab to clean the inside of the instrument. And a polishing cloth is great for the outside.
Plastic piccolos are similar, but you don’t need to polish the entire outside of the piccolo. But you should still clean the inside and polish the metal keys.
Wood piccolos require the most maintenance. You have to do the same things as people with plastic piccolos. But you also need to take care to warm up your piccolo slowly to keep it from cracking (it happened to me).
Learn How to Assemble the Piccolo
Regardless of the type of piccolo, piccolo maintenance involves assembling and disassembling it safely. Make sure to not grab the headjoint by the embouchure hole on any piccolo.
You should also try to only touch the parts of the body without any keys. If you have to touch the keys when assembling the piccolo, don’t put too much pressure on them.
Then, you can reduce the risk of bending the keys or rods. If they bend, the keys won’t close properly, and you may need to spend a lot of money on repairs.
Apply Cork Grease
If your piccolo has a cork and ONLY if your piccolo has a cork, you can apply cork grease. A lot of wood and plastic piccolos have a cork at the top of the body.
Cork grease can help keep the cork from getting too dry. When the cork is dry, it can be hard to assemble or disassemble your instrument. And the cork may even come off and require replacement.
But if you have a metal piccolo or if your wood piccolo doesn’t have a cork, IGNORE THIS piccolo maintenance step. You don’t want to use cork grease on metal tenons because that can just cause dirt to build up and cause problems.
Use a Piccolo Stand
Another excellent piccolo maintenance tip is to use a piccolo stand. If you need to take a quick break, a stand offers a few benefits.
First, it can keep the piccolo upright. That way, the condensation can fall to the bottom and not collect in any of the keys. And it can keep you from sitting on your piccolo or keep your piccolo from falling off of a chair or music stand.
Swab the Piccolo
I briefly mentioned this already, but you should swab the inside of your piccolo after you play. Condensation from your spit can collect in the instrument.
Just like with the flute, if you leave the moisture in there, it can build up and cause problems. Your pads can stop working well, or you might find it hard to get a clear sound.
Be sure to use a good piccolo swab or a piccolo wand to clean out your instrument. It should be a regular part of your piccolo maintenance routine after you play.
Polish the Exterior
You should also polish the keys and the outside of the body to get rid of fingerprints. Polishing the outside is particularly important for metal models.
But plastic and wood piccolos can benefit from it. If you don’t polish the keys, they might tarnish, or your fingerprints could build up and make the keys not look good.
This piccolo maintenance step is a bit more about appearances than some other steps. But it’s still a great way to keep your piccolo in the best possible shape.
Take It to a Tech
One of the best piccolo maintenance tips I can give is to take your piccolo to a repair technician. Ideally, you would take your piccolo to someone who specializes in flutes or at least woodwinds.
Your piccolo is like a car. If you want to make it last longer, you need to take good care of it. But there’s only so much you can do on a daily basis.
Be sure to budget for the cost of a clean, oil, adjust (COA) once a year or so. That way, you can give your piccolo the best chance of working well for years to come.
What’s Your Piccolo Maintenance Routine?
If you don’t have one already, you need a good piccolo maintenance routine. The better care you take of your piccolo now, the less you’ll have to spend in time and money on major repairs.
Be sure to consider your piccolo’s materials. Then, you can craft a maintenance routine that will work for you.
So what do you do to take care of your piccolo? Comment below!