Powell Piccolo Guide

Is a Powell piccolo the right brand for you? And if so, which model should you try? Finding the right piccolo is tough, so it helps to understand the brand a bit better.

Powell Piccolo Guide | Piccolo Perfection

After trying one or two Powells, I’ve enjoyed them. They may not be the best for me, but I still recommend them to anyone looking for a good instrument.

What Is a Powell Piccolo?

A Powell piccolo is a model that comes from the flute company Verne Q. Powell. While the company makes a lot of advanced flutes, they also make some amazing piccolos.

Like many other brands, you can choose from a few models to get the best fit for you. Before you do so, you should consider the different options to help narrow your search.

Then, you can find a piccolo that suits your budget and your playing style.

Powell Sonare Piccolo

The Powell Sonare piccolo is an intermediate model that’s great for students and casual players. It’s a composite model, which means it uses a plastic resin with grenadilla wood so that you get the benefits of both materials.

You can find older Sonare piccolos that feature Art-Deco style keys, which where square. However, newer Sonare piccolos have the standard rounded keys you’ll find on most instruments.

Like on many other intermediate piccolos, you can choose between a traditional and wave headjoint. I find I play better with a wave headjoint, but a lot of players prefer the traditional round cut.

Who It’s For

The Sonare piccolo is perfect for advancing students. You might not be ready for a full wood model yet, so you can use this piccolo indoors and outdoors.

I’d also recommend this piccolo to casual players and doublers who need a good, affordable option. If you don’t want to deal with wood, you can get a sound that’s very reminiscent of grenadilla.

Now, it’s not the best for beginners since it’s quite expensive. Other composite models are much cheaper, some are roughly half the cost of the Powell.

Where to Buy

You can buy the Sonare piccolo from a variety of flute stores. I haven’t seen it available at more general music stores, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find it there either.

The internet is the best place to start your search, especially if you don’t live near a flute shop. You can request a trial to test this and one and other models in your price range.

Should You Buy It Used?

You can buy a Powell Sonare piccolo used, but you should be careful. Make sure the piccolo is in good playing condition and that the seller isn’t trying to scam you out of your money.

If it does need repairs, keep that in mind when thinking about the total cost. You can get a piccolo that needs maintenance, and you may be able to get a lower sale price.

Now, when it comes to older Sonares, you have to be very careful. One flute player Joanna, from JustAnotherFlutist, used to play a Sonare, and the model she had was recalled because it was very fragile.

Powell Signature Piccolo

When it comes to professional piccolos, you can’t go wrong with trying the Powell Signature. I’ve tried this model twice, I believe, definitely at least once.

I tried it with some other professional models before settling on a different instrument. It’s possible I tried one a year earlier at a university flute festival, but I can’t remember the specific model.

Either way, this is the entry-level professional grenadilla piccolo from Powell. It sounds great, and it’s easy to play. You can get it with a traditional or wave headjoint and with or without a split E mechanism.

Who It’s For

The Powell Signature is for any serious piccolo player who wants a handmade model. It’s also great if you don’t have the biggest budget but you still have a decent amount to spend.

I’d recommend it to college flute majors who have the money. It’s also nice for professionals early in their career as well as flute players who don’t play the piccolo that often.

You can use it in an orchestra or another ensemble as well as on your own. But beginners should avoid all wood models, including the Signature.

Where to Buy

Like the Sonare, you can find the Powell Signature at a variety of flute shops. I believe one of the ones I tried was through a regional music store (not just a flute store).

However, that music store has a flute shop (The Flute Gallery) attached to it. So the best place to start is a flute shop or even a flute repair technician who also sells instruments.

Should You Buy It Used?

You can definitely buy a used Powell Signature piccolo and get a good sound out of it. There are a few things to think about, such as the wood and the overall condition.

It’s important to know about the prior maintenance and care as well as if there were any cracks that have been fixed. And of course, you should try the piccolo before you commit to purchasing it.

Powell Custom Grenadilla Piccolo

The Powell Custom Grenadilla piccolo is one of the brand’s top-line models. It has the same specs as the Signature, except it also features solid silver keys instead of silver-plated keys.

You can also buy the model that comes with 14 karat gold keys. That’s a nice option if silver tends not to react well to your body, which I’ve had problems with myself.

However, this piccolo is already quite expensive, and gold keys make it cost even more. With those specs, it’s one of the most costly piccolos out there.

Who It’s For

This piccolo is for serious players with plenty of money to burn. While I haven’t tried this model, I find it hard to accept the $2,000+ price difference for solid silver keys.

And for gold keys, the price jump is even larger. However, if you want solid silver keys, you can try the piccolo to see if it sounds or feels different from the Signature.

Of course, this piccolo is not for beginners, students, or anyone on a tight budget. You can finance it, but that’s not always the best choice for everyone.

Where to Buy

Like the other Powell piccolo models, you can buy this one from most big flute shops. Other small music stores might carry the model, but you should call ahead to be sure.

You can find it online through flute shop websites or in their stores. And if you want to try it, you can get a trial or go to a flute event with an exhibition hall and look for the model.

Should You Buy It Used?

You can buy the Custom Grenadilla model on the used market. Now, at this level, piccolos hold their value very well, so you might not save as much as you think.

However, if the piccolo needs repairs or other maintenance, you could negotiate the price. But make sure you test the piccolo yourself before you shell out the cash for it.

Powell Custom Kingwood Piccolo

Another excellent model to consider is the Powell Custom Kingwood piccolo. Unlike the other models, this one uses kingwood instead of grenadilla, so you can get a different sound.

However, the specs are basically the same as the grenadilla custom model with gold keys. From what I can tell, you can’t get the piccolo with silver keys.

Obviously, it’s going to be pretty expensive, but it’s about the same price as the grenadilla equivalent. If you like the sound of kingwood, it can be worth saving up for this model.

Who It’s For

This piccolo is only for the most serious of all players. It’s also best for people who have enough money for the purchase already in their bank account.

Sure, you can put it on a credit card, but it costs more than some cars. I’d recommend looking at more affordable options and only getting it if no other piccolo sounds as good with you and your playing.

Because of the price, this piccolo won’t be the right fit for most people. That’s okay, so you need to make extra sure that it’s worth the investment for you.

Where to Buy

I’ve only seen the Custom Kingwood piccolo for sale at a couple of flute shops. Not all of them carry the model, so you should look around if you’re interested in this instrument.

I also have yet to see one available used, so new is going to be the best option. You might find a used one, but you’ll need to look harder, and you might have to wait a while for one to come up for sale.

Should You Buy It Used?

If you do find the piccolo available used, you can buy it. Of course, you need to try the piccolo for yourself to make sure you like how it sounds and responds to you.

Sadly, buying it used probably won’t save you a ton of money. These piccolos can hold their value, so unless something real bad happened, you’ll pay close to what you would when buying it new.

Which Powell Piccolo Is Best for You?

The best Powell piccolo for you depends on your current level of playing and your needs. None of the models are that great for absolute beginners, but the Sonare is good for intermediate players.

I’d recommend the Signature to more advanced players and early-career professionals. If you have a bit more money, you can try the Custom Grenadilla piccolo.

Is a Powell Piccolo Right for You?

Not only should you consider which model to try, you have to decide if Powell is even the right brand for you. When I first tried one, I thought it might be the brand for me.

However, after comparing it to a few other brands, I went with the Hammig 650/3. You might do the same or the complete opposite of what I did since piccolos are very subjective.

Should You Get a Powell Piccolo If You Play a Powell Flute?

If you play a Powell flute, there’s a good chance you’ll like the piccolos. However, I know of plenty of players who have a Powell flute but play piccolos from other brands.

The opposite is also true since some people might like Powell piccolos. But they may prefer a flute model from a different company, and both options are totally fine.

What Other Piccolos Should You Try?

If you want to compare other piccolos to Powell, the models to try depends on what Powell model you want. When it comes to the Sonare, good alternatives include the Burkart Resona, Yamaha YPC-62, and Lyric.

However, for the Signature and Custom instruments, other brands are more comparable. Those include Burkart Professional and Elite, Hammig models, and Keefe piccolos.

Will You Buy a Powell Piccolo?

For some players, a Powell piccolo is the perfect fit for their musical journey. However, the brand isn’t for everyone, so it’s up to you to figure out the answer for yourself.

If you’re unsure and want help choosing which Powell to try, send a DM on Instagram. I’ll do my best to help you find the one!

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