Do you want to learn how to play the piccolo? You may be considering buying a cheap piccolo to get started.
However, cheaper instruments may be of lower quality. Keep these things in mind before you buy the least expensive piccolo you find.
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What Is a Cheap Piccolo?
You can define a cheap piccolo in a lot of ways. Maybe you think of any piccolo under $1,000 as cheap.
For the purposes of this, I will be talking about the cheap piccolos you find on Amazon and other retailers. These tend to be very cheap, and they aren’t always the best.
But are they really that bad? Consider if buying one of these cheap instruments may be a good option for you.
Why Buy a Cheap Piccolo
If you’re looking to start playing the piccolo, a cheaper model can be a good option. Before you invest thousands of dollars, consider if you can get by with something more affordable.
Then, you might be able to learn the instrument sooner. You won’t have to save up as much money.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to buy a cheap piccolo.
Test the Piccolo
If you’ve never played the piccolo before, buying a cheap one can be a good option. You may not have access to a piccolo, especially if you aren’t currently in school.
Buying something cheap allows you to play the piccolo for a bit to see if you like it. If you do like it, you can look into buying a more expensive instrument.
Even if you can borrow a piccolo, you may not have it long enough to really test it out. Buying your own for a few hundred dollars gives you time to figure out for sure if it’s the instrument for you.
Maybe you buy a cheap piccolo and learn that you don’t really like playing the instrument. You would still be out a bit of money, but the loss wouldn’t be as devastating as it would if you paid more.
Unless you know for sure that you’re going to stick with the piccolo, you shouldn’t spend more than a few hundred dollars on one. That way, you can save money overall on your investment.
If you end up not liking the piccolo, you can keep the one you have. Then, you’ll have one to use if you need to play it. But you won’t have spent your money on an expensive, wood instrument.
Easy to Order
Buying a cheap piccolo is fairly easy. You can find quite a selection of instruments on Amazon, so you have your pick. Maybe you search for the cheapest of the cheap.
Or you might look at the review for a few cheaper piccolos. Then, you can, hopefully, get an instrument that isn’t completely awful. Either way, Amazon and other retailers make it easy to order a piccolo.
You can get Prime shipping as a Prime member. Or you can pay up for faster shipping. Then, you won’t have to wait as long to get an instrument delivered.
Maybe you don’t want to learn the piccolo but you need to. If you buy a cheap piccolo online, you can start learning sooner. You won’t need to save up as much money to make the purchase.
And with fast shipping times, you may get your instrument in a day or two. Then, you can start to learn the basics within the next week. You may not become an expert, but you have to start somewhere.
If you wanted to buy a more expensive model, you’d have to wait before you could start playing. But you could get a cheap model to start with now so that you can save up for a better one.
Good for Marching Band
If you have to play in a marching band, a piccolo is great. It’s small, and it’s easier to project your sound than when you play flute. But you don’t want to use an expensive piccolo on the marching band field.
You could drop it, or something else might happen. Maybe you have to play in the rain or the extreme heat or cold. Don’t use a wood piccolo outside if you can avoid it.
If you only have a wood model, you may want to buy a cheap piccolo to use outside. Then, you can play the piccolo in band. But you won’t have to risk damaging a more expensive instrument.
Why Not Buy a Cheap Piccolo
Cheap piccolos can offer plenty of benefits. But that doesn’t mean they’re the right option for everyone.
Before you buy a less expensive model, consider if it’s a good decision for you. You might find that it’s better to save up for a different instrument.
Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t rush to buy a cheap piccolo.
You’ve probably heard that you get what you pay for. Piccolos are no exception to this rule. If you buy a cheap piccolo, you can’t expect it to play very well, or at least not for very long.
That doesn’t mean the piccolo won’t play at all. I’ve heard of some musicians who are able to get a decent sound out on a cheaper piccolo. But you can’t expect to go pro on such an instrument.
Quality is super important when shopping for a piccolo. Be sure to keep the price and value in mind. That way, you can get an instrument that meets your needs.
If you take good care of a good piccolo, it may last for years. Even if you take care of a cheap piccolo, it may not last long. Part of this is due to the quality.
Manufacturers of cheap piccolos tend to cut corners. They may use cheaper materials, or they might not do quality control after finishing an instrument.
All of this can lead to problems for the buyer. If something breaks, you might not be able to fix it. And even if you can, the cost to repair the piccolo may be more than the piccolo is worth.
Waste of Money
Maybe you know that you want to play the piccolo and take it seriously. Sure, buying a cheap piccolo would mean you can get an instrument soon.
However, it would also be a waste of money. If you know you want to play the instrument for a while, it’s better to save up. Then, you can get a better quality model that will last longer.
You won’t have to worry as much about the piccolo breaking on you, so you can get more use out of it. Who knows, you may even pay less per use if you can play the more expensive piccolo for years.
Another problem with cheap piccolos is that they usually have pretty basic specs. From the ones I’ve seen, they’re usually all silver-plated, or they have a silver-plated headjoint and a plastic body.
They may or may not have features like a split E mechanism. So if you’re looking for a more advanced model, cheap piccolos won’t meet your needs.
Be sure to look for instruments that use the materials and have the keys and specs you want. That way, it will be worth your time and money to invest in the piccolo.
Slow You Down
You may start learning the piccolo sooner with a cheap piccolo. However, it can slow you down over time. Even if you make progress quickly, you can only get so far with a cheap instrument.
If you want to make consistent progress, you need a piccolo that can support that. In most cases, that means spending a bit more on an instrument from the start.
You’ll get more use out of a piccolo that costs a thousand dollars than one that costs a hundred dollars. And you won’t have to rush to upgrade as soon as your cheap piccolo stops working.
Better Beginner Piccolos
If you’re looking to learn the piccolo, you need a good beginner instrument. As appealing as cheap piccolos are, look for something a bit more expensive.
You don’t need to spend $5,000 or more. But set aside around $1,500 to test a few beginner piccolos.
Then, you can get an instrument that makes sense for you.
If you want a good beginner all-metal piccolo, the Armstrong 204 is for you. It’s all silver-plated, so it’s perfect for playing outside. I used this piccolo in a college marching band, and it worked well.
You can get a good sound out of it, and it projects well. If you want to play it in an orchestra, you can. However, it will take some work to blend the piccolo with other instruments.
The model features a finger rest so that your left hand doesn’t have to squeeze to support the piccolo. Then, you can play it like you would any other piccolo.
If you know you want a beginner piccolo to play inside, the Pearl 105 may be a better fit. It’s a composite model, so it’s a mix of plastic and wood to give you the benefits of both.
I bought this piccolo when I played in a community orchestra. Since I didn’t have access to a school-owned wood piccolo, the upgrade was necessary. The Armstrong was a bit too shrill for that environment.
This model is good for students and casual players. It’s also a great backup piccolo to keep on hand after you upgrade to a wood model. I’ll still use it if I need to perform outside or when my main piccolo needs maintenance.
Will You Buy a Cheap Piccolo?
Buying a cheap piccolo sounds intriguing. You can get another instrument to play, and you don’t need to spend much money.
However, cheaper piccolos aren’t always the best. Consider your situation, and think about some better models to start learning on.