Since I bought a piccolo with a high G# facilitator, I haven’t had to use alternate fingerings for that note. But is the spec for you?
The extra mechanism is great, but it’s only on a few select piccolos. Keep that in mind when shopping for a new instrument that will meet your needs.
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High G# Facilitator Overview
The high G# facilitator is a special mechanism that some professional piccolos have. It’s not necessary to get a piccolo with it, but having the spec comes in handy.
You can play certain passages much more easily with the G# mechanism. Here’s what you should know about it and if you should get it when upgrading your piccolo.
How It Works
A high G# facilitator closes the thumb keys half way when you press down on the G# lever. Like the split E mechanism, this really only has an effect on one note: high G#/Ab.
Most other notes that involve the G# key also involve the thumb key. In that case, the thumb key will close completely, so the G# mechanism doesn’t really do anything.
Why It’s Beneficial
Having a high G# facilitator is nice because it allows you to play that high note quietly and in tune. On most piccolos, you have to use an alternate fingering, usually by pressing your right-hand second and third fingers.
However, the G# mechanism eliminates that need entirely. That means you can use the same fingering you’d use when you play the regular flute, which makes it a nice option if you don’t play the piccolo that often.
How to Use It
To use the high G# facilitator, you need to press on the G# lever but not the thumb keys. This will close the thumb tone holes part of the way to help achieve the desired result.
You’ll get the change when playing a high G# or Ab but also when playing a high C. Keep that in mind when deciding on an alternate fingering for that note since the pitch may change a bit.
Piccolos With a High G# Facilitator
Most piccolos don’t come with a high G# facilitator, but some do. If you don’t want to have to worry about as many alternate fingerings, it makes sense to want a model with the spec.
Here are a few piccolos you might want to consider when looking for the G# mechanism. Then, you can get the response and sound you want.
About a year and a half ago, I bought a Hammig 650/3 after trying multiple pro models. While it wasn’t the only thing, part of what drew me to the model was the G# mechanism.
This piccolo is the most affordable one when it comes to that spec, but it’s still not cheap. It’s a professional-level instrument that’s handmade and uses grenadilla wood.
You’ll also get a split E mechanism and silver-plated keys. I love how this instrument sounds and responds, so it’s good for any serious piccolo player.
Read More: Hammig 650/3 Review
The Hammig 650/4 is another excellent model that comes with a G# facilitator. It has all of the same specs as the other Hammig piccolo, but it has solid silver keys instead.
That does raise the price quite a bit, and I don’t know that it’s worth it. Of course, you should try the piccolo for yourself to see if it meets your needs.
Then, you can get the right piccolo that has all of the specs you prefer. And you’ll be able to get a nice sound when playing alone or with others.
Read More: Hammig Piccolo Guide
Yes, Hammig is the brand that includes the high G# facilitator on multiple piccolo models. The Hammig 651/4 is no exception, so it’s worth trying if you want a cocus wood instrument.
Aside from the wood, it has all of the same specs as the 650/4. Of course, the wood does make this model a bit more expensive, so it’s best for serious players or piccolo specialists.
I haven’t tried a cocus wood piccolo, but I’ve heard they sound amazing. The material is a great alternative to the standard grenadilla, but you still need to take good care of it.
Burkart Elite Deluxe
If Hammig piccolos aren’t for you, consider the Burkart Elite Deluxe. This model also features a high G# facilitator, so you can get all of the specs you want as well as other unique specs most piccolos don’t have.
I haven’t tried this model, but I have tried other Burkart piccolos, and they sound great. If you currently play a Resona or a Burkart Professional, this may be a good upgrade.
Then, you’ll get a new piccolo that works similarly to what you have. However, you can get more specs than what your current instrument can offer.
Note: if you have any questions about these piccolos, message me on Instagram. I’ll do my best to answer any questions!
Can You Add a High G# Facilitator?
Unfortunately, you can’t add a high G# facilitator to an existing piccolo. You’ll need to buy one that is made with the spec, but you may also be able to customize the piccolo in other ways.
For example, you can get it with a different headjoint style. Then, you may be able to get a better sound on your new instrument, even when you don’t use the G# mechanism.
Do You Need a High G# Facilitator?
You don’t need a high G# facilitator, but having one helps. If you play a lot of high notes, you may not always get the best, most in-tune sound up there.
When the G# is a big problem, it makes sense to want a G# mechanism. So keep that in mind the next time you look at buying a new piccolo.
Why Don’t Affordable Piccolos Have the G# Mechanism?
Affordable piccolos probably don’t have the G# mechanism since it takes extra time and money to produce. If you want to stick to a strict budget, you have to compromise on your purchase.
However, it’s possible the G# mechanism will become the next split E mechanism. More and more piccolos have that spec, so the G# facilitator could only be a few decades behind.
Can You Half-Close the Thumb Key Yourself?
If your piccolo doesn’t have the high G# facilitator, you may want to try and replicate the spec. You could do that by closing the thumb key halfway using your left thumb.
However, that’s not the most ideal thing to do. For one, you could close it too much or not enough, so you might not get the best sound, and it can put some extra tension in your thumb to try and hold the right position.
What Alternate Fingerings Should You Use Without the G# Facilitator?
The most common alternate fingering for the high G# or Ab is to add the second and third fingers on your right hand. If you don’t do that and don’t have a G# mech, the pitch will be a bit sharp.
However, you should experiment with a tuner. Every piccolo is different, so you may need to add or remove fingers to get your instrument to play in tune.
Do You Have a High G# Facilitator?
A high G# facilitator can make a world of a difference when playing the piccolo. But you need to consider this when buying an instrument since you can’t add the mechanism later.
If you’re looking to buy a piccolo with this spec, contact me with any questions you have. I’ll do my best to help you out!