How would a person go about buying a cheaper piccolo to learn on and for use in doubling shows? All the piccolos I've seen online are new at $750+ and I haven't been able to find any good used piccolos for sale for <$350
There's a Facebook Group "Flutes for Sale" that I would check out. There have been some really nice piccolos for decent prices. Also, a YouTuber, JustAnotherFlutist just did a video on piccolos under $1000. I know it's above your price range brand new, but she goes into a little detail about how each piccolo likes to be played. She tried a Jupiter, DiZhao and a Gemeinhardt. The Piccolo I think ended up being around $600-700.
Decent piccolos are going to cost a little money. I would suggest doing some research in some reputable instruments, and keep an eye out for them on eBay and the classified ads. You might find a gem for under budget.
The ones from China with the plastic heads are quite good for under $200 but may need adjusting. They play VERY well.
I would advise finding a good Gemeinhardt 4P or variant and keep that one. They play as well as the high end models but don't quite have the depth of sound. I have some of the US made wood pics. but with new pads about $700.
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