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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there! well i know this thread could be around there but i've been searching and haven't found anything about my problem, you see, im getting married, hopefully, and i want to give my fiance a nice brand new piccolo, she plays it like a year ago but its borrowed from the conservatory she studies in, and she allways fights about that the piccolo she asks for (yamaha YPC-30 if i am correct) allways haves something (not much into piccolo terms as i am a guitarrist/pianist/chellist player & a spanish spoken person), that haves a "key" loose or that has a lot of escapes, blabla and i really want her to master her piccolo and flute tech, so i thought of buying her a piccolo.

So here is the problem, i need some advice of what to buy, speaking in price-performance terms. My budget is a $500 max. Could you help me out? and in the meantime can you explain me a little about which brand is best and why... i have read about the materials but haven't found a lot of well explained piccolo forums.

Thanks, Luis.
 

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You may be able to get a Yamaha YPC-32 new off of ebay within your range.

This is a plastic body/ metal head model that is popular and the current version of the YPC-30. Be aware that a "serious" piccolo player will eventually want a wooden model like the YPC-62.

Hope this helps.
 

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The piccolos I make all sell for over $1K but for my lower lines, I sell the same one that is always on ebay. Even though these are from China, they play quite well and are copies of the Yamaha plastic body/metal head model. After I adjust them, I sell them for around $165. The ones from Fastsale123 seem to be the best. Most of the Gemeinhardt pics are good for the money and should run $350 for a plastic (my favorite) or metal.
 

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Yamaha, Gemeinhardt, and Jupiter all make a plastic piccolo in the $350-$400 range. Buy with a plastic head, not the silver head, the intonation seems better that way. Down the road, you'll probably want to buy a wooden piccolo, but plastic should be good for now. Don't buy an all metal piccolo, IMO they are very shrill and harsh sounding.
 

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hum but she told me (she doesn't have an idea about the present we were just chatting about the topic) that plastic are too "basic" for her, she plays a wooden one, so obviously i will buy her a pro one. but is my price range correct or i should aim for the $1 k?
 

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If you are looking for a wooden pic (grenadilla wood) you are looking at $2000 at the low end and probably $3500 average. They go up from there.
 

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Well, you might want to buy her the inexpensive plastic one and tell her that this is just the first step, and when you can afford it, you and she could both go in together on the wooden piccolo of her dreams. If she's a proper woman, she'll respond to the thought rather than the instrument.

I bought my Yamaha YPC-32 (silver head joint, plastic body) brand new for $245 about 20 years ago. It has always played well, and recently when I was thinking about upgrading, I had a professional flute/picc player try it out. She said she thought it'd be a waste of time and money to try to find something a whole lot better; and if I were able to, it would cost me a ton of money. And all the flute majors I knew in grad school loved the picc and raved about how easy it was to play.
 

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The Gemeinhardt 4W is quite good for around $850. I will make you one with a bubble head and plated keys for around $1,200. The Burkart-Phelan (Boston) is a terrific Piccolo in the $2,500 range and plays as well as the $4,000 ones.
 

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I agree with Bruce, the Burkart is a nice playing pic. I can't comment on anything that Bruce could make for you. I don't like the Gemeinhardt, the only Gemeinhardt pic I like is the Roy Seaman model.
 

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Luis, I would seriously recommend that you stick to a brand that has proven itself over many years with a well-earned reputation.

Such brands include Yamaha, Gemeinhardt, Brannen, Philip Hammig, Haynes, Powell, Burkart-Phelan, Keefe, Zentner, and a few others.

Of these, probably only the first two produce piccolos under $2000.

The Yamaha (plastic) YPC32, and (wooden) YPC62 are very well-respected instruments.

IMO you need not get too preoccupied with getting a "professional" model. It is almost certain that unless the player is exceptionally good, the player rather than the piccolo will be the limiting factor with either of these models.

BTW, several years ago, until it was superseded, the YPC62 WAS Yamaha's top professional model.
 

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luis.p said:
hum but she told me (she doesn't have an idea about the present we were just chatting about the topic) that plastic are too "basic" for her, she plays a wooden one, so obviously i will buy her a pro one. but is my price range correct or i should aim for the $1 k?
Are you sure that the YPC30 is wooden? It is almost certain that the YPC32 would go better, no matter what it is made from. It is the DESIGN, far more than the material, that makes a good piccolo.
 

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jmartin said:
... Don't buy an all metal piccolo, IMO they are very shrill and harsh sounding.
I disagree with that. I don't think it is a universal truth by any means.

It is the design, rather than the material, that makes a good piccolo.

My teacher had a sterling-silver, conical-bore Haynes, which was one of the sweetest piccolos I ever played.
 

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A Yamaha 30 is a metal piccolo with a cylindrical bore.

The U.S. Navy Band uses the resin-body, metal head YPC-32 for outdoor concerts, anytime cracking of a wood piccolo would be a problem. Set up properly, these are a REALLY good picc for the money. (The Navy Band has recently ordered Brannen-Cooper rose-gold headjoints for the flutists, so you can be sure that they would never play an inferior instrument!) Anyway, the resin, conical-bore YPC-32 has some of the best intonation out there for a piccolo, the 'Pro" YPC-62 has the same design, but in wood. I have played my 62 with a 32 for duets, it works very well because of the consistency of the intonation with this design.

Gemeinhardt metal piccolos are tuned sharp. (Any Gem. metal piccolo that I have ever seen has a conical bore.) IMHO, that's why 'a metal piccolo sounds screechy.' Gemeinhardt instruments are ubiquitous here in the U.S. I have also had the pleasure of hearing a silver Haynes piccolo, they sound absolutely lovely. The difference in the piccolos is in the design, and the quality and consistency of the setup/padding.

Our orchestra principal has an old model wood Gemeinhardt. Nice picc. This model (the 4W) and the Yamaha YPC-62 should be available used for around $1000. If you buy one off eBay, add about $250 US to get it padded properly.

Try Nancy Shinn of www.flutestar.com as she often sells rebuilt piccolos and will help you find a good model. She is an outstanding technician.

Have your fiancee' take the school piccolo to a qualified technician. Have her tell her instructor that the horn has problems and needs to be looked at. The school SHOULD pay for repairs. You may find that the thing is cracked, and essentially unplayable. Or you may find that with proper repair, it IS a nice piccolo. Any piccolo should have a clean, oil and adjust yearly-this one may have seen a repair tech last 15 years ago...

BTW, a Yamaha 32, or even 62, is essentially designed for ease of playing, rather than the ability to get a lot of finesse and tone color out of the piccolo. The YPC-62 is immensely popular for its ease of playing and intonation. When I picked up a Zentner, it was much more difficult to keep the intonation centered where I wanted it, versus the Yamaha. However, it offered a lovely depth of sound that made the Yamaha 'thin' by comparison. Most doublers would be well advised to keep their Yamaha 32 or 62. However, 'serious' piccolophiles generally will start trying out pro horns by Hammig, Burkart, Zentner, Keefe, Haynes, etc. and then want that sweet, deep sound. Many will be offset by the hard work that it takes to learn to play these instruments well, and stick with their Yam or Gemmy 4W which are easier to play. The Yamaha YPC-82 is nowYamaha's 'top' pro horn; it is a model 62 with sterling keywork, and an additional headjoint in sterling silver.

Good luck!

Tibbie
 

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As much as I like selling high end piccolos, I admit that I sell a LOT of the plastic body ones from China. They are a direct copy of the Yamaha with a split E. I find that the best ones come from Fastsale123 on ebay and can be bought Buy it Now delivered for around $125. Although they are not up with the wood ones, I have quit selling piccolos under $1,000 except these. This is just my feeling on this matter and for sax players wanting to get into pic playing, it is a good start.
 

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You say they are a direct copy of Yamaha.
I think the statement needs qualifying....

Is the bore IDENTICAL?
Is the placement, diameter undercutting etc of tone holes IDENTICAL?
Is the embouchure hole identical in EVERY detail?
Is the metal of the keys just as strong?
Are the pivots made with equal accuracy?
Is the silver plating equally as robust?
Is the plastic just as tough, to hole those post rib screws securely?
Are the steels just as resistant to rust?
Do they use the same high quality pads?
Is the pad glue guaranteed to be as secure as that of Yamaha?
Likewise, the cork glue?

Unless you can say a definite "Yes" to all of these, then I don't think it is fair to give a Chinese instrument pseudo-kudos by somehow relating it to Yamaha. Yamaha has earned its reputation by a lot of attention to this sort of detail, and seldom do Chinese manufacturers succeed in copying this sort of detail, which is especially important for a piccolo.

By all means, claim that this is a good instrument as far as Chinese standards go, but I think it is fair to leave Yamaha out of it.

There are dozens of brands of really lousy instruments that claim to be "copies" of those of top manufacturers. The claim surely is meant only to trap the gullible.

BTW, I do not deny that within a few years China may be making some excellent instruments, but at present, caution is a prudent course. The distant and recent history of Chinese made instruments amply demonstrates this.
 

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Yamaha Piccolo

I bought both a YPC-32 and a YPC-62 for my daughter last year. I was able to get the 62 new out of Australia for a little over $1000. I don't know if it can be done now. They are both good horns.
 

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I am not saying it is an exact copy of the Yamaha but some of the keywork is the same size. As far as bore, I have no idea. The pivots are a bit tighter than the Yamaha with less key wobble. Intonation is about equal with the highs being a bit easier. The glue for corks is not as stable as the Yamaha.
Most important point would be the price. Most of the US dealers sell the Yamaha for over $400. I view the ones from China as being a great first piccolo and for the price can be thrown away when the pads go. I have seen a few of the wood ones from China and they are terrible.
 
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Sonare SP500 vs. Yamaha YPC-32 vs. Gem. 4P

OK, so here's the deal. Although I am new to piccolo, I am a conservatory-trained musician (piano and bassoon), so I'm not a musical beginner.

I have just purchased a new Yamaha YFL-461H to use for my flute studies, it's beautiful, and has many great qualities (build, sound, warranty, features, etc.). At the same time, I wish to buy a piccolo. This is only for pleasure, I have no professional plans for either instrument, but at the same time, I want to get the best instrument for my money up front to avoid wishing I had in a short period of time.

Since the price of the YPC-62 and other grenadilla models is high, I have been recommended the Sonare SP500 (has a Powell headjoint) or the Yamaha YPC-32. I have read to exhaustion threads here and on other flute boards, and have talked to retailers, repair people, etc. Everyone says it's personal preference. Since I'm new, I'm relying on people's experiences, as well as hearing the (flutist) salesperson play each instrument for me.

The Sonare sounds great. However, nobody has the Yamaha in stock, so I can't compare it.

I am looking for comments FROM PEOPLE WHO EITHER OWN OR HAVE TRIED THE SONARE SP500 AS WELL AS THE YAMAHA YPC-32. Please do not respond if you are not familiar FIRST-HAND with BOTH these instruments.

Thanks!
 

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I own a Sonare, and I find that I use it about 95% of the time, in lieu of my older Haynes grenadilla pic (I had an ironwood Emerson Boston Legacy, but the high notes were a nightmare). The intonation is excellent, it's very comfortable for me to play (the G key is extremely offset, more than any picc I've ever seen, so it really alleviates a lot of the cramping that comes with playing the tiny piccolo), and although I DO use a headjoint that was custom made for me by Justin Bahrami (a very good friend who makes PHENOM picc heads), the stock head produces a beautiful, warm sound and projects well.

I think this is one of the best values ever to appear in the picc world, and I have turned a large number of my private students on to them.

Stuck a photo in for fun...

 
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That's great. Now...

have you tried the Yamaha YPC-32 as well? If so, any thoughts? Or would you just hands-down recommend the Sonare? Many thanks.
 
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