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My daughter has been playing flute for the past three years (Yamaha 385II). She’s in marching band this year and has been begging me to buy her a piccolo. I kind of wanted to wait another year or so for her to develop a stronger air support and tonal concept on flute, but the music she’s playing kind of demands a piccolo.

What’s a good piccolo for marching band? Something in a plastic or composite body, for sure. Metal head joint?

Gemeinhardt 4PMH/SH? Yamaha 32C? I’m probably looking for a used piccolo.
 

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Then you have here on SOTW the ideal contact with Bruce Bailey who works on, sells and imports piccolos (and flutes).
 

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My daughter has been playing flute for the past three years (Yamaha 385II). She’s in marching band this year and has been begging me to buy her a piccolo. I kind of wanted to wait another year or so for her to develop a stronger air support and tonal concept on flute, but the music she’s playing kind of demands a piccolo.

What’s a good piccolo for marching band? Something in a plastic or composite body, for sure. Metal head joint?

Gemeinhardt 4PMH/SH? Yamaha 32C? I’m probably looking for a used piccolo.
For marching band the subtle differences in tone quality among piccolos won't matter. Obviously no wood. I would recommend a conical picc because all the high quality piccolos are conical and the blowing will be similar should she later play picc in orchestra or concert band.

I play a plastic Yamaha 21 picc with metal head and have been told many times that it has a far better sound than one would expect from a bottom rung el cheapo. Looks like hell, too, with most of the plating off the keys and head. No split E; real flute players don't need no stinkin' split E. I play mostly Latin jazz on it (can't really manage the fast third and fourth octave stuff on flute as well as second and third octave on picc) and with a piccolo you don't need a microphone!

I expect that any of the low end Yamaha piccs will do a super job. Personally, though it's been a long time since I tried out a Gemeinhardt piccolo, I have been distinctly unimpressed with all the Gemeinhardt products I have ever tried; I would stay away from that company myself.
 

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Your daughter should also get some earplug protection for her right ear. The piccolo can get extremely loud.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your daughter should also get some earplug protection for her right ear. The piccolo can get extremely loud.
Well...I mean, marching band is pretty loud. But she’s in a very small school band, only about 25 people total, and they are not very loud. Certainly nothing close to when I was in marching band in Hs or college. But maybe I should take her down to my audiologist and get her some musicians ear plugs made anyway.

Does piccolo really stress one ear more than the other?
 

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Well...I mean, marching band is pretty loud. But she’s in a very small school band, only about 25 people total, and they are not very loud. Certainly nothing close to when I was in marching band in Hs or college. But maybe I should take her down to my audiologist and get her some musicians ear plugs made anyway.

Does piccolo really stress one ear more than the other?
Oh yeah. I never practice picc without an earplug in the right ear, and neither should she. Sit in the same room with one, then realize that noise output is about 6" from the right ear.
 

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+1 for the earplug. She needs to have the other ear unplugged so that she can gauge how she's blending with the overall volume of the group, but her right ear definitely needs protection.
 

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Earplugs for the rest of the family, too :whistle: My wife says that I can only practice piccolo and Eb clarinet when she is not home.
 

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Well...I mean, marching band is pretty loud. But she’s in a very small school band, only about 25 people total, and they are not very loud. Certainly nothing close to when I was in marching band in Hs or college. But maybe I should take her down to my audiologist and get her some musicians ear plugs made anyway.

Does piccolo really stress one ear more than the other?
Yes.

I’ve played drums in college marching band, electric guitar in rock bands, tenor sax in big bands... The piccolo hurts my ears like nothing else.

Owwwwww...
 

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Yamaha. Well made. Reliable. Easy to maintain. Quality pads. Easy to adjust - and some piccolos are a major pain! Plays very well.

For many models of piccolo the key cups are small in diameter, hence the pads are small in diameter, hence the pads are tying to seal very close to the edge.
That is a perfect recipe for unreliable pad sealing.
(Think of how you would fall off a mattress if it did not have extra springing around the edge. Pads do not have the extra "springing" near the edge so the felt tends to collapse if that is where the tone hiole contacts it.)
In this respect Yamaha is excellent. Gemeinhardt is pretty good too.
 

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Your daughter should also get some earplug protection for her right ear. The piccolo can get extremely loud.
I used to play the flute. I would recommend some earplug protection for everyone in the family for both of their ears, not just your daughter. The better she gets, the more you will need it during her practice sessions. Beginning pic players can’t achieve that piercing tone quality......just sounds airy and not so shrill.

Good Grief!!!! And Good Luck. She has got to be pretty good if she has been asked to play the pic.
 

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You don’t need the expense of going to an audiologist. Just get a set of Earasers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You don’t need the expense of going to an audiologist. Just get a set of Earasers.
Never too early to get her into an audiologist. First she wants a piccolo, then a Blue Yeti USB mic, maybe next a set of custom molded in ear monitors and to tag along to one of my Yamaha or Meyer training sessions.

It’s all part of my master plan to raise up more evil sound engineers.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So I’m currently looking at three options:

1) buy one of the Chinese piccolos that dlrsax has
2) buy the used Gemeinhardt for $315ish
3) buy a new Gemeinhardt from the local music store for $515

Given the price and brand reputation, I’m leaning towards option three. But, from the sounds of it, the Chinese made Forest and Claitman piccolos sound like quality instruments. Bruce Bailey only has more expensive wooden piccolos right now, not suitable for using in marching band.
 

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I used to play the flute. I would recommend some earplug protection for everyone in the family for both of their ears, not just your daughter. The better she gets, the more you will need it during her practice sessions. Beginning pic players can’t achieve that piercing tone quality......just sounds airy and not so shrill...
I disagree. I service the piccolo of a professional piccolo player. When she comes to pick up the piccolo she plays it pp over almost 3 octaves I guess she plays it piercing &/or ff only when the music in a large orchestra calls for it. A good piccolo player has volume control.
 
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