Cheep picc

Discussion in 'Horns' started by jimc, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. jimc

    jimc Mezzo Piano User

    May 21, 2009
    Spokane, WA USA
    In another thread I mentioned what I thought the best way to 'waste' $100 was.

    I was in an experimental mood, so I ordered one of those nasty 4-valve Indian piccs a few days ago. I figured, for under $100 (US, shipped), just how bad could it actually be? It came today, SAI musical written all over the place. Here's a mini review:

    1) It actually looks OK. Valves are a bit stiff, but not crunchy. Quite presentable, really. Bore is 0.458" measured at the third slide. (The second valve loop is fixed, which is typical for a picc.) The slides are dreadful, don't take them out without a good reason as you'll have some difficulty getting them back in.

    2) It hurts to hold it. Sharp edges and pokey bits. Two finger hooks, they feel like they were maybe inspired by fish hooks! Perhaps Steve Martin, in his "Cruel Shoes" days, was the designer?

    3) For that price it's silverchrome-plated, has 4 valves, 2 leadpipes, a mouthpiece, and a case, and was shipped FedEx. Wow. No white gloves, so you know they're serious. Declared value on the import paperwork was $40. I think that's probably accurate, you could probably buy one for that if you dropped by the factory in India.

    4) The trumpet-shank mouthpiece is a bit shorter than standard, and wobbles a bit unless you ram it in some. No size marking. A standard trumpet mouthpiece bottoms out and won't stay in place.

    5) It doesn't sound too bad. There are a few wonky notes, and it doesn't play well down low, in 4th valve territory. but on the whole I was pleasantly surprised. (I have a Chinese pocket trumpet that cost more than this, and the picc is much closer to my good picc than the pocket is to any other trumpet I've tried.)

    6) Next time I need a G#/A picc I'll be ready! It's really flat, basically 1/2 step across the board. The lead pipes are too long. I guess I can use the Bb pipe when I want an A picc? But I never do. And if I did, I'd use the Benge.

    For the record, every picc I try is flat for me, slide all the way in. It's a personal problem. I don't think they sound all that bad, they're just.... flat. For me. This one worse than most.

    I haven't decided what to do with it. It may just sit there as a house toy, waiting for the rare occasions when the party is starting to get a bit likkered up. (Horns might come out then, but never any of the good ones.) Somebody wants to borrow my piccolo? Sure, here you go! Or, I could chuck the cheap-ass leadpipe into a metal lathe and see if I can't take 1/2 step out of it...
  2. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    Hi jimc,

    The units I have seen from India are actually Chromed, not silver plated.

    I have a 2 x Chinese picc and one plays OK, it is a copy of the Schilke, and I have loaned it to a friend who was desperate. He was happy with it.
    The other one I have loaned to another player who was desperate, and he handed it back with the comment "I am desperate, but NOT that desperate - Thanks, but No Thanks!"
    You do get what you pay for, I suppose.
  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    I had the same problem when I bought a vintage Selmer Picc, only had the Bb pipe and played very flat, bought a pair of Blackburn Leadpipes in the hope it would fix, no difference, shortened the Selmer pipe till it went fully in, played in tune, with practice I had to progressively pull the pipe out to maintain pitch, now the Blackburn play in tune.

    The reason I believe was not being familiar with the requirements of playing the beast and not hearing the pitch correctly.

    Regards, Stuart.
  4. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    Piccs are strange animals... you'll only tame them through constant attention and practising. That said, if you're into Baroque music and only need a picc for that kind of repertoire, one might be better off with a high G, as then the transpositions are much easier and the slightly larger bell gives a fuller tone. In fact, I had a Scherzer G and now have a Selmer G and don't look elsewhere for the Baroque repertoire. And for everything else - high parts in the symphonic wind ensemble, or in the Wiener Klezmer Orchester (Wiener Klezmer Orchester | Vienna Klezmer Orchestra - the only symponic orchestra world-wide solely dedicated to Jewish and Yiddish Folk Music) the cheapo classic Cantabile Brass picc will do - at more or less $200...
  5. jimc

    jimc Mezzo Piano User

    May 21, 2009
    Spokane, WA USA
    I have a Besson high G, and it's a sweet little horn. French, three valves. I'm playing it now for some accents in our upcoming community band concert. I was having too much trouble with the Bb picc(s), so I transcribed the music to G. (No, I'm not a real trumpet player, I need the music to match my fingers! I use Lilypond, which does a beautiful job and is free.) My 'flatness' problem is less pronounced on a lower-pitched horn.
  6. Franklin D

    Franklin D Forte User

    May 23, 2009
    The Netherlands
  7. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

    Jul 5, 2010
    Vienna, Austria, Europe
    No, a picc that only makes "cheep" noises...
  8. JoelHarris

    JoelHarris New Friend

    Mar 12, 2017
    New England
    I just bough one of cheap Indian pics, (Nasir Ali) for $55, plus $40 shipping from over there.
    This is what I found:
    1) The 1st valve was stuck half way down.
    2) Over all brass corrosion in tubes, that is what caused valve to stick.
    3) First valve cock was stuck.
    4) The Bb leadpipe has no taper on bores, just sudden diameter changes.
    5) The D leadpipe has some taper but only a little near the beginning.
    6) The Bb+D leadpipe does not really have the mouthpiece taper on front side.
    7) The Bb+D leadpipe mouthpiece only goes in 0.4" rather than the usual 1".
    8) The mouthpiece is shorter than normal, so it would be sharper in any horn.
    9) The mouthpiece back bore's end is way too small, by 0.028".
    10) Endoscope shows a rotary misalignment of the second valve of about 2mm.
    11) The back bore gets up to .470 diameter, where the valve bores are .450
    12) The first pipe (bent) of the horn started at .414, but the tube indicates a strait pipe, burrs?
    13) Playing, the 1,2,3 valves all seem flat. (1234 are a whole 1/2 step flat)
    14) Playing, the horn sounds cheap, mostly from the lacking nice leadpipe taper?
    15) With 4 valves down, it sounds and feels restrictive.
    16) 03/18/17, just realized the D leadpipe is not long enough.
    17) 03/20/17, found a kink on tubes inside valve #2.
    18) 03/23/17 Now that the cock are greased, playing with pressure slide #4 out.
    19) 03/23/17 now that I did some inside chamfering, the Pic mouthpiece valves seem better.
    It seems that my 10C makes the valves flatter, Maybe because its better for higher notes.
    20) Lots of air restriction on valves, but #4 seems the best.
    21) Since I have not cleaned out all the tubing yet, more stain gets in valves and sticks #1 again.

    Since I work in a machine shop, I am tooling up to make both leadpipes with tapers in the bores.
    Then I can hacksaw the slides if they are still to flat (long).
    It's a great toy for the price.
  9. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Kind of reminds me of this. ;-)

  10. JoelHarris

    JoelHarris New Friend

    Mar 12, 2017
    New England
    Yes, I saw that video, after I got my pic, but I was not expecting a great, or good, marginal, trumpet anyway. Peggy Lane was the only thing in my head when I clicked pay.

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