Learning to play a Piccolo Trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Kamikaze, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. tptmusicaz

    tptmusicaz Pianissimo User

    Dec 12, 2006
    I shelled out the bucks for a Schilke P5-4 a few years back...I love that horn. I should also mention that I bought the MA conversion (haven't really ever needed to use the extra slide for the 4th valve). If I was buying now, I'd either get the standard version or the Butler/Geuyer conversion. As for mouthpieces...for me (and this may/will be different for everyone), I've found that a bigger mouthpiece that allows for more air into the horn is the way to go. I have a Monette Prana AP-5L that's shallow so it's easy to play something like the Brandenburg 2, but for nearly everything else, I get too thin of a sound. I tried out a deeper cup and bigger bore mouthpiece and the difference was amazing. Still had range, but the sound was so much more full. Try everything out and buy what feels best for you.
  2. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze New Friend

    Apr 23, 2007

    Thank you for the insight and your experiences!
    It is valuable to read your reply with how you dealt with the mouthpiece situation. I may want to try that as I have attempted to play with only smaller and shallower mouthpieces.

    I'm not familiar with the conversions you mentioned. Would you mind explaining them here please?

    Thank you in advance for your reply?
  3. oldenick

    oldenick Pianissimo User

    Apr 10, 2007
  4. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    Good books for piccolo trumpet and transposition are the First and Second Book of Practical Studies for Saxophone by Nilo Hovey. They are short etudes that can easily be transposed up a minor third (piccolo tpt in C) or a perfect fourth(trumpet in D) on the A pipe.
  5. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze New Friend

    Apr 23, 2007

    Thanks for the book reference! This is just the sort of resource I am looking for!


    It's funny that you mentioned the Sax books by Hovey! I've been using thosem with one of my daughters who plays alto and soprano and since I've been trying to help her understand the transposition between Eb and Bb, it has been a great tool for me to go Bb to Eb!

    Thanks for all the recommendations!
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    At first because you are coming from a bigger horn you will be putting too much air into the horn. This will cause it the back up on you. Play in the low register on the picc. and your body will adapt. As you try and play higher just remember to relax. remember the picc is a different animal. The sound is very different on picc. Give yourself time to get use to it. In addition to the Hickman book and Clarke 1 & 2 Mel Broiles has a good book out. Called Baroque Trumpet by Queen City Brass. Also just play scales Slow and easy at first. Start on low C on the horn play one octave up and down with arppegios. Descend by 1/2 steps. whatever you get get a 4 valve. Most people like a left hand model but I use a right hand model. for mpc everyone goes through the process of finding what works for them. I finally landed on the Stork P series. It's my dream picc. mpc.
  7. tptmusicaz

    tptmusicaz Pianissimo User

    Dec 12, 2006
    Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you...I went camping this weekend.

    The P5-4 has 3 options...standard which is just the regular horn, The MA conversion gives you an additional 1/4 tone slide to replace the 4th valve slide to put the horn in G. Warning: this does not mean you have a Bb/A/G picc...it's just for easier trills for certain valve combos.

    The other option is the BG or the Butler/Geyer. It simply adds a first valve slide saddle and a third valve slide ring for fine tuning.

    Anyway you go, the P5-4 is an incredible horn.

  8. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Could the Kanstul 1520 piccolo be a good choice?
    It plays in G/A/Bb and has a complete set of slides
    and bells for all three keys.
    Starting with the piccolo tuned to G sounds like a
    "soft start" on a piccolo to me . . .

    Maybe someone with good knowledge of piccolos
    could say something about how they are, compared
    to each other . . .
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  9. Toot4fun

    Toot4fun New Friend

    Dec 23, 2008
    Good evening-

    Can you elaborate on the horn that you got from eBay? Like you, I would expect some comments from the group on this approach and understand that I will get what I pay for, but at this time, I can't justify (to my wife) spending a lot of money on a new picc. Down the road would be another story, but for now, it's more something that I'd like to try and go from there.

  10. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze New Friend

    Apr 23, 2007

    Here are the details of the "expensive toy" I purchased:

    It was a "Steal" in my opinion at $50.00 and I figured with the previous experiences, (or Luck!), on E-bay, that even though it was not a name brand instrument, I would at least end up with a horn that would be a novelty I could have some fun to play as a joke.

    The seller had an excellent rating and was also an established music business so I figured I would have a semi-decent, elementary school level instrument to work with.

    What I ended up with, was some nice appearing, nickle plated, shiny piccolo trumpet that was totally out of alignment when it was assembled and "finished". One of the things I liked about the purchase was that it came with a hard wood case and a "A" tuning slide. The "pearls" on top of the valve buttons were poorly machined and did not fit well into the recessed tops of the buttons. One of them was actually popped out and the buttons themselves were machined off axis so they were not concentric and they were also not perpendicular to the valve stems!

    The bottom valve caps appeared to be cross-threaded but ended up being similar to the valve buttons. They were cocked at an angle when they were machined for the threads and probably cut out-of-parallel.

    None of the slides would move freely without some coercion. But since I have the proper tools to remove stuck slides, I did so with only a slight effort. It was more than what most people would do but nothing out of the ordinary for someone used to working on neglected elementary school horns. Once I got the slides freed up, the mis-alignment of the horn was visually noticeable! The slides would not go back in easily even with the use of Ultra Pure Light Tuning slide grease. I "mic'ed" up the receiver bores and also checked the inner slides and found most of the metal, although brand new and very clean but dry, was out of round! Some were actually oval shaped! The bore sizes varied between 0.419" to 0.445"! I was able to "true" them up using a standard mandrel and then giving them a light surface cleaning before re-lubing them and sliding them back in with normal effort.

    The valves were a complete and utter disappointment!
    They were brass with a light and terrible plating job on the outside surfaces and the roughest and least quality machine work and detail of the whole instrument! The edges were were very rough and had some metal burrs. Not sharp or clean defined machining. The spring guides would catch on all valves when depressed and were of a cheap thin plastic. The springs were made of a material only marginal for something like a spiral bound notepad! These last two items were replaced with a used set from an old Yamaha student horn, but the valve guide slots needed to be trued up and deburred before attempting to get the guides to slide remotely smoothly!

    The valve casings were nowhere near straight or true!
    The closest I could figure out is that the horn was soldered free-hand without a jig and therefore, the valves would "catch" in the middle or top or end of the stroke, (depending on which valve!), and would not allow the valve to return up! The interior of the casings were also a bare brass! One other thing I forgot to mention was that the valves were stamped 1-2-3-4 from the mouthpiece going towards the bell. However! The casings were actually 4-3-2-1 and therefore the valves were totally mis-matched!
    I hate to say what I did to get them to line up and move freely in the bores but I can tell you that it did work and improve the sound and tone quality. But that isn't saying much for this horn!

    So, if you stuck through all these details I have written, let's just say that I was a sucker born the minute I decided to go ahead a try a "Monique" brand instrument....

    Since then, I have tried the Yamaha I previously posted about, (not sure what model but was told it is now discontinued), a Benge 4-valve, a Getzen and a Selmer, but have not found any of these to my liking or comfort yet...

    Please learn from my mistakes and hope you have better luck and make better decisions in your choices!

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