Piccolo or Flugelhorn

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ccb_22, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. ccb_22

    ccb_22 Pianissimo User

    Jan 12, 2010
    I'm planning on buying both a piccolo and a flugel because I am fortunate enough that I am occasionally being hired to play both. I am usually able to borrow or work out other arrangements, but that is not ideal My question is which one should I buy first - or maybe my question is which one will I play more?

    I play in a local symphony where we perform mostly middle of the road classical music. We also do two pops performances each season. I also perform with local musical theater groups. I don't currently play in a jazz or big band, and I don't do many weddings or chamber ensemble stuff. My previous experience has required the use of piccolo and flugel about the same number of times - I've needed both for the symphony and both for the pit orchestra. At this point, none of my current gigs require either picc or flugel, but you never know what's in store down the road.

    I have studied both these instruments in college and even own mouthpieces for both. I'll accept any challenge on flugel, but have had to pass on a few picc opportunities because I wasn't completely sure I was up for it. So given all that info, which do you think I should purchase first and why? Also, please no suggestions on which brands/models - that's a whole other discussion. Thanks in advance for any insight.
  2. patdublc

    patdublc Pianissimo User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Salisbury, MD
    My own personal experience is that I have paid for several other horns from the money that I made playing picc. So, I consider my picc to be my "money" horn. However, I made most of that money doing weddings and church gigs that you indicate you don't do. I've never really made much money off my flugel.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how others respond.
  3. GreenFrogJelly

    GreenFrogJelly New Friend

    Jul 19, 2011
    New York
    Piccolo playing usually requires more maintenance on a consistant basis than flugelhorn playing. A flugelhorn is nice to have but I put off buying one until I was already into my DMA. Before, I would just borrow one when I needed it.
  4. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Based on the above, I would suggest starting with a flugel. A good one can be purchased for less than a good picc. Then you would only need to worry about borrowing a picc when you determine it is a gig you can handle.

    I bought a very nice flugelhorn (used) for under $600 and it works for my needs. But, then, I can't play a picc at all so the choice was easy for me.

    As far as what to buy - well, as has been stated many times on this forum, "it's like buying a pair of shoes..."

    Good luck.
  5. loudog

    loudog Piano User

    Jan 4, 2004
    Grand Island, NE
    Buy the picc first...don't cheap out, spend some money and get a good one, like a Schilke or Yamaha (there are others too). I agree with the comment about that being the "money horn." Once you have it, go book yourself a bunch of weddings, then you can buy the flugel.

    In all the gigging that I do, I have rarely NEEDED a flugelhorn. I agree with the comment from GreenFrogJelly...I am getting ready to start my DMA after this coming school year, and I only just bought my flugel less than a year ago. That being said, I don't do a whole lot of big band gigs, but occasionally if I've been in a pit or something, I've either been able to borrow one, or just play trumpet on the passage(s).

    Go with the piccolo. That's my suggestion, anyway.

  6. gchun

    gchun Piano User

    Dec 10, 2003
    I think it really depends on the direction you are learning towards. If it's commercial/jazz/top 40/pit orchestra, the flugel is probably more useful. If it's classical/solo/quintet work, the pic would be my first choice. I agree with the post of not scrimping on the pic. More often than not, you can get by with a used or budget flugel. That's usually not the case with pic.

    If you go with a used/budget flugel, you might be able to afford BOTH the pic and flugel.

  7. stevesf

    stevesf Piano User

    Jun 23, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I most cases I would suggest a flugel as a primary need (in jazz or commercial or other wise)but if all you plan on doing is orchestral or classical work then a pic seems more logical. Don't cheat yourself either way , get a good one. Since it only will be a specialty horn anyways and something you can't devote enough practice time on it don't waste your money on a cheapy with intonation or mechanical issues or you will always will not depend on it ;)
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  8. ccb_22

    ccb_22 Pianissimo User

    Jan 12, 2010
    Good points, all. I appreciate the input. I was not planning on skimping on either horn, but even still, I think I will probably end up paying more for the picc and so I think it does make sense to go that route first. The reason I don't play many church / wedding gigs is that I simply haven't gone looking for them. Once I feel comfortable performing most literature on the picc again, there's no reason I can't seek out more more work with it and help pay for the flugel. I'm not sure it will work the other way. So, again thanks for the input.
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I am a jazz player and the flugelhorn IS my money maker for my quintet work.

    It really does depend on which type of music you think you will be hired to play. I imagine too that finding piccolo gigs if you devote more time as a classical player would be more economically rewarding.

    AND if you are ever competing with my quintet to score a jazz gig, DEFINATELY get a piccolo!
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  10. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Since you are already comfortable on the flugelhorn and apparently have no problem borrowing one if needed--buy the piccolo. That way, you can work on the piccolo, hopefully pick up some paying gigs and get the flugel later. I will echo the sentiment already made--don't cheap out. At the very least get a used Getzen Eterna--they're getting cheaper every month on ebay. By the way, count on buying another mouthpiece, unless the piccolo you played in school was the Eterna. Mouthpiece selection on a picc can be crucial.

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