Thinking about getting a piccolo

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by craigph, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    I've been playing Baroque music a lot lately and listening to a number of piccolo recordings from Maurice Andre, Haken Hardenberger and Wynton Marsalis and absolutely love the sound of a piccolo. I've recently been thinking about getting one. (Something like a Getzen 940 probably.)

    I've read a couple comments online from people saying they bought a piccolo and found it too difficult to sold it. At least one person said a piccolo is only for a professional.

    I'm wondering if this is true? Is it not just another horn (with a higher starting range)? I'd love to hear any experiences with the piccolo from other comeback / amateur players.

    My understanding is that the narrow bore makes the instrument more restrictive than a Bb. So, does it feel kind of like playing a Bb above C in the staff with a practice mute?
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I've not played a piccolo but know guys that have them and they don't play them either!:-) They thought they could add range w/o work (ROFLROFL)! Based on what I know about the guys that have them, it is a lot of work and nothing like a Bb trumpet. It tends to be IMO a professional horn. The players you mentioned all sound great on one cause they are among the best players on the planet. With the exchange rate being what it is though, you may be able snag a very good deal if you just got to have one!:-)
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    My experience was that the piccolo is a different beast, and it took me about five years to feel comfortable on it. What helped the most were those good old boring flexibility exercises, which taught me where the notes like to sit. Some teachers advocate starting on the Bb side of a Bb/A because it is easier for our ears; others the A side, because it is lower.

    Have fun!
  4. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    In what ways is it different? I know that it doesn't magically increase your range. I have been playing some pieces where most of the notes are between C in the staff and A, with high C being the top note and nothing below A in the staff. This would fit into the lower register of the piccolo range. I wonder how playing that on a piccolo would compare to doing it on the big horn? I am guessing that on a piccolo one would use a lighter touch and less air but the basic embouchure and buzzing would be the same as playing the same pitches on Bb. No?
  5. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    Thanks for having the courage to talk about things you don't know about. :D (just razzin' ya!)

    Indeed! I've been quite busy for a few weeks (making/grading tests, essays etc) and hadn't really paid attention to the outside world. Then a week ago I realized that the yen-US dollar exchange is at historic lows. I told my wife "if there's anything expensive you want to buy from overseas this might be a good time to do so" .... thinking that if she did so I could be justified in buying another instrument! Regarding piccolo trumpets, I think used Getzen 940s often sell for around $1000. With the current exchange that works out to something like $770 for me. 15 years ago when I moved here $1000 US would have been more like $1250.
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Not a problem. Maybe I can be the official "outhouse lawyer" here at TM! :lol::lol:
  7. RichJ

    RichJ Piano User

    Jan 16, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    The quality of the piccolo trumpet and the match of the player to the mouthpiece to the piccolo makes a huge difference. But, in short, it won't make the upper register easier. It will make you more accurate and will help immensely with clarity of tone up there, but if a high C feels tight on the Bb trumpet, it will feel tight on the piccolo, and so forth.

    I don't think they are only for professionals at all, but they do require good fundamentals and will exagerrate any playing deficiencies.

    Be sure to try before you buy. I have a Yamaha 9830 that I like and the Schilkes are also excellent.
  8. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    If you really want to play a piccolo and are willing to put in the practice... well then go for it. Nothing magical about it ... the pics I tried all had one thing in common... if you try to muscle them they basically flip you off and say "no"
    I think they are tough to play but you don't have to make a living on the horn to be able to do some very nice stuff on them. I would try to find a pic playing instructor.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    To what is mostly stated by coolerdave above I'll add my 1+, but in finding a picc playing instructor, I'd lay the challenge of it being harder to find than finding a needle in a haystack. I have played my Schilke P5-4, but not yet again since my heart surgery, as otherwise I would never attempt to teach another how to play one, unless that trumpeter can play all their music on Bb trumpet quad piamissimo (which I can't do either). I did transpose the C piccolo part of Stars and Stripes, Forever! for my Schilke when I recorded my complete brass rendition of S&SF. Too, though it was only in a shock of hay, I found the needle my grandfather put in it by using a magnet powered by a 6 volt dry cell battery, but then I had to fork up that hay and add it to the new bedding in the horse stalls that I had earlier shoveled out. His point was being able to do something and earning a living doing it are two different objectives and that I find applys to music as well. Quite often he did earn money playing his "fiddle" for others which I liked better when he played it at home.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  10. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Study with one of your local symphony players - that's what I did when I started picc. Just remember that even though it's a trumpet and it can play in Bb, it really is a different beast and needs to be treated as such! I've always found it a blast to play, and it took me about a year to feel comfortable, but I practiced a LOT, and was already a strong player. Don't be afraid to try it, but get some good instruction and do it right - it's not easy, but can be very rewarding!

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