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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Considering on a Piccolo in the General forums; Patrick, you may have to reconsider your stand about pitch. Most baroque stuff was for natural trumpets in written C ...
  1. #21
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Considering on a Piccolo


    you may have to reconsider your stand about pitch. Most baroque stuff was for natural trumpets in written C and D - but at A=415 or A=466, that means Cb/C# or Db/D# not modern C or D. The instruments were twice as long as their modern counterparts - hardly the squeaky picc.........

    I think that most should have a G-picc before the Bb/A picc. Much more flexible, easier to play and more forgiving than a D trumpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    I had a pic at one point - a pretty nice Besson short model. I ended up selling it for two reasons:

    1.) I rarely played it - I think that maybe I gigged it once. Maybe. Maybe not. At this point I don't really remember, and that horn has been gone since about 1997.
    2.) I had a tough time transitioning between it and standard Bb trumpet.

    If I buy another small horn, and at some point I really would like to, it will be an Eb\D - not a pic. I've been chided for my decision to do that by a friend who believes that a pic is always the better option on parts that are originally in D - the Clarke Trumpet Voluntary and the Hallelujah Chorus being two that immediately come to mind - but I've never had an issue transitioning to an Eb\D, and for as little as I'd use it, I'd just rather not have the pic.
    barliman2001 likes this.
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  2. #22
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    Possibly, but I never had a problem with the Eb/D. At the time I was using it, (sadly, I had the opportunity to purchase it, but never did) I was playing it almost every week in church for hymns and descants, and I'd used it in D on the Hallelujah chorus and Clarke Trumpet Voluntary. This wasn't even a great Eb/D - in retrospect, I think it was the Yamaha 761, and it switched from Eb to D with just one slide. I've done some reading on it recently and from what I gather, it was originally designed (I think) as just an Eb trumpet, and they decided that it might market a bit better if they added the ability to use it in D as well. (or vise versa - I don't remember at this point) It had some minor intonation quirks, but nothing that couldn't be lipped in pretty easily.

    For the hymns and descants, whatever slide I decided to use was whichever key was easiest once the part was transposed, sometimes I brought it in D, sometimes in Eb - on occasion I'd bring both and switch, but usually I ended up just using one or the other.

    I never put a lot of thought into it from an academic perspective - it was the horn that was available to me at the time, so it was what I used, and I used it in whatever key seemed to be the best for it at the time. Keep in mind, technically I was at my peak as a player back then. I was 20-21 years old and working full time as a military bandsman - all I did was play trumpet. The whole reason I had the horn was because a guy I knew next door at the Military Intelligence group had two of them, and loaned one of them to me. I wonder how things might have been different if it was an A/Bb pic. I might be singing the praises of the pic rather than the Eb/D.
    barliman2001 and Dennis78 like this.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    Quote Originally Posted by rowuk View Post
    I think that most should have a G-picc before the Bb/A picc. Much more flexible, easier to play and more forgiving than a D trumpet.
    I have them all, not that I can play anything worth beans. A friend was going to do the Messiah and wanted to borrow the picc. I suggested the D instead, which he used and it went well for him in the limited time he had to work it up. MUCH easier in our opinions than it would have been with the picc, and no transposition required. (I have a G picc that I've never used, and to me it seems just as treacherous and duck-ey as the Bb/A. Unlike the C and D trumpets.)

    But... if you just love the picc then get one. Just don't be surprised when it takes a lot of work to make it something worth listening to.

    [That's how it was with me. The hate part of the love-hate relationship came after I bought it!]
    barliman2001 likes this.

  4. #24
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    No offense intended, but I suspect you will be acquiring a picc whether or not we think it a good idea.

    I picc'ed up a Carol, very nicely put together for $, and it is a whole different animal, for sure.
    Nothing is more contagious or tenacious than music. Once you are exposed it gets inside you and you can never get rid of it. It is also non-discriminating. It can be Ride of the Valkyries, In a Gadda da Vida, the Jeopardy 15 second thinking tune, your most disliked commercial jingle - it doesn't matter. Once triggered, off you go, like it or not.

  5. #25
    Utimate User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    I never did anything more than try to play one that was at some store for sale or a friend who would let me try his. I never could get the reference point right. I am always impressed when someone can make that little thing resonate. I would love to have one to see if I could ever gain any proficiency on it but have no real need to.
    I just think of how anyone who has tried a pic for the first time acts... they blow.. it sounds terrible and then they pull the horn away laughing because it sounds so bad.
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  6. #26
    Pianissimo User ckkphoto's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    Quote Originally Posted by BrassBandMajor View Post
    Did anyone actually work their way up like barliman said? I can't really afford two kinds of speciality trumpets...

    This is precisely what I am doing now. I play about 60 percent of my practice and performing at church on an d/Eb trumpet and it has not changed my range much....but it has TREMENDOUSLY changed how well I play the upper register in my available range. Which is from F# below the staff to high F on a Bb trumpet. I am still slowly daily gaining the ability to play with relaxed confidence in my range. Will add a G trumpet likely in a year when I hit a plateau. Barlimans advice is sound. Pic will come in time. I have been using the instruments to change my tessatura as I play. So far it is working.
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  7. #27
    Pianissimo User
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    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    I started on piccolo a couple of weeks ago, a Brasspire Unicorn from ACB. My range was worse than on my regular Bb, and I did tend to overblow despite knowing beforehand that it was one of the common mistakes. I will say that the stock mpc was really bad as I just found out. I mean it was atrocious. ACB sent one of their mpcs that just arrived today. My range went back to normal (a little better maybe), the upper register slots were much easier, and the notes were in tune. I can't emphasize how bad that stock mpc was. That being said, intonation was still an issue, which I think is more of a consequence of not being used to how the slots feel and them being narrower. I feel that once you acclimate to it, it is not nearly as bad as in the first few days. You have to really embrace the bright piccolo sound and style for it to work right, I've found. Trying to go for that big warm sound totally backfires. Let it pop and be light like in all the records that use piccolo. I mean that's why you're playing piccolo anyway right? Switching back to the regular Bb is kind of difficult, especially for the first minute or so. It makes your chops feel funny, but it's not too bad.

    I feel like the gist of what I'm saying is that there is a lot of exaggeration about this type of stuff. People have been playing musical instruments for a long time. Just pick it up, play, and try to develop good habits. The idea that you have to work your way up... maybe it works better, but I don't think that it's necessary. At the end of the day, if your expectation is that you will just transition really smoothly, you will be disappointed. I started with the mentality that I was starting a new instrument but with many advantages. Then I'm not surprised and discouraged when I sound bad. To the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised today that I can play the first line of Ablassen pretty well starting on a C. If you already have that range locked in, I imagine that you could do it in a couple of weeks too.
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  8. #28
    Fortissimo User Sethoflagos's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
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    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    Quote Originally Posted by BrassBandMajor View Post
    Did anyone actually work their way up like barliman said? I can't really afford two kinds of speciality trumpets...
    One instrument you might consider is the Eb soprano cornet. IMHO it answers a number of dilemmas raised in this thread.

    1) It is a challenging instrument, at least at first, but not too challenging.
    2) You would have the opportunity to play it regularly - brass bands are always on the look-out for a good sop player.
    3) There's no confusion over which pitch is best - they only come in Eb.
    4) There's a substantial repertoire available for it.
    5) It's sufficiently different from a trumpet (and even a Bb cornet come to that) to add a whole new dimension to your musical range.

    This is purely personal opinion, but I tend to see it not so much a 'high cornet' but a unique instrument in it's own right; as distinct from a Bb cornet as a tenor horn from a euphonium.

    IMHO, in the right hands it's also the most beautiful of all the brass voices.

    coolerdave and bumblebee like this.
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  9. #29
    Fortissimo User bumblebee's Avatar
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    Great Southern Land

    Re: Considering on a Piccolo

    I'm not yet on a hunt for a piccolo but do like to listen to them and am interested in learning more about them. This video for example: (Piccolo Trumpet Playing Tips by Dr. Jack Burt)


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