Piccolo Buying Guide 

​With so many Piccolos for sale it can be daunting selecting the best one.  Of course, the 'best piccolo' really depends on what you need it for. Listed below are BIG's top rated piccolos and tips to help you select the piccolo that is best for you!

Gemeinhardt 4PMH

Top Student Piccolo

Gemeinhardt 4PMH Piccolo

Price: $$

  • ​Beginning Student
  • Great for Marching
  • ​Weather Resistant
  • Built Tough
  • Good Value

Pearl PFP-105E

Best Intermediate Piccolo

Pearl PFP105E piccolo

Price: $$$

  • ​Advancing Student
  • ​Marching or Concert
  • ​Good Outdoors
  • Pro-level Quality
  • Best Value

Bulgheroni Como

Excellent Professional Piccolo

Bulgheroni Como Piccolo

Price: $$$$

  • ​Dedicated Player
  • ​Orchestra/Concert
  • ​Fine Craftsmanship
  • High Level Quality
  • Great Value

Which Piccolo Is Best for You?

The first question most people ask when they start shopping for a piccolo is which piccolo is the best? And of course, that really depends on what you need a piccolo for! Are you a student and in a marching band where the piccolo will be used outdoors? Or maybe you are an advanced student that needs an intermediate level piccolo for orchestra or concert band. Or maybe you are an amateur or professional that needs a pro level piccolo. We'll discuss each of these below along with recommendations for specific piccolos you might consider.

Deciding you’re finally ready to invest in a piccolo of your very own and actually making a sound decision are two different matters altogether. There are many things to consider before actually putting your money down. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important factors to consider first.

When to Rent or Buy a Piccolo?

Some people take up a musical instrument like the piccolo on a purely temporary basis for any number of reasons. In those cases, a rented instrument will probably suffice perfectly well for all intents and purposes. However, those that truly fall in love with the bright, lilting sound the piccolo brings to the table will most likely decide they need to own an instrument of their own at some point in their musical journey.

Where Should You Buy Your Piccolo?

Once upon time, a piccolo player’s only option was to hit the local musical instrument shop and choose from whatever the going options were. Here in the 21st century, however, you have a nearly limitless range of options. As is the case with most anything these days, you can even buy your future piccolo online. Both brick and mortar music shops and online alternatives come attached to their own unique benefits. Traditional shops will allow you to get up close and personal with the piccolos for sale. You can hold them and even try your hand at playing them. However, your options will be limited to what local music shops keep in stock or can order directly. Online shops are likely to come attached to better prices and a greater degree of selection. Some people choose to start the browsing process at brick and mortar shops and then finalize purchases online for this reason.

What Are You Looking for in a Piccolo?

While you no doubt already know that all piccolos aren’t created equally, you may not yet be in the know as to what makes one option better than another. The following are some of the major factors you’ll want to consider when determining whether or not a particular piccolo is a good fit for you.

Piccolo Construction Material

What material a given piccolo is constructed from will be one of the most important things to think about during the shopping process. Construction material will have a hand in determining how the instrument will sound, how well it will stand up to the elements, and – ultimately – whether or not it’s a good fit for your purposes. In most cases, your choices in construction material will be between metal, plastic and wood.

Metal piccolos are the variety most often used in marching bands, as they are the most resilient when it comes to exposure to the elements. Metal is also the most resistant to temperature changes. Most metal piccolos are going to be made of silver-plated nickel. However, there are pure silver varieties out there as well. The sound attached to a metal piccolo is going to have a greater carrying power.

Plastic piccolos tend to come attached to a mellower sound than their metal cousins. They are also less expensive than many metal piccolos. Those that are at the point where they’re considering going professional may additionally want to consider wood piccolos. However, because of their susceptibility to the elements, wooden piccolos are not considered the best choice for outdoor use.

Piccolo Bore Type

In most cases, the material a piccolo is made of will also determine the type of bore that is included with a small handful of exceptions. Most metal piccolos come with a cylindrical bore while plastic and wood alternatives will have a conical bore instead. Cylindrical bores tend to be best at playing top register notes while conical bores are best at maintaining an even tone throughout all the registers. Which option is really best is a matter of personal preference, so think carefully about what you most often need your piccolo to be able to do and where you’d like to see your playing go in the future.

Piccolo Extras

Some piccolos will come attached to some truly interesting features. One of the most sought after of these is something called a split-E mechanism. If you’re a piccolo player, then you no doubt already know that the high E is a note notorious for cracking and wavering on this instrument. The split-E mechanism can help keep this from happening, although this same issue is also possible to overcome with enough practice and care.

If you’re in the market for a professional wood piccolo, you may also want to get to know the benefits attached to different kinds of wood. African blackwood will be your most common choice, but rosewood and other options are also prized for the unique qualities they bring to the sound of the instrument.

How Much Are You Looking to Spend?

Naturally, price is going to be a major consideration when it comes to the type of piccolo you ultimately decide to purchase. After all, even the most serious musicians are only going to have so much in the budget at a given time. Piccolo prices depend on the material used to make them and how well they are made. Most piccolos vary between $500 and $2500.  The less expensive piccolos are designed for student and intermediate players and the upper end of the piccolo price range represent professional piccolos.

Plastic piccolos are going to represent the least expensive options followed by nickel piccolos and then silver piccolos. Wood piccolos – especially those with special features or from top brands – will be the upper echelon for professionals and very serious players. Sometimes buying a used piccolo can be a great way to get a fantastic deal on an instrument you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

​Best Piccolo Brands

It’s important to make sure you choose a piccolo brand with a good reputation for building instruments that really last. Burkhart, Bulgheroni, Di Zhao, Emerson, Gemeinhardt, Haynes, Pearl, Phillip Hammig, Powell and Yamaha are just a few of the best piccolo brands. Brand should be a major consideration regardless of whether you’re buying new or used. Instruments manufactured with care and precision will always be better bets than lesser known, bargain alternatives. The process of shopping for a piccolo of your very own can definitely be a very exciting one. However, it’s important to make sure it’s a fruitful one as well by considering the right principles.


Comparison of Top Rated Student, Intermediate and Professional Piccolos

Before buying a piccolo it is a good idea to do some comparison shopping.  To help listed in the table below are some of the best rated piccolos that cover the gamut from student to professional piccolos.​ Happy piccolo hunting!

Piccolo

Grade

BIG Rating

Price

More Info

Sky Student Piccolo

Student

$

Read Review

Bundy BPC-300

Student

$$

Read Review

Jupiter 301S

Student

$$

Read Review

Gemeinhardt 4PMH

Student

$$

Read Review

Yamaha YPC-32

Student

$$$

Read Review

Pearl PFP-105E

Intermediate

$$$

Read Review

Pearl PFP-165E

Intermediate

$$$

Read Review

Gemeinhardt 4SP

Intermediate

$$$

Read Review

Di Zhao Grenadilla

Intermediate

$$$

Read Review

Yamaha YPC-62

Professional

$$$$

Read Review

Gemeinhardt 4W

Professional

$$$$

Read Review

Emerson Boston Legacy

Professional

$$$$

Read Review

Bulgheroni Combo

Professional

$$$$

Read Review

Haynes HAPI

Professional

$$$$$

Read Review