What to Consider Before Buying a Piccolo

Piccolo Buying Guide

When it comes to piccolos, many factors need to be considered before making a purchase.

  • What should you look for?
  • How much should you spend?
  • Where can you buy a piccolo?
  • Should you opt for a new or used instrument?

But before even starting on the factors that might influence your decision for buying a piccolo, let’s find more about this singular instrument.

What is a Piccolo?

A piccolo is essentially a small flute that plays notes in higher ranges than normal concert flutes. Despite being somehow similar, it has different characteristics when comparing to the flute.

Piccolos have a clear, high-pitched sound and have been around since the 19th century. It has the same fingering as the standard flute but sounds an octave higher than written. The sound of a piccolo can be described as “bright” and “sharp.

A player demonstrating how a piccolo sounds like

They are an uncommon instrument. In most orchestras, they only make up a very small percentage of the members. This rarity means that there is not a lot of information on them out there for beginners to research and read about before purchasing one.

Due to that, many new or intermediate piccolo players have questions when looking to buy one:

How much are piccolos?

Where can I buy a piccolo?

What do I need to consider before buying a piccolo?

Should I buy a used piccolo or a new one?


How Much Should I Spend?

This question depends on how much you’re willing to spend as well as your budget!

If you are purchasing a high-quality piccolo, then expect to pay as much as $5,000.

The price can vary from anywhere between $200 to $2,000, depending on the model and producer of the piccolo.

For a high-quality piccolo, you should expect to pay about $3,000 to $4,000 or more.


Where Can I Buy A Piccolo?

Nowadays, around the internet, you will have a great variety of places to purchase any type of instrument.

However, whenever possible check also with your local music store and your music teacher or a professional that can help you guide you or suggest your first buy.

If you want to buy a new or used piccolo online, then you can look into websites like Reverb.com, Woodwind & Brasswind, or more general marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist where many people post their used instruments and you can find some good deals. However, this sort of purchase online need extra attention to get such good deals (check our article about these online marketplaces and what cautions you should have when buying there)

Reverb.com banner with different musical instruments

What To Consider Before Buying A Piccolo?

There is plenty to consider before buying a piccolo, but if you aren’t that experienced with piccolos, then you might not know where to start.

These considerations are important because they will affect the way your piccolo sounds and how easy it is for you to play with.

A student or intermediate player should consider these things before buying a piccolo:

  • Sound – What kind of sound do you want? It’s important to find an instrument that sounds good when playing by yourself but also blends well with other instruments.
  • Cost – You should establish a budget for purchasing your new or used piccolo, however, expect to pay more for a piccolo that is more likely to produce a higher-quality sound.
  • Brands – If you are looking for an instrument with a specific brand, such as Yamaha or Selmer, then it will be important to research how they compare in terms of quality and price.
  • Material – the material the piccolo is made out of will be important to consider when you are deciding which model to buy. For example, wooden piccolos have a different sound than plastic or metal.
  • Playing position – how you play your instrument can affect what type of piccolo you should purchase. You may want to invest in a “B” bass or a “C” contrabass if playing from down low or up high respectively.

Should I Buy a Used or a New Piccolo?

Three different piccolos
Three different piccolos side by side

Again, this answer is dependent on different factors, being the most important your budget.

Being one of the less played instruments, the used market for piccolos isn’t as big as other famous and popular band instruments, so you might have a harder time finding a used instrument that can match your requirements.

Similar to what is true about used flutes, used piccolos can sometimes be a better option than new ones, especially in terms of price and if you aren’t sure yet how committed you will be to playing the instrument.


Final Reflections About Purchasing a Piccolo

There are many things to consider before buying a piccolo and if you’re a new or intermediate player, this article has hopefully given you some of the factors that you should think about when looking for your first one.

Piccolos can be found in most music stores, but the price ranges widely depending on where they were made, their quality, and their brand.

Buying a used piccolo could be a good solution depending on your budget and how committed you are to play it.