Model P Piccolo
This will be the first in a two part series on the piccolos I have at school. The other is made by RS Berkeley.
This Schiller Model P has seen over four years of use and has been played by several students (and me) during that time. Let's start with how it looks.
The Model P is protected by a hard case which is itself wrapped in a faux-fur lined nylon cover. The cover has a small zippered pocket on the outside, Within the first year or so, the zipper on the case cover broke. Oh well. The hardshell case is still holding up great; my only complaint is that the latch releases are tiny and difficult to push. On similar cases, I have seen this style of latch break easily (the screws strip out the socket in the case), but either this case is tougher than those, or my students have been gentle (I know the latter is true).
Inside the case, the head joint and body fit snugly and seem adequately protected. There is a spot for cork grease (or perhaps ear plugs, since this is a piccolo).
How does it play? Fine, but it won't win any awards. Being a piccolo, it is naturally impossible to play in tune (though by some sort of magic, the high school student currently playing it is able to do so). She likes the lip plate on the head joint (compared to the RS Berkeley piccolo I'll get to later) and has no mechanical issues with playing it. I've had a couple of adjustments to leveling pads in that time and no other repairs.
Tone is what you would expect from a plastic/metal piccolo: not very warm and a little thin. Would it be my first choice for a concert piccolo? No, but it was only about $250, and for my purposes in getting the piccolo color into our band, it has worked out great.
In the next post I'll include some recordings comparing the two budget piccolos my school has.