The head joint is the biggest difference between the RS Berkeley P102 Piccolo and the Schiller Piccolo I reviewed in December. There is no lip plate on the RS Berkeley model, and so it has taken a little time for my flautists to get used to it. I think this is mostly a personal preference, though, as the student currently playing it has adjusted to it and sounds great.
I purchased the P102 for my school in August of 2014, so it has been in use for a year and a half.
- Plays in tune
- Key action is fine
- Tone is adequate for a plastic piccolo
- No issues sending it to the local shop for pad adjustment
- Twice I've had to deal with a warranty issue. The first time, the metal tenon on the body came loose. I glued it back in place and haven't had an issue with that since.
- The second issue was the metal piece on the head joint that connects to the body. This also came loose, but for some reason I couldn't pull it out and re-glue it. As a result, I went through RS Berkeley's warranty support and mailed it off to them in New Jersey. It came back within a couple weeks and was fixed for free, so I was satisfied.
- Students generally don't seem to like the lack of a lip plate (though once they get used to it, I don't think it's a big deal).
If I were buying another piccolo, I would probably look at other options again. Based on my experience with the Schiller piccolo, I don't think the RS Berkeley P102 is the best value. Of course, since I'm comparing just one of each model, it's hard to say that definitively.