rs berkeley piccolo review

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.

schiller piccolo review


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.