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The Perfect Marching Piccolo

How do I choose the perfect marching piccolo?

The ideal piccolo to use in marching band must have exceptional tonal clarity and projection and be durable enough to withstand quickly changing temperatures. How can you find a piccolo that balances these seemingly opposite requirements? Let's dive into the key elements to consider when shopping for your marching band piccolo.


The most important feature for your marching piccolo is the material. For outdoor marching, we recommend piccolos made out of metal or plastic, which can withstand the temperature fluctuations that are all too common during marching band season. 

What’s the difference between plastic and metal piccolos? 

Plastic: Plastic piccolos are favored by beginners and students because of their cost-effectiveness and resilience. Their lightweight construction and resistance to temperature and humidity fluctuations make them less prone to damage and cracking. Plastic also tends to have a warmer and less shrill tone than metal piccolos. Shop plastic piccolos.

Metal: Before plastic piccolos rose in popularity, metal piccolos were the only option for safe marching. The most common material for metal piccolos is silver-plated nickel, but you can also find solid silver and even solid gold piccolos. Piccolos made of metal are favored for their vibrant and penetrating tone, with exceptional projection. Shop metal piccolos.

What about rainy weather?

While plastic and metal piccolos can withstand the cold, they aren’t the best option for rainy weather. If you often find yourself wishing for an umbrella during marching band, you should consider a Guo piccolo. Guo New Voice piccolos are weather-resistant, affordable, and light-weight! The tube is composed entirely of engineered high polymer plastics resulting in a very lightweight flute. This material has a sound similar to silver, with a quick, easy response. Shop Guo piccolos.

Why not wood? 

Wood piccolos are fantastic for indoor uses! They are typically made from grenadilla and have a lush, warm, and open sound. Just as with string instruments and wood clarinets and oboes, the bodies of piccolos can actually crack due to temperature fluctuations, which causes the wood to swell and shrink, compromising the integrity of the body.

Finding Your Sound

After material, the other major factor in choosing a marching piccolo is tone. As flutists, your tone is an extension of your musical voice. The good news is there are many different brands of marching piccolo, so your perfect piccolo is out there!

How do I know which brand is right for me?

Just as each professional piccolo player has their own tone, every piccolo manufacturer has a unique vision of what the perfect piccolo sounds like, and makes their piccolo in accordance with that idea. Many flutists also find that certain piccolo brands feel easier to play than others. As long as you are shopping with a reputable dealer like Flute Center, the brand you select doesn’t really matter! What is most important is finding an instrument that is a good fit for you. Some of our favorite brands for marching piccolos include Guo, Yamaha, Jupiter, Pearl, and Di Zhao.  View all of our outdoor piccolos here.  

To find your perfect marching piccolo, we recommend visiting our store in New York or Chicago for a trial or trying some piccolos in the comfort of your own home

Once you’ve found your perfect marching piccolo, you’ll need accessories of course! Flute Center has cases, cloths, swabs, bags, and more! Take a look at some of our favorite accessories for marching band flutists.

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