Guide to Piccolo Materials

Piccolo makers use materials in their piccolos to get a distinct sound. Different materials can also affect the price of a piccolo. This post will give an overview to the different piccolo materials you can choose from.

Hannah B Flute | Guide to Piccolo Materials

When choosing a piccolo, you can choose from a variety of materials. The most common are metal, plastic, and wood. Plastic is the cheapest, followed by metal, and wood is more expensive.

There are also two types of plastic: straight plastic and composite.

In this post, we are going to explore the many piccolo materials. We will also look at the pros and cons of each.


Plastic piccolos are one of the most common, especially for students. They are cheap, resistant to extreme temperatures, and they work well for beginners.

Some piccolos are made with both a plastic body and headjoint. Others have a plastic body and a metal headjoint.

The pros of a plastic piccolo include the lower price as well as the durability of the piccolo. If you will be playing outside, plastic piccolos can withstand the heat and cold. You don’t have to worry about cracking, like with a wood piccolo.

Cons of a plastic piccolo include the airy tone you can get. However, they are great in almost every other way. Even if you choose to buy a wood piccolo down the line, a plastic piccolo is a great back up instrument.

Common brands: Yamaha, Jupiter, Gemeinhardt

Price range (new): $500-900

Price range (used): $250-450


Composite is a type of plastic piccolo. These usually come configured with both a composite body and headjoint. Though you can buy a wood or metal headjoint if you wish.

These piccolos are a combination of plastic and wood. I currently play a composite piccolo, and I love it. Composite piccolos give you all the benefits of a wood piccolo without the price or the worries about cracks.

You can play a composite piccolo both indoors and out. No need to worry about the wood cracking. The plastic in the piccolo stabilizes the wood for a more refined sound and requires less management.

Common brands: Pearl, Guo, Di Zhao, Roy Seaman

Price range (new): $800-1100

Price range (used): $650-900


Metal piccolos are probably the least common, but they do exist. They serve their own purpose for piccolo players. Metal piccolos, like flutes, come in different metals.

You can find metal piccolos that are silver plated, solid silver, and even gold.

Metal piccolos, while uncommon, are great for marching band and other outdoor events. Metal piccolos carry more than plastic or wood, so they can be heard on a large football field.

My first piccolo was silver plated, and it was a great first instrument. I was able to use it in marching band, and it was also very affordable. Metal piccolos do cost a bit more than plastic piccolos, but not by much.

Used metal piccolos are a much better deal than new, because they are not in high demand.

If you plan to play outside a lot, metal piccolos are worth looking into.

Common brands: Gemeinhardt, Armstrong

Price range (new): $1100-2700

Price range (used): $250-1000


Professional piccolos are almost always made of wood. You can even choose from different woods. Grenadilla is the most common wood, and you can find many companies that use the wood in their piccolos.

I have played a school owned wood piccolo, and it was definitely a step up from my metal one. However, wood piccolos vary a lot in cost. Wood piccolos start at around $1500 and can go up ten-fold. The most expensive wood piccolo I have seen costs around $15000.

If you choose to buy a wood piccolo, be very aware of your budget, and shop smart. Unless you are a professional piccolo player in an orchestra, you probably don’t need all of the bells and whistles. You probably don’t need a handmade mechanism.

The biggest con of wood piccolos is the cost, but you can find lower cost wood piccolos.

Common brands: Yamaha, Lyric, Resona, Gemeinhardt

Price range (new): $1500-15000

Price range (used): $1200-10000


What kind of piccolo do you play? Have you experimented with different piccolo materials? Comment below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@hannahbflute)!


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Protec Flute Case Cover Review

If you have been with me for awhile, you might have seen my first review of this case cover. I wrote that post a few years back, and I wanted to write an updated version for you all.

Protec is a company that makes cases and covers for a lot of different instruments. They have cases and bags for woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, and more.

Hannah B Flute | Protec Flute Case Cover Review

Today, I am going to talk about their deluxe flute case cover.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. To read my full privacy policy, click here.

Why Get a Case Cover?

There are a few reasons why you might want a little something more than just your flute case. First off, student flute cases rarely have a pocket to store cleaning supplies, pencils, and the like.

Intermediate through professional flutes come with case covers, but they are thinner and may not last very long. I know with my current flute, the case cover started to get a little wear and tear after a little over a year.

A case cover also (usually) comes with a shoulder strap. That frees up your hands for sheet music, a music stand, or whatever else you may need to lug around.

Case covers are a simple, convenient way to keep all of your flute related items together but out of the flute case itself. I love being able to keep my flute, cleaning cloths/rods, piccolo, pencils, and instrument stands all in one place.

Why Protec?

Protec Flute Case Cover

There are a lot of companies out there that make flute case covers. I am reviewing the Protec cover, because I actually own it. I have had it for almost five years, and I used it on and off for most of that time.

The Cost

When I got my first flute, it actually came in a case similar to professional flutes. But it didn’t have a case cover. So it also had no outside storage, handles, anything.

I came across the Protec cover at a local music shop, and it looked like a great solution. It was also cheap, which was great for a student. I believe I payed around $35 for the cover.

The Colors

I went with the classic black, but the case cover also comes in purple and pink. If you prefer to have a brighter case so you can find it, go with the pink. If you want a more professional cover that you can take on stage, go with black.

Purple is also great if you want to stand out a little bit, but you still want a more subdued look.

The Features

One thing that I liked about the Protec cover when I was using it was that it had tons of room for accessories. The outside pocket is much bigger than on other case covers. It’s big enough to fit a piccolo, if you have one.

The case cover is also pretty durable. I put it through quite a lot, and it still works. Yes, there is wear and tear, but nothing major.

You can also carry it multiple ways. There is the traditional handle, found on many student flute cases. You can carry it on your shoulder with the detachable shoulder strap. Finally, there is a handle on the end of the case, so you can carry it the long way.

Who is it For?

The Protec case cover is great for students and people who want a more durable cover than what they have. It is budget friendly, and you can order it from just about any online music retailer.

The case cover is also great for more advanced players who don’t have the money to spend on the more expensive case covers.

Almost any flute case can fit in the cover, student or professional, C foot or B foot. Your flute will probably fit, though it is always a good idea to check for return policies when buying online.

Who Should Shop Around?

While I believe any flutist could benefit from the case, it does have its problems. If you are like me, and you play quite a bit of piccolo, this is not the case for you.

The large outside pocket is great, because it does fit most piccolo cases. However the outside pocket is meant for storing accessories. Therefore it is not insulated like the main pocket.

That is okay for casual players, and for people who don’t play piccolo much. But it poses a problem for flutists who will be bringing their flute and piccolo around together a lot. That issue is actually what made me stop using the Protec cover.

There are tons of other companies that make case covers that do have space for a piccolo in the insulated compartment. I do plan on reviewing one of them (Fluterscooter) in the future.


Have you used the Protec case cover? Do you use another brand of case cover? Let me know in the comments!


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How to Buy Instruments Online

With websites like Amazon and eBay, it is easier than ever to buy instruments online. You can find so many amazing deals, and you can have your new instrument in a matter of days.

Gone are the days of having to trek to a music festival or visit an instrument vendor or store. You can order yourself a new instrument from your own bed. How nice is that?

Killer Harmony | Buying Instruments Online | Grey background with maroon text (Buying instruments online) and teal text (for musicians)

It’s nice…if you’re smart about it. There are some good deals out there, but there are also some not so good deals. So, I am going to give you my tips for buying instruments online. While in person is best, sometimes you have no other choice.

1. Stick with reputable brands.

There are dozens of brands of instruments on sites like Amazon, but a lot of them are of bad quality. They are cheaply made instruments, which is why those instruments are usually really cheap.

If you are searching for a flute or piccolo, stick to brands like Yamaha, Pearl, or Jupiter, among others. These instruments will cost more than the  “Sky” or “Band Director Approved” instruments.

Going with a reputable brand means you will get a better quality instrument. It will last longer, and the cost will be worth it over time. Please do not buy those $100 instruments; they are not worth your time or money.

2. Read the reviews.

Read the reviews of the instrument before you purchase. If you can, contact someone you know who has played the brand and model you are considering. Or ask a private teacher for recommendations.

In many cases, the reviews can tell you a lot about the instrument. If you cannot test the instrument out before buying, you want to make sure you are getting a good value.

If you are on Amazon, you can even check out the Q&A section to see if there are any questions with helpful answers. Reviews may seem silly, and of course you should ignore the more biased ones. Some reviews can be really helpful, though.

3. Look at specialty websites.

There are so many online music stores, both general and instrument specific. Even if you plan to buy from Amazon, check with these other sites to see if the instrument you want is available.

For flutists, websites like FluteWorld and the Flute Center of New York have a ton of good brands in stock. I ended up purchasing a piccolo from Amazon, but I had seen it on flute specific websites. I also had a recommendation from a flute teacher.

These specialty sites will probably have a higher shipping fee, but a lot of them do have trial periods. If you decide you don’t like what you ordered, you can send it back. That is a great perk when you are unsure of what you want.

4. Check the shipping terms. And track your package.

What I mean by this is that you should be aware of how your instrument will be shipped. I personally would go for the fastest shipping you can. Yes, it adds to the cost. But the last thing you want is to have your instrument sitting in a warehouse without temperature controls.

You should also do your best to be home the day your instrument arrives. That might contradict my last piece of advice, but it’s almost more important. So priority goes to being home on delivery day. If you are out running errands or working all day, you won’t be able to get your instrument inside and away from crooks.

Not only do you want to get your instrument out of the elements quickly, but you don’t want to have a package sitting on your doorstep that will attract thieves.

5. Know the return policy.

This goes for anything you buy online. If you buy from somewhere that does not have a trial period, you still should know whether you can return the instrument if you are unhappy.

How long do you have to make a return? Do you have to pay for shipping? How do you ship it back? While you will hopefully find something you love, you still want to be aware of the terms in case you don’t end up liking the instrument or in case something is wrong with it.

6. Buy in person when you can.

I wrote this post for the people who can’t buy an instrument in person. If you have the option to buy an instrument that you want in person, do that.

You’ll save on shipping, and you can test the instrument out before you even purchase it.

For when you can’t buy an instrument in person, I hope these tips help for buying an instrument online. Definitely read up on everything you can regarding the instrument you want to purchase and educate yourself and the shipping and return policies.

7. Enjoy your new instrument!

Buying a new instrument is exciting! So be sure to enjoy your new purchase. While some purchase methods are easier or harder, no matter how you buy, have fun.


Have you bought an instrument online before? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe for more exclusive tips and musings sent straight to your inbox!

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Flute Prices & Brands 

If you are a flutist or want to become one, you need to have a good quality flute that fits you and your playing style. There are a lot of flutes to choose from at different levels and from different brands.

Killer Harmony | Flute Brands & Prices | Flute shopping can be hard. You have to consider the price you can pay as well as the brand of the flute. Some brands and materials or better than others.

As a recent flute grad, I have learned quite a bit about the different options available, and I would like to share that info with you in this post. Brands and prices vary differently depending on where you live, so I will be discussing the most common brands and their flutes in the US.

I hope you can use this as a guide to determine the best flute for you. But first, a disclaimer: don’t just take my advice for choosing a flute. Find a reputable flutist or teacher who can help you in the buying process.

1. Student model flutes

These are the flutes that are best for beginners. Most student flutes are made out of silver plated nickel, and they are built to withstand a lot. Almost every flutist starts out on this type of flute, because they are reliable, and they are budget friendly.

At this stage, you probably won’t know what to look for in a flute, which is why you should consider finding a teacher and asking for their help. You can buy a flute from the company, a music store, or second hand. Some music stores also allow you to rent your flute before buying so that you can test it out. Then, you won’t be obligated to pay in full without knowing if it is for you.

Some good student model brands include Yamaha, Jupiter, Gemeinhardt, Trevor James, and Di Zhao. The first three brands are a little cheaper than the last two, but Trevor James and Di Zhao flutes are better for if you want a long lasting flute. The other brands are not always as well built, and so you will need to upgrade sooner than if you have a better constructed student flute.

Most, if not all, student flutes can be found for less than $1000. But be careful of the really cheap ones online. They are not made well, and some repair technicians will not work on them. The least you can get away with paying for a student flute is around $200 for a used Yamaha.

2. Intermediate model flutes

These flutes are great for advanced players. Once you have started to out grow your student flute, it’s time to upgrade.

Intermediate model flutes usually have a solid silver head joint and a silver plated body and foot joint. They also have open holes, a B foot, and sometimes other mechanisms to help facilitate playing.

Some intermediate models are considered professional quality (I play one of these myself). These flutes are made of the same materials as other intermediate flutes but might be partly handmade or have a professional level head joint.

Intermediate models are often also called step up flutes, because they are a step up from student models. These flutes start at about $1200 and can go up to about $3000, depending on the maker. If you have been playing flute for a few years, this type of instrument is a great choice.

3. Solid silver flutes

These flutes can be considered intermediate or professional, depending on the brand and the amount of hand work put into them. Solid silver flutes are a bit darker than silver plated flutes, and they sound slightly more mellow.

Solid silver flutes are usually considered more professional than flutes with only a solid silver head joint. I have yet to upgrade to an all solid silver flute, but I would like to in the near future.

Silver is the standard metal for flutes, so it is a good choice for professionals and advanced students. While silver is the standard, there are other metals that are used on some flutes.

4. Other metals

Flutes can use a few different metals in their construction. The most common metals, as discussed above, are silver and nickel. These two metals are relatively hard. They will carry more, and they are cheaper.

If you want a really mellow sound, you can invest in a gold or platinum flute. These flutes are really only available at the professional level; I don’t recommend them for students. I personally do not want a gold or platinum flute in the future. They are a little too mellow for me.

Gold flutes are better at blending into other instruments, so if you want to play in an orchestra, they are a great choice. I don’t know much about platinum, but I assume they are similar.

Gold and platinum flutes are more expensive than silver flutes, and usually start at around $8000.

Which flute is right for you?

I am not going to recommend one flute for everyone. The flute that is best for you will depend on your needs and what you want out of a flute. Students should go with a silver plated nickel model. Advancing students and beginning professionals should upgrade to a flute with a silver head joint.

More advanced professionals can then experiment with solid silver and other metals. When you are ready to upgrade (or even to buy your first flute), you should try as many different ones as you can. You may have a dream flute, but you could end up finding a model that is even better.


What flute do you play right now? What do you love about it? Let me know in the comments!

And don’t forget to subscribe below for exclusive music tips sent straight to your inbox!


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Supplies for Every Flutist or Flautist

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my favorite supplies that every musician should have. Now, I’m going to get a bit more specific and share my favorite supplies for every flutist. It may seem like you don’t need a lot of equipment for such a small instrument, but there are some tools that will make your life easier.

Killer Harmony | Supplies for Every Flutist | There are some things that every flutist needs and others that are just plain helpful. Here are my favorite flute supplies that every flutist needs.

Some of the tools on this list are necessary for every flute player and others are necessary for more advanced players but are helpful no matter your level. I have some tools that go with the flute and others that are nice accessories to have on hand for emergencies.

So, without further ado, let’s look at my list of supplies for every flutist.

Cleaning Cloth & Rod

A cleaning cloth for the inside of your flute is crucial to making your flute last longer without trips to the repair shop. You can use cotton or silk, though a silk cloth will get much wetter, because it won’t absorb as much moisture as quickly.

If you have an old cotton shirt, that can be used, just make sure you stitch up all of the sides so that thread doesn’t get stuck in the flute.

You also will need a rod to help the cloth move through the flute. There are rods made of plastic, wood, and metal. Wood and plastic are better than metal, since they won’t scratch the flute. Wood is the preferred material, but plastic rods can be cheaper and easier to come by.

A Good Case

Everyone should invest in a good quality case or a case and case cover. Most student flutes only come with a hardcover case with nowhere to store extra items or supplies. So, if possible, look for a good case to fit your flute or find a bag that can fit your current case.

Leaving a wet cleaning cloth in the case on top of the flute will almost negate the use of the cleaning cloth, because the moisture could go back into the flute. You also should not leave a cleaning rod in the flute either, if you can avoid it.

This is part of why I recommend the Trevor James 10x or the Di Zhao 200 to students, because both flutes come with a case that has an exterior pocket for your cleaning supplies. A good case or case cover will also last you longer than a cheap one that comes with most beginner models.

Polishing Cloth

A polishing cloth for you flute will keep it looking good on the outside. It is not as important to have one from the start. But polishing  off all of your finger prints and other miscellaneous marks will save your flute over time.

There are many different types of polishing cloths that you can purchase from cotton to microfiber. You should have a separate polishing cloth that you don’t put through your flute. That way you don’t have to polish the outside with the same cloth as the inside.

Flute Stand

While it’s not necessary, a flute stand will help you in many ways as a flutist. You can buy a simple stand that can fit in the foot joint of your flute, though that’s not the best place to store it. There are also more expensive stands that are usually sturdier and have room for a piccolo or multiple flutes.

I have both a portable single flute stand that I keep in my case, and I have a bigger three peg stand for two flutes + piccolo that I keep and use in my practice area. Having a stand will save your flute.

If you don’t use a stand, you will have to carefully lay your flute somewhere if you need to use the restroom or do something else. That can work for some people, but you risk breaking the flute. Flute stands start at less than $20, so if flute is something you plan to continue with, just get a stand. Your flute will thank you.

Pad Paper

Have you ever heard your flute make a clicking noise, particularly when you open a key? That is a sign of a sticky key. And yes, they are annoying. If you have this problem, it is nice to have some pad paper, or cigarette paper, on hand. Using the thin piece of paper, you can stick it under the problem key, depress the key a few times, and blot away the moisture.

You can buy official pad paper or use cigarette paper, because that works just as well. If you use cigarette paper, be sure you are legally allowed to purchase it or get your parent to do so. If you go for cigarette paper, try and get ungumed paper, which won’t have a sticky ridge on one end of the paper. For gumed paper, avoid that side or edge if you can’t find ungumed.

Some people, especially saxophone players, use dollar bills to help sticky pads.  While that is convenient, dollar bills are a bit too tough on flute pads. So stick with thinner papers.


Most flute repairs should be done by a professional, but a screwdriver can be helpful in a pinch. If a screw is falling out, you can use a small screwdriver to put it back into place. Having access to a screwdriver is super nice in case you need it.

You can purchase an eye glasses repair kit, and the screwdriver will work for a flute. Or you can buy a special flute screwdriver. The one I have has two different tools. It has a screwdriver day a little tool on the other end t fix loose springs.

At the beginning of your flute playing journey, you won’t need a screwdriver, but it is nice if you play a lot. It can also come in handy if you teach and have students who have problems with their screws.

Flute Plugs

If you have recently upgraded to an open hole flute, you might need to practice getting used to it. Your flute probably came with a set of plugs. If not, see if you can borrow a set from a teacher or friend.

Plugs will fit inside the holes of your keys so that you can still play the flute. Plugs are also useful for more advanced players who have a flute with an “inline G” key. That is when the G key is lined up with other keys, requiring more of a reach from the player’s left hand.

Plugs make it less work to play, but they should be phased out over time.


Those are some of my favorite supplies that every flute player should have, or plan to have in the future. Did I miss anything? What are your favorite flute supplies? Comment below!

Thanks for reading!


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