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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:17 pm 
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Bought a 6-key rosewood (probably) piccolo for cheap. So, not surprisingly, it has some issues—major one is that it needs re-padding and so won't sound throughout the range. I've removed all the keys but one very stubborn one (the nominal G#). This one doesn't seem to line up with the hole to be covered so a permanent leak. Sealed the normally keyed holes with blue tack equivalent (assuming the color doesn't matter).

It appears that the instrument is in Eb based on the two upper notes (the ones that will sound) being a half tone above where they would be if it was in D. Overall length is ~263.5 mm and sounding length is ~276.25 mm (here in the US it's tough to find a ruler in mm...) It's also shorter in sounding length than one of Jem's plastic pics in D. Does this seem to fit with the Eb theory?

The tuning slide is frozen in place. It appears to be brass (overladen with that green crud), both inner and outer sleeves. Any suggestions as to how to unfreeze the slide?

And it needs re-padding. After reading Jem's tutorial for anoia back in 2011, I'm pretty sure that I'm not ready to re-pad the little beast. So, I'd need to find someone to do that.

So, bottom line, will it be worth it to try to get this thing going? Appreciate your thoughts.

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Best wishes.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:44 pm 
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As many of you know, I am not an expert when it comes to things flute. So my first suggestion is speaking very generally. Matters specific to the flute will have to be addressed by folks more knowledgeable than I.

Can the tuning slide be easily removed? If so, give it a good looking over. Without knowing exactly how those are constructed (it'll be a while, if ever, before I'm ready to progress beyond a simple woodwind), I'd have two main concerns. One would be presence of a gasket or similar such between the two metal pieces. The other would be the composition of the two pieces. Are they dissimilar metals? Dissimilar metals can fuse together in a process known as galvanic corrosion; if that happens, separating them can be very difficult. If both pieces are brass, I would find a solvent or penetrating oil that is safe for brass and give the tuning slide a good soaking. Of course, that is contingent upon the tuning slide being easily removed.

Is the piccolo worth saving? Maybe. I'd make that judgment based on return on investment. Would I be into it $500 and have a $1,000 piccolo? Worth saving. Would I be into it $500 and have a $100 piccolo? Not worth saving unless I formed a strong emotional attachment to it. Ultimately, that's your call.

I am not qualified to answer the remaining questions, but hopefully I've been of a smidge of help.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:42 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Bought a 6-key rosewood (probably) piccolo for cheap. So, not surprisingly, it has some issues—major one is that it needs re-padding and so won't sound throughout the range. I've removed all the keys but one very stubborn one (the nominal G#). This one doesn't seem to line up with the hole to be covered so a permanent leak. Sealed the normally keyed holes with blue tack equivalent (assuming the color doesn't matter).

Be aware that in some pin-mounted flutes, the pin can only go in one way and must be tapped out the other way. You could test one of the removed pins to see if they are tapered or cylindrical. A drop of penetrating oil, alcohol, WD40 or anything else you have available applied to the pins at all four places and left for a while might help. Otherwise heat gently applied to the posts (if you can apply it safely) might also help.
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It appears that the instrument is in Eb based on the two upper notes (the ones that will sound) being a half tone above where they would be if it was in D. Overall length is ~263.5 mm and sounding length is ~276.25 mm (here in the US it's tough to find a ruler in mm...) It's also shorter in sounding length than one of Jem's plastic pics in D. Does this seem to fit with the Eb theory?

I think you've got your calculations wrong - the sounding length can't be greater than the overall length! This might help. A D piccolo can be expected to be 302-308 overall length and 252-258mm sounding length.

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The tuning slide is frozen in place. It appears to be brass (overladen with that green crud), both inner and outer sleeves. Any suggestions as to how to unfreeze the slide?

If you have a metal rod that will go up inside the slide, heat it, insert it up the slide and run it around to heat the junction of the slides. It softens the breath condensate that is usually responsible for jamming slides. When you can feel some heat coming through, counter rotate the head and barrel back and forth and in and out to amplify any available movement. You might need to repeat the heat treatment.

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And it needs re-padding. After reading Jem's tutorial for anoia back in 2011, I'm pretty sure that I'm not ready to re-pad the little beast. So, I'd need to find someone to do that.

Any woodwind repairer should be able to do this at least in theory.

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So, bottom line, will it be worth it to try to get this thing going? Appreciate your thoughts.

That's pretty hard for others to evaluate. If you can get it going as a keyless you can see if it's fun to play, and has plausible performance and intonation.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:38 pm 
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Terry McGee wrote:
If you can get it going as a keyless you can see if it's fun to play, and has plausible performance and intonation.

That's exactly what I would do...one of those cases where I have to say, "why didn't I think of that?" I would also take Terry's advice regarding the tuning slide over mine.

Though these matters are of questionable pertinence, I'm now curious as to whether the piccolo bears a maker's mark or has suffered any damage.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:27 am 
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Update on progress—and appreciation for the input:
Terry McGee wrote:
Be aware that in some pin-mounted flutes, the pin can only go in one way and must be tapped out the other way. You could test one of the removed pins to see if they are tapered or cylindrical. A drop of penetrating oil, alcohol, WD40 or anything else you have available applied to the pins at all four places and left for a while might help. Otherwise heat gently applied to the posts (if you can apply it safely) might also help.

I've now managed to remove all the pins and the keys. They are all straight rods with rounded over "heads" on one end. All the keyed holes are closed with sticky wax.

Steve Bliven wrote:
It appears that the instrument is in Eb based on the two upper notes (the ones that will sound) being a half tone above where they would be if it was in D. Overall length is ~263.5 mm and sounding length is ~276.25 mm (here in the US it's tough to find a ruler in mm...) It's also shorter in sounding length than one of Jem's plastic pics in D. Does this seem to fit with the Eb theory

Terry McGee wrote:
I think you've got your calculations wrong - the sounding length can't be greater than the overall length! This might help. A D piccolo can be expected to be 302-308 overall length and 252-258mm sounding length.
I did, indeed, flip the measurements. :tomato: With the keyed holes sealed, the instrument sounds in Eb.

The head cork was separated from the adjustment screw and was intruding into the embouchure hole. I pushed out the cork and reconnected it with the adjustment screw. The cork was wrapped with what appears to be cellophane tape but it fits tightly, can be moved and remains in place. Presently the second register is somewhat sharp of the lower register. Which way does the cork have to move to correct that?
Steve Bliven wrote:
The tuning slide is frozen in place. It appears to be brass (overladen with that green crud), both inner and outer sleeves. Any suggestions as to how to unfreeze the slide?

Terry McGee wrote:
If you have a metal rod that will go up inside the slide, heat it, insert it up the slide and run it around to heat the junction of the slides. It softens the breath condensate that is usually responsible for jamming slides. When you can feel some heat coming through, counter rotate the head and barrel back and forth and in and out to amplify any available movement. You might need to repeat the heat treatment.

I'll try that. Not sure I can rotate the parts with my fingers crossed but I'll try. At this point, there is no available movement at all. Hopefully the heat process will allow some.
Steve Bliven wrote:
And it needs re-padding. After reading Jem's tutorial for anoia back in 2011, I'm pretty sure that I'm not ready to re-pad the little beast. So, I'd need to find someone to do that.

Terry McGee wrote:
Any woodwind repairer should be able to do this at least in theory.

I'll start with the local music store. They supply band instruments for the local schools and may have repairer contacts. One of the keys doesn't seem to cover the hole—I'm wondering if one of the posts might be out of alignment. Is that a thing? And is it a simple fix? If not, I may just leave that hole (G#) waxed and not bother with that key.
Terry McGee wrote:
If you can get it going as a keyless you can see if it's fun to play, and has plausible performance and intonation

It is working as a keyless. It's pretty tight fingering, tiny holes, and a very different embouchure that anything I've played previously so I'll have to hold off on the "fun to play" part. The intonation seems to be pretty good, given my bumbling about with the new situation.

And Dan A: I've given it a thorough look and can't find any maker's mark. But, other than the G# post issue and the frozen tuning slide, I don't see any damage.

Thanks and best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:02 am 
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It doesn't seem like this piccolo has tremendous value. Were it mine, I'd take some time to see how I adapted to its tight spacing and unconventional embouchure. If I adapted okay, I'd seal up the key holes, maybe give it a paint job, and play it keyless. Or maybe I'd see how a good a job I could do of re-padding it. Of course, if I couldn't adapt to its idiosyncrasies, I'd pass it along. Whatever the case, good luck with it!

Another couple of questions: was it part if a package deal, and where did you find it? (Part of me is hoping there's a venue similar in concept to Reverb, but that more heavily targets woodwind players.)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:09 am 
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I don't know what this particular instrument cost, but Ebay often has old piccolos & fifes for around £50~60.

(I have been tempted, but I'd rather a non wood instrument for myself.)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:03 pm 
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I'd check on the Facebook page, Flute History Channel. There are a lot of experts there who can give you advice. I'd post a picture with a What should I do? query and the info you've posted here.

One question to ask yourself, before you put money into it is: Do I want a Eb piccolo?

To my inexpert eye it looks like a Nach Meyer German instrument, which may or may not ever play well. I may be wrong on that one. Aslo most sellers who don't know what cocus is will list any brownish wood as rosewood, so it may be cocus. I couldn't really tell from the picture.

The self repair advice you are getting here, and will get there is great. But depending on your experience with tools and instruments doing it yourself may be easy, complicated or impossible. The bent key may or may not be able to be straightened. Sometimes they just snap.

Plugging the holes and seeing if you like the ergonomics of piccolo playing might be a good place to start.

Years ago I got a nice one and had it overhauled. I just never grew to like the cramped feeling of playing it so it lives in my cupboard.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:04 pm 
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Definitely a nach Meyer German-made instrument. That means there's a fair chance it's a diapason A435 instrument.

I'd expect an Eb picc to have a slide closed SL c243-250mm, but SLs with piccs are extra-iffy, dependent on bore proportions. My Rudall Carte Eb picc has a closed SL of 243mm and plays at A440 with its slide extended to give a playing SL c250-252mm. I'd expect an SL of c265mm to indicate a low pitch D instrument. My A440 usable RC D piccs have closed SLs c255-6mm and play at A440 with tuned SLs c263-5mm (they're A452 closed up, but with stretched scales). A slide-closed SL in the 260s would suggest a low pitch D picc to me - I have RC piccs with closed SLs of 263mm which do not play with acceptable scale intonation at A440 but are OK at A435.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:46 pm 
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Well, with the slide (frozen) closed, it plays in Eb in the first register—bang on in fact. The second register is somewhat sharper but I haven't yet found the cork position where the octaves are aligned.

This weekend I'll try to get the slide moving with the heated rod method offered above.

Any idea how the posts for the keys are attached to the body? Do they screw in or are they more typically glued into a hole drilled into the body?

Thanks and best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:55 pm 
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Hi Steve. Pillars are almost invariably screwed into a tapped hole in the body. Sight unseen, I think bent keys are more likely than knocked out of line pillars (unless there's obviously visible damage). Of course, they may have been put in badly aligned.... Generally I'd counsel against removing pillars unless there's an overriding need.

What are the embouchure centre to C#/L1 hole centre and thence to the E/R3 hole centre dimensions?

I suggest for now you just put the stopper face at the head bore diameter distance from the embouchure centre.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:16 pm 
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With the slide closed, embouchure center to L1 hole center is approximately 98.5 mm. C#/L1 hole center to the E/R2 hole center is approx 74.5 mm. C#/L1 hole center to the D/R3 hole center is approximately 95.0 mm (if I got the cm/mm decimals correct. Wasn't sure which hole you meant by E/R3 hole.)

The thought about the pillars was the "last resort" idea of removing the keys and all related to them to make a keyless instruments with none of the other stuff in the way of my pudgy digits.

Appreciate your input very much. I don't think this is a great instrument, but it will be a learning experience for me.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:36 pm 
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The E hole is the R3 hole! As in, open it defines/gives E - just as the L1 hole gives C# open! Tone-holes are always (correctly) named for the tone they vent, not for the one given when they are closed and the next one open down-tube speaks!

Ok, allowing that bore and hole sizes make huge differences on piccs and none of these comparisons is necessarily a good guide, measurements:
Rudall Carte Eb and D piccs emb centre to C# hole are 101mm and 110mm slides closed. C# (hole 1) to E (hole 6) are 98mm and 105mm respectively.

Based on those your piccs dimensions are definitely Eb sized. D'ya wanna recheck that sounding length? And maybe add the E (6th) hole to foot end measurement?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:02 pm 
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jemtheflute wrote:
The E hole is the R3 hole! As in, open it defines/gives E - just as the L1 hole gives C# open! Tone-holes are always (correctly) named for the tone they vent, not for the one given when they are closed and the next one open down-tube speaks!

It seems I've been calling the tone holes by the note they sound when covered. Live and learn....
jemtheflute wrote:
Ok, allowing that bore and hole sizes make huge differences on piccs and none of these comparisons is necessarily a good guide, measurements:Rudall Carte Eb and D piccs emb centre to C# hole are 101mm and 110mm slides closed. C# (hole 1) to E (hole 6) are 98mm and 105mm respectively.

Based on those your piccs dimensions are definitely Eb sized. D'ya wanna recheck that sounding length? And maybe add the E (6th) hole to foot end measurement?

Looks like I botched the SL originally. A recheck shows 238 mm. The center of the 6th hole/R3 to foot end is 44 mm.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:44 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Looks like I botched the SL originally. A recheck shows 238 mm. The center of the 6th hole/R3 to foot end is 44 mm.

Best wishes.

Steve


OK, sorted. Eb picc it is, probably quite high pitched closed up - likely gonna need at least 10mm slide extension to play at A440.

I bet the octaves will be better balanced (though not necessarily good) when you get that slide free and can tune down.

Re: naming tone-holes, it's just the actual holes are named for the note they vent/create. Fingers or keys are named for the note they create when used So you close the 6th, E hole with your D finger, etc. Closed-standing keys have the same names as the holes they cover, open-standing ones don't. :D :lol: :party:

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