C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

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C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by jemtheflute »

Update 14 June 2011

For current prices and information please see new CP thread here:


viewtopic.php?f=2&t=82663

* * * * *


Commercial Post - Now Available

Simple PVC Piccolos by Jemtheflute (Jem Hammond).

Image

I am now able to offer for sale my Simple Piccolos which have developed out of a project I offer to schools in which children make their own and learn to play them (course enquiries welcome, and I can also offer shorter workshops…..).

There is a short sales/demonstration video clip of my Piccolos on my YouTube channel - click here: Demonstration video

Every Piccolo is supplied with a full Fingering Chart and Information Sheet.

Image

These Piccolos, whilst being fully functional, "proper" musical instruments, are ideal for children, whistlers who fancy (cheaply) trying a transverse flute, complete newcomers to flute who want to see how they get on with it for a minimal investment……. & for established fluters who want to be noticed in that noisy session!

Ordering & Prices:
I can supply Piccolos by post to most parts of the world. I have a certain quantity in stock ready to go & hope not to become bogged down with a backlog of orders! I can accept payment (in advance of despatch) within GB by cheque or direct bank transfer or from abroad by PayPal only (to the e-address given below). All payments must be in £ Sterling/GBP.

Price per Piccolo including P&P and an element to cover PayPal fees:

£13.00 within GB
£14.00 to European Union destinations
£15.00 to the rest of the world

(direct sales collected in person £12.00)

Orders for multiple instruments may attract some discount at least of P&P costs - please ask for a quote on 3 or more instruments. Enquiries from shops on commercial terms are welcome, but please be aware that I will likely need notice/manufacturing time to fill orders for more than a few piccolos.

To order, please contact me by PM or, preferably, direct to jemhammond@yahoodotcodotuk.
Please observe C&F Forum rules in this regard & do not make order enquiries in this thread!
Comments & technical questions are welcome, however, as would be any feedback in due course.

PLEASE NOTE:
1. Current stock/production is of right-handed instruments only (the embouchure centre is offset from the tone-hole centre-line back towards the player’s side of the tube). Left handed instruments are available by special order.
2. I am not as yet making (or taking orders for) instruments with adjustable tuning/embouchure angle or interchangeable bodies in different keys, mentioned in my Demonstration Video as future possibilities - More R&D is needed before I am happy to supply such. I’ll advertise them when I’m ready.

Description:
The Simple Piccolo is a very basic but surprisingly versatile fixed-pitch diatonic instrument in D. That means that the simple fingers-off-in-order scale is that of D major starting on D (an octave above the D above "middle C") with all holes covered & that there is no way to adjust the tuning which has been set to be at standard “concert” pitch (A=440 Hz) when blown properly as designed. (Instruments with adjustable tuning and in other keys may be available in future at extra cost.) It is best suited to traditional/folk music & can play easily in D & G major & the related minor keys & in modes with one or two sharps in their scale, just like a Penny/Tin Whistle. The tone is stronger & more flexible than that of any whistle, & is very sweet & rich in the lower octave & sweet whilst not too shrill in the second octave. It is capable of playing well into the third octave if desired. Balance & response between octaves is good & all the Irish finger articulation/ornamentation techniques work crisply.

The fingering chart supplied with each instrument also gives cross-fingerings (where available) & half-holings for the full chromatic scale up to A in the 3rd octave. It is relatively easy to blow (compared to an orchestral piccolo) & is a suitable (& cheap!) starter instrument for children whose hands &/or arm-reach are as yet too small for a full size flute, either Böhm or Simple System (“Irish”). There would be no significant changes of technique in up-sizing to Simple System or keyless Concert Flute, & only minor changes to shift to a Böhm flute.
(Note: “in D” is the norm for both Concert Flutes & Piccolos including Böhm, though classical/orchestral terminology would describe them as “in C” because they are not “transposing instruments”, notwithstanding their underlying “home” diatonic tonality.)

The Piccolos are individually hand-made & finished &, as such, may show some traces of the production processes; they may not be entirely uniform or consistent in appearance, though they should all perform equally well.

Tuning & Intonation:
General playing pitch as well as that of individual notes can be affected by how you form your lips into an embouchure, how much of the mouth-hole you cover with your lower lip & the angle at which you blow at the far edge of the hole. The more of the hole you cover & the more you direct your airstream downwards into the hole, the flatter (lower) you will play; the less of the hole you cover & the more straight-across you blow, the sharper (higher). At the frequencies at which a piccolo operates, very small embouchure adjustments have quite noticeable effects on pitch. The instrument has been designed to be played with an “Irish” style of blowing (more covered & downwards), so if you use a modern classical French-school flute embouchure (open/across) you will probably be sharp to begin with. Find the strongest, richest sound you can in the bottom octave & you should be near enough in tune at A=440Hz. It is up to you, the player, to play in tune with other instruments - the piccolo is as in tune with itself (to Equal Temperament) as is possible in such things!

Unlike most other conduit tube PVC flutes available on the market, the usual intonation problems with all-cylinder transverse flutes made of pre-formed tube (primarily flatness in the 2nd octave) are addressed in my Piccolos by a Tipple/Fajardo wedge glued into the top end of the tube. The wedge is a substitute for the body taper in a traditional wooden flute or the tapering Böhm head on a modern flute - it isn’t a perfect or total solution, but it does as good a job as can be expected on this simple an instrument which will in any case inevitably have some minor intonation compromises/limitations, however cleverly designed and made. Any such residual limitations are easily compensated for with good embouchure technique.

Image
The edge of the wedge is visible in this picture inside the tube through the embouchure hole.

(Note: I think that for group or class use, the standardised tuning/non-tunable nature of these piccolos is ideal - just think of the hell of tuning a school group of recorders!)

Materials and Care:
The Piccolos are made of PVC tube that is sold for use as electrical conduit. It is a safe & reasonably durable material. (I am not aware of any health concerns or contra-indications with this material, having done some research on the issue.) It may deform if subjected to too much heat (so avoid leaving it on a radiator or the parcel shelf of your car in summer) but is not readily flammable or melt-able. It can be scratched or surface dented, though not too easily (e.g. tooth-marks if the dog wants to play with it…). However, there’s no need to worry about dropping it or moderately bending it & it will survive your little brother or parents or children or friends hitting you with it to get you to stop playing it! It shouldn’t even hurt too much! Light scratches may be removed by rubbing lengthways with fine wire wool if desired - that is how the original finish was achieved. This is a real musical instrument, not a toy, but it should be safe around small children & has no sharp edges or small, loose parts which could present a choking hazard. In the unlikely event that either the stopper or tuning wedge in the head becomes loose or falls out, please contact me for advice. No special care is needed after playing - just blow/shake out any condensation in the tube (choose your target well!); this may also be necessary during a prolonged playing session as gathering water drops can muffle the tone. An occasional wash-out with warm water & washing-up liquid, perhaps using a bottle brush, would be a good idea. It probably won’t actually hurt it if the Piccolo gets used to eat chocolate cake or to dig up the garden… best not to do that sort of thing, though!

Image Image Happy Tootling!
Last edited by jemtheflute on Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by Denny »

:thumbsup: congratulations :D
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by kkrell »

These are made with PVC-U pipe, right? Stabilized with Calcium/Zinc (CA/Zn) instead of lead (Pb)? We certainly wouldn't want those young brains to be sucking on lead, now, do we?
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by Doug_Tipple »

I have one of Jem's piccolos. It's a great-playing little flute, as you can hear from his demonstration video. I do have a suggestion for Jem. If the edge of the lip plate were not so smooth and rounded off, it would make a better back scratcher. Perhpas that area of the lip plate edge could even be raised up a little bit for those really bad itches. As I see it, the piccolo falls into the Groucho Marx category of "something to always have with you", though mine lies on my computer table and keeps my mouse company.
Last edited by Doug_Tipple on Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by jemtheflute »

kkrell wrote:These are made with PVC-U pipe, right? Stabilized with Calcium/Zinc (CA/Zn) instead of lead (Pb)? We certainly wouldn't want those young brains to be sucking on lead, now, would we?


Well, I doubt anyone other than a baby would suck one - and you'd have to leave it lying around in their reach for that - and would likely get it gum-marked at that! Ordinary flute-playing technique doesn't involve any sucking or even insertion into mouth, so far as I have yet discovered.......

Even if the filler/stabiliser did include lead, I wonder how leachable it would be? I'm trying to check up further on this question. The manufacturer's publicity says: "PVC-U Manufactured in accordance with BS.4607 and BS.6099. As indicated in my OP, I did do some on-line research into PVC-U's health & safety background and didn't come up with any obvious problems in using it for this application or in working with it (observing basic sensible precautions with dust, etc.), but I'd be grateful for any links to useful information.

Thanks, gentlemen!
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by Terry McGee »

Oh dear, poor Jem.

It was oh-so-predictable, I guess, in hindsight. Firstly there was the flute, and the music, and then it became the flutes. Then came the fiddling round with the flutes, and then fiddling round with other peoples' flutes. Then telling people how to fiddle with flutes, followed by buying flutes, fixing them up and selling them. Now it's starting to make them. The long slippery slide snares another victim.

Are we up to the lathe catalogues yet, Jem? Nowhere left on the breakfast table for breakfast because of stacks of tool catalogues? Long lists comparing features of this lathe versus that multifunction machining centre? Fevered marginal calculations dividing prices of flutes into costs of lathes plus numbers of pints needed?

Heh heh heh ....

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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by benhall.1 »

I've played two of these piccolos of Jem's and I can tell you, from a newbie point of view, that they're remarkably easy to play, and produce a really strong, clear sound. The fella who bought them (who'll probably chime in in a bit) did something strange to them - he oiled them. Shouldn't have made a difference, but he swears it improved them.

The other thing, folks ... you'd be surprised at how good looking these little chaps are (the piccolos, not Jem or the other fella :wink: ). Jem's done a first-rate job with these, IMHO.
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by bowjest »

Congrats, Jem.

My respect grows even more!
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by jemtheflute »

Terry McGee wrote:Oh dear, poor Jem.

It was oh-so-predictable, I guess, in hindsight. Firstly there was the flute, and the music, and then it became the flutes. Then came the fiddling round with the flutes, and then fiddling round with other peoples' flutes. Then telling people how to fiddle with flutes, followed by buying flutes, fixing them up and selling them. Now it's starting to make them. The long slippery slide snares another victim.

Are we up to the lathe catalogues yet, Jem? Nowhere left on the breakfast table for breakfast because of stacks of tool catalogues? Long lists comparing features of this lathe versus that multifunction machining centre? Fevered marginal calculations dividing prices of flutes into costs of lathes plus numbers of pints needed?

Heh heh heh ....

Terry


Ahhhh, Terry, thanks for your "concern"! :lol: Now we know what goes on at your breakfast table...... :wink:

Seriously, no. Although maybe one day I'd love to have a go at proper flutery in wood, I'm far too aware that the costs both in money and time of getting equipped with tools, materials and the skills to work them are way beyond me for the foreseeable future. Several folk have suggested to me I should.... but it just ain't going to happen. Maybe when I reach retirement age????

I haven't just "started" with the conduit tube either - some of you may recall old posts of mine mentioning my experiments with it of a decade or more ago, abandoned due to the tuning problems - if only I'd known of the wedge idea back then (it was before Tony Dixon's "similar" products had become widely available..........). And I had a bash at bamboo about 30 years back too. I've been working on the current design for over a year, starting with my schools project getting kids to make their own, then starting to make a few to sell, and I've made several small batches which I have sold direct at gigs and to individuals. This is the first time I've had enough stock-in-hand to put out on the Net.

I'll take this opportunity to pay tribute to Doug Tipple for bringing the Fajardo wedge idea to wider attention. I wouldn't even have done the schools thing if it weren't for that improvement. I have no intention of treading on Doug's toes or trying to compete in his main market for tenor flutes. His product is far too good and his material so much nicer than what is available here at equivalent sizes. I may well offer my designs in the medium sized tube for treble flutes down to about F in future, but have no plans to start producing D concert flutes or the neighbouring sizes - I'd prefer to recommend a Tipple!
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by Jayhawk »

Love the sounds of these in Jem's clip...as well as loving Gander in the Pratie Hole. I now have one on order...it'll be perfect for playing dance music at the local renaissance fair. Nothing like a piccolo to get people's attention in a noisy area.

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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by benhall.1 »

Jem and his son Fran came down for a quick sesh last night. Bloody brilliant it was. Of course, I couldn't resist buying one of these little fellas (a picc, not Jem or Fran). It's surprising how good they both look and sound (again, the piccs, not the other chaps :wink: ). And, frankly, for the money you just can't go wrong (still talking about the piccs :) ).
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by Jayhawk »

Oh Ben, you messed up mate...if you buy a pic, you just have a piccolo, but if you buy Jem...you have all future piccolos! Maybe next time...

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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by benhall.1 »

Jayhawk wrote:Oh Ben, you messed up mate...if you buy a pic, you just have a piccolo, but if you buy Jem...you have all future piccolos! Maybe next time...

Eric


I hadn't thought of that ... Rats!

Oh wait ... would I have all future hi-faluting flute explanations and esoteric technical arguments too?

:o :boggle:
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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by jemtheflute »

1) Greedy! What for, isn't one enough already? 2) Yup. At least.
I respect people's privilege to hold their beliefs, whatever those may be (within reason), but respect the beliefs themselves? You gotta be kidding!

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Re: C.P. Now Available - Simple PVC Piccolos

Post by benhall.1 »

What are you doing responding? You're supposed to be on holiday. I'm supposed to be able to impugn you with impunity.
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