Friday, June 7, 2013

Popping Piccolos -- Continued...

We recently caught up with Customer Service Manager, Rebecca Eckles, and chatted about piccolos.  If you remember our post on the piccolo "pop test," you know that a good seal is crucial for the piccolo to function properly.  (If you didn't have a chance to read the post, you can find it at  The piccolo pop test post discussed the metal-to-metal seal in particular.  When that seal is tight, you'll definitely hear a pop!

Rebecca was testing a Powell Signature piccolo and not getting the response she wanted.  She thought it was because of the headjoint, so she worked with one of our headjoint designers to see what could be done.  He asked if she had checked to see if the cork was properly aligned, which she then checked with the swabstick.  Everything seemed to be in order there.  So, what could possibly be causing the lack of gusto in this piccolo?  Well, Rebecca gave it the pop test, and sadly, it did not pop.  While doing this, she noticed that the tenon cork looked rather dry.  She took out some Chapstick and began applying it to the cork.  The cork was certainly "soaking up" the Chapstick, so she kept applying and applying until the cork looked moisturized.  Then, she put the headjoint on, gave it a test run, and it played like a dream!  She said the change in sound was HUGE.  After playing a bit, she tried the pop test, and sure enough -- POP!

Sometimes there are hidden culprits when piccolos are not up to speed in their performance, and in this case, it was as simple as a dry cork.  The cork was dry enough to affect the seal, and air was leaking.  Once the Chapstick was applied sufficiently to the cork, a proper air seal was created.  A "small" issue like this certainly presented itself in a huge way.  So, don't forget the little things, and as always, make sure to check with a certified technician if you have any questions.

If your piccolo is not popping, don't forget about the cork...
It's easy to overlook, but regreasing the cork may just be the solution!

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