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Do grenadilla piccolos crack?

Discussion in 'Piccolo' started by DrewSorensenMusic, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. I'm going to be bringing a new grenadilla piccolo on a gig in a cold pit in march. Do I need to worry about it cracking? I thought it might be too small to run the same risk a clarinet or oboe does, but maybe I'm wrong. Does anyone know of a story where one has cracked, or is it fairly uncommon. I imagine I will still be taking precautions either way.
  2. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    They do crack. That's why the traditional Carnival Piccolo in Basel now also comes with a plastic body (and brass headjoint) rather than with a grenadilla body. (and these instruments are sparingly keyed which should - on would think - reduce the cracking risk considerably)
  3. pete thomas

    pete thomas Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Yes, my piccolo has cracked. It's not new, it's an old Adler. It was pinned beautifully and has been fine since then. I'm not sure it's cold that can cause cracks, as much as changes in humidity. Obviously if there are any Temperature changes, the slower the better, so rather than playing a cold instrument let it warm up first. Taking a warm instrument into a cold room is a bit trickier, you can let it cool down slowly in the case, but as soon as you play it then it will warm up. A pick or flute may not be so bad as an oboe, as not all warm air goes directly into the instrument.

    however if a pit is that cold that it makes such a difference, then it's too cold for working conditions IMO.
  4. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    If I ever do pitwork in a cold environment I would immediately go to non-wood.

    the problem I've experimented with (in my limited experiments) was due to the internal and external wood temperatures. My tests did not include any humidity checks nor controls.

    If the entire joint is cold, then the inside starts warming up. The inside will expand. The outside being cold has compression. At somepoint the expanding pressure exceeds the compression (as the outer portions warms slower than the inner portion) and a crack can occur.

    I have more of a writeup here

    I have a heat device - kinda like a straight thin blow dryer that one can control the temperature which I use to direct the air directly into the bore. And of course one can cool by various methods the entire instrument. Using thermometers one can actually track this. I did but didn't write down the temps of the experiments I did .... oh well.

    Of course, all can vary dependent upon how fast heat expands it and how cold the outside is in addition, I would think to the material itself. My experiments were on specific instruments and a short "barrel". was able to split that barrel quite easily and fast at more extreme temps.
  5. Tammi

    Tammi Private woodwind instructor

    If the pit is warm enough for you to sit in reasonable comfort in your shirt sleeves there is no need to worry.
  6. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Reminds me of us having engineers from Scotland visit our repair centre near Zurich. I felt obliged to show them around the town and nightlife a bit and was somewhat surprised to find them short-sleeved standing in front of the hotel where I picked them up. (It was mid-November, six-something in the evening, with a slight sleet coming in from Northwest). I inquired whether they wouldn't be more comfortable with a coat or something to that effect, and their response was "why would we, it's like Greenock in Summer!".
  7. The problem with non-wood instruments are two things, tone and the number of makers that provide this as a feature.

    I've heard that material doesn't matter when it comes to producting a tone in a woodwind instrument. That being said, I would never play a metal piccolo in such an exposed setting as a pit. Pearl is making a Grenaditte piccolo (which I'm pretty sure is the same a buffet greenline), but I fell in love with a Burkart, who don't offer it as an option as far as I know.

    Now I'm all for the greenline thing, I play a greenline R-13, but unfortunately if I preferred selmer clarinet's I think this would be the same problem. I oiled the bore with Almond oil, so hopefully that will help with water retaining.

    I bet cracking can happen, but the instrument probably isn't as prone to it as an oboe or clarinet.
  8. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    keep in mind the manufacturers have their own oiling processes with the wood.

    some of those resin upper and wood lower oboes are still very expensive. But they design them with the same bore as their more expense all wood. I wish they did that with clarinets then we would have a good testing analysis.
  9. With every wood instrument, it is important to oil the keywork once a month, and oil the bore twice a year. This will help maintain the instrument to it's highest performing level.

    Buffet does offer the R-13 and R-13 Greenline. I'm pretty sure this would be a fair comparison of different material vs bore dimensions.
  10. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Yes, I've had R13s Greenline Bb & A's in the shop. Nice instruments. I've taken their dimensions too. I think I also did a writeup on them on this board.

    a couple previous discussions

    hmm .. upon searching no such writeup. I think I have it on my computer too .... I guess the "save" button monsters were lerking around back then)
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