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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: what kind of music stand is currently in your studio?

October 26, 2007 at 6:34 PM

It's just a tool of the trade, but one's choice of music stand can affect a violinist's quality of life, not to mention have some feng shui implications.

For the longest time, I had a collapsible metal music stand. This is a great, lightweight choice for the mobile college student, but frankly, those things are pretty cheesy. They collapse under the weight of a thick folder, they get bent. Even after years of owning the same stand, the act of folding the stand and fitting it into its little carrying case can confound the owner and cause emotions similar to road rage.

As soon as I could rub a few pennies together, I bought myself what I thought was a nice wooden stand. But. It had these little knobs that you had to loosen to raise the stand, then tighten to keep it raised, it was really heavy to move. I lived in fear that one of my then-small children would knock it over on themselves and have to be rushed to the hospital. In short, it was a big pain in the neck.

So now I have a good ol' metal Manhasset with a little pencil shelf along the bottom. It holds the music, it goes up and down without a fuss, though the bottom part likes to come loose, causing the stand to teeter and sway.

Is there a perfect stand? The ones I like are the RAT stands at Disney Hall. Solid, elegant, functional...ahhh. My birthday is in February...;)

From Tara Shaw
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 7:18 PM
My husband just bought me a Manhasset stand for my birthday. Now I leave my old collapsible stand at work to use when I practice there.
From Mara Gerety
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 7:31 PM
I have a Manhasset at home but here I usually just stick the music on the piano in the practice room. (there are only about five music stands in the entire building, so we have to improvise at times.)
From Bernadette Hawes
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 7:35 PM
I have a nice fairly sturdy folding stand which never (well, once a year?) gets folded, so seems to cope reasonably well.
I would adjust it down for the children, up for me and work hard at persuading them not to lean on it, fiddle with it whilst thinking ...
From Anne Horvath
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 8:04 PM
I have a Manhasset TALL stand, with the additional plastic shelf, and a Mighty Bright stand light. Life Is Good!

I also have an ancient Hamilton ("It's A Hamilton!") stand that was handed down to me in high school. I swear that stand is made of is so heavy! It is not tall enough for me, but it is nice to have an extra for the Bach Double. I let Vertically Challenged people use that one. Or cellists.

I also have several folding stands, usually in the car, for gigs.

From Linda L
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 8:31 PM
I have a folding stand-- the same one my parents bought when I first started playing! It's kind of rusted, bent, and is callopsing at random moments during the day. :)
From Lawrence Price
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 9:02 PM
I have an Alden Lee Regency Music Stand in Cherry along with a brass light that is made to fit the stand. Of course I also have the normal folding music stands and an extra small folding one that I picked up in London for travel.
From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on October 26, 2007 at 10:47 PM
at home i usually use a manhasset stand with a nice little shelf underneath which is perfect for storing pencils, metronome, etc. i also have a black metal folding stand for gigs and stuff (not one of those old silver hamilton ones, which get rickety in no time . . . )
From Amy Glengary Yang
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 3:16 AM
I also own a Manhasset, in white. I think it's really elegant, and the color disappears against the walls of my studio. Some of the other Manhasset colors are really handsome too.

Does any one else have a problem with their Manhasset stand ----- that it gets wobbly at the bottom? Any tips or tricks to better tighten up the nut at the bottom?

From Penny B
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 4:27 AM
Mine is cheesy =(
From Christopher Ciampoli
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 4:52 AM
Ohhh so that's what those stands are called - RAT stands! They have them at my college.

I have the Manhasset tall stand with the extra shelf as well.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 4:54 AM
I'd just take the nut off and put glue on the threads and put it back. Any glue will work since it just has to gum up the threads. Use a wrench or socket so you can get it tight, not pliers. You'll have to heat the nut if you want to get it off later. The real stuff to do it with is called Locktite, but glue would be as good for this.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 5:54 AM
Good idea, Jim. Will try.
From Ben Clapton
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 8:24 AM
I've got a folding stand, which I've used for quite a while. However, I'm planning on building myself a super-duper stand over the summer holidays. Wooden, adjustable, it'll have a wide desk to handle three pages of music easily, a deep tray to allow large amounts of music, a pencil tray for all those sorts of things, plus I'm planning on building into the stand a metronome and electronic tuner, and possibly some LED lights as well (not sure about them, as the stand isn't really going to be moving, and I have pretty good light in my room)
From Alison S
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 8:39 AM
One of my stands is held together with loctite (just as Jim suggested) plus some bits of tape to give it even more class. The fact that it never gets folded away is a constant reminder that I'm not practicing.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 9:43 AM
Rolls uses Locktite to ensure their rod bolts and crank bearings don't bust loose. So it's classy stuff.
From Alison S
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 10:15 AM
So I can rightfully claim to have the Rolls Royce of music stands :)
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 12:21 PM
I still think of my folding stand as "new" because I bought it when I started violin again, to replace the one my parents bought me when I first started violin lessons--and which resembled Linda L's of the same description. But it's not really all that new anymore. And it has to be folding since it lives in the playroom/recroom and has to be put away if the kids have people over, or if I need to practice in the 3rd floor office because someone is watching TV. I don't have space to leave a stand permanently up, and I don't want to carry anything big up and down 3 flights of stairs. And, I took it with me to both the farmers' market and my first orchestra rehearsal. So I finally have the folding process down.
From sara a m
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 5:09 PM
I have a Manhasset stand, but I would love to have a wooden stand. I'm not sure why, they just seem more elegant.
From Albert Justice
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 6:11 PM
How cool--my home-made old keyboard canabalized stand acts a just a little better than the Manhasset table-top stand. And the way I have it set up keeps me from slouching.
From Valerie Coon
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 8:31 PM
I can't remember who made mine... but it's about the size of a Manhasset, only with little 3/4" holes all over the back metal. It's EXCEEDINGLY sturdy and the big selling point (according to the box it was shipped in, given to me by my parents for my birthday) was that it could "withstand gusts of 35 mph". Since I wasn't sure what it was, my curiosity was piqued and I still laugh about it.
From Yixi Zhang
Posted on October 27, 2007 at 10:56 PM
I’m sure some day, someone somewhere will make a wooden stand for me to replace my Manhasset stand. That someone could also be me;}
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 1:27 AM
What do you do if one has more than one stand? When I tried to click the second stand in the survey, the first disappears.


From David Stern
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 1:26 AM
The "ProLine Conductor" stand is great at home - it's rock stable with a solid steel desk, the height locks firmly with flip levers, and it doesn't swivel around when you try to write on the page. For rehearsals, I have a Manhasset Voyager, which is the same as the standard model but with folding legs and a detachable desk. It's sturdy but easy to transport with the optional carrying bag.

Best accessory I've found: the "String Swing" violin and bow hanger (CC08, the "Mic Stand" version). No more bows falling off the stand shelf, or violins falling off chairs! It clamps onto the lower post, and is easiest to slip on before attaching the desk. (This model won't fit on the small diameter posts of flimsy collapsible stands.)

Manhasset stands sometimes drop under the combined weight of a big notebook and a heavy battery-operated stand light (e.g. the Lampcraft ConcertLight II), but you can buy a "shaft lock" accessory which clamps on the post and prevents this.

I've never had the bottom bolt loosen on a standard Manhasset stand, as long as it was assembled firmly with a real mechanic's socket wrench.

From David Stern
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 2:36 AM
Correction about the String Swing bow and violin holder: I meant the String Swing model CC04V (the CC08 clamps onto the desk lip instead of the post and isn't as sturdy).
From Eric Godfrey
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 6:45 AM
You left out plastic. My Nilton stand (Swedish, the portable, not the folding model) is a gem, but doesn't fit into any of these categories. Its construction is mostly heavy plastic, I think there is some composite in the music table. I checked "folding" for lack of the appropriate choice. Interesting question, BTW.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 6:44 AM
I use a sturdy, lightweight stand with a big ledger. The whole thing can be folded up and carried in its own soft case. I've wanted this kind of stand for a long time, but they were all too expensive. I just found one (Peak) which only costs $42. I'm very happy with it. I also have two of the cheap folding metal stands, with one soft case which will hold one stand. I bought one of my cheap, metal folding stands at a yard sale for $3.
From Ray Randall
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 4:17 PM
I have a very nice Belmonte stand. It's heavy, you can spread the legs out really wide for extra stability and write on your music without the stand falling over. The tightening screws for the legs, height, and platform angle are superb, once you set the angles it will not move, but the screw levers are easy to turn.
From Penny B
Posted on October 28, 2007 at 4:24 PM
Does anyone have experience with the Nilton Magic Stands? Thinking about getting one maybe. I need something study, I have a cat that insists on smacking my stand around while I practice, her current method of announcing her furry disdain and displeasure!
From Bobby N.
Posted on October 29, 2007 at 4:36 AM
I have two folding metal stands... One my mom found at this random place and the other I purchased aloooong time ago. These foldable stands are too short so I have to place them on top of chairs to get enough height, and they always lean to one side so I have to prop them against the wall to keep them up straight. Sometimes, they fall over. My music is always crooked. I should save up for a Manhasset stand, they are nice, but hey, I rarely look at the music anyways.
From Eric Godfrey
Posted on October 29, 2007 at 5:14 AM
Penny B wrote:
Does anyone have experience with the Nilton Magic Stands?
This is the folding model, I think. Very ingeniously designed, my son has one for his trumpet gigs and likes it. Light and sturdy. Only disadvantage is if you're marking a thin part, then you can hit the folding line. I have the regular Nilton, which is also lightweight yet very sturdy and durable. Not cheap, but I highly recommend either.
From Gabriel Kastelle
Posted on October 30, 2007 at 12:56 PM
Great survey topic. Music stands are hugely important! I have Nilton Magic as my primary in-studio and travelling / gigging stand. It's been good for eight years now. The first two, it travelled daily on my back, open and closed two or three times a day. I travel hard. It's survived, which has surprised me, given that it's mostly plastic, which I don't like or trust on principle.

Pro: from compact to BIG and back in fast easy steps. Easy flip levers with good grip adjustment for adjusting height. Big desk with AWESOME tray beneath, big enough to hold the complete legs and column assembly plus a pencil, a mute, a tuning fork, and a couple clips for holding down pages in the wind-- all that is there when I open the stand. Compact and light. Pretty stong-- good for tunebooks, a hymnal, nearly anything---but a jazz fake-book seems like a strain...

Con: Thing that drives me most crazy is the hinge all along the middle-- if you're marking a bowing or fingering and the mark goes across the hinge, 50% chance you'll put a tiny rip or hole in the music. Unaccepatble! So you put everything down, get two hands free, lift the music over the hinge with one hand, write with the other, pick everything back up again. It may be too light: it's hazardous in wind in outdoor situations: a little top-heavy already, and catches a huge sail-ful of wind... I lay a weight on the leg toward the wind (but then I'm carrying a weight around...). It is mostly plastic. Ick. Strong, but not really strong-- eight years, and I still don't really trust it (!). And these two little plastic clips that close it all up when folded hang down below the tray when in use, and they always seem to get hit, or rattle during any move or adjustment of music or stand, and they are astonishingly noisy (I'm looking in a catalog with three "pictures" of the Nilton Magic, and I notice that two are computer graphics which omit these dangling clips, and only one image shows them, in a from-the-bottom-up view in which the clips are unobstrusuvely surrounded by the rest of the stand. Nilton trying to hide a messy detail?). Price has certainly out-paced inflation and Euro exchange rates since when I got mine, and I'm not sure I'd spring for one now. Pay nearly double a Manhasset, and still all you have is plastic.

The more recent Petersen folding plastic stand appears just in catalogs to have most the advantages of Nilton, plus a smarter, flatter desk with much less of the hinge problem, all for half the price. Hercules company is putting out a whole new generation of surprisingly good and strong and easy folding metal-- something more than "wire"-- and very economicallly priced. The new Peak stands look very intriguing to me (and they make an extra-tall version!) and reasonably priced.

There-- so many words. Why haven't we had more discussions of music stands? Why aren't there one or two really good stands out there with all the advantages? Can't be rocket science...

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