Hercules stand clip modification

I made a small modification to my Hercules instrument stands so I could clip them onto my instrument cases for easier carrying.

The stands all have this same yellow sort of teddy-bear-head piece on the bottom:

Remove the nut from the center of the bear’s forehead:

I bought a handful of these. They are almost the right thing for the job:

…but they don’t quite fit: the holes are too small. The metal seemed fairly soft and not too thick, so I managed to open up the holes a bit with a handheld drill and a 1/4″ wood-drilling bit. It would probably be safer and more precise to use a drill press and a proper metal-drilling bit.

Or, even better, can anyone recommend a premade part with two 1/4″ (65mm) holes about 1″ (3cm) apart, no thicker than about 1/16″ (1mm), preferably without sharp corners?

Anyway, with the holes slightly enlarged, put the part in place and replace the nut.

Add a small carabiner.

Done:

This worked well on all my Hercules stands, with a minor modification for the bassoon/bass clarinet stand. The “forehead” bolt was too short to get the nut back on with the extra piece in place, so I installed it off-center. It works fine.

I’d be curious to hear about your favorite equipment modifications in the comments.

Homemade EWI stand

Works ok.

There are a few stands commercially available for the Akai EWI, and lots of folks have made their own or repurposed other items. I wanted one that was inexpensive and compatible with the Hercules stands I mostly use these days, and decided to try the DIY route. I came up with something workable but not perfect, so I’m sharing my finished project in case anyone is inspired to improve upon my design (please share!).

I built mine mostly from 3″ (~7.5cm) plumbing pipe and fittings. (I’m including some product links in case they are helpful, but mostly I was able to buy these things locally for much cheaper.)

I bought a 2′ (~.6m) length of pipe, but only ended up needing half of it.
Cut mostly with a hacksaw, and refined a little with some files and sandpaper. Good enough.
3″ end cap, with a hole drilled to fit the bolt. The bolt is 3/8-16 (imperial), which fits the peg sockets in my Hercules stands.
Disk cut from EPS foam (“styrofoam”) and hot-glued into place. This is where the end of the EWI will rest. (The pipe piece is shown here inserted into the 22.5° elbow.) I picked foam because it is lightweight and easy to cut to shape.
Bolt secured with 5-minute epoxy.
This nut will help lock the stand in place on the Hercules base, sort of.
I didn’t bother gluing the parts together, since they fit pretty tightly anyway and I’m considering this a prototype. Some paint
…and some craft foam, secured with spray adhesive.
Works ok.

It’s more stable than it looks, even on this small Hercules base, because its center of gravity is so low. The end cap and elbow are heavier PVC while the taller part is made of lighter foam core pipe. As always, don’t leave instruments on stands any farther than you can sprint to catch them falling over.

Things I like about the stand:

  • It was cheap and not hard to make. The worst of it was cutting and shaping the foam core pipe, and someone with cooler tools than I have could probably make quick and accurate work of it.
  • Does work with the Hercules stands I already have. If you can figure out what bolt thread to use, you could easily adapt this to other commercial stand bases.
  • The instrument just rests in the stand, no clips or straps to unhook. Plus the whole upper key “stack” is exposed 360°, so the EWI is easy to grab even during a quick instrument switch.
  • No interference with any of the power/line/MIDI jacks.

Things that I don’t especially like:

  • On the 3-peg Hercules base shown, the stand has to be oriented as shown to stand up properly, which puts the EWI a little bit in the way of using other pegs on the stand. It works better on one of the larger Hercules stands, like the saxophone or bass clarinet stands.
  • Since the stand isn’t symmetrical like a typical flute/clarinet peg (because it leans 22.5°), it doesn’t always work to just screw it all the way into the base—it may end up leaning in an inconvenient or unstable direction. The nut helps lock it in place when it’s leaning the right way, but it’s fussy and not as secure as I would like (the stand tends to rotate a little if I bump it wrong).
  • It’s pretty chunky. I made a previous attempt to build this from 2″ pipe, which would work okay except that the EWI’s side keys protrude too much. (I did consider sticking with the 2″ pipe and making little cutaways for the keys, which could still be a possibility.)
  • The plastic-specific spray paint I used didn’t turn out well. I had trouble getting an attractive finish, and the paint tends to scratch off without too much effort. I’m not sure if the paint just isn’t well suited to these specific plastics, or if maybe it’s because I applied it in the extreme humidity of a Mississippi summer.

Anyway, this is a usable though imperfect design, and may be a jumping-off point for future versions by me or you.

Follow-up: Hercules woodwind stands

A few months ago I did a review of the Hercules DS538B dual-saxophone stand with flute/clarinet and soprano saxophone pegs.

I had some concerns about the stability of my flute on the flute/clarinet pegs, but got some advice in the comments section that the DS602B peg (sold separately) might be better. In the meantime, I’ve gotten to like other aspects of the stand well enough that I decided I needed a smaller version for one-saxophone gigs, so I recently picked up the DS530BB stand, which holds one alto or tenor saxophone and includes no pegs (though it has sockets to accept up to two). Most of my comments in the previous review apply to the DS530BB, so I’ll just provide a couple of photos:

Despite my poor photography, you can gather that it folds up to just over a foot long.
Despite my poor photography, you can gather that it folds up to just over a foot long.

It also includes a bright yellow drawstring bag, and the string makes it a little easier to carry if you’ve already got your arms full of instruments.

The DS602B “Deluxe” peg, which Hercules indicates is for “French/German Clarinets and Flutes,” is quite good. It works for my clarinets and oboe as well as the standard combination pegs that come with the DS538B, and works much, much better for my flute.

I tried to demonstrate the stability difference between the standard peg and the deluxe peg. You can see it a bit in the photos below, but I think I failed to really capture the improvement in the deluxe peg. Continue reading “Follow-up: Hercules woodwind stands”

Review: Hercules DS538B woodwind stand

After my recent glorious victory in the Saxquest trivia contest, I had a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket and I decided to get a new stand to hold my saxophones and perhaps some other woodwinds in my office and on gigs.

I had been tempted previously by SaxRax stands, which I continue to hear good things about but haven’t been able to try out seriously in person. I find it difficult on SaxRax’s website to find out exactly what products they are currently making; I had to use their contact form and wait for a response to determine that their single alto and tenor stands can no longer be joined with a special connector, and the double flute-clarinet peg is no longer made (though some old stock are apparently still available). I had hoped to buy a single saxophone stand and eventually build onto it with a second, but now you have to buy a combo alto-tenor stand, and that is currently out of my price range.

Click for larger.

Next on my list were the stands by Hercules, which are more expensive than the various cheap stands but considerably less costly than the SaxRax. Hercules’s website is very clear about what products they make. I settled on the DS538B, which holds alto and tenor saxophones, and includes a soprano saxophone peg and two flute-or-clarinet pegs. Saxquest currently sells them for USD $69.95, plus a fairly steep shipping charge (the stand is a little heavy, I guess).

Many moons ago, I did some mini-reviews of various stands, including the Hercules DS543B flute-piccolo-clarinet stand. I had a complaint about it, that holds true for the DS538B as well:

It has yellow trim. Not on the pegs, which might be useful in the dark, but on the base, where its only function is to call attention to itself (and perhaps provide a little free advertising).

I got in touch with a Hercules representative, who pointed out a functional reason for the bright trim on the base:

The reason we make the yellow trim eye-catching is to prevent stumbling over the stand or instrument on the dark stage.

The DS538B appears as though I could disassemble it with an adjustable wrench; it’s tempting to attempt this and spray-paint the yellow parts black. (I can only assume that attempting something like this voids applicable warranties.) Continue reading “Review: Hercules DS538B woodwind stand”

Instrument stands for doublers: mini-reviews and a wish list

Recently I have been getting a bit of pit work from a nearby community theater. They like to do month-long runs of their shows, which means that the musical director often hires two or more people for each seat in the orchestra, so that they can trade off playing the show according to their availability. One little perk of this method is that often the woodwind player who does the first show leaves his or her instrument stands in the pit for the other doubler(s) to use, so I’ve gotten to try out a variety of stands lately in a real-life situation.

I have, of course, a number of stands of my own, most of which do a basically satisfactory job, but none of which I’m overwhelmingly enamored with. Continue reading “Instrument stands for doublers: mini-reviews and a wish list”