Regardless of instrument, genre of music, or type of gig, there is one piece of gear we all need at one time or another: a portable music stand. And there may be no piece of equipment that is more universally reviled…for good reason.
Having used a variety of collapsible (ever wonder why they’re called collapsible?) stands, I’ve never been a huge fan. In every instance where it’s even remotely possible, I bring a good old, reliable Manhasset M48 stand. They’re bulky, but they’ll hold anything.
Last summer, my youngest was preparing to go to orchestra camp, and one of the requirements was that each musician bring a folding stand. Since taking one of our Manhassets clearly was not an option, my search for a decent folding stand began again. I found the Hercules BS100B, and for the past year, we’ve put it through some serious trials. Overall, I’m extremely impressed.
- It’s sturdy. Made of tubular and rolled steel, it’s nothing like the flimsy “bag stands” that I (and very likely you) have fought on numerous occasions.
- It’s adjustable. Both height and tilt can be quickly adjusted, and unlike bag stands, this one holds…even when weighted down by a lot of music.
- It’s portable. It’s the closest thing to a Manhasset in terms of strength, but it folds!
- It holds a lot of music well. Between the extending “arms” on either side and the small music-holding “wire arms” on the stand desk, you can spread your music out and know it will stay in place.
- It’s not as small as the bag stands. As you can see from the second picture above, it folds down to a “package” of about 26″ in length. Still easily transportable, but it was a bit of a surprise when I initially unpacked it.
- The tension mechanism for height adjustment is a bit quirky. Once it’s set, you’re good…but it took a few tries to get the proper balance of easy-to-adjust and holds-the-stand-anywhere tension.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been very impressed with the Hercules BS100B. It’s strong and rugged, yet it folds down to an easily transportable size. I don’t get daily use of a Manhasset stand in our house – the three kids always have those – but I’ve been very happy using the Hercules every day for the past year. And it’s been on several gigs with the kids, my wife, and/or me. Aside from the initial setup of the friction mechanism (mentioned above), I’ve no complaints. And at under $40 shipped to your door, it’s a great stand at a great price.
If you have a Hercules BS100B (or other folding stand) and would like to share your thoughts, please leave us a comment. Comparing notes makes all of us smarter…and that’s a good thing!