Without a doubt, trombone stands are my favorite accessory. Are they a necessity? No. But, in both my personal experience and that of my students, they have been extremely helpful! Here’s why I love them:
- Practicing: I leave my trombones out on stands constantly. When I see my horn out, it “lowers the barrier” to start practicing and I am much more likely to pick up the horn earlier and more often throughout the day. I recommend my students buy one for this reason alone!
- Teaching: When I teach, I’m often switching between demonstrating on the instrument, trying to convey something with my arms, taking notes, etc. Having a place to quickly put my instrument “down” keeps me focused and the lesson flowing.
- Performing: At rehearsals, I love having my trombone stand so I can put my trombone down during long rests and breaks. It’s not that I can’t hold my instrument, but it’s nice to be able to quickly and safely rest the horn anytime I might need to shuffle a lot of music around, take notes from the conductor, etc.
Each of these is a small benefit in the moment, but as you do that hundreds and thousands of times over, it starts to add up. And, with the amount of time that many of us have a trombone in our hands, it’s good to give our arms a rest while keeping the horn safe.
Should you use one during a concert?
Although I don’t think this should even be a point of discussion, some folks frown upon using a trombone stand in performance. As long as it looks professional (blends in with the surrounding stands, no bright stickers, etc.) and isn’t in the way of other musicians, I don’t see any problem. There are countless examples of instrument stands and miscellaneous hardware all over most stages – one more won’t hurt.
Trombone Stand Models
While a professional might see the value in an expensive stand, a young student who doesn’t plan to move the stand beyond their bedroom walls may be able to get away something much cheaper! Here are the different stands I either have used or currently use, and some thoughts on each.
This stand is great! It’s heavy duty, and I feel totally safe leaving any alto, tenor, or bass trombone on this thing anytime, anywhere. I have two currently in my studio that always have my main tenor and bass trombones on them. Since it’s made of metal, it is one of the heavier stands and doesn’t fold quite as small as some, but that’s the trade off I’d make for how solid it is. It has a decently large footprint when assembled – not a problem for me but, if you’re in crammed Broadway pits, it might be a little big. If you favor portability and only ever use a tenor, it may be overkill – but, if I only owned one stand, this would be it.
It’s like the sports car version of the 14990. Still sturdy, but much lighter. It’s light and compact enough that I attach it to my trombone case (Marcus Bonna tenor – has handy straps in the outside!) or put inside the bag of my folding stand and bring it to every single gig. It’s sturdy enough that I feel comfortable leaving my tenor or alto on it for extended periods of time, but I wouldn’t use it with my bass. After many years as my go-to gig stand, I did notice a knob starting to require a little more effort to tighten and keep everything still, so I replaced a nut/bolt or two – see below about replacement parts (super cheap and easy!
This stand is unique in that it holds the horn by the handgrip (not the bell) and tilts to the side. I personally don’t love it because it never felt anywhere near as stable as the traditional in-bell design. I also am a fan of discrete stands, so the yellow is a little much for me. However, it is particularly handy if you need to set the horn down while using a clip-on mic (not impossible with other stands, but problematic) or even a mute inside the bell!
Definitely not my favorite stand, but it’s very cheap and super light. It’s really only useful for holding a light (small-bore or alto) around the house – I wouldn’t trust its stability on a gig. It has an annoying spring underneath the cup which is noisy and can sometimes fake you out into thinking the horn is all the way on, but there’s still give in the spring. I overcame the issue by putting a long sock over top of the stand. It now stays put and doesn’t make bouncy noises every time you pick up a horn. I would only recommend this to young students that only need to keep a small-bore tenor on it at home, or to somebody looking for a secondary stand for a specific purpose (e.g. alto stand at home).
Although it’s a different design, I would give this a nearly identical review as the On-Stage. It also has an annoying spring that is greatly improved by the addition of a sock. Again, I would only recommend this to young students that only need to keep a small-bore tenor on it at home, or to somebody looking for a secondary stand for a specific purpose (e.g. alto stand at home).
This is the classic trombone stand and has been around for a long time (with minor changes). It’s never been my favorite, but maybe that’s just because it’s chrome plated and I prefer the more subdued black hardware that most other stands use nowadays to blend in a little more on stage. It’s better than the On-Stage or KB952, while cheaper than the K&M models.
Really, there’s just one accessory that comes to mind… the aforementioned socks (or a cloth bag, etc.)! While you can use all of these stands without this, the idea is that you cover the stand so that any moisture that makes its way that far out the bell gets absorbed, and then the bell doesn’t stick to whatever rubber/plastic/etc. support it rests on… it’s more of an issue if you’re leaving the horn on the stand for an extended period of time. In an attempt to keep it classy, I like the Hamilton Bone Sock. They’re designed for the classic Hamilton stands, but also fit K&M stands (tightly) and probably most others with a similar design.
Believe it or not, you can also pretty easily get replacement parts for the K&M and Hamilton stands! The good folks at Hickey’s and Horn Guys (two of my favorite shops!) have some available… If you’re a little handy, you can also find comparable replacement parts (nuts, bolts, etc.) at your local hardware store!
As always, feel free to comment below or contact me!