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Accessories Big Band Music Stands or 'Fronts'

rhysonsax

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4,365
Our big band played a nice gig in a church on Saturday and looked quite smart in our DJs, white shirts, jazz hats etc. We use our custom music stands, constructed by a band member and quite smart looking with band logos on the front and room to hide stuff underneath.

Some pics here: http://the-sfb.smugmug.com/Music/FABB-13-10-2012B/25916100_Ftsr4L#!i=2148314877&k=rbtNkkM

But there are various problems with this style of music stand:
  • Can be hard to read sheet music on the desks, especially if your eyesight isn't great
  • Players looking down at the music means that the audience gets a good view of the tops of everyone's heads
  • The stands can obstruct the bell of the saxophone and muffle the sound out front
  • The stands seem to get in the way for the trombonists as well and the trumpeters don't use them since they play standing

If you play in a big band, what do you use for music stands when performing and looking smart ?

Bands that are using commercial stands seem to have ones that are moderately low, but with quite a steeply sloping desk. I think that these might be an eyesight challenge, but would probably let the beautiful saxophone sounds come out unobstructed. For some examples see: http://www.embeeideas.com/scrap.htm

Commercial ones are available, most commonly from the USA. For example see: The Poly Band Stand by Em-Bee Ideas - who have three heights, 24" standard, 32" intermediate and 40" stand-up. These can be customised with printed graphics at extra cost.

Another US supplier here: Big Band Jazz Music Stand - "Swing It" - 28" standard height with stands by Humes & Berg that are 28" high.

I have also got a flyer from a UK supplier called Hot House, with a big band set (10 low and 5 high) that was available for £300 incl. VAT. http://www.themusichothouse.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=Music-Stand# Low stands are 710mm (28") and high are 1,110mm (44").

Another option is making your own from tough corrugated plastic: Plans here: DIY Big Band Music Stand The height appears to be 24" (60cm) and the desk is angled at 30 degrees.

Rhys
 
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MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
I think that these might be an eyesight challenge, but would probably let the beautiful saxophone sounds come out unobstructed.
Rhys
I will be curious to see the replies to this thread as well. I've joined a training band in the hope that I can grow/progress to a band such as yours.

Already I am challenged with music stands, especially on occasions that another tenor joins us and shares my music with me as he doesn't come regularly. I wear varifocals, and I find I'm struggling to keep my arthritic neck comfortable with my Tenor while adjusting to read the music with the change in my lenses - even more so when I have to angle myself to share the music.

Thinking next time I get my eyes tested, I may have to consider a separate pair specially for music reading distance?

EDIT: which then begs the question that I may still end up with bi-focals otherwise I won't be able to see what the musical director is doing, or even stand up and walk about without being more dangerous than I already am!

Anyone else?
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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I like the style of stands in both your links. Your custom made look cool, if they are not too heavy to carry. Trumpets might require taller ones, trombone should just get used to them.

A good stand light is often essential. With the age presbyopia will come and reading from a distance will be easier. Jokes aside, that is a sort of standard distance. Adjust glasses accordingly. I find horrible to see musicians with high stands hiding their face.

I never found them muffling the sound, the reflection can be quite pleasant and monitor-like (mostly on doubles).
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Thinking next time I get my eyes tested, I may have to consider a separate pair specially for music reading distance?
I did that. Works well. Don't forget to change your glasses before driving home, though...
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
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3,312
I was in a band were the trumpet guy built stands for us.The base was just 2 pieces of marine ply with a hinge in the middle so it stood in a v shape.There was a angle sawn from the middle to the ends and he put a oblong board on top with little wedges under neath so it would not slide off plus a lat for your dots to sit on.Painted mat black.You could put some kind of thin board on the front by just using 2 small hooks and 2 round hooks to hang it by with a logo on it.I'm sure getting some sticky back font decals made would cost nothing at a sign shop.The above stands were great and took a matter of seconds to erect and fold down.The above took no time to build and were very safe and solid plus you could put bits and bobs inside the V base which is at your feet.In the long term these would last and look great.
 

Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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Our band has the type of v stand that Davey talks about. They were made by our bari player. They are high enough to read from and I wear varifocals. It can be a problem when you stand for a solo if it's written. No problem for improvised solos :) I do think they are better than the higher stands that concert bands tend to play from.
 

rhysonsax

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4,365
Yes, our stands are of the V type and built by one of the trombone players. You can see them here http://the-sfb.smugmug.com/Music/FABB-13-10-2012B/25916100_Ftsr4L#!i=2148309911&k=24XDkSB.

Maybe ours are of the wrong height or the desks are at the wrong angle, because the sax players are doing contortions and being muffled and most of the trombone players have given up and do without the desk part, using a normal stand set fairly high and behind the V. None of the trumpeters or rhythm section use them at all.

For the stands that are working OK for you, what height are they (say at the highest point, towards the audience) and what angle does the desk sit at ?

Thanks

Rhys
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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12,125
Yes, our stands are of the V type and built by one of the trombone players. You can see them here http://the-sfb.smugmug.com/Music/FABB-13-10-2012B/25916100_Ftsr4L#!i=2148309911&k=24XDkSB.
They look like they are wrongly angled. Now I understand your problems.

Try to compare
Home - Ace Music Stands
 
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Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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r21.jpg

This is a picture of our stands - hope it helps :)
 
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rhysonsax

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4,365
This is a picture of our stands - hope it helps :)
It certainly does, as does the link that Aldevis gave.

The angle of the desk on your stands seems to be quite a lot steeper. But it also looks like the bell of the sax is pointing into the stand.

Rhys
 
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Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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I think the saxes are maybe to the side of the stands. We do have instrument mics though for the monitors and sound balance so I don't think it's ever been a problem. The only way round it would be have the really short stands but they are generally difficult for reading from if you have bad eye sight!! I can't remember all the dots so have to read unless it's a solo. Our trombones complain too!! :)
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
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2,663
The sax quartet and the jazz band I am in just use stands. I like the folding fronts. Has the look of the big band era.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
DERRRRRRR, I should have looked harder at the pics,silly me.For my solo stuff i have a heavey duty metal stand with the big plate and have velcro on the plate which my good wife made me a saturn sparkle front piece that hides the whole stand from the front,very pretty.
 

Lelly

Scarily Tall!!!!
Messages
167
Our band has just got a set of fronts for the bones and saxes. T'Pets dont have them as they stand at the back.

Sitting down I find them a little awkward as the next of the alto gets in the way fo the music but this is something i think i can work around. I hate to think what will happen when i have to stand up for solos as at 6ft 3" it is a long way down to the music and my varifocals will struggle. I have just bought a lyre for both the sax and the clari to see if i can have the solos on these. otherwise we are going to blow up the size of the music for the solo bits.
 

Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
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Oh Lelly I feel your pain. I'm only 5 ft and 1 (very important) inch tall but when I stand for written solos I have to blow up the music so I can see from my varifocals.

We recently got some new stands from Ace Music Stands in Sheffield. Lightweight and so much better than the old wooden ones we had.
 

Lelly

Scarily Tall!!!!
Messages
167
Our band leader is trying to do his best to keep everyone happy so I guess I will find a way of making the "old lady glasses" deal with the bizare angle. Doesn't help that i am a "head up, straight back, eyes forward player". I have never played looking at the floor so having music at knee level is a challenge. I am due an eye test as well which may make a difference! Might have to consider a set of single vision "music" glasses........
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
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3,551
I will be curious to see the replies to this thread as well. I've joined a training band in the hope that I can grow/progress to a band such as yours.

Already I am challenged with music stands, especially on occasions that another tenor joins us and shares my music with me as he doesn't come regularly. I wear varifocals, and I find I'm struggling to keep my arthritic neck comfortable with my Tenor while adjusting to read the music with the change in my lenses - even more so when I have to angle myself to share the music.

Thinking next time I get my eyes tested, I may have to consider a separate pair specially for music reading distance?

EDIT: which then begs the question that I may still end up with bi-focals otherwise I won't be able to see what the musical director is doing, or even stand up and walk about without being more dangerous than I already am!

Anyone else?
I have a pair of glasses that are only for sax playing.
I wear contact lenses, with my left eye set for close work (reading, so 30cm or so focus) and my right eye set for distance vision (so 10s of metres focus). with a music stand at approx 90cm away, neither eye can focus on it. My glasses bring both eyes to focus on the stand.
I took my music stand, music and Bari sax to the opticians with me!

Since I joined our saxophone choir, I have trained myself to read music on a stand lower than many would consider "normal". When you play in a group, the audience want to see your faces, not the back of your stand. Our band leader made us all set our stands to the same height - regardless of our own height - so we have our music stands set so the shortest person can be seen.
 
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Chilli

Barista
Messages
397
The big band I play in has wooden white-painted fronts. They look really cool but they were made before my time and I doubt anyone can see me from the audience: I'm well hidden behind both the front and the bari. Not that it bothers me much though.
I agree completely with setting the stand at the lowest possible height. When I play standing (combo setting), my stand is at knee or waist level so that people can see me. Or more precisely, can see my hands on the sax, as I am not too keen on being watched. That said, I have no serious vision problems (yet). Last time I had my vision checked, I had 12/10 for both eyes and I might as well put the music on the floor. But that won't last, I'm afraid and I'm dreading the moment when I'll have to squint...

Also, Lelly, no offense, but if I understand well, you can't see the music when soloing (and therefore standing). Do you really need the dots when soloing? I do look at the piece of paper in front of me when soloing but it's only to avoid looking at the audience. It's either that or the ceiling. Again, no offense: I've finally freed myself from sheet music a very short time ago.
 
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