When sight-reading sheet music and lyrics (among other musical endeavours), a music stand is an invaluable asset to have. Beyond music, music stands are great for holding scripts for voiceover. In addition to physical paper, music stands can also be used to hold digital devices for paper-free reading.
Music is everywhere, so it's no surprise that there are plenty of music stand options to choose from on the market. With such a wide variety of stands, knowing the top brands is useful.
Of course, the brand is far from the most important aspect of a music stand, though it's still worth considering for general knowledge and judgment. In this article, I'll share my take on the top music stand brands.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list out these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Performance of the music stands
- Longevity of the music stands
- Variety of music stands available
- Accessibility of the music stands (how easy they are to find/buy)
- The company must currently be in operation
With all that being said, let's list out the brands.
The Top 11 Best Music Stand Brands Are:
- RAT Stands
- Hercules Stands
- Quik Lok
- Ultimate Support
- Gator Frameworks
- Hamilton Stands
- Gravity Stands
Let's detail each of these brands and explain why they belong in the top 11 best music stand brands. I'll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable stand, and a link to their official website.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. If you click one of them, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you (which I'm very grateful for, as it helps me produce more free content here at My New Microphone). You can see the list of my partners here and my ethics statement here. Thank you for your support!
The one thing that started Manhasset was the need for reliable, easy-to-use music stands. Indeed, inventor Otto Lagervall was disappointed with the quality of music stands he could purchase at the time, so he decided to make them better.
With time, the relentless commitment to excellence made the company the go-to choice for professional musicians worldwide. Plus, all Manhasset stands are made in the USA, and the company is currently employee-owned, which means each team member works to see the company grow every day.
Notable stand: Manhasset MODEL 84
This model is perhaps the sturdiest of all Manhasset stands in the market. Indeed, from the high-impact ABS plastic desk (a glare-free matte finish so you can see it in daylight, too) to the heavy-gauge, welded, all-steel base, this is a stand that can surely take a beating. Also, the patented technology for a one-hand operation called “Magic Finger Clutch” allows musicians to adjust the height using one hand. Finally, it is entirely made in the USA.
The history of RAT Stands started when an opera company, one of the biggest in England, commissioned a brand-new, illuminated stand for its members. That need for a lighted stand gave birth to a company that took innovation as one of its core values since day one.
Nowadays, after thousands of venues around the world trust RAT Stands with their sheets of music, the company is a synonym for sturdiness and performance. Moreover, you can spot them at Abbey Road Studios, the Sydney Opera House, the Dubai Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Opera House, among many others.
Notable stand: RAT Stands Opera Stand
With an acoustically neutral wire tray and an L-shaped base, this is the perfect stand for opera musicians to sit next to at the opera pit. Moreover, although it was designed in 1976, it is still today the only music stand on the market featuring an integral light. It is perfectly designed to shed all its power over the tray and nowhere else. Finally, you can customize it to your preference with different LED lights and trays.
Common problems need quality solutions. This was the initial motto of the company back in the 60s, and it proved fruitful for the company since only ten years after selling stand number one, they had more than one office in the USA and Europe.
Moreover, Yorkville spent the past half a century selling quality stands that can be spotted in local fairs and churches as well as big stages on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, if you are looking for a clever, sturdy solution for your music sheets, Yorkville is a must-check.
Notable stand: Yorkville BS-310
This music stand by Yorkville is sturdy, useful, and easy to carry. To begin with, the large tripod of the BS-310 serves as a great base for the wide, solid, and hole-filled music desk. Moreover, the stand is made of 100% heavy-duty aluminum with a scratch-resistant finish, so your music stand will look like new for years.
It's collapsible, sturdy, and easy to carry. The rubberized, non-slip feet and heavy-duty nylon collars round up a great music stand.
Arguably, Hercules is one of the most sought-after stand brands in the world today. Indeed, it has enjoyed a boom in popularity thanks to its revolutionary design that locks instruments with their own weight, keeping them safe and sound regardless of what happens around them.
Also, the clutch system designed by Hercules is perfect for one-hand operation during a show, making Hercules the go-to option for professional musicians around the world. If you go to concerts often, you will surely spot Hercules' distinctive yellow parts on the biggest stages around the world.
Notable stand: Hercules Stands BS418B
From the patented Quik N-EZ height adjustment grip to the perforated desk, this collapsible tripod-style music stand by Hercules with wired page retainers is among the best music stands you can buy in the market today. Moreover, the collapsible, perforated desk is made of heavy-duty aluminum, the anti-slip rubber feet keep the stand in place at all times, and the EZ angle roller is great for setting the desk at the perfect angle. If you're looking for an orchestra stand, you have to check this Hercules model before buying.
As natural-born innovators, this Italian brand is responsible for some of the most important innovations of the past decades when it comes to stands. A great illustrative example is a groundbreaking feature they added to keyboard stands in the shape of a big dish that allows for on-the-fly height changes.
But that's only a part of the story; the other part is that Quik Lok is among the sturdiest, most reliable, road-worthy stand brands worldwide. So, if you are serious about your music sheet on stage or in the studio, Quik Lok is a brand you can trust.
Notable stand: Quik Lok MS-332
When the road gets tough, professionals turn to Quik Lok for help. Indeed, this music stand can take anything the road can throw at you. Your music sheets will be resting comfortably over a detachable wooden music holder. This wooden piece sits comfortably over a structure made of heavy-duty steel tubing finished with scratch-resistant, matte-black enamel. Finally, you can adjust the height between 75 and 129cm and fold it to carry it comfortably everywhere.
Ultimate Support has had an ace up its sleeve since day one. Indeed, the company understood from day one that in-house design would give them the ability to go from idea to product in the shortest time possible. Therefore, by investing heavily in hiring the best of the best and providing them with state-of-the-art machinery, Ultimate Support cemented a reputation for being as innovative as they are sturdy and reliable.
Nowadays, their catalogue is flooded with smart solutions for musicians in every genre and instrument. Thus, if you want a modern and reliable music stand, Ultimate Support is a must-check before buying.
Notable stand: Ultimate Support JS-MS200
Ultimate Support set out to create a stand that could not only take the hardships of the road but also look good doing it for years. Furthermore, the entire stand is made of steel for ultimate endurance. Also, the non-slip rubber feet, resistant tripod base, and height-adjusting mechanism are as durable as easy to use. Finally, adjusting the angle of the music platform is very easy, so you can make on-the-fly changes while the base remains perfectly stable at all times.
K&M understood, from the beginning, that manufacturing every piece of every product in-house was the perfect way to ensure the highest quality levels. This is an uncanny effort by K&M; making everything to the last bolt requires planning, infrastructure, and teamwork. Nevertheless, they have been doing it successfully for the past 70 years.
Nowadays, that formula works perfectly, and K&M is a synonym for reliability, simplicity, and sturdiness. So, if you want a simple stand that can last for a lifetime and is easy to use, trust K&M with your money.
Notable stand: K&M 118/4 Orchestra Music Stand
This chrome stand features a walnut desk for orchestra use on the most prestigious stages in the world. To begin with, the die-cast base featuring folding legs is as sturdy as it gets. Also, the prismatic V-Block connector attaches to the removable wooden desk effortlessly. Finally, you can get the desk in a variety of premium wood types to better match your taste.
Father and daughter used the family garage to create music accessories as a hobby and to make some extra money. Shortly after, they exhibited their products at the NAMM show to critical acclaim. That spotlight gave the brand the needed attention and funds to grow and offer a catalogue featuring over 1,000 products that can solve problems for musicians of all kinds around the world.
Because more and more music and sound professionals started using Gator and demanding more from the brand, the Gator Frameworks heavy-duty subdivision was created. You can trust that buying a music stand from this heavy-duty, professional-oriented brand is a wise investment.
This deluxe music stand from Gator Frameworks is among the best you can buy on the market. To begin with, the coloured rings at the rubber feet can be very helpful in dark rooms and are also removable if the orchestra director doesn't approve. Also, the one-handed height adjustment utilizes a clutch system that can be activated with a simple squeeze of the trigger. Finally, the heavy-duty tray with integrated lip is big enough for music sheets and portfolios.
Founded by engineers, design innovation and flawless manufacturing have always been integral to this company. Moreover, they were responsible for design innovations that can still be seen these days, such as the neck-holding and the cradle guitar stand.
Speaking of music stands, they designed and manufactured the KB400N, the best-selling folding music stand in the world, with over 6 million units sold worldwide.
Hamilton is a brand you can trust.
Notable stand: Hamilton Stands KB300A
Sometimes, music stands need to be in front of an audience, and thus, the design needs to be attractive. In this vein, the three-post base design with wide feet makes it a stable, sturdy, gorgeous-looking music stand that can sit comfortably on the center of the stage and maintain the looks at an optimum level.
Also, the music desk is among the biggest in the market and is finished with scratch-resistant black powder. This is the best-looking, sturdiest music stand on this list; if it matches your needs, it is a must-check before buying.
Humble executives usually win the race in making the best solutions for musicians' problems. In this case, On-Stage understood that the most valuable information to make better music stands came from their clients. Therefore, they opened up an inbound channel through their retailers to allow clients to say what they would do differently.
With time, On-Stage used that information and its R&D department to make better, more effective, and reliable solutions for musicians around the world. The company name is a synonym for sturdiness, reliability, and performance.
Notable stand: On-Stage SM7122BB
This is one of the sturdiest yet more foldable and easy-to-carry stands on this list. It is entirely made of steel and finished in matte black. Also, it includes a comfy and practical carrying bag to take it everywhere with you. Finally, you can easily adjust the tilt angle of the bookplate and read your music sheets comfortably every night, regardless of the place's illumination.
The Rolling Stones have been a synonym for the highest standards in live shows for the past 60 years. They have toured relentlessly and probably seen more stages and crowds than most artists in the history of the world. They offered the Adam Hall Group a one-off collaboration in 2014. This fact alone speaks loudly and clearly about the quality standards this group and, thus, Gravity Stands works with.
Gravity Stands represent the pinnacle of German precision in everything they do. If they are enough for The Rolling Stones, they can surely address your needs, too.
Notable stand: Gravity NS ORC2
This orchestra music stand is great for those who need the perfect balance between heavy-duty performance and portability. The perforated music desk is big enough to accommodate sheets for an entire show and can be folded easily. Also, the heavy steel tripod is perfect for avoiding accidents on a crowded stage. Finally, the no-knob, friction-free desk tilt, and height adjustment ensure the stand will work perfectly for years to come.