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What Are the Different Types of Percussion Stands?

By Judith Smith Sullivan
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are percussion stands for virtually every percussion instrument. Since percussion instruments create sound through striking a surface, it is important that the surface be able to freely vibrate, so the instrument is suspended on a stand. The most common percussion stand is the three-legged stand because of its ability to support a variety of percussion instruments. There are also built-in and attached stands for large instruments or instruments with unusual shapes.

Some percussion instruments, like mallet or keyboard percussion, have a built-in stand. The marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, and chimes are all have some type of percussion stand. It usually has legs like a table or a similar structure to support the instrument. The timpani also has a built in stand attached to the bowl of the instrument.

Other instruments must be mounted on percussion stands before they can be played. One example is temple blocks. These are attached with a clamp to a three legged stand. It has an adjustable pole and typically breaks down to a size which can be easily stored. Instruments that typically attach to three legged percussion stands are the snare drum, certain types of cymbals, crotales, and bongo drums, as well as others.

Some instruments have a very specific type of stand due to their unusual shape or size. The percussion stand for the bass drum is typically a large hoop structure, supported by a stand with wheels. The bass drum hangs in the hoop.

The congo drum uses a stand which has three legs attached to a circle of padded metal. The congo drum rests in the circle. Gongs also use a squared bar mounted on a base with wheels. The bar completely surrounds the gong which hangs inside the square. Smaller gongs can be hung from a similarly shaped stand, but they are often placed on a table.

Many percussion instruments do not need percussion stands to be played. Auxiliary percussion often falls into this category. The slapstick, jingle bells, finger cymbals, rattle, claves, and many other instruments are held during use. In an orchestra setting, auxiliary percussion are typically laid on a velvet lined table at waist height so that the percussionist can reach the instruments easily.

Drum set percussionists use a combination of specialty stands and three legged stands. Typically, the cymbals, snare drum and hi hat use three legged stands. The tom tom drums are actually suspended by a stand which is attached to the bass drum in the form of two extension rods. The bass drum usually sets on its side supported by two legs on either side.

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