Sounds serious, right? “What’s so important about what cymbal stands I use?” There’s much to consider, so let’s start at the top.
Not only does this set the angle for the cymbal to be struck, it also has to bear the stress of the weight of the cymbal. Some tilters feature “geared tilters” which have “teeth” to hold the angle setting. Others are “gearless” and offer infinite flexibility in angle settings, and a smoother feel when doing so. Ever have a stand where the angle you’ve set is close, but not perfect? This feature eliminates that problem.
Also important to mention are cymbal felts and sleeves which protect your cymbals from metal-to-metal contact. This can cause annoying rattles and damage to the cymbals. Ever seen a cymbal bell hole that looks like its been filed out on one side? This is known as keyholing and is directly caused from the friction of the cymbal against the stem of the tilter. Always use cymbal sleeves, and carry some with you when you can’t play your own drums to protect your investment.
Holding all this together is the often-overlooked wing nut. I look for stands that feature ones that I can easily hold on to, and that aren’t so small that I can’t find them if dropped. An alternative to this is Dixon’s EZ Cymbal Set. It’s a quick-release locking nut in a triangular shape that’s easy to grip in your hands, and stays put once on the stand.
Down the Tubes
The next feature on a cymbal stand is the height adjustment tubes. Most cymbal stands feature two or three telescoping tubes that raise or lower the cymbal to your desired height. Some feature memory locks at each stage for consistency, from set-up to tear down. This is a time saver if you have multiple cymbals and would like to have a life between set up/soundcheck and the show.
I’m old enough to remember the excitement of the introduction of boom cymbal stands. They simply were a “must have” on your kit. These were crucial during an era of multiple toms and cymbals. They were completely necessary to facilitate reaching everything, and solved so many issues and limitations of positioning a straight stand. If it weren’t for the boom stand, I don’t believe we’d have been able to create some of the common setups we take for granted today. Most available boom stands allow you to telescope the boom arm into the top tube to covert it into a straight stand. Versatility is the key to a great stand.
It may be at the bottom, but the questions at the top of your list when choosing a stand should be: “Single- or double-braced cymbal stands?” Some things to consider are what kind of stress your playing puts on your gear, and what kind of venues you’ll be playing in. What works great for a one-nighter in a small room may not cut it for a metal drummer on a mega tour of stadiums where local crews may be handling (or more likely, mishandling) your gear. Single-braced stands are lighter in weight and tend to pack up easier. This is great for the gigging drummer who uses only what’s required for the job. You may choose a double-braced stand for the added stability, especially when attaching a tom via a multi-clamp, or when you need to be sure the weight of the base will not allow the stand to tip over from some crazy angle you’ve deemed the ultimate in artistic expression…I say go for it. I personally use both types of stands in my set up. Whichever you choose, make sure the base can cover an adequate area to allow maximum stability.
Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
Lastly, the rubber feet of the stand are a commonly overlooked feature. They help keep your stand in place, and prevent unwanted vibrations from reaching the floor. This is especially important in the recording studio. You don’t want to be the one responsible for wasting time to find the rattle. Replace them when they’re worn. Think of them like shoes for your stands.
- Something one of my earliest teachers passed along to me regarding hardware was to never over-tighten the wing nuts or screws. I’ve seen so many perfectly good stands come across the shop bench ruined because someone felt the best way to keep something in place was to take a wrench and tighten it so much that screw broke or became stripped.
- Try to maintain a maintenance schedule that includes wiping down the chrome with a soft cloth. If the chrome has become dirty or marred from fingerprints etc., try some 0000 gauge steel wool.
- Replace worn felts and cymbal sleeves, and maybe a touch of 3-in-1 oil on the moving parts of the tripod. This will make your hardware last and look great for years to come.
- When it comes to durability, you get what you pay for. Not all tubes in stands come in the same gauge thickness, so think about what kind of stress you put on your stands when making a decision on what to use or buy. If it feels flimsy when you pick it up, will you trust it on a gig? That’s not something you want to think about when you’re playing.
- Most of all, set your hardware up to help you play your best, and have fun being creative with it. It can be as much of your identity as a player as your drums!
To browse Dixon’s full range of cymbal stands, visit: www.playdixon.com/hardware.