Here’s a story that will strike a chord with most guitarists out there.
You pack up all of your gear to go to a gig.
Your guitar is in its case and is secure. All of your pedals and amp are ready to go.
You arrive at the venue and unload all of your gear. You strap your guitar over your shoulder, play through the set, and then take a quick break.
You take your guitar off your shoulder and realize you have no place to set your guitar down.
In this scenario you have two options.
- Put your guitar back into its guitar case or,
- Rest the guitar against an amp, a chair, or some other kind of furniture around.
If you have a good guitar case, then you know that your guitar is safe and sound. However, it’s not exactly a convenient option. Plus, its pretty eye catching at shows to leave your guitar out for everyone to see.
The worst thing you can do (and probably have done, at least I have) is rest your guitar on an amplifier.
In this case you may have heard the gut-wrenching sound of a guitar falling over and slamming into the ground, causing the neck to break or scratches to be born.
I want to help guitarists avoid inconveniences and broken instruments. In order to accomplish that, I’m here to help you pick the best guitar stand for your needs.
In this article I will go over the 6 best types of guitar stands you will come across on the market. I will also give you some of my favorite choices that you can look into.
Snapshot: 6 Kinds of Guitar Stands (and My Recommendations for Each)
- Wall Mount
How Do I Pick Out the Best Guitar Stand?
Picking out a stand that fits all your needs is one of the best investments that a guitarist can make. This is especially true if you think of it like you’re protecting your guitar from falling and breaking.
However, there are so many stands out there in different designs and prices.
How does one go about choosing the right guitar stand?
Let’s look at some of the elements of a top guitar stand that you should consider when making your decision.
This goes for just about every piece of guitar equipment out there, but I bring it up mainly to suggest that you not go and buy the cheapest stand you come across. Quality guitar stands are not overly expensive to begin with and the price range is not very wide. You’ll be amazed at what a $10 stand gets you vs a $60 one. Think of it as an investment for your guitar’s safety and storage.
Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself is where are you planning to let your guitar stand up? The best stand for your bedroom home studio may not be the best choice to take to a gig. The setting that you imagine your instrument placed in will play heavily into the other aspects of your choice in guitar stand.
There are excellent guitar stands out there that can hold multiple guitars. The most common have space for 2 or 3, but some can have up to 5, 7, or even 10. Whenever I go out to my gigs with The Outskirts I always bring my guitar rack fitted for three guitars to hold my acoustic and two electrics. With this I have easy access to all of my guitars throughout the night.
On the other side of the spectrum, I only use my one electric guitar during rehearsals, so I just keep a stand made for a single guitar in that room. The situation will help you decide what kind of stand will work best.
The best guitar stands all essentially have the same purpose: hold your guitar up. What makes one model stand apart from the others depends almost entirely on how they achieve this purpose. Some hold your guitar up just from the bottom. Others have neck rests. Some hold your guitar up on a wall.
The key is to make sure that whatever model of guitar stand you choose offers the right amount of stability that is appropriate for where you take it.
The 6 Best Kinds of Guitar Stand (And My Recommendations for Each)
Just about every guitar stand out on the market will fall into one of each of these categories of guitar stand.
1. A-Frame Guitar Stands
This simple and cheap design for a floor stand is more sturdy and usable than one would think at first glance. This is a great option to start with if you need a compact stand to take to shows or for low traffic home studio use. These are designed to hold a single guitar at a slight angle and they can be made from a variety of materials ranging from wood, to plastic, to metal. The added plus is that they work for any stringed instrument, whether it be acoustic/electric guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, or mandolin.
For the longest time I used a wooden Ibanez A-Frame with felt feet that had to be at least ten years old. It was minimal, but it did the job just fine. These days, the A-Frame stands typically have some kind of fold-up mechanism designed in them to make them easy to take on the road. I use the Nordic Essentials guitar stand at acoustic gigs where I only need one guitar. It keeps my guitar upright and folds up into a little bag for easy transportation.
The only downside to these stands is that they don’t have any kind of neck support, so make sure that they are in a corner where nobody can bump into them, or else your guitar could fall over.
Recommended A-Frame Stands
- Nordic Essentials Folding Instrument Stand
- AmazonBasics Folding A-Frame Stand
- Ibanez PT32 Pocket Titan Guitar Stand
2. Tubular/Tripod Guitar Stands
Tubular stands are probably the most likely guitar stand that you will run into at just about any studio or rehearsal space. They are a common first choice for guitarists because they are cheap and look like a step-up in quality compared to A-Frames with the added neck support. However, they aren’t nearly as portable and offer minimal extra protection.
The added downside to Tubular stands is that they are made with light and cheap materials that make the stand unstable. The tripod design doesn’t add any stability to the bass. In fact, I would argue it makes them easier to tip over. Most accidents occur from these stands. They are also only usable with guitars/basses, not other stringed instruments.
They work in a pinch and if you are extremely aware of your surroundings, but for just a little bit more cash you can get a much more reliable stand. See the next section for better options.
Recommended Tubular/Tripod Stands
3. Premium Guitar Stands
Premium design stands are the best option for single guitars. This goes for the stage as well as your home studio. They are designed to hold the guitar by the neck like a wall mount (see section 4) and the body rests on padded legs. This allows the weight of the guitar to hold itself in place.
My favorite designs have more than three legs, making them extremely effective against light bumps. Obviously, they won’t protect against a full-blown tackle or an amp falling over, but no stand will. Many premium designs also have a way of folding up, making them a practical solution for traveling with a guitar.
I use the D&A Starfish+ daily in my rehearsal space for my original band, Lumet. Because I only use one guitar in that project and the space can get a bit hectic from moving gear around, I wanted the sturdiest option available. It has five legs instead of the typical three and is adjustable for whatever size guitar I put on it.
I highly recommend it if you have the money to spend.
Recommended Premium Stands
4. Wall Mount Stands For Guitars
Wall Mounts are different compared to other guitar stands in that it isn’t really a stand at all. This design is 100% stationary and gets your guitar off the ground entirely. These are a fun option for your home studio, as they save you space by taking your guitar off the ground AND they make your guitar look like a piece of art (which they are).
Keep in mind that guitars reflect sound, so these stands might cause sound issues if you are a professional sound engineer. However, I find the effect to be minimal for my own home recording of demo’s and recreational music listening. The only other drawback is that these stands are obviously not a practical solution to take on the road, so you will still need a stand for when you travel.
Wall mounts are a fun gift to give to the guitarist in your life, because they can be really small and add flare to your home. Anyone who knows me well enough is aware that I am a whiskey guy, so I was thrilled when my mom gave me a wall mount guitar stand made out of a whiskey barrel stave.
It just goes to show that these can be made from just about anything, so if you are crafty, maybe you could make one on your own.
Recommended Wall Mount Stands
5. Multi-Stands For Guitars
Who wants to own just one guitar? Not me.
With more guitars comes the needs for more guitar stands. Multi-Stands are an answer for anyone who wants to have multiple guitars at arms’ reach. They are a good solution if floor space is of high value and the added weight/dimension offers some extra stability.
One potential downside to this design is that reaching the rear positioned guitar can be inconvenient, especially if the stand is placed in the corner of a room.
These stands utilize designs similar to the tripod and premium stands, so I would recommend that you keep an eye out for how the guitars are positioned and opt for a premium style if you can afford it.
6. Guitar Racks
I personally prefer Guitar Racks when it comes to propping up multiple guitars in the same space. They are the sturdiest and often the most travel-friendly option.
They can be as simple as foam and metal rods, or they can be housed in the giant metal boxes that you see professionals using on tour. They can typically range anywhere from 3 to 10 guitars while taking up a small amount of floor space.
They aren’t perfectly designed. The open space between guitars can create opportunity for nicks and dings, especially if you have an electric guitar next to an acoustic. Just be sure to place your guitars carefully and pair your acoustics apart from your electrics, then this shouldn’t be much of a problem.
I use a Hercules 3-guitar rack for full-length shows that require multiple guitars. Even if I only bring one guitar, it saves my bandmates from having to bring their own along.
Recommended Guitar Racks
“I Heard Guitar Stands Mess Up the Finish…”
It is worth noting that if you own a vintage guitar or a custom-made guitar that was finished using Nitrocellulose, it is possible that some guitar stands can wear away that finish. This is caused from friction between the lacquer and metal/rubber on the stand.
If you purchased a vintage or custom guitar, you are probably already aware of this fact. However, if you are not sure, check out the spec sheet on your guitar and make sure you are taking care of it properly.
Brands like D&A and Hercules note that their products are “Nitro” or “Vintage-Friendly”, so if you indeed have a Nitro-finished guitar, these stands will be just fine for you to use.
If you have a newer, factory made guitar, chances are it was finished with a Polymer-based finish, which is extremely durable and can be placed on any stand.
Hold Your Guitars Up the Right Way
There is no safer space for your guitar to live than in its case. Solid cases give the most protection and are ideal for transportation.
That being said, guitar cases are not always convenient, practical, or appealing to the eye.
Guitar stands have their time and place whether you are in the studio or out at rehearsal. There are lots of good options out there for whatever setting you find yourself needing a good guitar stand.
Whatever choice you go with, keep in mind that no guitar stand is perfect, and they all can allow your guitar to fall over. The most important thing you can do is keep your eyes open and stay aware.
And please, don’t lay your guitar on your amp 😉
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- When To Change Your Guitar Strings & Why You Should
Davis Wilton Bader is a professional guitarist/writer based out of St. Louis, MO. He plays in the bands Lumet and The Outskirts.