Most band and orchestra teachers have to constantly adjust those old Manhasset music stands. They wobble at the base and fail to hold music up. This instructable will permanently remedy this problem.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Why does this music stand fail?

Picture of Why does this music stand fail?
Music Stand (13).JPG
Music Stand (3).JPG
Music Stand (34).JPG
Answer: Cheap parts, misuse, overuse, and poor fastening.

More specifically...

The bolt that connects the base of the music stand to the shaft, has too much lubricant on the threading. Although it initially allows for easy assembly, it also allows the bolt to back out of the shaft.
[see picture #1]

The pivot section of the music stand (in back of the music stand's face) relies on inferior washers, which slowly deform from regular use. The deformity of these washers causes a lack of tension, which then causes the face of the music stand to sag (this is why your music keeps falling down). Also, the inside of the nut may not have a nylon component, which allows the nut to back out at times.
[see pictures #2 and 3]

The connection between the shaft and pivot will sometimes slip out. Overtightening can deform the apparatus, so I will suggest using epoxy and a nylon nut instead.
[see picture #4]

Students are to blame for most of the wear and tear. They stand on top of the music stand base, wiggle it around, constantly adjust the face, etc. Students will have a difficult time destroying your music stands after this instructable.

Step 2: Tools and Materials (other than the music stand)

Picture of Tools and Materials (other than the music stand)
Listed from left to right and top to bottom (see pic):

1. WD-40
2. Toothbrush
3. 5-minute Epoxy
4. Flathead Screwdriver

5. Two - 5/16" Zinc Cut Washers (5/16" inside diameter; 7/8" outside diameter)
6. Two - 9/16" Zinc Cut Washers (9/16" inside diameter; 1-3/8" outside diameter)
7. One - 1/4" Nylon Lock Nut (Coarse)
8. One - 5/16" Nylon Lock Nut (Coarse)

9. Cloth
10. 1/2" Standard Wrench
11. Socket Wrench
12. 17mm socket
13. 1/2" socket
14. 7/16" socket

Step 3: Cleaning the Shaft

Picture of Cleaning the Shaft
Music Stand (6).JPG
Music Stand (7).JPG
Materials (pic #3)

1. Shaft of Music Stand
---a. Shaft
---b. End-Cap
---c. Tapered Washer
---d. Bolt
2. Cleaning Cloth
3. WD-40
4. Toothbrush


1. Disassemble the shaft and wipe off any grease (pic #2)
2. Spray WD-40 on the Bolt, scrub with toothbrush, and wipe thoroughly with the Cloth (pic #3)

Step 4: Securing the Base

Picture of Securing the Base
Music Stand (5).JPG
Music Stand (8).JPG
Music Stand (10).JPG
Materials [see pic #2]

1. Shaft of Music Stand
---a. Shaft
---b. End-Cap
---c. Tapered Washer
---d. Bolt
2. Base of Music Stand
3. Socket Wrench
4. 17mm socket
5. 5-min Epoxy
6. Epoxy Applicator (or a stick, q-tip, toothpick, etc)


1. Mix about one-teaspoon of epoxy (according to directions on container).
2. Using the applicator, apply a liberal amount of epoxy to the threaded side of the shaft (pic #3).
3. Immediately attach the End-Cap.
4. Immediately secure the Base of the music stand using the Tapered Washer and Bolt (pic #1).
5. Use the 17mm socket and wrench to tighten (pic #1).

Note: Use some strength to ensure that the bolt will stay tight. However, too much strength will crack the End-Cap and strip some of the threads. Good luck.

Step 5: Securing the Pivot


1. Face and Pivot Section of Music Stand
2. Two - 5/16" Zinc Cut Washers (5/16" inside diameter; 7/8" outside diameter)
3. Two - 9/16" Zinc Cut Washers (9/16" inside diameter; 1-3/8" outside diameter)
4. One - 5/16" Nylon Lock Nut (Coarse)
5. 1/2" Standard Wrench
6. Socket Wrench
7. 1/2" socket


1. Using the standard and socket wrench, remove the nut, bolt, and washers from the pivot section (pics #1 and 2).
2. Throw away the stock washers and nut (pic #3).
3. Replace with the two - 5/16" washers, the two - 9/16" washers, and the 5/16" Nylon Lock Nut (pic #4).
4. Note: Be careful not to remove the pivot section, as there are two gaskets that may come out (pic #8).
5. Assemble the nut, washers, and bolt in the order that appears in picture #4.
6. The washers will be off-center (pic #5), so only tighten enough so that you can adjust (pic #6).
7. Make sure the other side is centered, and tighten using the wrenches (pic #7).
8. Once the entire assembly is complete, adjust the pivot tension to your preference.

Step 6: Securing the Shaft

Materials (pic #4)

1. Both completed assemblies (shaft and pivot)
2. Epoxy
3. Epoxy Applicator
4. Stock Bolt
5. 1/4" Nylon Lock Nut
6. Flathead Screwdriver
7. 7/16" Socket
8. Socket Wrench


1. Using the screwdriver and socket wrench, remove the nut and bolt from the area that connects the shaft to the pivot (pic #1).
2. Throw away the stock nut, and replace with the 1/4" Nylon Lock Nut (pics #5 and 6).
3. Set nut and bolt aside.
4. Use the handle end of the socket wrench to gently pry and wiggle the opening where the shaft meets the pivot (pic #7).
5. Gently twist the shaft into the pivot to see if it will fit. If so, remove it and set aside (pic #3).
6. Mix about one-teaspoon of epoxy and apply liberally to the inside of the pivot section that connects to the shaft (pic #8).
7. Immediately twist the shaft into the pivot section (pic #3).
8. Using the screwdriver and socket wrench, firmly attach the nut and bolt (pic #2).

Step 7: Done

Picture of Done
As a music teacher, this project has saved me countless hours. I honestly haven't had to tighten a music stand in two years. Also, I'm sure that I overexplained this instructable, but I would rather there be no doubt.
lloydrmc3 years ago
Nice job. If I may suggest a middle ground, something that would secure the hardware without making it impossible to ever disassemble again: Permatex "Loctite". The red version makes the assembly difficult to disassemble (and will not loosen accidentally), and the blue version makes the assembly harder still to disassemble.

Bravo on specific replacement for the hardware to improve performance.
mdickinson6 years ago
Awesome job. Excellent ideas and very clearly explained. Thank you!
psl6 years ago
It should probably be mentioned early on that this Instructable will make the stand impossible to disassemble. As an instrument maker I'd definitely think twice before doing that...
McPhystal (author)  psl6 years ago
You are absolutely correct. However, in a large music program (within an urban public school) the intention would be to secure the stand so that it is nearly impossible to disassemble. Even though students are instructed to respect their equipment, they still manage to unknowingly lean all their bodyweight on a music stand, thus causing the bolts to loosen and back out. For those who are traveling musicians, I would not recommend this instructable for your portable stand. However, if you have a dedicated music stand for home use, it couldn't hurt to secure it permanently.
Farewell88s6 years ago
There are Sooo many music stands like this at my school, I only wonder if my music teacher would let me fix them!
jpond0096 years ago
As a Orchestra Music Student, in High School, stands, as you have seen and experienced, can get horrible (when the stand's bottom can rotate 360 degrees in all directions, you know you have to do something) and I always, always get stuck with that one horrible stand. This is a great Instructable, and I've tried one or two of these tricks, and they work marvelously.
reedz6 years ago
I'm not sure how many people will fully appreciate this but as a jazz band member who occasionally "borrows" music stands and fixes them up while in possession, I know how bad that some stands can get.
We had one that the base would hold the entire thing at a 45* angle and still no one would fix it.
Any idea how to adjust the inner spring? We also have a stand that every time you push it down, it will slowly slide itself right back up.
McPhystal (author)  reedz6 years ago
Concerning the stand that slides up, I would suggest purchasing a Manhasset Stand Lock. I would attempt to create a cheaper version, but it is already pretty cheap. I haven't had too many problems with the inner spring mechanism, but you have peaked my curiosity. Although I think that the inner mechanism is inaccessible, I'm sure that I will destroy an old music stand in the pursuit of knowledge. I'll get back when I know.
reedz McPhystal6 years ago
I was looking around and all I could find was a turn knob that kept the stand from sliding up or down. Is that what you were talking about? You could get a tap and drill a hole in the outer sheath of the stand and thread in a small handle that could do about the same thing. I will see if I can find that stand again and give you a short video of it, I'm a junior this year in marching band and can pretty much get away with murder around my directors. I'm sure if I find the stand I could take it home and do some invasive surgery.
McPhystal (author)  reedz6 years ago
I think that your drilling idea would work pretty well, but I wouldn't want to compromise the integrity of the sheath or the inner shaft. If we collaborate, I believe we can come up with a cheap and effective solution that rivals the stand lock.
reedz McPhystal6 years ago
Perhaps you could slide a piece of aluminium in along with the inner shaft to protect it as you drill the outer sheath, it would only really need to be a quarter inch hole in order for a screw to go into it. Just something to grab on. Another idea would be to use two rubber clamps connected to each other, place one on the sheath and one on the shaft to keep it in one position
reedz reedz6 years ago
Oh sorry. I meant to add... FIVE STARS!!!! WOOT!
zjharva6 years ago
i remember these problems when i used to do band at school. good instructable!