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The best violin stand will be durable, meet your needs as a musician, and fit within your budget. There are many types and styles of stands, made of metal and wood, and you may have to try several to find the one that is right for you. You can find violin stands in stores specializing in musical instruments and accessories, in catalogs, or through online retailers.
Before you begin shopping, you should determine your needs. A violin stand is often used by musicians who are playing more than one instrument throughout a performance. Violin stands are also useful for instructors who find themselves using their own violin for demonstration throughout rehearsals, lessons, or master classes. An alternative to a violin stand is the violin hanger, which can be mounted on a wall or on the shaft of a music stand.
Hangers are convenient for musicians who simply want to leave the violin out so that it is more accessible. Hangers are typically less expensive than violin stands. They attach to the wall on a bracket or to the pole of a music stand. Wall hangers are space saving and give an extra layer of security for the instrument since it is hung out of reach of small children and pets.
Once you have decided on whether a stand or a hanger is right for you, you need to consider your budget. All violin stands do the same job: they hold your violin. There are some types of stands with additional features, but they may be more expensive.
Typically, a cheaper stand that is well made will last just as long as an expensive, hand carved wooden stand. It may even last longer, since it will require no special maintenance. If money is more important than style, you should purchase the least expensive stand that meets your needs.
One optional feature is a bow hook, which allows you to hang your bow on the stand. Another is a fretboard bar, which locks over the neck of the violin to keep it from accidentally tipping off the stand. There are designs which provide a snug hold on the body of the violin, keeping the violin firmly on the stand without the use of a fretboard bar. These are also excellent for displaying a violin, since there is no extraneous hardware blocking the view of the instrument.
There are stands which are extremely light and portable, but they may not have additional features like a fretboard lock or bow stand. You may have to try out different styles of stands to decide which is right for you. In some cases, the smaller, lighter stand's advantages offset its lack of features.
It is best to see the violin stand in person before buying. When you look at a stand, check for a solid build that doesn't wobble. A good stand will also have velvet, foam, or rubber cushions wherever the instrument rests. This ensures that the stand itself does not damage the instrument or its varnish. If possible, bring your instrument with you and try it out on the stand.