How to Make a Contrabass Flute Stand

Jonathan Cohen | January 2013

    I was fortunate enough to get a contrabass flute recently. I knew when the instrument arrived that I would need a stand to hold the flute when it was not being played. Being a do-it-yourself type, I decided to make my own. My initial thought was to build a peg-style stand – until I considered the arithmetic. The contra is about six feet high and lifting the flute off a peg of adequate height would guarantee that the flute would hit an eight-foot ceiling. I designed a tripod-based stand instead, in which the end peg is maintained at playing height, and the flute is easy to reach. A spring-loaded catch secures the flute to a holder mounted to the tripod.
    The completed stand is shown below. It consists of a photographic tripod (minus the head) topped by a custom holder, as shown in the following diagrams. The light block of wood between the tripod and holder is an extension that is not part of the basic design.
    The following illustrations show the holder as viewed from the top. The flute is inserted from the left and is held in place with a catch. The base (main piece) is forked to accommodate the flute body. On the other end is a mounting hole to bolt the holder to the tripod. Attached to the forked end is a catch that rotates on a pivot.

    The catch is pulled perpendicular to the opening by a soft spring, and it is prevented from going too far by a stop. When the flute is pushed in from the left, the catch moves aside and lets it enter, but then snaps back when the flute is in place.
    To remove the flute, the catch is moved out of the way with a finger. To prevent the flute from being scratched, line the holder with felt. The spring should be very soft so as to provide the least resistance when inserting the flute.
    The base and catch are wood; the pivot and spring anchor are wood screws; and the stop is a finishing nail. The base is secured to the tripod’s mounting screw by a plastic knurled knob (not shown).
The finished stand allows me to effortlessly stow and retrieve my flute. This also means that during performance I can adjust the music or turn pages without distracting the audience or other musicians.