Ultra-compact iPad music stand

Thankfully, the days of carrying around a gigantic binder full of your set list charts is over. Like many gigging musicians these days, I use an older iPad running iReal Pro for reading basic chord charts. (I know, I know, purists might take issue with this idea. If you are one of them, can skip this post and continue shaking your fist in another direction.)

I find that full-size music stands are a bit “loud” on stage when all you’re looking at is a 10″ x 7″ rectangle. Plus, as you all probably know by now, minimalism: it’s my thing. We’re still a ways off from reading music charts off of cloud-connected ocular implants, so I came up with this guy:

Minimalist iPad music stand. Nosy readers might also see another custom gooseneck-mount phone stand on that Fender Dual Pro, but that is another post!

The stand base is the ubiquitous Hamilton two-section folding stand, a classic of jr. high school band rooms. Notice that (perhaps intentionally) “music” does not precede the word “stand” in the product listing. Their flimsy top sections weren’t the best at holding up actual sheet music. Memories of overstuffed binders somersaulting off of them are now flooding back.

Fortunately, these work just fine for iPads which have equal weight distribution regardless of what page you’re looking at. If you don’t already have one in the back of your closet, these stands can still be had for about $15 new. If you’re lucky like I was, you found the orphaned base for a buck at the local thrift store.

Digression: ah, the fond memories of making rudimentary crossbows out of these and impressing your band geek buddies. Weaponizing your music gear is yet another post.

To interface with this stand, I modeled this little mount and 3D printed it on my MP Maker Select Mini:

The mount slips right over the same angled part of the base and tightens down with a screw, already more than I can say for the original top section of this cheapo stand

In the front, there are two additional screws to press the iPad to the back, preventing it from slipping out. I glued a circular (used a paper hole punch) bit of leather to the tip of each screw to add some friction and protect the screen, but honestly I used the bare plastic screws for months without scratching it. The glass is very durable, as it my iPhone that has spent years in the same pocket as my change and keys can attest.

Secured in place. I can actually pick up the whole stand by the iPad and it wont slip out. Note the notch allows access to the home button. You can’t see underneath, but there’s also a hole so you can plug in the charger.

The mount also fits a standard smartphone, too, if you want to go extra-small.

When stowing, I just fold up the bottom of the stand and slide it into the front pocket of my gig bag, zipping up around it, with the top sticking out. Saves yet another trip to the car, which is a simple delight I never get tired of.

DIY’ers can find the design up at Thingiverse, or you can buy one at my store.

2 thoughts on “Ultra-compact iPad music stand”

  1. Hi Vic, this is fantastic. It’s just what I’ve been looking for.

    Could I pay you to make one of these contraptions for me?

    When you get back from your holiday, of course.

    I’d like to buy either the whole stand or just the mount, whichever works better for you.


    Will Wilson

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