Starfish Guitar Stand by D&A Guitar Gear
By Chris Marion |
STARFISH Guitar Stand by D&A Guitar
In the world of guitar accessories, few gadgets receive less consideration while providing more security for your axe than the guitar stand. We beat them up, toss them in the back of the van, duct tape the arms when the rubber falls apart and finally toss them into a closet to be bastardized for parts for replacement stands. But this red-headed step-child of work horse accessories is the last bastion of defense when a freak wind blows across the stage or your drunk bass player stumbles into your $5,000 vintage Les Paul. Guitar “stand” is actually an ironic misnomer as most road warriors painfully know when the typical stand tips over with the slightest bump in the wrong direction. With the new STARFISH Guitar Stand, D&A Guitar Gear presents a strong and stable alternative to the status quo. In order to review their product on the battlefield of choice, we gave it the LRB road test. Let the games begin!
For the purpose of this review, D&A sent us both versions of the STARFISH – Passive and Active. The passive has a conventional open throated grip neck while the active features a clear locking head mechanism that closes the throat for added protection. Let’s take a look at the features.
Both the active and the passive STARFISH feature a 5-legged retractable base that separates it from most of the rest of the pack. Indeed, when I searched through the myriad collection of other stands on the market, all other retractable legged stands use only three legs for the base. D&A research determined that most stands will fail and fall over with as little as 15 degrees of tilt. The extra legs and design of the STARFISH makes it remaining standing with up to a 30 degree tilt. That’s one hundred percent more security for your baby.
D&A has your back… and all of the contact points between your guitar and the surfaces of the stand. The STARFISH uses something call T.P.E. plastic and archival grade fabric to cover all points of the stand that will touch your guitar. The material is not only padded and soft but it seems to grip the surface of the guitar and hold it in place very adequately inhibiting general rocking and associated shift.
GRIP LOCK NECK
Both the active and the passive version of the STARFISH feature a friction lock design that uses optimally placed teeth to maximize the grip on the neck of most conventional stringed instruments from mandolins to large necked basses up to two inches in width. The tilted angle of the grip lock neck once engaged combined with the orientation of the stand itself provide more than adequate retention to keep your guitar locked in the stand. Our guitar tech intentionally tried to get a guitar to fall out of the neck (OK, it was a backline guitar and not one of ours). You would have to tilt the stand way past 30 degrees forward before a guitar would start to slip out of the passive neck. At that point, your guitar is going down with or without a locking head mechanism so it’s irrelevant. But, if you spring for the active version with the bullet-proof plastic guard, when your guitar falls forward the guard absorbs the fall rather than the head stock of your guitar. On the active Starfish, the clear guard engages when the full weight of the guitar rests within it.
EASE IN SETUP
The Starfish is very easy to set up and get ready for your guitar. The legs extend by releasing a tab lock at the collar and the telescoping neck extends after releasing a similar louvered tab on its lock. The neck grip unfolds from the back of the stand on a pivot to engage for guitar insertion.
The lock tab on the telescoping neck was one initial area of concern. The tab is flared slightly outward to make it easier to grasp when you want to telescope the neck. However, the exposed edge of the tab could get hung on adjacent gear, accidentally extended and possibly broken. When I contacted D&A engineers with my concern, they lab tested the tab and found that the tab finally failed after a 50 pound weight was dropped directly onto the lip from two feet above. I’m no physics expert but the engineer assured me this is the equivalent of 200 lbs of direct pressure. That’s definitely more stress than any average stand would have to endure unless your packing regimen places your guitar stands underneath your subs in a road case. I was impressed with D&A’s willingness to put my concern to the test. It demonstrates to me that they are committed to not only making a competitive product but refining it as potential improvements are suggested. Try getting an R&D guy on the phone for one of their competitors…
D&A offers a conditional lifetime guarantee on all of their products. As long as you are the original owner, you haven’t modified or altered the stand, and as long as you haven’t driven over it with your van, you are golden. Obviously, normal wear and tear or a drunken drummer's wielding of your STARFISH in a street fight are not acceptable reasons for replacement.
We were thoroughly impressed with both versions of the STARFISH. After a stiff wind actually blew over the bass player’s vintage Fender Jazz Bass and broke off a tuner a couple of years ago, we upgraded all of our guitar stands to the sturdiest heavier stands that we could find at the time. With the STARFISH holding up all of our guitars, we’ve now doubled our protection. At a MSRP of $69 to $89 for the STARFISH (active to passive respectively), you can accomplish that same stability without breaking the bank. You want the best protection for your guitar that you can get. Short of hiring a tech to stand there and physically hold your guitar, you will be hard pressed to find any legged stand that will hold and protect your guitar better than the STARFISH guitar stand from D&A.
To visit the D&A website for further information or purchase,