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Construct a Music Rest for a Digital Keyboard Stand

Doug has been building things since high school. Home improvements and furniture are his favorites, as is solving problems around the house.

Finished music stand with LED light strip overhead.

Finished music stand with LED light strip overhead.

The Dilemma

With our recent purchase of a digital keyboard and its stand, a music rest was needed. To position the keyboard near a wall, we needed a stand that would not require the keyboard to be further away from the wall or that interfered with the foot pedal. The music stands we found were too flimsy or took up too much floor space, or were unsuitable for other reasons. After studying the keyboard stand, it was determined that we should be able to make a sheet music stand that met our space-saving goals.

The Facts

The On-Stage Folding Keyboard Stand (model KS7350) has two Z-shaped end supports connected with two horizontal steel bars to hold the end supports in place. The stand is adjustable and can fit many different size keyboards and can be set at various heights. Not wanting anything to interfere with any needed foot action while playing the keyboard, it was determined that by taking advantage of the horizontal bars and use them as supports, a music stand should be able to be floated above the keyboard and not provide any floor interference.

The Prototype

The vertical supports for the music stand would need to slide over both horizontal bars to lock the stand in an upright position. Taking measurements of the horizontal supports and using an iPhone to determine their angle to the ground, a cardboard mock-up was created to see if this would work. Drawing the profile of the actual music rest and back-plate, the cardboard cutout looked like this. Test fitting this to the stand showed it should work. The next step was to create this in the workshop. Two of these vertical supports would be needed for the stand.

The dark brown is the cardboard pattern of a vertical support.

The dark brown is the cardboard pattern of a vertical support.

In our shop, we looked around to see what lumber was available for this project. In our stock of scraps, a ½” piece of plywood was found that had the dimensions needed for the project. The two verticals could be nested on the board allowing this single board to suffice. The board was just shy of 8” wide and about 42” long.

The Tools

To cut these shapes out of the plywood, several different tools could be used depending upon what you may have. I used an 80” bandsaw to cut the shapes, but you could easily use a simple jigsaw if you have one.

Note: The horizontal braces on the stand are slightly different sizes as one slides into the other for support. As you cut the vertical slot at the bottom of the supports, one should have a slightly narrower slot (7/8” wide) and the other a 1” slot. To keep the supports equal when installed, the vertical with the narrower slot should also be an 1/8” longer as it will fit further down on the stand.

Both vertical supports were cut out and sanded down. The next step was to start work on the actual music rest. We decided to make the music rest 36” long in order to provide a place for multiple sheets of music.

(Remember, although the instructions in this article are specific to the On Stage KS7350 Pro Heavy-Duty Folding-Z Keyboard Stand, a skilled builder can modify the measurements to accommodate other brands or styles.)

Assembling the Music Rest

Another piece of ½” plywood was selected for the back and a piece of ¾” oak was selected for the tray. The tray dimension is 2” wide. To keep the music on the tray, a small piece of oak was added to the front to act as a curb. The top edges were sanded down to provide a soft or rounded edge. This was glued into place. Please see all thumbnails.

Once the glue set on the two tray pieces, the unit was then glued to the ½” piece of plywood for the entire music tray. This assembly was set aside to dry while we approached the next step in the process.

Attaching Music Rest to Vertical Supports

In order to attach the music tray to the uprights, two gusset plates were fabricated to attach to the back side of the music tray. We made ours about 9” long and 2” wide, again out of scrap ½” plywood found in the shop.

If we were to make a second stand, we may make these larger (deeper than the 2”) to allow some flexibility in the angle of the music tray when installed on the uprights. The above size worked perfectly for our stand, but if you would think you may ever want to have an adjustable music tray, a larger gusset plate could easily accommodate this.

Two corners (along the long side of the gusset plate) were rounded off just for looks. I used a small jar to determine the radius at the corners. (Not sure who would actually see the back side of this, but so be it. They were rounded off with a sander.) A ¾” x 1” scrap of oak was then cut to length and added to the sides of the gusset plate to allow for more support to the gussets when they are attached to the music tray. Please see each thumbnail photo.

Attaching the Gusset Plates to the Back of the Music Rest

Once set, these gusset plates were glued and screwed to the back side of the music tray. They were located at the outer quarter points of the stand (9” in from the ends on this assembly).

Vertical supports screwed to the back of the music rest.

Vertical supports screwed to the back of the music rest.

Attaching Vertical Supports to Music Rest

It was time to attach the vertical supports. These were screwed to the gusset plates. Care was given to be sure the vertical uprights were attached uniformly to the music rest in order to hold the music rest horizontal when installed. As these are attached, pay attention to which vertical goes where. The vertical with the wider slot should be installed on the left side of the stand (when facing the front of the stand) as it will slide over the slightly wider horizontal steel brace on the keyboard stand.


Checking Fit and Height

Once assembled, it was set into place showing how the stand floats above the keyboard while not creating any interference on the floor. Once the final test fit was made, it was back to the shop to sand everything down one more time and then spray paint the entire assembly black. The final product met the needs originally set forth for this project.

The Final Fit

The two braces with the slots for the metal bars are placed in position. As it turns out, we needed a lollipop stick to take up a tiny bit of space. Remember that one horizontal bar nests inside the other, in order to be fully adjustable for the person, so these bars are not quite the same size.

Finishing Touch

Shortly after finishing the project and putting it in place, it was determined that a light was needed for the music due to the dimness in the room. I constructed a music stand light using a dimmable LED lighting strip.

The 8’ LED strip was about $34.00 at a local hardware store. I bought a 1” x 1/8” x 36” flat metal bar that I used to make the light supports, which was around $5.00. The steel bar was cut in half and the upper 6” of the bar was bent at a 90-degree angle to support the light.

A Functional, Inexpensive Music Rest

The light box was again made out of ½” scrap plywood. This piece was spray-painted black and the underside was painted white before we glued the LED strip into place. The entire 8’ length of light was used, winding it back and forth with its dimmer switch glued onto the top of the metal support.

The two vertical steel support brackets were screwed to the gusset supports attached to the back of the music tray. With this addition, I think this project is now 100% complete and is in use.

All told, scrap lumber and $39.00 of supplies were needed. A functional, nice-looking, space-saving, custom music rest for the musician in your family.

Happy building!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 The Sampsons