Serious Displays for Serious Collectors
I have had a home studio for years and,
while I love my studio tools, my real passion is for my instrument collection. Like
many PG readers, I have a great collection
of old gear. Not quite enough to satisfy
my thirst, but more than my wife thinks
I need. Over the years, my main problem has been space. Most of my guitars,
keyboards, drums, etc. were in cases in a
spare bedroom, in the garage and up in
the attic – a few were even in my mother’s basement. What a shame. I can still
remember the excitement of taking each
one home and playing it for a few months
before sending it to its molded plastic
jail cell. The fact is, I don’t have a lot of
space, but I want to have my instruments
out where they can be easily played, as
well as admired by friends.
Stands really didn’t do the trick because
they only hold a few things at once, and
they also didn’t solve my other concern:
keeping the instruments out of reach of
children, pets and the vacuum cleaner.
The logical next step was to get some wall
hangers. I had used one of these in college and it did a great job of keeping my
cedar top Yairi from ending up like the one
in Animal House. Unfortunately, guitar wall
hangers didn’t fully fix my problem. For a
wall hanger to get a solid grip, you should
attach it to a wall stud. In my current studio, the longest wall is 12’ long and has
six accessible studs (they are usually 16”
apart). So, on that wall I have room for six
guitars or four keyboards with very little
flexibility in where they can hang.
One day I realized the solution I was looking for was in every music store I had ever
visited. Go to any music retailer and you’ll
find wall guitar hangers and keyboard
mounts all over the store mounted to strips
of wallboard called Slatwall. These hangers
are usually not for sale; they are quietly sitting in the background displaying products.
But the hangers are actually easy to get
and can be special-ordered by your favorite retailer.
So where do you find the actual Slatwall?
Just about any lumberyard or home
improvement center can order it for you – I
even found some local dealers who have
it in stock. If you live in a larger city you
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might even have a store that specializes
in retail fixtures. You can get Slatwall in
different colors, finishes, thicknesses and
with metal reinforcement. If you collect
basses, have several pricey Les Pauls, or if
you want to display keyboards and drum
machines, then I suggest you get the thick,
metal-reinforced kind. Most panels come
with a sticker on the back that shows the
maximum weight capacity. Slatwall comes
in 4’ x 8’ sheets like plywood and can easily be cut to fit. Be careful of look-alike
products like pegboard, Gladiator and
Garageworks. These appear similar, but
instrument hangers won’t hold tight to
them and will easily fall off.
In my search, I discovered lots of interesting accessories for Slatwall. I found hangers for my bongo drums, keyboards, effect
pedals, various tools, and even a dummy
head to hang my headphones on. There
are mic holders, cable hangers, drum
machine shelves and many more that can
take advantage of every square foot of wall
space. Fender makes a “surfboard” guitar
holder, guitarideas.net has lots of different
colored wood hangers and Off The Wall
makes metal hangers for those of you with
more modern tastes.
These days my studio is neater and I have
more instruments on display, with most of
them out of reach of pets and kids. It looks
great, didn’t cost very much and my mother was very happy to get those instruments
out of her basement!
Brendan Murphy has been a live sound and recording
engineer for nearly twenty years. He has an extensive
collection of modern and vintage instruments of all kinds.
Reach him at (800) 222 4700 ext. 1287, or