Custom Hercules GS455B Surefoot Base Modification For Larry Gatlin

We're always looking for new or custom applications for our Surefoot mic stand bases.

After seeing a demonstration of our new Surefoot bases at Starlite Theater in Branson, Steve Smith, Bandleader and Guitar Tech for Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, asked if we could adapt a Surefoot base to a guitar stand.

Larry had suffered two accidents with one of his Gibson Chet Atkins SST acoustic/electric guitars where his guitar stand had gone over backwards, breaking the headstock of the guitar. After the second repair, his Luthier told him if it happened again the guitar was done for.

Most onstage guitar stands are lightweight and lean backwards on a single brace leg, relying on the weight of the instrument to create a center of balance. But, in leaning back, until the weight of the instrument is fully in the stand, they are inherently unstable.

When a performer misses dead center of the stand or has a "hard landing", a normal stand can fall over backwards with the instrument in it because the weight of the instrument is not yet in the ideal position.

Steve Smith tunes up one of Larry's Chet Atkins SST guitars with two modified stands in the foreground.


Five Points of floor contact

We looked at several of Larry's existing stands to see if any of them were appropriate for modification, but none of them were.

We became aware of the Hercules GS455B which features the Patented Auto Grip System that locks the headstock of an instrument in place, actuated by the weight of the instrument dropping into the Grip Yoke. The stand can still be unstable, because like other stands, it uses a single short rear leg to make it lean backwards, and if it tips it goes over in the direction of the bisecting angle of two legs.

The Hercules Auto Grip is a great innovation, so the goal of the modification was to improve the balance and stability of the stand and better protect Larry's guitars.

Our Surefoot micstand base with two normal legs and one Longfoot leg was adapted to the stand to bring the guitar closer to vertical and move the center of balance. The two front legs of the GS455B were retained to provide additional lateral stability. The weight of the instrument is now supported with 5 points of contact with the floor.

The SST is a heavy instrument, and the modified stand will absorb a "hard landing" into the yoke without becoming unstable.

It would take some effort, but if someone is able to knock this stand over the split configuration of the rear legs will guide the stand to go straight back and provide a supported landing for the instrument. Definitely not a good thing, but vastly more survivable than the alternatives.
When folded for storage or transport, the modified GS455B is very nearly the same form factor as the original, with the added ability to stand up in a reasonably stable manner.
Larry is a Happy Camper and that's what we like to see. Steve said the stands have saved one of the "Chets" twice, and that's what we like to hear.
Larry with his Boulder Creek "Solitaire" Acoustics  

Ultra Stable Music Stand - and more.


In cooperation with the Made-in USA manufacturer of the best orchestral music stand in the industry, we have adapted our base to their music stand for greatly enhanced stability.

This cooperative effort will ultimately produce a superior quality, high stability music stand with an integrated microphone mount for a small boom, or specialty microphones such as the Audix 24-inch Microboom. The goal is to reduce stand clutter on crowded orchestra risers when mics are used.
Sectional or individual microphone  placement is a snap.

Lighting Instrument Ground Support


Longfoot base with 1/2" bolt adapter slug to yoke mount ground fixtures

Adapter slug close-up

Altman 5 degree Leko, feels like it's nailed to the ground. No problem.

Seriously. No Problem.
Half the price of a typical 25lb. pipe base, folds for compact transport.

Modifications/Enhancements to other products

K&M 199 Stand Pole-to-Surefoot adapter  

One of the most popular stands in the industry, the K&M 199 is a well-made, small cross-section, lightweight (3.3 pounds) stand that fits comfortably into trunks and is pretty tough.

But, like other current stands, it requires a large footprint tubular tripod which consumes space on a crowded riser, especially a drum riser; and requires a long reach with a boom for vocalists and players to keep the tripod away from their feet.
Our "slug" adapter is precision machined from solid aluminum billet that press-fits into a 199 pole tube, and is threaded for industry standard 7/8-27 to mate with a Surefoot base. After press-fitting, a small screw is added to prevent rotation on the slug. The slug incorporates a machined shoulder above the threads that acts as a jam-nut. The slug is 3" long which spreads the torque on the pole.

The finished modification goes from 3.3 lbs. to 8 lbs. significantly improving stability while dramatically reducing the footprint, and boom reaches are shortened which also contributes to stability by moving the center of mass closer to the vertical axis of the stand.

The 199 pole is secured to its original tripod base with a flare at the bottom of the tube that prevents the tripod from sliding off of the tube. The modification involves cutting off the flare to allow the tripod to be removed from the pole.

The modification can be done in the field with a tubing cutter, but it is best when done in a shop with a horizontal bandsaw. It does require a clean, square cut.

We don't know why you would want to, but the modification is reversible by removing the slug, sliding the stock tubular tripod back onto the pole, and re-flaring the end of the tube with a flaring tool.

This modification is also a great way to rehabilitate a 199 stand that has damaged tripod legs.


K&M/AKG 211 series boom modification kit


These modifications were originally developed so that we could demonstrate the stability of Surefoot and Longfoot bases, because we could not find a boom that would hold the weights.

One of the most popular tools in the industry, the K&M 211 family booms are lightweight and easy to use. But, like the legendary AKG boom, they suffer from deterioration of the rubber brake discs, and fatigue and breakage of the tilt T-handle and loss or damage of the plastic knob extension setscrews.

The 211 modification significantly improves the locking and load bearing ability of the boom, and eliminates plastic knobs and setscrews that can break.

Our clutch discs will not deteriorate or squeeze out after repeated tightening like rubber discs can, and our adjustable cam lever boom lock will tighten the boom tilt very tight to support long reaches with heavy microphones when the boom must...not...slip.

What can possibly be more fun than watching a kick mic or an overhead slowwwly slip down during a set, coming to rest on the front head hole and enjoying the sonic treat that provides, or having to run out on stage to fix it?

Our modification kit makes the locking so effective that it is stronger than the boom itself.

K&M 21140 and RE20

Photo: AKG211 boom #2 - also flat light.
AKG 211-Cam lever and knobs

Of course, there is always that vocalist that just HAS to monkey with the stand, and there are times when the boom must lock, but be able to slip before the boom can be damaged.

There are two clutch disc options in the kit, one disc set will absolutely lock the boom tilt, and the other set will lock-but-slip to protect the boom without damaging the discs.

The setscrews are machined steel and have knurled knobs that will not break off.

The kit contains 2- lock discs, 2- lock-but-slip discs, 2- Steel knurled setscrews, and 1- Camlock lever and all hardware.

Photo: Trial fit of the cam lever retrofit on a Modern K&M 21140 boom. The tilt  clutch options will retrofit also. One option is a locking clutch for heavy microphones like kick mics at long extension, the other option is a lock/slip clutch that effectively locks the boom tilt but can slip to avoid bending the boom if a vocalist just HAS to futz with the boom.
K&M 21140-Cam lever only