Meinl Percussion Workstation
How often have you seen a gig, video or TV show where there's a trendy- looking band grooving away like the epitome of cool, only for the camera to turn to a Herculean, shiny steel junkyard of percussion, partially obscuring its diminutive owner who looks as though he's trying to beat his way out of jail?!
It's true, percussion racks of yesteryear have been on the substantial side and, when you think how few instruments they sometimes actually housed, have left a slight hole in the market. Meinl have filled that hole with a rack system that enables you to house toys without needing a course in body building to put it up or pack it down.
You've been framed
The Percussion Workstation consists of two unobtrusive black powder-coated steel sets of feet that guarantee not to trip you up. These legs connect to the workstation's vertical posts, which are joined by an adjustable top bar and strengthened by a lower bar situated near the feet. The sturdy base legs allow for the placement of three percussion tables, the largest being the middle one (a whopping 22"x24") which is secured between the two supporting posts and provides added stability.
Two slightly smaller percussion tables are situated to each side, both of which are a useful 18"x12". These sturdy tables did all I asked of them, which was basically, "Please don't drop any of my toys!". They can be positioned independently of each other or all laid out at the same height, however you like it.
Meinl are also quick to point out that you don't have to use all of the tables or mounting posts all the time and that the workstation is infinitely expandable when your needs change. This flexibility makes positioning everything a real joy, with the added reassurance that all your toys will be right there where you need them to be, and with a stick or two you can cover a huge array of instruments without having to move much at all.
All the clamps and wingnuts are chunky and easy to position and make it feel like a secure place to go about your work. There are two side bars that each house a set of universal mounting posts. You can then choose from the three angled rods, each of which have a bottom hook and one Z-shaped rod with a bottom hook. The angled rods can be used to mount cowbells, clave blocks, etc.
To this end they face down towards the player which facilitates playing the top of the instrument in question. The Z-shaped rod makes it easier to mount an awkwardly shaped instrument slightly out of the way of all the other instruments.
The large middle table and the two smaller side tables are finished with a 'ship-style' lip around their edges which prevent your toys from rolling off. The tables' carpeted anti-slip surface allows for easy placement of incoming instruments and the silent removal of their successor. It is thankfully lined in grey, and we welcome Meinl's decision not to line it black as a lot of tables are, because it avoids the all-too-common scenario of struggling to find a black shaker on a black table in the dark.
"Well, why not make it yellow then?" you might ask, but Meinl claim that their grey workstation "will blend in nicely with the overall stage design" and "won't interfere with the lighting and design engineers concepts". The black powder-coated steel construction is generally really unobtrusive and would easily blend right into the background in most gig settings.
However useful and unobtrusive Meinl's Percussion Workstation is, it is still undeniably large, so you will have to think about how you are going to cart it about, and whether there is actually room for it onstage. It can be disassembled quite quickly and easily though, and shouldn't pose too many problems in transit.
The workstation can be easily incorporated into many percussion or kit set-ups and can be set up high enough to use if you perform standing up. All the individual parts are highly durable, making it perfect for touring situations.
Simple, sturdy design with enough space and posts to house a staggering amount of hand percussion.
Fairly costly and it might not quite fit into the boot of a mini!
This is not a low-price bit of kit - weighing in at more than £500 it's certainly not for the faint-hearted - but if you want a low-fuss, durable and attractively understated way of housing, locating and playing all of your small but important toys, then this workstation should certainly be considered.