D&A Guitar Stands Full Review

D&A  HYDRA guitar stand - a review: I loaded up $37000 worth of guitars on to a Hydra guitar stand and tried to knock it over! Did the guitars survive? Am I insane? Find out below.

D&A Hydra Guitar Stand Review

d-and-a-hydra-stand-review 

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I have checked out other D&A guitar stands a while ago and they were pretty good... but I was recently introduced to the HYDRA guitar stand - a behemoth that can hold three guitars at once and probably perfect for the gigging musician. But there's always something about guitar stands that somehow 'don't do it' as they should. Maybe the Hydra is different and on the face of it the Hydra certainly seemed to offer an incredible amount of features that simply don't appear to be on other guitar stands out there. The Hydra fits most guitars too which is a pretty major bonus.

It has always amazed me just how guitarists in general view a guitar stand... after all let's face it, many guys simply don't take them serious right? I mean come on, it could get boring! Well it could, that is, until you put YOUR guitar on a guitar stand and it either gets knocked over and irreparably damaged or the stand marks your go to guitar with marks from cheap (and often very nasty) rubbers or some other material that the human race has yet to determine! Then my friends it's a different story... and trust me on this I have been there myself.

So a guitar stand is far more critical and important than you might imagine in actually keeping your beloved guitar (or guitars in the case of the Hydra from D&A) in one piece and as nice as the day you bought it. Indeed, the fact is, that your guitar stand is probably one of the most important things as a guitarist that you might ever buy and still not really comprehend it's importance. Buy a 'cheap' guitar stand and you will soon realise that was a mistake and one that might well cost you dearly.

Don't forget that D&A guitar gear is far more a company than you might imagine... here's some info on that company:

  • D&A Guitar Gear is owned by a company called RKS Design who are responsible for some really innovative designed products check them out here: www.rksdesign.com
  • D&A Guitar Gear are extremely respected in the music business - indeed D&A make the most technically advanced guitar accessories on the planet for their product class

Anyway I'm sure that you get the picture - they are here to stay!

The D&A Hydra Stand Review

I have reviewed other D&A stands and they were pretty cool, but seeing the Hydra for the first time I was amazed at just how robust it really is. You know when I see products on a video that does not usually tell me very much at all. Sure I can see the guy rapping on about a stand, but its not really the same as actually holding or using one. And many reviews, well, let's just say that because of reviews I decided to start to make some of my own some time ago.

So lets take a look at what the Hydra is all about. Below is the Hydra stand loaded up with some guitars.

hydra-stand-loaded 

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So seeing how D&A was telling the world that the stand could tilt to 35% before it falls over I decided to test it in this review with some of my most prized guitars as follows:

  • Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop Custom Figured and one hell of a guitar:       Cost at least $4000 or £3800 in the UK
  • PRS Dragon 2002 - an incredible limited guitar (No 6) and highly prized:       List Price at least $30,000 or £30,000 in the UK
  • Tailor 614CE an incredible acoustic guitar with an awesome maple back:      Priced at around $3000 or £2500 in the UK

Of course those are only example prices of those guitars and it is likely that the true retail prices were considerably higher. So it could be an interesting test! Especially for you but maybe not for me if things go wrong!

So I have 'set the stage' of what is to come but before that let's check out that Hydra and what's unique and why I decided to 'go nuts' and test it with those above guitars.

The Hydra Close Up

From the get go this stand seemed a cut above the rest - even better to me than the 'Starfish' - another D&A stand but with the advantage of those three guitar stands in one.

At the bottom of the Hydra there is a 'foam like' material that the guitars rest on at their bottom edge and its an area where a guitar will be in constant contact... let's take a look:

hydra-foam-covered-legs 

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Now some guy's just might be worrying a little... anyone who has had an issue of guitar stands marking the guitar from using poor materials or materials that can affect the finish of the guitar will have seen inferior stuff before.

But not on the Hydra. You see, D&A in their wisdom use something called 'TPE Polymer' which is coated on to every single surface that the guitar can touch and what's more on these 'foam' legs the TPE treatment is coated and infused right in to the foam and will not wear off - forever - to protect your guitar as long as it remains on the Hydra. And that's as good as it gets. Notice those strong rubber feet that stop the stand from sliding around... very important as you will see later in the review.

Moving up the stand a little you can see the top of the six legs:

hydra-tentioner-and-struts 

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As you can see from the bottom of the base the legs are all attached to the center core by 'struts' that add substantial leverage in keeping the legs placed where they ought to be - they won't be moving sideways any time soon. And note that knurled tensioner on the above image - that is for tightening the legs in position once you have set them fully open - just a simple twist and its done.

Next up is the spacer unit which basically can rest behind each (or any) guitar on the stand. That is also kept in place once you have set its height on the stand with another knurled tensioner which is as easy as the others to tighten up. Remember this spacer has material that is TPE Polymer coated and infused to protect your guitars finish. I have to say that for me I did not use the 'spacer' part of the stand much, but that's really a personal preference and you might.

There is also an adjuster that allows the top of the stand to be extended so that the Hydra can handle probably most guitars out there:

hydra-height-adjuster 

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So it's easy to adjust the height of the stand by slackening off this knob, moving the head assembly and its shaft up or down to suit the guitar size and simply tightening this back up - like most stands really.

The Head of the Hydra

The head of the D&A Hydra guitar stand is one of the most important and innovative aspects of the unit. It's mounted on to the stand with an easily removable large knob so you can remove the three heads for transportation.

hydra-head-fixing-knob 

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The head itself 'grasps' the neck as above so let's take a closer look a those jaws to see how really cool they are.

hydra-jaw-closeup 

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Now then... here is one of the key aspects of the Hydra, (and of course those legs, the tilt angle and much more). Take a close up view and you will see what looks like rubber on there but in reality it is a material that is coated and infused with TPE Polymer just like the other areas where the guitar touches the stand.

Look closely and you can see the 'inside part' in the image above is higher than the rest of the jaw... and when you place your guitar in there the 'jaw' grabs your guitar and surrounds the front section with a 'polycarbonate' locking mechanism that is closed with the weight of your guitar... basically gravity driven. It's a unique feature and one that D&A and RKS Designs got patented (along with the leg designs on this stand). So your guitar is 'held there' by the head assembly... cool and great when you see it in action.

Here's the jaws closed around my Dragon 2002 guitar:

hydra-jaws-locked 

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Notice how the head assembly has dropped and closed the polycarbonate 'gate' around the front of the guitar neck... super safe!

For what many people think about guitar stands - this Hydra from D&A is worlds apart from the design of a 'simple' guitar stand. But while it is complex by design its so easy to use by design too - and that's one of the great things about it - you can assemble it and pack it away in (believe it or not) probably less than a minute or so!

Here's a shot of the stand from above (c) D&A Guitar Gear.

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The truth is I could go on all day about this stand... but I was still very concerned about that 'tilt' point because it's one thing a maker telling me that their product does this or it does that... but when it all comes down to it I want to know myself exactly what that thing is like. There is no better way than getting the stand out and really giving it a kick around... and if I was to put those $37000 worth of guitars on there while some might say I am 'nuts' for me that could just be the best test of the Hydra stand that I could ever really do... let's hope it all works out OK... gulp!

D&A Hydra Stand Performance

So that's exactly what I did, I loaded the Hydra with the three guitars mentioned earlier and proceeded to try and tip the stand over without going past the 35% that D&A said... it's not easy to do! Take a look:

hydra-tilt-test-mckenzie 

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By the way... that guitar 'off the stand' was the PRS Dragon 2002 No 6 with a list price of $30,000! So I DID give it a good shake - maybe not to 35% but that's probably further than you would knock the stand even in an accident. Overall this stand performed perfectly for me and it will perform perfectly for you too - in fact the best guitar stand I have ever used - since 1968!

Warranty

Its all good and rosy until you get a problem with anything that you buy... you know the story... well, 'that's not covered' or 'it's out of warranty' or... well you get the idea right?

Here is something else I like an awful lot about D&A gear... this stand has a 'LIFETIME GUARANTEE' to the original buyer. And that in my book says that these guys stand behind their products - and it's a great thing to see - I could tell you about loads of other companies that don't!

Here's how it all works:

  • Contact D&A through their online contact form on their website - www.heydna.com
  • They will send you a shipping address - so wrap your stand in a good box - but shipping cost is yours (you can't have everything!)
  • Put all your details in the shipment and the fault, email etc. and ship it to them
  • When D&A get the stand they will check it and if covered by the warranty they will send you a new stand of the same make and colour.

Note that if the stand is not available or the colour is not available D&A will send you another product of equal or higher value. What more could you ask for.

Pricing and Availability

Nothing any good (well almost) is cheap... and I use that word 'cheap' as intended... you know the stuff - we have all bought it whether its a guitar lead, a strap, even tubes for your amp the cheap stuff usually has this or that problem... that's why its cheap and when being made usually has no real quality control (as a recent guitar review I did proved), and building something down to a price is not really the best way to go about things.

So, the Hydra has a reasonably good price for what you get. I look at it this way, the great thing is that this Hydra stand looks after not just one guitar but three all at the same time... so if you were to divide the cost between three guitar stands then the Hydra is a veritable bargain of that there is no doubt.

USA Pricing is around $199.00 for the list price but you can see them (at least I did) for about $149.00 but I guess if you ask nicely you might do better but who knows... give it a go and tell them Tony sent you.

For the UK it seems the Hydra has a pretty much standard price from what I have seen of £99.99 or thereabouts - but bearing in mind that price includes 20% for the government by way of VAT then its probably a better deal than the USA! They have to add tax after they buy something in the USA.

So where can you get one of these Hydra stands? By now probably everywhere... most guitar shops will have them, along with all of the other D&A stands... but this one, if you use more than one stand is brilliant. Check www.heydna.com for more info.

Conclusions

Well I was originally concerned that my 'test' might fail and cost me a lot of money on broken guitars... but that was just me being silly - in reality there was probably never any risk involved as you can see for yourself on the video review below. Remember that the video reviews are different and show other things that the written review does not but this review on my website also shows other things that the video does not.

Here's what I liked about the Hydra:

  • The Design
  • The Quality
  • The Lifetime Warranty
  • Those Jaws (no not the shark in the movie)
  • The TPE Polymer coatings
  • The Tilt Angle of 35%
  • That Technology

And what I did not like:

  • There is really nothing I did not like - and that's a rare statement from me for sure. 

So what is the score out of ten that I would give this Hydra? Well for me I gave it a ten out of ten - even though some guys might comment about the price - for me that's about £33 (in the UK) a stand - remember there are basically three here in one stand that will probably last a very long time indeed. Buy cheap stands and watch the guitar go over or get marked. Buy a D&A Hydra and its all rock and roll for sure.

Below is the video review I did on the D&A Hydra stand which you might watch to see that shaking I did on those guitars - its worth watching and it shows you that the Hydra is no pushover - I just had to say that right?

 
 

And here's the video review that I completed a while ago covering four different D&A guitar stands of one kind or another from my YouTube channel

This is NOT a paid for review. The views on here are my own and indeed all my reviews reflect exactly what I find - good or bad.

© A B Mckenzie 1997-2016. All Rights Reserved