1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Any ideas on how to build a 1-3ft stage very cheaply?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mike Money, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    My sister wants my band to play at her 16th birthday party in two weeks... no biggee.

    They are all into green day, blink 182, etc... So its not like I have to learn Donna Lee in two weeks, plus I already know most of what she wants us to play anyways.

    Guitar player... check...

    bassist.... check...

    drummer... check...

    singer? Meh. Me and the guitarist can sing in key, so screw finding someone for this.

    We are going to play in my backyard, and thats where the fun starts.

    The drummer has fog machines, and strobe lights...

    We don't want to be on the ground, so we need to find a way to raise ourselves up.

    I was thinking that some pallets and some plywood would do the trick for a half-assed "stage"?

    Any ideas on how to build a 1-3ft stage very cheaply?
  2. ladders?

    stack a few old mattresses on top of each other?
  3. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    Can I hear your reasoning for not wanting to be on the ground?

    Is it too conformist for you?

  4. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Pallets and plywood will work great. Make sure everything is nailed or staked down. Use bunting or cloth to cover the "front" of your stage.
  5. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    This may end up being another thing that makes me look old, but back in the day we often made platforms from milk crates and plywood. Are milk crates still common and readily available?

    Each crate is a 1' x 1' x 1' cube and made of stout plastic with some metal reinforcement. Now the catch. It takes a LOT of them to make a stable platform. We made an 8' x 8' drum riser with bout 60 of them and two sheets of plywood.

    Yeah. Go with pallets and plywood, in stead.
  6. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I'd just wear those platform heels that you are always telling me about Mike.
  7. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Well for my little kid birthday gigs. I stay on the ground but I put my amp on a mile crate. Once we made a "Stage" for my drummer. Yeah it broke.
  8. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    For safety's sake, I would say play on the ground. They're sixteen. They won't care.
  9. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    He needs to have a stage to kick flip and indy grind from. ;)
  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    My old thrash band stole hundreds of those milk cartons crates that say "it is a felony to steal this crate" on them - you know the heavy plastic ones you see lying around by the hundreds outside of super markets and 7-11's? We built a stage with risers etc. covered it all with black painted plywood. It actually came out pretty good.
  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    One word: stilts.
  12. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    "The drummer has fog machines, and strobe lights..."

    This is news to his father. . .
  13. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan

    When we played at joey's party a couple years back, we got a strobe light froms somewhere... i assumed it was his. im pretty sure we had fog...
  14. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Those are the ones I was talking about...until I thought about how many you need and pictured going out and trying to get them all at once.

    I remember one friend of mine had a riser three or four feet tall using those milk crates. He had sawhorses inside and a wall of milk crates around the outside w/steel ribbon wrapped around each layer to keep it stable. Heavy plywood on top. It was cool. It was stable. It looked great. It was semi-permanently set up in his barn/practice space. It was actually quite light and easy to move around the barn, once you took the plywood top off. But it was too big to transport anywhere. Each individual layer of crates was steel-banded into one big square of twenty-eight crates around an empty 6' x 6' space. Stack the three of them on top of each other. Put the sawhorses in the middle. Set the plywood on top. You've got an awesome drum riser. Plywood on pallets for everyone who's standing up.

    Eighty-four crates (plus spares) + six or seven three-foot-tall sawhorses + two sheets of plywood = one very serious drum riser. And he had a cool light show thing going on too.

    Back then there was a common Christmas ornament consisting of a spotlight with a rotating gel in front of it. As it turned it shone red, green, orange, blue, red, green, orange...you get the idea. We took the rotating gels off two of those lights and put them in front of strobes. Set the strobes to be triggered by low frequencies. Add dry ice and there is half of your light show.This part was underneath the drum riser.

    For the other half you need some kind of laser beam. Laser pointers are still around ... aren't they? We used a leveling laser from the guitar players dad's garage. Take the grill off of some speaker. Stick a small piece of mirror on the actual speaker cone. Aim the laser so that it refelcts off the mirror to whatever is above and behind the stage. Play music through the speaker and the laser will dance all over the place in cool patterns. We also had, back then, an ovehead projector, like in school. Traditionally one puts small amounts of colored oils or something in a transparent dish and shines it with the overhead. We actually had transparencies made of pics of people at the party. I did the sound for the party. And another friend did the light show stuff.

    We all lost money on that gig. But it was a blast nonetheless.
  15. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Wow that was kind of cool for rigging it up with a bunch of discards! (Well, not that the supermarkets felt their stolen milk crates were trash! LOL!)

    You could rent some scaffolding from a Home Improvement Center. But that would cost a lot more than pallets and plywood.
  16. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

  17. Lots of coffee tables.
  18. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
  19. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I once saw a great cartoon drawing in our local music/street media magazine. Picture a band rehearsing away when suddely 2 stern looking people come charging through the door. Someone from the band is yelling "Quick, it's a RAID!". You have to look closer to see the 2 guys have "State Dairy Corporation" written on their shirts and there were milk crates everywhere - holding up the stage, the amps, the drummer was sitting on one, they'd made a grandstand out of them for the "fans"..........

    .... another vote for milk crates.
  20. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    We used over 250, but I'm not sure how much more than that. We did not stabilize anything, yet I remember it being fairly solid.

    Bard, we used to have a fog machine, it was owned by a friend of the band who acted as manager/roadie/techie/delivery guy/announcer/bouncer for us.

    Petebass, that is funny.