I sat very close to the stage Friday night for the Pops.

I could see a cellist in the front row and noticed the bottom tip of a metal rod where the cello stands, making contact with the wooden floor.

What is the construction of the tip of the stand, and doesn't it mark up the wooden floor? I think it would be even more of an issue with the large basses.

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    I really don't think they'd be allowed if they damaged the floor.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 15:13
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    If you're playing dive bars then nobody cares about anything except selling more liquor. Kick drums have two legs that swing out. Each has a rubber boot that can screw up or down, exposing a spike, and they most certainly do damage the floor, as does the two spikes in the kick pedal itself that keep it from getting pushed away. If there's no rug on the stage then it all sucks and everything goes everywhere. Which is why I removed the rubber boots and just had spikes. The show must go on and it can't if the kick drum is trying to run away.
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 20:34
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    @Mazura - nearly all the drummers I've played with arrive with their own roll of carpet or such like. Shows respect, and keeps the drummer from encroaching on the rest of the band. Also, possibly dampens the noise slightly. Win-win. Yet to play with the drummer who arrives with a hammer and 6" nails, but it wouldn't surprise me...
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 11:46
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    @Tim I call them rock star rugs. Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 18:16
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    @JasonPSallinger - I thought that's what they wore on their chests...
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


The device is an 'endpin' or just 'spike'.

Floor damage is prevented by addition of a protector, variously called endpin stoppers, pinstops, donuts, black holes, endpin anchors, endpin holders, spike holders or rock stops.
Available in a myriad styles, from a simple rubber stopper to more complex and stable designs.

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enter image description here enter image description here

  • I got the impression the OP was talking about the metal spike itself, not the ways to protect the floors from it...
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 11:56
  • Yeah, second reading does feel more that way - edited to cover both
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 12:04
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    I can elaborate on this comment a little later, but you could add a bit about why they’re there in the first place (in the case of cello, they weren’t always, but like the violin’s chinrest and shoulder rest, they free up the playing posture so you don’t have to hold the cello up with your legs), And the fact that most of those endpin stops, or the spiky tip, are about making sure that the end pin doesn’t simply slide away from you. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 12:17
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    All of this is information I wanted to know. I am happy with all of this. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 13:41
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    This is really interesting but the cellists in our orchestra always had "cello Ts" (pronounced "Tees") which were two pieces of wood in a T shape which sat under the chair with the cross-bar braced on the legs of the chair and the base on the T protruding out the front. There may have been dimples already there for cellists to choose their angle. Hearing the slap of these being dished out on the concert stage is a lasting memory, but I cannot find a picture of one. They were sturdy and cheap but not portable. Are they still common?
    – Pam
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 20:49

This is really an "extra" answer augmenting, since Tetsujin has the important part.

Yes, endpin spikes definitely can damage floors. The cellist's main concern is that their instrument stay in place, not the health of the floor. The acute angle formed between the endpin and the floor means that, on a slick floor, the endpin would simply slide away from the player. This is a frequent irritation to cellists, and you sometimes see them jab their endpin aggressively into a wood floor to get a good purchase.

Mind you, many things are hard on the floor of a commercial theatre (tap shoes!), and the surface often gets a thick coat of black paint; on some stages the actual wood might be quite a ways below the paint. But when cellists meet valuable floors that proprietors feel strongly about, there can be some tension. All of the "endpin stops" that Testsujin pictured protect the floors; more importantly (from the cellist's point of view) they can reduce the chance of the endpin slipping. (The ones with straps do best at this; one end of the strap goes under a chair leg.) Also, when the floor is tile, stone, etc, the cellist can't simply gouge into the floor, so these devices become more important. Lacking them, they might look for a spot where four tiles come together; in my music school there were often small divots at these joints from decades of endpins.

So what's the point of the endpin? It "fills up the space" between the cello and the floor. With a larger instrument like a double bass there's less space to "fill up"; it's already so tall that the "playing parts" are in the right place. But if there were no endpin, then the bare wood of the bottom of the instrument would rest on the floor. This would have a number of problems; it might scratch up the instrument, it might vibrate in a buzzing way, and I suppose it might have an effect on the sound, if part of the wood were muffled. Plus, depending on the size of the instrument and the player, some height is needed to put the instrument in the perfect playing position. So even historically, we see large instruments like this with endpins, like in this picture from Marin Mersenne's 1627 Harmonie Universelle:

enter image description here

Smaller instruments, like the viol or the "cello-sized cello" (it's complicated) were held in a variety of ways. There was a lot of variety among bass-register bowed strings in the renaissance and baroque—they came in many shapes and sizes, had varying numbers of strings (note the five pegs in the picture above), used varying tuning intervals, had frets or didn't, etc. And although most baroque cello and viol players today support the instrument with the inside of their legs (and there are many paintings showing this hold), some paintings show larger instruments resting on a foot, or a small stool or barrel:

enter image description here

Eventually, by the 18th century, there is talk of wooden endpins. There's a very thorough history of endpins as someone's doctoral dissertation, with a survey of these iconographic sources and mentions in treatises.

With double basses, the endpin has much less need to sharp, since the angle is usually much less acute (that is, the instrument is more upright), so there's less chance of it sliding forward.

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    I like, and have seen, the strap round the leg of a chair idea. It means, as you say, the endpin is anchored on any surface, and I've seen straps with cups on the end, to accommodate the tip, so will work anywhere. No big deal, just simple innovation, with an adjustable strap - often 'hook and loop'.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 15:28
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    -1, As a cellist, I've never met another who does not employ an endpin anchor. I'd like to see an example before I believe there are cellists "aggressively jabbing their endpin into a wood floor". Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 10:23
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    A secondary function of the end-pin is to couple the instrument to the floor so that, depending on the type of floor, it can help to transmit the vibrations that make the sound. It is said that before the advent of electronic amplification, swing band double bass players would try to arrive early at the venue so they could locate and lay claim to a location on the platform that produced a good resonance.
    – Ian Goldby
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 13:50
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    @IanGoldby The dissertation makes mention of classical guitarist Paul Galbraith, who holds the guitar cello-like, with an endpin, resting on a wooden box for resonance. Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 14:22
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    @ToivoSäwén every cellist has an endpin anchor, sure. But if a venue permits ramming the spike directly in wood, that is still a better option. It is the most reliable way to avoid sliding (in particular side-to-side) under flamboyant playing, it allows arbitrarily changing the chair-instrument distance without any fiddling with straps, and it allows getting seated and starting to play without awkward aiming-for-the-anchor. Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 22:56

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