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We’re building a great recommendation list, and we’ve provided easy access to each recommendation below:
When we’re young, we don’t think too much about the long term consequences of our daily activities. Generally, we feel pretty good physically. At some point in our lives we begin to feel more pain and we don’t heal as quickly as we once did. In addition, most of us want to avoid as much pain as we can now, and in the future. So, this topic is probably good for everyone.
Last week I asked the following question:
Should we just toughen up and not complain about having an uncomfortable neck strap? We’ve been doing it for years as a saxophone community, why change now?Last Week's Post
The following analogy will help put things in perspective.
Ask Your MD this Question
Next time you go and see you doctor, try asking if it would be a good idea to hang a 7 lbs weight off your neck every day for a half hour for 20-40 years. Of course we don’t need to be medically trained to know the answer to that. And, we can easily guess the response of the doctor.
That 7lbs is the weight of the alto saxophone; just think about the weight of a baritone saxophone! All of a sudden (at least in my mind) the basic neck strap is obsolete. With all the knowledge we have in regards to ergonomics and personal health, why are we still attaching the saxophone to our neck?
The Alternative to the Neck Strap
One of the first recommendations I generally make, instead of a neck strap, is the saxophone harness. There are many available, and many designs, but the main focus of all these neck straps is to remove the weight from the neck and move it to the shoulders. Technically, this could also cause issues for the back and shoulders, but it’s a lot better than hanging the saxophone on your neck! Here are some recommendations.
I hear both good and bad from saxophonists in regards to their experiences with this harness, but it will do the job for any beginner who wants to purchase a harness.
Sometimes the older harnesses were difficult to adjust, but it looks like they may have resolved that issue. The harnesses are made out of a stretchable material that reduces weight on the shoulders.
This is another harness that would be great for a beginner saxophone player, but some may be a little difficult to adjust. Both the Protec and the Neotech are used by professional musicians as well, and is also a good fit for a beginner.
Even though I have not tried this particular harness, it seems to fall into the same category as the Protec and Neotech.
JAZZLAB saXholder Saxophone Harness
This harness does not wrap around the back like other harnesses, but rests on top of the shoulders and also supports the weight of the saxophone on the abdomen.
Even though there are many great harnesses available, I can say that this one does not disappoint. I know this because I use this particular harness. It’s comfortable, comes in various sizes, designed for women, design for men, and it’s easy to adjust. The website says it’s for bari and bass saxophones, but I use it on alto as well.
This particular harness is the most expensive, but it looks like they have put a lot of research into providing a new design in saxophone harnesses. It not only distributes the weight to the shoulders, but also to the waist. It’s bulkier than other harnesses but it can fit under a coat while playing.
The lower end harnesses cost around $20-$40 at the date of this post, and the upper end go up all the way to $150. That may sound expensive, but think of it this way: think of the cost of multiple visits to the chiropractor. If your back or neck begins to have issues, then going to chiropractor will cost more than any of these harnesses. In my opinion (if you’re going to be playing often), it’s worth the investment to find something that is comfortable and works for you.
There are plenty of neck straps that are padded and distribute weight differently; if you play once a week, then these (or any neck strap) will do. Just pay attention to your body, and how it responds to the weight around your neck.
There are many other items that can be purchased to assist in our playing. Some of these items include, tuners, metronomes, mouthpiece pads, reed holders, and palm key risers. We won’t go over them in great detail, but we’ll definitely introduce you to some of the items in our next post.
What neck strap/harness do you use? Do you like it? Would you recommend it to the rest of us? Please share your experiences in the comment section! If you found this post helpful, please feel free to share it using the social media buttons below. Thanks!
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