A n ) are made of and are much heavier than most other woodwind instruments. is a support for the ost saxophones (i.e. the , and
In order to relieve strain on the hands, elbows and wrists, we support the from a loop built in the body of the , usually around the , with padding to ensure comfort.
However, with so many to choose from, it can get a little daunting. Players at risk of back problems may not be suited to long term pressure on the , but luckily there are alternatives that will suit these players that we will go over in this article.
A is often one of the most neglected accessories for the , but it’s worth spending that extra time making sure you find the right one for you.
While instruments, reeds, mouthpieces and even cases may get a little more attention than straps, there’s a whole range to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, which may suit different people.
You most likely had one arrive with the you bought, but often these are cheaply made, unpadded straps there to fulfil a legal obligation, rather than a genuinely reliable and comfortable piece of kit for long term use.
None of us want to ever undergo the feeling of a failed that can seriously damage your , so above all, reliability is key.
After all, a lot of time is going to be spent wearing it, with a fair amount of weight to some saxophones, especially the .
So, without further ado here’s our top five list of that you should consider once your current one starts to show wear, or is noticeably causing you discomfort.
But, before we jump into the nitty-gritty of what to look for in a , here’s our top pick.
Top Pick – Classic
The Neotech Classic Strap is one of the popular saxophone neck straps on the market and for good reason. It’s durable, reliable and long-lasting; exactly what most saxophonists look for in a neck strap!
What to look for in a ?
Your is ultimately one of the most important tools in your arsenal.
A faulty due to poor design or build quality can have disastrous results and cost you some pretty hefty repair bills. As a result, your number one focus should be build quality and strength, particularly at connecting joints.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself, and more importantly, things to avoid, to make sure that whateveryou choose is suitable for you.
Do the joints and connections of thelook durable and well built?
Do you have any health conditions that you may need to take into account? (pain, lower back problems)
Where is the weight of the distributed? Avoid straps that rest on the higher part of the , or on one .
Whichis best for you? Open hooks are best for players who need to switch instruments quickly, but a closable clasp may be best for players who prefer the peace of mind and don’t need to switch instruments.
Material of? Some vintage saxophones have harder metal rings that can wear over time. You may need to avoid metal or harder material materials.
How does it look? If you feel a little silly wearing it, that will translate into your performance.
If you can try some out, how does it feel? A goodshould bring the to your mouth without the need to stretch.
Without padding, it could irritate your. If you feel it’s pulling your forward, or if you feel discomfort on the joints of your thumbs, this can cause health issues and should be avoided.
These handmade German straps follow the traditional minimal design of a , but without the traditional setbacks.
Suitable for and , the offers a great deal of comfort, and is built wider than most straps to distribute weight over a wider area.
The key innovation with this is the gel inserts on either side of the , designed to fit either side of the spine.
So, despite still distributing the weight of the largely across the , the spine itself is completely avoided, which makes both a very comfortable fit and a reduced chance of any health problems arising.
The itself is fully customisable from fibre plastic, unfinished , thermoplastic coated metal, or 24k plated.
However, it may be difficult to source depending on where you live as distribution is reasonably limited. The fiber plastic and 24k plated are standard options that are much easier to source.
There is also a deluxe version featuring Elk and Gold-plated and slider, but these may not be suitable for some types of .
The Protec LC305M may be on the cheaper side, but the build quality and attention to detail certainly don’t feel that way. Established in 1969, Protec made sure to collaborate with professional musicians to provide quality products, and it is clear that still continues to this day.
The padding is very comfortable and stylish, and usually reserved for pricier straps. It must be noted that on sweatier gigs, it’s possible that the may stain clothes, so while you shouldn’t necessarily be put off, this should be kept in mind.
The closed provides that added security and so is much more suited to players that move around or want that extra peace of mind.
A wouldn’t usually be recommended but is a nice addition to a product of this price. The is covered with a plastic tubing, so you have all the build quality and durability of a metal clasp, without the potential damage to your . This is a classic example of how much thought has gone into the design of this , and shouldn’t be overlooked.
The metal spacer bar is a wonderful addition to a such as this. The Tri-point metal spacer bar is for maximum comfort, and reduces any form of clamping around the , keeping your airways free and relaxed, and without putting pressure on the sides of your .
It’s worth noting that the LC305 is made primarily for . For and , Protec offers the LC310M, which is the same product in a different size. and
If you play both and , you may want to avoid this as depending on your size, you may need two different straps for the .
The Balam Straps come in a few different models with slightly different price points.
The Standard is a more entry-level price, with synthetic .
The Classic features full grain , and comes with a velvet travel bag.
The premium incorporates 4mm of foam padding underneath the alimumium bars, the slider contains an optional locking mechaninsm, and features premium .
When you first receive the Balam it can be a little overwhelming. It will take a little adjustment over time by bending the aluminium bars, the core of the rests, into place.
However, once set up correctly, the Balam is by far one of the most comfortable straps on the market.
If switching between and it can rest a little uncomfortably high, however we’re sure you’ll be able to find a happy medium between the two with a little adjustment.
It isn’t recommended if you need to switch between all four of the main types of , and is not able to be used with a curved .
The “string” the Balam uses is actually paracord, and the build quality is among the best we’ve seen of all straps, featuring lightweight aluminium on the straps, paracord that connects around the back and through the wide metal spacer, leading to a metal fully closed .
The is coated with plastic to avoid any damage to your , and so is fully compatible with vintage saxophones.
When viewing the Balam separately it can look a little bulky, but once worn, looks minimal, stylish, and the metal spacer bar and hooks look especially stylish, particularly when coupled with a vintage finish or unlacquered .
Despite the high price tag and an admittedly fiddly setup, this remains our favourite, tying together the comfort of a harness, with the ease and aesthetics of a .
is a brand well known for making top quality products. Their classic is the best seller in the range and with good reason.
The sits at the lower part of the and is comfortable. The allows a slight stretch, not enough to jeopardise your playing or allow too much movement in the height of the , but enough to stop any form of sudden jerking effects from the .
The design is durable and long lasting, with a suitable for more vintage saxophones.
If you’re swapping instruments quickly such as in a musical theatre environment or teaching, these types of hooks aren’t necessarily recommended, but they provide a much greater peace of mind over open hooks.
If you intend to be moving around quite a bit while playing, or staying with the same for any length of time, there is no chance the will become unhooked, and the hard plastic won’t wear out your ring.
The itself isn’t machine washable, but is remarkably easier to wash than other straps. This may not sound important, but if you suffer from acne around your , this should definitely be taken into account. Simply cold wash with laundry detergent by hand and air dry.
Without a spacer bar, this can come in a little at the front of the , but not enough to cause discomfort. In fact, this may make it more suitable for players who tend to play seated.
Jazz Lab SAXHOLDER
The Jazz Lab Saxholder Harness may look unusual, but innovative products such as these usually do.
A traditional transfers the whole weight of the to the . This can cause health problems, and pain.
The Saxholder isn’t as bulky as traditional harnesses, but performs a similar function, with the main weight of the resting on the shoulders rather than the . The handles are padded for extra comfort and is assisted for the abdominal rest.
Build quality is very good, made with lightweight aluminium and Kevlar, and is developed for both men and women.
While standing, this takes a huge amount of weight off the . If you’re playing a heavier like a cannonball big bell or a silver-plated , then this can really help.
The is made from metal but has a plastic coating to protect your . A hybrid of the two designs, it is able to release quickly, but has a greatly reduced chance of unhooking the accidentally.
In terms of looks, it can look a little strange. Full Harnesses or slings can often detract from a performance. For performances that require a suit or dress, these types of straps can be uncomfortable and crease up your clothes in all sorts of ways.
This does avoid those pitfalls fortunately, but certainly detracts a lot more than a traditional .
While not compatible with curved Sopranos, this type of weight management is unlikely to be necessary with curved sopranos.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for reading our rundown of the top five . Have we missed any of your favourite straps? Let us know in the comments.
The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!