Every saxophonist has their favorite neck strap. Luckily, the majority of neck straps can be used interchangeably between soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones. However, most people who consistently play baritone saxophone have transitioned to using a saxophone harness. Finding the neck strap that feels right for you takes a bit of research and trial and error. There are many neck straps and saxophone harnesses on the market now.
Many saxophonists use Neotech neck straps. Neotech Soft Sax Straps are made from Neoprene, with a stretch backing. The strap allows the weight of the saxophone to be evenly distributed over a large area of your neck and shoulders. The Neotech Soft Sax Straps are used most commonly with alto and tenor saxophones.
Neotech Straps are available in three sizes, regular, junior, or extra long. Most adults will use the regular or extra long. The junior size is very helpful if a smaller child is learning the saxophone.
Neotech offers three choices of connector, or clasp, that attaches to the saxophone’s neck strap ring. They include a swivel hook, open hook, plastic-coated metal hook, or loop connector. The swivel hook adds the most security since the clasp must be opened and closed in order to attach and detach the strap from the saxophone. This would be the most ideal strap for students. The open hook and plastic-coated metal hook would be ideal for musicians who are doubling and need to quickly switch to another woodwind instrument. The loop connector offers the most security, as the loop actually threads through the neck strap ring, before connecting to the neck strap.
Neotech straps are available in six colors including black, wine, forest green, red, royal blue, and navy blue, and are all produced in the United States.
Many musicians associate the name Rico with reeds, but they also produce mouthpieces and woodwind accessories.
Rico padded saxophone neck straps are padded with memory foam, to make the strap more comfortable on a player’s neck. The memory foam is covered with an athletic material that is breathable and helps a saxophonist’s neck stay dry after an extended period of playing.
Rico padded saxophone neck straps come in two sizes. One is for use with soprano and alto saxophones and the other is for use with tenor and baritone saxophones.
Both sizes of straps come in a variety of colors and designs. The black straps are available with a choice of snap hook or open metal hook connector. The other color choices, which include two types of “jazz stripe,” “jazz wave,” and “industrial” are only available with an open metal hook connector.
Known for their high-quality instrument cases, Protec also manufactures many different types of saxophone neck straps and one type of saxophone harness.
One of their most popular neck straps is the Less-Stress Neoprene strap. It is created from a neoprene pad covered with water-resistant ballistic nylon. The design of this neck strap is supposed to alleviate direct spine pressure. The neck strap is also designed to prevent the saxophone from bouncing, allowing for a consistent embouchure.
Protec Less-Stress straps are manufactured with a rubber-coated metal swivel snap, which attaches the neck strap to the saxophone. Both the 22 inch and 24 inch sizes are available in black, hot pink, and teal.
Protec’s Less-Stress design for alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones is also available in leather. The leather straps come with a choice of a metal “Comfort Bar,” which pulls the strap away from the sides of the neck, and allows for easy length adjustment, or with an “EZ grab” metal slider for length adjustment.
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There are not many saxophone slings on the market and the most reliable is produced by Neotech. Neotech Slings are made from the same materials as their neck straps.
The difference between neck straps and slings is instead of going around a player’s next, like the usual saxophone neck strap, the sling goes across one’s shoulder and back. This takes the weight of the saxophone off of a player’s neck.
All Neotech Slings come in black, with a swivel hook. They are available in regular and extra-long sizing.
Neotech markets their slings to saxophone professionals or students who play for extended periods at a time.
There are a number of saxophone harnesses on the market. Saxophone harnesses are highly recommended for anyone playing a baritone saxophone.
Neotech Saxophone Harnesses
Neotech produces four different types of saxophone harnesses. They are the soft harness, super harness, practice harness, and simplicity harness. If you are investing in a bari saxophone harness, the soft harness or super harness would be your best options.
The soft and super harnesses are both black and available in junior, regular, and extra-long sizing. The soft harness is available with a choice of swivel hook or loop connection. The super harness by Neotech has an added choice of a plastic-coated metal hook, as well.
JAZZLAB saXholders were designed in response to the chronic back and neck pain experienced by many saxophonists. According to their listing on Woodwind & Brasswind, they have a “patented three-point support system that transfers the weight of the saxophone to two padded shoulder handles with additional support from an abdominal rest.”
JAZZLAB saXholders are constructed of aircraft aluminum and Kevlar. This makes them very lightweight and strong. The saXholders are also foldable and fit inside the bell of an alto saxophone.
They come in two different sizes, regular and extra-large. Most average size adults and children 12 and up will use the regular size saXholder. Taller adults may want to try the extra-large.
Performers have found that JAZZLAB saXholders are comfortable to use with alto, tenor, baritone, and even bass saxophones.
This harness is ergonomically designed to move with the saxophone player. Its unique design system distributes the saxophone’s weight evenly across a player’s body. This alleviates the usual pressure placed on a saxophone player’s neck and shoulders.
The Vandoren saxophone support system harness was designed by musicians and physical therapists to be used with all saxophones.
There are many different brands and styles of saxophone neck straps and harnesses. I would encourage you to try different kinds until you find the one that works the best for your body type and playing demands. Websites such as Woodwind & Brasswind, offer reliable reviews, and the added security that items can be returned if they don’t work for you.