Having arrived for my first sax lesson the thing that immediately struck me was the strap or rather the harness my teacher was wearing. This looked very comfortable with two straps that came over from the back of the shoulders and met in the middle of the chest where there was one of those trigger hooks, like the ones used for clipping keys to your jeans. This all looked a lot more balanced and a less painful alternative to my classic loop strap that just went round the neck.
With a little encouragement from my teacher I decided to buy one and within a week I had ordered the Neotech harness from Amazon shown below. But before you go rushing into buy one there’s a few things to point out. Yes, it is a lot better than my neck cruncher and even more comfortable on the shoulders than the one my teacher was wearing, with additional soft padding under the shoulder straps. It even looks robust and durable. But, there are a couple of things I’m not fond of.
First, there’s the hefty price tag. At nearly £30 it’s not cheap, but I’m starting to realise that most of the kit for a sax is very expensive for what it is, probably due to the low quantities they make. The next issue which is a biggie for me is the position. I have never managed to keep the straps from sliding over the shoulders with the weight of the sax. The result is my alto keeps slipping below the ideal height for playing (keeping a good straight back). While this may seem like a major designs flaw, I am not so sure. The fact is as a beginner, seems you can never be too sure about anything. Is it your reed or your embouchure, is your strap too lose or your thumb too week to hold up the weight of the sax. So I have decided to give it another couple of months before concluding. I will report back. One thing I can say is that a harness that avoids the neck is a whole lot better for your neck and back