Saxophone Neck Straps, Harnesses, etc. and Back Pain

Here is an e-mail exchange I had with someone who has experiencing back pain from playing sax:

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She asked:
I was wondering if there is a stand that I can purchase that will hold my alto sax in a ready to play position…can’t do a neck strap and my harness is really starting to stress my back….I’m 60 so maybe it’s just wear and tear but would like to play without all the after effects….thanks….J.D.

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My reply:

Hi J.D.

Not sure if you are looking for a stand to hold it while you are standing or seated. Regardless, I have not seen anything which is a really good option.
A floor stand generally holds the saxophone in a fixed position. It is difficult to get it in the correct angle for playing. Also, when someone is playing the sax, they often make many small changes in position over the course of a session. Having it fixed and immobile would work against that and would be fatiguing.

In addition to regular neckstraps and harnesses, there are:

Yoke straps
http://im4.woodbrass.com/images/woodbrass/S70M+LEATHER+YOKE+STRAP+REGULAR+SIZE+SAX-3.JPG
One yoke strap additionally has suspender like straps that go down the back:
http://www.matthewsmuziek.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/500×500/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/b/g/bg_france_yoke_brace_s50sh_2.jpg

There are also shoulder slings that go over just one shoulder. This photo shows it with a bassoon, but there is a sax version:
http://im2.justflutes.com/primg1000x750-image-wm-1-bg-bassoon-shoulder-strap-404_1.jpg

There is the JazzLab saxholder which is a rigid holder that puts nothing behind the neck:
http://image.rakuten.co.jp/ishibashi/cabinet/wind4/511607800.jpg?_ex=128×128

There is the Vandoren universal sax harness which, again has nothing behind the neck and, I think, it has a belt that encircles the waist:
http://cdns3.gear4music.com/media/7/77108/600/preview.jpg

If none of that suits you, perhaps you could consult with a physical therapist or kinesthiologist (spelling?) to see if they can analyze the problem and make suggestions.

I sort of envision a very tall stand that has a bungee cord hanging down. The bungee cord would take, say, 50% of the weight, the rest of it being held by the player with a normal strap. But it would probably be rather ungainly and not practical.

Best of luck,

Kim

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Some months later I got a reply:

Hi Kim….just thought I’d drop you a line and let you know how I fared re previous letter. I started playing with the Jazz Lab sax holder around the 15 th of Oct. For the last two and a half months have been using it every day and have had excellent results. My nagging middle back pain from my old sax harness is gone. I don’t feel unusually achey or sore at all. It really does feel like it is floating and as a result I feel like I’m playing better. I certainly want to play more! I highly recommend this holder and I really appreciate you taking time to respond to my inquiry…Thank you….J.D.

 

I do carry the Jazz Lab sax holder, but unless you are local to Madison, WI, it probably makes the most sense to buy it from a large on-line discount vendor.