A saxophone harness is a must for the baritone sax player, but can also be used with a tenor or even an alto sax. People who play heavy instruments such as the big saxophones can suffer from back and neck injuries if the weight of the instrument is not supported properly. A good quality harness will help avoid these injuries.
Sometimes called a "sling," a saxophone harness is often made with a certain amount of stretch. Some music teachers warn that the elastic used in these straps and harnesses can make playing more difficult because the instrument can bounce. This seems to be an individual matter, though, and the built in stretch is certainly a comfort factor. The harness should also be completely adjustable so that you can get the best possible fit.
For around $36, the baritone sax player can be outfitted with a harness padded with neoprene, a synthetic rubber material. This harness, made by Neotech, is reported to make a heavy instrument feel 50% lighter. This harness is designed to distribute the weight of the saxophone without restricting freedom of movement. It is reported to be durable and comfortable.
An alternative to a saxophone harness is a sling designed by Walt Johnson to distribute the weight of the big sax on the left shoulder. This strap is reported to be less restrictive and confining than a complete harness. The Oleg company produces a variety of strap and harness combinations that are ergonomic in design. They are not cheap, but offer the latest in design features for safety, comfort and prevention of injuries.
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