Good saxophone straps can make playing the sax more comfortable and less tiring.
A sax strap is designed to fit around the neck. It is equipped with a hook for attaching it to the back of the sax. The strap can be adjusted so that the instrument can be played in an upright position without strain. The weight of the sax will be borne by the back of the neck, so a cheap strap is likely to leave you feeling the pressure. When choosing a strap, a special feature to look for is an adjustment mechanism that is quick and easy to operate.
Some high quality saxophone straps are made with a cushion of neoprene which fits against the neck. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber material used in wet suits and automobile tires. These straps also have a piece of elastic at the top to make the load bearing more comfortable. The sax strap is designed so that the weight is spread over more of your shoulders and neck, which results in less bounce of the instrument. This makes playing much less fatiguing. A standard sized strap suitable for people of normal height playing an alto or tenor sax should cost less than $20.
Less expensive sax straps lack the neoprene padding but can be purchased with special hooks that don't slip out of the sax easily. They also come in a variety of colors and decorative weaves. Neck straps are also available for the clarinet and oboe. For the large baritone saxophone, however, a special harness must be used. The harness is particularly important in a marching band situation.
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