Saxophone Forum


by historicsaxwhisperer
(535 posts)
2 months ago

Practicing Tenor Saxophone without a neck strap to build control

I have been working on my endurance and sound a bit MORE recently during the locked up pandemic.

I have been instructed by someone with much more endurance than I to spend part of my practice time playing without a neckstrap. At first, my thought was, "do I really want to chance dropping my vintage high priced tenor because I wasn't using a neckstrap"? Then I realized, I can simply put more slack onto the neckstrap, still have the horn hooked on, but not actually using it in any way to support the horn. Then if it slipos out of hand it doesn't hit the floor.

 At first, High D and E flat were impossible to play on a "moving passage". After a few days of it, they also became playable without the strap.

The pain on the thumbs, both of them, is evident as you first start doing this. Then you feel the hot sensation in your thumbs as they wear out. At this point, I usually stop, take a bathroom break, then come back and practice with the neck strap doing its intended support job.

 

Has anyone else incorperated this exercise into their practice regiment?

My goal is to use the neckstrap for its intended use, to help support the horn, but not actually count of it to hold all the weight of the horn, pulling on my back and neck, which over time causes other issues.

The instruction came from a player that plays on a double silver plated horn that is also gold plated. So, their horn weighs a bit more than my brass tenor. So, I cant wimp out now.

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  1. by JonHuff
    (96 posts)

    2 months ago

    Re: Practicing Tenor Saxophone without a neck strap to build control

    Haven't thought to try this, I would definitely not be able to take the pain on my thumbs. Good luck!

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    1. by historicsaxwhisperer
      (535 posts)

      2 months ago

      Re: Practicing Tenor Saxophone without a neck strap to build control

      It was a personal tip from Lew Tabackin.

      You cant get any more extreme than him.

      He is the Mike Tyson of the saxophone world.

      At 80, he still plays with the energy of a 25 year old.

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      1. by mgictwnger
        (43 posts)

        1 month ago

        Re: Practicing Tenor Saxophone without a neck strap to build control

        No arguement about Lew, he's a giant.
        I'm primarially a tenor player, almost 70 years old, and have been feeling it in my neck and back. For the past year I have been using a Chineese made harness I found on line. It consists of two fishook-shaped leather covered aluminum strips which can be bent to fit you. They go over your shoulders. Two adjustable cords go to a metal crosspiece with a snap hook hanging down. Well made and cool looking, very easy to use. My back thanks me.

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        1. by historicsaxwhisperer
          (535 posts)

          1 month ago

          Re: Practicing Tenor Saxophone without a neck strap to build control

          I have to admit, the no neck strap practice is very hard. I am still just doing it during long tones. I am 56 and with I could practice more. At Least Daily. Doing something daily, at least 10 minutes, is imprtant to building endurance.

          But, the control of the horn situation has become so much easier since I have included the no strap thing it into my regiment.

          Lew plays on a 112 opening Link STM. I play on a 105 opening tonemaster 6. He is quite a monster, yet can make the horn sing like a human voice.

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