.. we all look for different things in a neck strap: durability, comfort, looks. I've used everything from the soft comfy ones to a shoe string and a re-shaped coat hanger when my regular one broke and there wasn't anything else around.
There are so many different types of neck straps available today for the saxophonist because we all look for different things in a neck strap: durability, comfort, looks. I've used everything from the soft comfy ones to a shoe string and a re-shaped coat hanger when my regular one broke and there wasn't anything else around. Let me tell you, no matter how good the band is you're playing with, if you're using a coat hanger for a neck strap you really want the gig to be over quick! Note to self: carry a back-up strap.
The saxophone neck strap probably isn't the part of the saxophone we usually give much thought to although it plays a huge role in your playing comfortability and in the safety of your sax as well. Some of the most important things to consider when looking for a neck strap that's going to be just right for you:
ease of adjustment
easy to insert and remove
Material & comfort
The material it's made of will affect how it feels around your neck, especially if you like to wear it inside the collar directly on the skin. I would recommend a wide, padded leather strap. These are more expensive but are the most comfortable for this kind of use. Also ok for comfortability are the neoprene ones which are a synthetic rubber. These give a slight stretch and make your horn actually feel lighter.
For sax security issues it all depends on which type of player you are: sitting down in a chair or jumping around on a stage. If it's the later, then you want a saxophone neck strap that has a closed hook on it and not made with cheap plastic because your sax will eventually fall right from your hands right on to the floor. Go with the closed hook model to make it impossible for the sax to slip off the hook ring. But still, stay away from cheap plastic because after a while it will break and... bang! Once, during a live performance the plastic hook on my strap broke while I was in the middle of a wailin solo and my sax went flying to the front of the stage and just about hit a couple girls across the face... I avoid these types of hooks these days. If you spend all your saxophone playing hours calmly sitting on a chair with no aggressive movement, then a cheap, open hook neck strap will be just fine.
Ease of adjustment
How easy it is to adjust it's length is very important because you are always going to be adjusting the length of your sax neck strap. Because of the adjustment mechanisms and material of the strap it can be very hard to actually move the length up and down, especially when very slight, minor adjustments are needed and this can get very frustrating in getting the length just right. A neck strap that adjusts too easily can be even worst because the perfect length you set for yourself will change too quickly leaving you to constantly make adjustments. Avoid the really cheap neck straps for this reason.
Easy to insert and remove
If you are constantly having to remove your sax very quickly then you may need an open hook. There are hooks that are fully closed and make it impossible for your horn to fall off. Personally, I do need to remove my horn constantly during a performance but I use a closed hook. This does make it a bit more difficult but you do get used to it and you know the horn isn't going to fall off
I think the perfect strap has yet to be made. It's either too soft, too hard, to wide, too thin... and if it isn't, then there's something wrong with the hook. Go for what you need the most and remember, it doesn't hurt to have two!
Here are some nice neck straps you can order online - click their links for more info on them:
Pro Tec Leather Padded Sax Neck Strap
Contoured neck pad and quick-release clip.
Neotech Wick-It Sax Swivel Hook Strap Black Regular
The Neotech Wick-It Sax Swivel Hook Strap introduces a revolutionary design in saxophone straps. The Wick-It Sax Strap™ uses a...
Price: $17.99 - $18.99
Neotech Wick-It Open Hook Sax Strap Black Regular
With the Wick-It Open Hook Sax Strap Neotech introduces a revolutionary design in saxophone straps. The Wick-It Sax Strap™ creates a...
Price: $15.99 - $16.99
Giardinelli Premium Sax Strap
For alto or tenor sax. Black, fully padded for extreme comfort.
Neotech Soft Sax Harness Strap
Fits most saxes. Designed for both men and women. Extremely comfortable harness. Easy to attach with spring hook, strong and durable. 15" - 19-1/2"...
Neotech Soft Sax Strap Royal Regular
The revolutionary Soft Sax Strap from Neotech is made of neoprene with a comfort-stretch backing. This combination allows the weight of your...
Perri's 1" Saxophone Strap with Plush Padding Black
This sax strap is 1" wide to stay out of your way, but the plush pad makes it easy on your neck. Fully adjustable. Made in Canada.
Price: $4.99 - $6.99
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