Saxholder review

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Saxholder-Review from Jay Metcalf, BETTER SAX
Over the years I’ve had many different neck-straps. Several years ago, I began to notice some soreness in my neck and shoulders after long practice sessions and started trying alternative neck-straps to alleviate this. Today I’m using the Saxholder by JazzLab which is a relatively new device that is different from any of the other neck-straps I’ve used, and is the first one to effectively allow me to practice and perform with no fatigue on my shoulders, neck and back.

The Saxholder by Jazzlab
 
In my lessons, I am always telling my students to stand with good posture, relax their shoulders and keep their head and neck straight. When using a traditional neck strap, you have to fight against the downward pull on your neck. The point bearing the most pressure and weight happens to be your spine where a lot of very important nerves are. There is also quite a bit of pressure on the sides of your neck where your blood flows to your brain. These are areas where you want to avoid putting unnecessary pressure. You may have noticed that traditional neck-straps will leave dark red marks on your skin from this pressure.
The design of traditional neck-straps is therefore terrible in my opinion, and they should be avoided.
For the last 18 months or so, I’ve been using the Saxholder by JazzLab and am very satisfied with it. Initially, I found it quite odd and fiddly. It was difficult to get it to sit right and feel natural. Having read that this happens to everyone who eventually adopts this device, I continued to use it and before long, I felt at ease with it.
 
Saxholder Strong Points
 
The Hook
The hook on the Saxholder is fantastic. I love this design, and feel very confident that it won’t come undone mistakenly. It is very easy to attach and detach form the horn, and won’t mark up the lacquer of your saxophone.
 
The Adjuster
This is as good or better than on any other neck-strap I have ever tried. The adjuster can be moved easily, yet has a firm resistance. Once you choose your spot, it won’t slip down lower like just about every other neck-strap in existence. In addition, you can make tiny, micro adjustments to get your horn set to the perfect height.
 
The Abdominal Rest
This is the key element that displaces the weight of the saxophone between your shoulders and abdomen. The result is the horn feels much lighter. This mechanism can be easily adjusted to work for saxophone players of any size. I’ve seen small children using the Saxholder which is great. If you’ve ever had young saxophone students, you know how difficult it can be to find a neck-strap suitable for smaller kids. The design also allows for use by larger and taller players.
 
No Sweat!
Some of the thickly padded neck-straps out there will cause you to sweat and get over heated when doing summer time gigs and practice sessions. Being sweaty because of your neck-strap is no longer an issue with the Saxholder.
 
Excellent Build Quality
After over 18 months of daily use, I have not noticed any wear on any of the parts of the Saxholder. It appears exactly as the day I bought it. I expect that I can continue to use this device for years to come with no problems.
 
Ideal Position When Playing Standing Up
The Saxholder allows me to play the saxophone in an ideal position which is, for me, directly in front of my body when standing up. Some of the other alternative design neck-straps force the horn into an awkward position.
 
Works for All Saxophones, But Best for the Big Ones
I use the Saxholder with my tenor sax. On alto I don’t feel the need for it and have been using another well designed neck-strap. I have used it with my alto as well and it works great. Maybe I’ll buy another one to leave in my alto case. I’ve also tried it on soprano and it works fine even though it is even less necessary there. You will probably have trouble fitting the Saxholder into your soprano case. If you’re a baritone sax player, you should really give the this thing a try.
 
Will the Saxholder Fit in My Case?
At first, I thought I wasn’t going to manage to fit the Saxholder into my case since I already kept my neck in the bell. As you can see in the photo, I have a Bam HighTech Case and there is a bit of room between the bell of the horn and the exterior shell. I put the pouch with the neck in this space, and the Saxholder fits in the bell. This is an important consideration if you have an even more form fitting case.
 
Will I Look Weird with that Thing?
I have to admit, I thought it looked pretty weird at first. I quickly realized that the Saxholder has a lot of advantages over a traditional neck-strap when it comes to cosmetics. I love how my shirt collars and ties are no longer squished and pulled down like they were before. I’m no longer trying to fix my collar while on stage with tons of people watching me. The Saxholder also sits well on top of a suit jacket. I’ve not noticed any damage to any of my jackets that I’ve worn with this thing, and I do hundreds of gigs a year and only have a few different suits. Other straps I have used in the past sometimes frayed and wore out the fabric of my jackets.

Saxholder Weak Points
 
Storage
Depending on your case, you may have trouble finding a spot to store the Saxholder. Keep this in mind before you purchase. If you keep your neck inside the bell of your saxophone, you may need to find another place for it since the Saxholder will generally need to be stored there. If you have a large exterior pocket, you may be able to store it in there as well.
I do find that when being stored in the bell, the Saxholder does not scratch the lacquer of my horn since the parts are all made of plastic or rubber, and there are no sharp edges. There is also a cloth pouch included which is designed for this purpose.
 
Not Great While Seated
Personally, I play almost exclusively standing up and the Saxholder allows me to hold my saxophone in an ideal position directly in front of my body. When seated and playing tenor, we hold the horn off to one side, the Saxholder doesn’t work as well in this situation. So, if you spend a lot of time playing while seated you may not like it as much as me. To be fair, I do occasionally sit down in my practice room when transcribing and although the Saxholder doesn’t feel ideal, it still works fine. This could also be something that takes some getting used to.
 
Conclusion
If you have any neck, back or shoulder issues from playing saxophone you need to first, correct any bad posture habits. I suggest practicing in front of a mirror and video recording yourself playing to identify problems and fix them. If you want to reduce the weight of your horn, and help avoid future health problems related to playing saxophone or attempt to reduce pain you already experience, I highly recommend the Saxholder.
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Saxholder-Review from Barry Caudill
 
One of the big problems I’ve had the last few years when playing bari is ending up with a very sore back. It had gotten to the point where I would take the bari off the strap anytime I had any decent amount of rest and then re-hang it before the next entrance. I’m talking about as little as six bars rest. That technique got me through the gig and kept me from being in terrible pain the next day.

While playing bari always seemed to affect my lower back the most, playing tenor with a normal neck strap always made my neck sore although not nearly as much as bari affected my back. I never liked harness style straps because I didn’t like the way the horn hung – it seemed to be too close to my body with that style of strap. Because of the way it hung, it always felt like the angle of the horn was wrong for me. I think it would be fine for sitting down but I spend most of my gigs standing up and I like the horn to be more out front than angled to my side. I started hearing a lot of great things about the Jazzlab Sax Holder and I finally took the plunge to try it out. My experience with it so far is over three gigs and several practice sessions but I believe I have a good feel for what it does and how that affects me.

How Did It Do?

There’s no doubt the weight is much better distributed with the saXholder. The weight of the horn was moved from my neck (with a pull on my lower back) to my shoulders. The strap adjusts fairly easily to the contours of my shoulders and the weight is further distributed to a brace that rests on the body. This brace is adjustable both for height as well as thickness and I think this is the part that saves my back while the shoulder straps save my neck. The strap works like a marching tether for drummers in many ways.

The first time I used it I had a gig on bari and alto and the strap arrived during the day of the gig while I was at work. So like any rational person I decided to try it on the gig without any test. To make matters worse, traffic going to the gig was terrible so I didn’t even make sound check so I was only able to try the strap for a few minutes before I went on. I did have a regular strap on stage just in case…I’m not totally nuts…but I didn’t need it because the Sax Holder worked like a champ. It was effortless to hold the bari while playing and I didn’t take it off at all while playing the bari songs. I also felt very comfortable playing alto. The angle of both horns was right where I wanted them to be. The Sax Holder has a longer strap portion that acts more like a traditional strap and that makes it much better than a harness for me.

The second gig I used it on was just tenor and I once again didn’t have much time to adjust it (it was an outdoor wedding and you probably know how those go). Again, I appreciated how well the pressure on my neck and back was alleviated but this time I felt like maybe having more time to tweak the adjustable shoulder braces would have helped me a lot. The seemed to dig in a little bit more than they should the whole night. On the other hand, the strap works really well with a tux or a suit as it hides well under the jacket, doesn’t mess up your bow tie, and actually keeps a traditional tie in place without a tie clip.

The third time I used it, was a outdoor concert and I was dressed MUCH more casually than the other two gigs. In this case, it actually interfered with my open collar shirt more than I wanted it to. Plus, the guys in the section were giving me grief about it a little it (“Oh I thought you were wearing a brace because you broke your sternum”). Ultimately, I decided not to finish out the gig with it that night even though it was still very comfortable for me. I think I can better plan my clothing in the future when I want to use it.

Pros

Really does protect both my neck and my lower back
Works well under a suit jacket and with ties
Horns hang at a good angle for me
Easily adjustable when switching horns
Lightweight

Comes with a soft bag and stores comfortably in the bell when in the case

Cons

Sometimes it’s awkward to have on when you aren’t playing. Walking up and down steps feels weird if you try to look down
Doesn’t work well over an open collar shirt
Can look a little strange when you aren’t hanging a horn on it

Verdict

For bari this is a no-brainer. It makes playing one pain free for the first time since I was much younger. I was able to feel comfortable without removing the horn and I was even able to move freely and do dance moves with the section. For the tenor, where I don’t have as much lower back trouble but I do have neck strain, it’s something that I can and will use under the right circumstance. Even if the guys give me grief, it’s well worth being pain free after the gig. For alto it’s really not necessary but I am often playing alto in conjunction with either the tenor or bari so it will get used especially since it is so adjustable. Overall, I think this strap is a winner and money well spent. I actually ordered mine through a store connected to Amazon but I don’t think they have them all the time. I’ve also heard that there is a model 2 coming out but I will probably wait on that until I hear more as this one works fine.
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Saxholder-Review from Saxtapes
 
Having opted for the the harness from N****** over the standard neckstrap I really struggled keeping the saxophone at the right height. Having persevered with it for almost 4 month, finally, I worked out the problem. These harnesses have to be strapped very close to the body to prevent the straps from sliding over your shoulders with the weight of the sax. I did this and it all worked perfectly but the sax stays too close for my comfort. Now I’m not good enough to be swinging my sax around but I suspect this would be very hard to do with a harness or at least this one from Neotech. So, I decided to contact the very nice people I bought this from (John Wyatt Woodwind and Brass) and fortunately they were very accommodating even though it was well past the date for any reasonable return policy. They offered me an alternative the JazzLab “SaxHolder” Saxophone Strap . I must admit I was expecting this to be a bit of a novelty item, so I approached with causation when it arrived. Oh and I agreed with the shop that I’d only return the original harness if the Sax holder was better.
The first thing you notice is it’s not going to just fit into any old bag. It is made of metal and plastic which curves to fit over your shoulders and it doesn’t fold flat like a strap or harness. But it does fold to roughly half the length you see on the photo. Once out of the cloth bag, you simply fold it out in one smooth action and voila it just sits on your shoulders. Then comes the clever bit I think. There’s an adjustable telescopic support which extends to sit somewhere comfortable on your stomach. This keeps your saxophone slightly in front of the bod without you having to hold out it out infront of you with your thumb. Genius! Then it’s a case of sliding the plastic hook onto the ring onteh sax and adjusting the nifty height adjustment thing till you have it where you want it.
Once the sax was in place it was an awesome experience. There’s no pressure on your thumb where I usually try to hold it up, and there’s a lot of room to manoeuvre. You can really hold it away from you unlike the harness. I had read that the little arm support that rest on the stomach can be a bit awkward, and yes, I did find it a little odd for a few minutes, but then forgot all about it. That’t the thing about this Saxholder, you simply forget it’s there.
My only reservation now is it still feels like it could just fall off your shoulders but this is probably physiological, because I’m used to the straps going all the way around the body and the idea trusting these shoulder supports staying there with just the weight of the sax takes a little time to get used to. Having said that this really is a great device and I just can’t see me going back. I would highly recommend it especially to a beginner sax player like me who has enough things to worry about without the constant neck, shoulder, back and finger ache from holding a saxophone in the right position for anything longer than 20 minutes.
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Saxholder-Review from Sarah Watts, bass clarinet, England

One issue for me playing the bass clarinet has been the weight of the instrument. I have tried and failed to find a neck strap that distributes the weight evenly without causing tension and pain in the neck, shoulder and wrist areas. Both neck slings and harnesses have been problematic in many ways and have all created tension points in different places, caused the instrument to fall at odd angles or just in my case aren’t designed for a female.
I must admit that when I was told about the Jazzlab sax holder and how good it was I was very sceptical as to how effective it would actually be. However I was delighted to discover that it is very well made and extremely comfortable. The unique design is flexible, strong and designed to fit both male and female players. You can use it standing up or sitting down and all the parts on it are fully adjustable. The arms that hook over your shoulders are made so that they can easily bend into the correct shape and transfer the weight of the instrument evenly onto both shoulders. The addition of an abdominal rest which helps to aid the support can be also be adjusted to the correct height and rotates so that you can place it in a way that is very comfortable for each player
A badly designed sling is not just a frustration but it is also a very serious health issue. I have discussed this with my frequently visited physio and also with a health expert at Keele University and I am convinced that a large percentage of wrist pain, tendon pain and muscle issues in the back, neck and shoulder regions are aggravated by badly designed straps and carrying large heavy cases. I’m always interested in feedback and other peoples thoughts in this area as I personally think that not enough is done to advise players on how not to cause oneself injury or how to prevent these issues from happening.
The most important factor about the Jazzlab sax holder is the fact that it has major health benefits and has addressed health issues. It is the first strap that I have ever played on that distributes the weight in such a way that I feel no tension at all when playing. The bass clarinet falls naturally into my playing position and there is minimal pressure on the right hand thumb meaning that I am totally free of any tension or strain that can cause wrist and arm pain.
At around £45 this is maybe a slightly more expensive option that most straps or harnesses, but for me this is money well spent to be able to play comfortably and to know that I am playing without having aches and pains. I also know of colleagues that use the strap with saxophone, oboe and bassoon and have all reinforced my own opinion that this product is a great asset for woodwind players. I would highly recommend this product especially if you have experienced muscle or tendon problems when playing.
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Saxholder-Review by Omega Music, Cumbria CA8 1SW, United Kingdom

Jazzlab Saxholder – Innovative alternative to a neck sling
 
The Saxholder by Jazzlab is an innovative new design which takes the weight of the saxophone across the shoulders rather than all on the neck.
 
A good friend of mine is an Osteopath, who has done some work on my neck. I asked him to explain the problems of using a traditional neck strap.
 
„Saxophones are not like most wind instruments – no flute or oboe weighs more than a fraction of the weight of a sax, and if we are talking tenor sax, we are talking about a substantial lump of metal indeed. A strap around the neck is the worst possible way of supporting it. I won’t bore you with the fine details of the biomechanics, but a neck strap places maximum strain on the neck, the upper back and the lower back, while changing your centre of gravity and therefore your posture. Just for good measure it will have a knock-on effect on the ribs, reducing your effective lung capacity and inhibiting your breath control. So if you want to make your sax as difficult as possible to play, use a neck strap!
 
In the past there was no alternative. You used a neck strap, became uncomfortable, tried to take more weight on your thumb (which really isn’t designed to take a lot of strain in that direction), laying a nice foundation for future osteoarthritis in the thumb joints and straining one particular muscle (Abductor Pollicis Longus – a big name for a skinny little muscle) giving you a sore forearm.“
 
Made from Kevlar and aircraft aluminium, the Saxholder is as high-tech as it looks but is also very simple and convenient to use. Simply lock the shoulder straps in position and adjust the telescopic and rotating abdominal rest to the most comfortable position and hook your sax on.
 
This is what my Osteopath had to say on trying the Saxholder.
 
„To begin with I was sceptical – I thought it was spreading the weight to the top of the shoulders, but that really doesn’t alter the mechanics so hugely – it would help the neck, but the weight would still be pulling the top of the back forward. I was wrong. I tried it on and it was a revelation.
The weight of the instrument is suspended from a point in front of the middle of the chest and transferred, not to the top of the shoulder, but behind the shoulders to the ribcage itself. Instead of pulling forwards and down on the neck and the upper spine, the force is spread through the entire ribcage – twelve ribs each side transmitting the force to twelve different vertebrae, so it is distributed throughout the thorax. The extending abdominal support should be used at the lowest possible setting – this helps to reduce the rotational force pulling the upper back forward even more.
The instruments feels as though it is floating in space – holding it is effortless, the hands are able to relax and, because the forces are so evenly distributed through the ribcage, the diaphragm is free to move, improving breath control. So this beautifully designed bit of kit will not only make you comfortable and delight your Osteopath, it will even help you play better!“
 
The Saxholder really is very comfortable to use, both sitting and standing, with saxes of all sizes. It feels like the sax is floating in the ideal playing position all the time, without the bouncing feeling you often get from neck slings. After use, it folds neatly into the bag provided and should fit easily in most sax cases.

While having obvious advantages for those with upper back and neck problems, the Saxholder is so comfortable and convenient, even when playing for long periods, that we would recommend all sax players try one.
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Saxholder-Review by Danner Musikinstrumente, 4020 Linz, Austria

The Saxholder made by Jazzlab is obviously one of those products many musicians have waited for not knowing what to expect: This sax holder, made of kevlar and airplane aluminum in Switzerland is our winner in every regard speaking of tools to help you handle your sax.

Saxholder versus puristic holding strap:

Until now you simply could not discuss about sax holders with jazz purists. The plain cord was beyond debate, as it meant the freedom to throw the sax diagonally up – this typical sax move serves art as well as it is nice to watch. This is possible with Saxholder as well, so drawn. Another advantage is that Saxholder relieves your cervical spine completely, so 1:0 for Saxholder.

Saxholder versus pectoral holder:

The pectoral holder also releases the cervical spine, but – let’s be honest – this thing looks aweful. Except for health reasons, there is no reason to play a – as it is – highly attractive instrument and then ruin this positive effect with a ridiculous strap: We look like huskies and until then a lot of work has to be done. Even with conservative rating this means 4:1 for Saxholder.

Saxholder is a relief to the vertebra of the neck – and thus for the whole locomotor system, is equipped and removed within seconds, comfortable when standing as well as sitting, and easy to stow away on small space when folded.

The best thing of course: Just try it.

PS: In retroperspective it is amazing, that Mr Adolf Sax could alreadyinvent his Ophon in 1840 despite the fact that it took over 150 years to find a appropriate holder.

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Roger Manins, saxophonist, on Sax on the Web (SOTW),
 
WHAT IS IT?
Saxholder is an alternative to conventional saxophone neck straps. It does away completely with any involvement of the neck for weight bearing, by transferring weight distribution from the neck to the shoulders, and to the stomach
Here is a link to the Australian distributors site—not sure about the rest of the planet, but you can view it here, and find out how to get it where you live.
 
Review
The Saxholder…
First:
The build quality of the strap is excellent—it is not cheap. It is built to last.
 
I had seen these advertised and was curious. Personally, for the last few years I have had upper back and neck problems, tension etc, and not surprising really after 30 years of playing saxophone. I have been dealing with my issues by doing a lot of swimming and exercise. This has strengthened my upper body and ironed out the knots a fair bit, and I have had great improvement, but lets face it, having a heavy saxophone strapped around your neck is a lot of weight to bear over time, especially if you do a lot of playing.
A good friend of mine recently visited Auckland, and I had a quick go of his Sax Holder. I was very impressed right away how free my neck felt, so I ordered one.
Since then I have spent quite a bit of time on it and on my regular strap. This is what I think.
The strap takes time to get used to. I found myself swapping between it and my regular strap depending on the situation. For performances I was going with my old strap, but in practice the sax holder. Compared to a normal strap, the saxholder makes you feel free—your neck is free. There is a huge difference. It has to be good for you. The balance is different; I quite like it. The front part of it rests on your stomach. I find this uncomfortable, but with time I am getting used to it. I reckon they could make the stomach support either much bigger, padded or a bit of both. or even bring it to the hips ( a friend suggested this)It can be irritating if you are only in a T shirt or similar, however, as I said, I am getting used to this, and really, these irritations are so minor in comparison to the pluses of this device.
SOUND: I think I sound better with a saxholder. Why? My neck is free. There is no restriction. I can put air through the horn, stand with better posture, and my body is freer to vibrate with the horn. I have compared the straps playing for others, and their perception of the sound difference is varied. My wife reckons there is a big difference, but others cannot tell. Some say it sounds a little freer with the saxholder. I can tell you one thing—I really believe that If I use this product for the remainder of my career, I will significantly reduce the risk of further and increased issues with neck, and I feel a lot better as a saxophonist on this device; I enjoy breathing more and the process of sound production is for me greatly enhanced.
MY Verdict: This product is a stroke of genius. Get one. If you are serious about your career and “saxophone health”, and that of your students, GET ONE, or at least try one!!!
PS—I do not endorse this product, and brought it fair and square at market prices, so have no other motive for writing this other than share this wonderful “neck saver” with the rest of sax kind
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Pete Thomas, music producer and saxophonist, on taming the saxophone:
 
I mentioned above that the important thing to help your poor old neck is the area of the strap in contact with your neck. Well, with the saxholder, nothing comes in contact with your neck. In fact this is not really a strap, it’s more of a, well, sax holder. As you can see there are two „handles“ which hang over your shoulders so the weight which would have been on your neck with a conventional strap, is on your shoulders, possibly a much safer situation for your long term health. Bit that’s not all, only part of the weight is displaced on to your shoulders because there is a pad lower down which rests against your stomach, so much of the weight is also distributed down there. „Is that a good thing?“ I hear you ask. I shall answer that in a little while.
 
I first saw the Saxholder at this year’s Musikmesse trade show in the saxophone hall. I had already met the inventor, Silvin Jancic, when he showed me his mouthpiece silencer the previous year. The saxholder looked intriguing and as soon as I tried it on I breathed a sigh of relief as I felt the weight no longer on my shoulders (I have a very heavy bronze and solid silver tenor saxophone to walk around with at those shows). However, the lower pad (the „abdominal rest“) very quickly started to drift to the left as it slid across my stomach. (And before you start commenting, it was nothing to do with the size of my stomach, it was just a bit too slippery). I mentioned this to Silvin, who said that he would work on that. Well, I’m happy to say the Saxholder he subsequently sent me has had that issue addressed, and it stays put right there in the middle of your stomach.
 
So what do I think now that it actually works properly for me? Well, it’s not often I get excited about a saxophone accessory, but I have to say that this is something that totally and utterly astonishes me with it’s innovative answer to saxophone players‘ neck problems. I will probably use this as my main (almost said “ neckstrap“ then) saxophone holder.
 
Do you need different sizes?
 
No, it’s adjustable. The shoulder handles are made from aluminium and can bent to fit comfortably, the angle between the shoulder handles can be adjusted, and the abdominal rest can be positioned by extending the telescopic slider. You can also adjust the length of the cord to suit your instrument. I found that with the default length it was perfect for alto, tenor and baritone, but I would need it just very slightly shorter for my soprano (if I used a strap on a soprano which I don’t) or for my Buescher bass (which has a very high straphook ring). Having said that, it felt so comfortable on the bass I was inspired to walk around playing the bass, something I hadn’t been previously been inclined to do due to its heaviness.
 
The Stomach/Abdomen Thing
 
This is the real innovation. I can imagine people in the past have tried to solve the wight on the neck problem by hanging a saxophone on the shoulders, but that doesn’t work by itself as there is too much weight on the shoulders. The pad resting on your stomach takes a lot of this weight off. Is it a good thing to transfer it somewhere else though? In my opinion the answer is a resounding YES! Not only is the weight transferred to somewhere that has no bones or spinal column to interfere with, I think this can actually help by encouraging proper abdominal/diaphragm breathing b as it actually encourages you to keep your stomach firm, even if you are well endowed in that area.
 
Is It Unisex?
 
Many ladies complain that traditional saxophone harnesses are especially uncomfortable or unflattering because of the way they hang over or around the breast area. The saxholder has no such issues, so is ideal for ladies.
 
It seems Too Good to be True! What’s the catch?
 
Well, maybe the fact that the hook is a plain hook instead of a doglead type catch is the only real catch (pun intended). Having said that the hook is a nice strong metal one (steel by the look of it) with a plastic cover that has a small protrusion to make it less likely for the saxophone to jump out, it’s also longer than many hooks which will also help prevent such disasters. I would also like to see a larger abdomen rest which would spread the weight more, this would be especially usefule for baritone and bass. Other than that, my only tiny criticism is that it looks rather utilitarian, perhaps in the future there will be a deluxe version with leather upholstery and walnut trimmings.
 
Finally, I will be very interested to see how this stands up to further testing. My initial thoughts are very positive, but it is the kind of thing that needs assessment over a period of time. I have currently had a few neck problems, and I would be very interested to see what a medical specialist thinks of this (and the Cebulla), I will update this article when I get some feedback on that. This is a very elegant piece of kit which I thoroughly recommend. Even if you don’t have any neck problems, I wouldn’t mind betting that this will go a long way to making sure you don’t get any in the future.
 
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What the medical expert says:
 
Osteopath Chris Galloway was most impressed with the saxholder, saying that it alleviated pressure on the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the neck (which can restrict rotation) and the brachial plexus.
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Saxholder-Review by Mariko Endo, alto sax and soprano sax, Japan
 

Jazzlab saXholder ~ジャズラブ/サックスホルダー サックス・プレイヤーの首の痛みを軽減する 首に掛けない新発想のストラップが登場!

スイスのブランド、ジャズラブから登場したサックスホルダーは、両肩と腹部の3カ
所で楽器を支えることで、サックス・プレイヤーの悩みであった首への負担を軽減する
新しい発想から生まれたホルダーだ。今回はサックスホルダーを早速入手し、ライブ
などでも愛用しているサックス・プレイヤーの遠藤真理子にその使用感を聞いてみた。
首に全く負担がかかってないように感じます
サックスホルダーを使い出したのは、去年のクリスマスに家族からプレゼントしてもらったのがキッカケでした。私が普段サックスを演奏する際に、首への負担で苦労をしていたことを知って見つけてきてくれたんです。私はサックス教室で教えているのですが、長い日は、9 時間くらいレッスンをすることもあります。あまりよくないことかも知れませんが、首をかばうために、説明など、話がメインのときは楽器をストラップから外して、なるべく楽器を装着していない( 首にかけていない) 時間をとろうと心がけていました。吹くときは、またストラップにかけるわけですが、そのワンクッションがだんだん面倒になってしまって、結局ずっと装着したままで、一日の終わりには、首から肩にかけてがバキバキになっているという事態になっていました。
実際にサックスホルダーを使ってみての第一印象は、びっくりするぐらい首がラク。というよりも、首には全く負担がかかってないように感じます。3 点で支えられている装着感も、自然な感じで、すぐに違和感無く使えるようになりました。“ついにこんなストラップができたんだ!“というのと、“どうして今までこれが無かったんだ?“という2つの気持ちが複雑に入り混じっています(笑)。このサックスホルダーは性別、年齢を問わず幅広いプレイヤーに対応できるように多彩な調節機能がついているのですが、説明書を見て、携帯用に折り畳まれた形から、装着する状態にすれば、すぐに調整に入ることができました。肩にかける部分の角度の調整は、鏡を見ながら丁寧に行って何度か微調整をしていくうちに、自分にピッタリとフィットした状態になりました。ちなみに付属のストラップ紐は、傷んだ場合の交換用ではなく、本体の紐の長さ調節が合わないときに使うものです。あと、立奏だけでなく、座奏でも使用できるのがいいですね。
慣れればいつも通りのアクションでライブが可能
首に掛けないことで、ライブで激しいアクションをしても大丈夫か最初は正直不安でした。サックスホルダーを初めてライブで使ってみようと思った日は、リハーサルのときに“おじぎ“をしたら片方が外れてしまったんです。それからは“外れることもある“というのを念頭に置いて、練習のときなどに使用したので、どういうことをしたときに外れてしまうかというのが、なんとなくですが、感覚で分かるようになりました。それからはライブ中、いつも通りをアクションしながらでも、不安無く使えるようになったんです。
それでも、夢中で吹いて思わず激しいアクションをしてしまったときなど、ふとした拍子に外れることもありますが、ある程度装着に慣れていたら片手ですぐに元に戻せます。私はライブでも問題無く使用しています。
サックスホルダーはすべてのサックス奏者の方にお薦めしたい!と言いたいぐらいですが、強いて言うならやはり女性プレイヤーの皆さんには、ぜひ試してもらえたらと思います。あと、普段首がつらいと思われている方には、本当にお薦めです。最初は、楽器が浮いているようにさえ感じますよ!
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