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Beginner Advice on posture

Lorraine

Member
Messages
36
Hi guys!

I got my tenor a week before xmas and have been playing sitting down - so the sax sits on my right - no problem. I have recently tried playing standing up (and now accessing the palm keys) but some problems arise.

I am petite (quite a short-arse actually) so to play comfortably I have the sax resting over my right hip - this is ok for playing but means playing the palm keys is tricky because my left arm is close to my body and there isn't much room for movement.
If I change the neck position so the sax is in front I can access the keys more easily but the sax naturally wants to sit with the mouthpiece much further in my mouth and I find I am actually pushing it away in order to hold it in a playable position which puts a lot of strain around my left elbow (which I am assuming is unsustainable and will lead to problems rather than just getting used to this position).

Looking at other saxes online - mine appears to be a bit askew - the bell sits to the left rather than in front.
I would like to know how others position themselves. Thanks Lx
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
I'm probably not the best-placed person on here to help you with this (my user name is a clue) but a photo of your current playing stance might help. I don't think your elbow should be moving much to use the palm keys --- maybe you want to keep your left elbow a bit higher and just kind of roll your hand onto the palm keys. You definitely don't want to be pushing away with the left hand. Took me a while to find a good combination of strap length/neck position/mouthpiece angle on crook.
 
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jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Same as you I have to push away a bit to get to the palm keys, but when I play standing I sway and move about quite a lot anyway so its not that much of a prob. As a bit of an ape, my posture is probably nothing to aim for. What I have found about the sax though is that everything, just everything that is a problem, goes away with practice. The wife left two days ago.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
The bell is offset to the left on almost all saxes, it gives your right hand fingers more room. If it had been bashed out of alignment, the pads wouldn't seal properly on the bell tone holes. So probably nothing to worry about there.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
As a short- a**e you could have got an Alto and pretend it was a Tenor................;} Regarding posture it is a good idea to play the saxwith out front. Stand with your feet about 1ft. apart and knees slightly bent, and get a good harness type strap to take the weight. You need to have a position which gives good freedom of movement. Additionally it would be a good idea to work on your upper body strength as a Tenor is pretty heavy. I have never found sitting a good position - a bit restrictive, but is common amongst older sax players.
 

Lorraine

Member
Messages
36
you could have got an Alto and pretend it was a Tenor... .
Yes everyone said so but I don't wanna! I prefer the sound of a tenor.

Additionally it would be a good idea to work on your upper body strength as a Tenor is pretty heavy.
Don't think that's a problem for me _ I sail and do loads of push ups/pull ups/weights etc in gym and have quite a strong upper body for a girly.

I actually stand with my right leg forward to help balance the sax otherwise it leans to the left and puts too much pressure on my left hand/thumb. But experimenting with a different neck strap is a good idea. Hate the look of the 'sax bra' - but any other recommedations appreciated.
Thanks:)
 
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Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
To be honest I've never really found sitting down with a Saxophone easy or enjoyable. Good job I'm not a classical saxist!! I've always played standing up. Like Tom says best playing the sax out in front of you. Don't worry too much about the palm keys at the moment get a good comfortable playing position sorted first. Onces that's out the way your left hand should be in the ideal position to compress the palm keys without any real movement. I've found that folks playing standing up often have the sling far too low! Pull it up a bit and you'll be surprised how much easier it'll be to play! Sonny Rollins has one of the best postures I know for holding a Tenor. Check this out:

 
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ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I always stand up otherwise I find it difficult to breath from the diaphragm. I rest the bottom of the sax against my right thigh and have my weight evenly on both legs. I can't use a neck strap and a harness was too restrictive and heavy on my dodgy shoulders so I use a FREEaction Light http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/Freeneck_Harnesses.html - the Tenor feels half it's weight! I added a home made leather pad onto the bottom triangle to spread the load so it doesn't dig in to my stomach (not that it hurt just kinda disappeared down my jeans :shocked: ;}) I gig, rehearse and practice 90 mins aday with it - couldn't do without it! :welldone
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I tried playing like Sonny Rollons but my wife wanted her pyjamas back.....................................;}
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I can't use a neck strap and a harness was too restrictive and heavy on my dodgy shoulders so I use a FREEaction Light http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/Freeneck_Harnesses.html - the Tenor feels half it's weight! I added a home made leather pad onto the bottom triangle to spread the load so it doesn't dig in to my stomach (not that it hurt just kinda disappeared down my jeans :shocked: ;}) I gig, rehearse and practice 90 mins aday with it - couldn't do without it! :welldone
That's an interesting looking "harness". I just ordered a fairly regular-looking shoulder harness. It's a Neotech. I couldn't deal with just a neck strap, that was far too hard on my neck with the tenor. This harness only came just today, but I already tried it out and it makes the sax feel featherweight. I could play all day with this harness. It has nice wide shoulder pads. Neotech Harness The one ArtyLady pointed to does look more sophisticated though. I should have gotten that one to hold my belly in. Unlike Lorraine, I'm out of shape pretty bad.
 
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Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
I'm going to bring up This thread again. I got one for my bari as I wanted a strap that would never let me down and drop this wonderful instrument on the floor, especially when I do my quick change to tenor sax during one of my bands tunes!
They are very strong and extremely comfortable too.
 

Lorraine

Member
Messages
36
That's an interesting looking "harness". I just ordered a fairly regular-looking shoulder harness. It's a Neotech. I couldn't deal with just a neck strap, that was far too hard on my neck with the tenor. This harness only came just today, but I already tried it out and it makes the sax feel featherweight. I could play all day with this harness. It has nice wide shoulder pads. Neotech Harness The one ArtyLady pointed to does look more sophisticated though. I should have gotten that one to hold my belly in.
Thanks Sweet Dreamer - but this is the kind of 'sax bra' thingy that I am trying to avoid. For the lady who (relatively speaking) is top heavyish its a bit ..urm .- well it's an advertisement I would prefer to avoid....

definitely going to try out the one Artylady suggests:thumb:
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
That's an interesting looking "harness". I just ordered a fairly regular-looking shoulder harness. It's a Neotech. I couldn't deal with just a neck strap, that was far too hard on my neck with the tenor. This harness only came just today, but I already tried it out and it makes the sax feel featherweight. I could play all day with this harness. It has nice wide shoulder pads. Neotech Harness The one ArtyLady pointed to does look more sophisticated though. I should have gotten that one to hold my belly in. Unlike Lorraine, I'm out of shape pretty bad.
I had the Neotech for years but it was very restrictive and held the sax in too near my body (not to mention the lift and separate affect :)))) The metal pole looks flimsy and at first I was worried that it would bend but it's amazingly strong I've been using it for 8 months now and it's great! :)

I'm going to bring up This thread again. I got one for my bari as I wanted a strap that would never let me down and drop this wonderful instrument on the floor, especially when I do my quick change to tenor sax during one of my bands tunes!
They are very strong and extremely comfortable too.
Mine still managed to make my neck hurt and go numb but I am an old cronk ;}

Thanks Sweet Dreamer - but this is the kind of 'sax bra' thingy that I am trying to avoid. For the lady who (relatively speaking) is top heavyish its a bit ..urm .- well it's an advertisement I would prefer to avoid....

definitely going to try out the one Artylady suggests:thumb:
It feels a bit odd at first because of the metal strut (and I'm surprised they didn't do my leather pad idea themselves!) - but I wouldn't use anything else now! I use it with my Alto as well, it's quick to adjust when you get used to it and I chop and change from tenor to alto while gigging :mrcool
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Weight taken on a braced right leg, left leg bent, lean into the right hip, sax just to the right of body centre, with neck/crook offset to fit comfortably into the mouth. Left heal keeps the beat.
For solos - just be a poser :w00t:

John :);}
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Hi guys!

I got my tenor a week before xmas and have been playing sitting down - so the sax sits on my right - no problem. I have recently tried playing standing up (and now accessing the palm keys) but some problems arise.

I am petite (quite a short-arse actually) so to play comfortably I have the sax resting over my right hip - this is ok for playing but means playing the palm keys is tricky because my left arm is close to my body and there isn't much room for movement.
If I change the neck position so the sax is in front I can access the keys more easily but the sax naturally wants to sit with the mouthpiece much further in my mouth and I find I am actually pushing it away in order to hold it in a playable position which puts a lot of strain around my left elbow (which I am assuming is unsustainable and will lead to problems rather than just getting used to this position).

Looking at other saxes online - mine appears to be a bit askew - the bell sits to the left rather than in front.
I would like to know how others position themselves. Thanks Lx
Maybe the hook's position could be improved. There are a few threads about it. One of my tenors "turns right", but I got used to it.

About posture:
Standing up should be the standard for practicing.
Chairs are usually wrong. Some stools can be fine if you keep your legs down.

Since we often have to sit anyway, we need to accommodate our posture, but be aware that it is quite unhealthy.
 

llamedos

Senior Member
Messages
431
Do take care with that left elbow. A couple of years ago I lost all sensation in half of my left hand (ring and little fingers in particular) and the upshot was that after seven months of mucking about and being referred here, there and everywhere I had surgery, under general anaesthetic, to re-route a trapped ulna nerve in my left elbow. I have no idea how it became trapped, and neither did the medical profession. Without wishing to be non-p.c. about it I had difficulty getting some of them to understand what "woodwind" was never mind how not knowing where one's little finger was nor what it was doing could be inconvenient to say the least in pusuance of a hobby.

The real point is that this could have been caused by some postural mistake on my part or by an un-noticed knock against something or even, perish the thought, leaning a little too heavily on the edge of a bar-top. I now take great care of my elbow as it is not an experience I am anxious to repeat.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Do take care with that left elbow. A couple of years ago I lost all sensation in half of my left hand (ring and little fingers in particular) and the upshot was that after seven months of mucking about and being referred here, there and everywhere I had surgery, under general anaesthetic, to re-route a trapped ulna nerve in my left elbow. I have no idea how it became trapped, and neither did the medical profession. Without wishing to be non-p.c. about it I had difficulty getting some of them to understand what "woodwind" was never mind how not knowing where one's little finger was nor what it was doing could be inconvenient to say the least in pusuance of a hobby.

The real point is that this could have been caused by some postural mistake on my part or by an un-noticed knock against something or even, perish the thought, leaning a little too heavily on the edge of a bar-top. I now take great care of my elbow as it is not an experience I am anxious to repeat.
I had a similar scary experience, successfully fixed by an osteopath and mitigated by a cebulla strap (bought following some reviews on this forum).

Trapped nerves are a really bad experience, and a good posture is essential. In the past i also had some jaw problems that kept me away from the saxophone for two months.

A good teacher could give you some advice. Did you think of using key risers on the left hand?
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I had the Neotech for years but it was very restrictive and held the sax in too near my body (not to mention the lift and separate affect :)))) The metal pole looks flimsy and at first I was worried that it would bend but it's amazingly strong I've been using it for 8 months now and it's great! :)
I haven't done a lot of playing with this Neotech. I agree that it does tend to hold the sax fairly close. I'm surprised they didn't design that better. The one you pointed to seems to have the standard type of "leash" going to the sax clip.

One thing about the metal pole for me is that my belly is the "bulge" on my body, so I'm not sure how that pole would work for me. It would either hold my belly in, or stick way out front with it riding on top of my belly.

My body shape is similar to a 9-month pregnant woman.

Only in my case my "baby" is my "belly". :)))

Unfortunately it won't be hatching anytime soon.
 
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