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Any tips on Soprano Fatigue ?

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Hi..... I was wondering if anyone had tips on combatting fatigue when playing the straight Sop . I don`t get it with the Curved so much despite the horns being the same weight, must be a centre of gravity thing but I sure do get Right thumb and wrist ache after not too long with the straight .. I`m not using a sling and I`ve not seen many (any?) players who do so I must be doing something wrong .. thanks
 

BigMartin

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I find a strap helps but it's not easy to get the length exactly right.
 

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I tried a clarinet sling but found the same, the whole horn being straight isn`t helping, I`m sure .. there`s got to be an answer given the Straight-sops popularity.
 

jazzdoh

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I find that i cant play straight sop due to back problem but have no problem with curved,the centre of gravity does play a part,they are not that heavy but you do have hold it out where as the curved is in normal position,is yours a fixed neck or have you option to put a curved neck onto it which might make it more easier to play,also try with sling it might just help.
 

MLoosemore

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Good question Ads... I have a similar problem with the curved sop. I need to find a sling that will take the weight off my arthritic thumbs without strangling me which is what happens with my alto sling when I use that with the sop.

Presumably somebody makes one that actually works with the soprano? At the moment I am utilising a bit of string with a hook attached. Not very professional.
 

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The horn is the Elkhart Deluxe one-piece I reviewed Brian (I bought it as it sounds, plays and handles beautifully) so no curved neck - like slings I`ve not seen (m)any pro players playing a straight with a curved neck either .

The Clarinet sling seems to be the closest thing to a Sop one but lets face it, all that is, is what you describe MLoosemore ;-)
 

baritonesax

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Hi..... I was wondering if anyone had tips on combatting fatigue when playing the straight Sop . I don`t get it with the Curved so much despite the horns being the same weight, must be a centre of gravity thing but I sure do get Right thumb and wrist ache after not too long with the straight .. I`m not using a sling and I`ve not seen many (any?) players who do so I must be doing something wrong .. thanks

No, you're not doing anything wrong. I found taking up the soprano (more) seriously a rather painful experience, for lip and right arm and thumb. I used a sling for a while, and then found that I was able to do without it. Just take plenty of rests when you practise and you'll get there.
 

Jeanette

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I used to have a problem but it hasn't been so bad since I got the 62 as that is much lighter than some other sops. I did use a sling sometimes (neotech) on my TJ but it didn't really take the weight especially with the straight neck on, was slightly better for the curved from memory.

I would just take breaks and build up my thumb strength.

Jx
 

altissimo

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rubber thumb rest cushions are a vital part of my sax equipment, particularly on the soprano

there are straps available for soprano sax eg - http://www.dawkes.co.uk/accessories/bg+curved+soprano+sax+sling+-as82m.html

a lot of soprano players tend to suffer from thumb problems - Steve Lacy talks about it in his book 'Findings' -

"the right thumb is very important, as it supports the whole weight of the soprano saxophone. In playing position, blood leaves the thumb and one must rest the right hand in a loose downward position frequently, so that the blood may again circulate in the hand. Otherwise the thumb will become numb and sooner or later stiffness or paralysis may set in and you will be obliged to use a neck strap to support the horn. I had a lot of trouble with my right thumb, which became swollen and inflamed because I didn't realise the necessity of even 10 seconds rest and downwards suspension of the right hand, especially the thumb, for circulation"
 
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Thanks Folks . I have a thumbrest on the Curved but the issue isn`t metal hitting bone pain on the Straight, it`s ligament based so the regular rests and hope the pain reduces over time tip sounds like a good`un ... I`ll battle with it ..

Jeanette, In having 62s in Tenor and Alto already, I guess I was destined to get a 62 sop eventually - LOL (It`d be a Yani if I got a Pro curved of course) looks like it`d be a good excuse to get one but in a year or so ..
 

jazzdoh

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Thanks Folks . I have a thumbrest on the Curved but the issue isn`t metal hitting bone pain on the Straight, it`s ligament based so the regular rests and hope the pain reduces over time tip sounds like a good`un ... I`ll battle with it ..

Jeanette, In having 62s in Tenor and Alto already, I guess I was destined to get a 62 sop eventually - LOL (It`d be a Yani if I got a Pro curved of course) looks like it`d be a good excuse to get one but in a year or so ..

I moved to a Yani curved 12 years ago and never looked back,the strange thing is i can handle a straight nino so it must the extra weight of the sop that causes the problem,hope you sort the problem out soon,if not always good to have a little GAS for a new horn.
 

Jeanette

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Jeanette, In having 62s in Tenor and Alto already, I guess I was destined to get a 62 sop eventually - LOL (It`d be a Yani if I got a Pro curved of course) looks like it`d be a good excuse to get one but in a year or so ..

Lol it's funny when I held my tutor's 62 (purple logo) I kept telling him I thought it was lighter than my TJ and I don't think he believed me. So when I started my search I emailed a US seller about weights and got the following reply

> I just weighed them on my postage scale, which is accurate to a tenth
> of an ounce. The 675 weighs 49.8 oz. (3 lb 1.8 oz.) and the YSS-62 weighs 44.8oz.
> (2 lb 12.8 oz.). So the 62 is 10% lighter than the 675. It is really
> easy to feel the difference when you pick the two horns up. The
> keywork is also sprung much more lightly on the 62, so depressing the
> keys takes significantly less force on the 62 than on the heavier-sprung 675.

My TJ was slightly lighter than the 675. A noticeable difference on your thumb for sure.

If you find one keep it quiet till you have it a certain someone else is after one too ;}

Jx
 

kevgermany

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I use my alto strap on the straight sop. Helps a lot, but I still get some pain in the base of my right thumb. Ta for the suggestions above.
 

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of an ounce. The 675 weighs 49.8 oz. (3 lb 1.8 oz.) and the YSS-62 weighs 44.8oz.
> (2 lb 12.8 oz.). So the 62 is 10% lighter than the 675. It is really
> easy to feel the difference when you pick the two horns up.
Jx

It`d have to be a 62 on Principle (my other Horns - LOL), I don`t really care about Purple Logos (I take these things on a Horn to horn basis) but a Bronze one would be nice if they did one as I`d have the set (Bronze, silver and gold - LOL - though I have this as the Elkhart Deluxe is bronze)

I know what you mean about heavier sprung also, the Elkhart 300 Curved is lighter sprung than the Deluxe Straight, though the action on the Deluxe is about the same height, I notice it, though the keys are thicker metal on the old 300 also which with the lighter springing gives the whole action a Pro-horn feel .. the Deluxe is a lot better than I expected, it`s up to TJ Revolution-II quality but the old 300 Curved is better again (Dunno about newer ones)
 

Colin the Bear

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I used to get clarinet thumb when I started out. The base joint used to get very sore. I picked a curved sop for that reason when I got round to getting one. It has it's own problems for me with the tight arm position but no aches and pains as yet.

Experiment with slings for the curved sop. I have a basic dog lead that works very well. However, once it's on and adjusted its too tight to take off without re adjusting. It's the only one I leave on when switching saxes.

The trick with the thumb is to move around when playing and not have it in the exact same position to spread the stress to different parts of the joint and to rest it often. A couple of seconds flexing or a dangle and gentle shake does help.

Is the thumb rest adjustable? Moving it to give a different position relative to the fingers may help.

If you wear a sling with the straight it may not be of use when playing but it makes resting the right hand easier, quicker and more secure.

Did you say you have straight and curved? I'd be tempted to practice on the curved with a good sling and save the straight for showtime.
 

jrintaha

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Is the thumb rest adjustable? Moving it to give a different position relative to the fingers may help.

Very sound advice. Every time I played the clarinet, I'd get clarinet thumb in 15 minutes or so, but after I unscrewed the thumbrest and put it back on backwards, playing got so much easier on my hand. It could not have been more than a centimetre of displacement, and it made a big difference.
 

aldevis

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Sling should be the way to go, particularly when practicing.
The issue is not only the thumb holding the saxophone's weight, but the whole right arm position slows down the fingers.
What I find with curved soprano, is less work to balance the horn, allowing a closer position to the side keys, but the weight is still on one hand that becomes more and more rigid.
It is rare to see a professional doing a whole gig on soprano, so the weight is not as constant as in practicing and a sling can be avoided.


I have a basic dog lead that works very well.
You could be very popular in some London venues.
 

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