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Accessories Baritone harness - Freeneck 8.1K

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in Cumbria
Café Supporter
Penrith, Cumbria, UK
I acquired a baritone at the end of last year.

Initially, I tried my Jazzlab sax holder with it. However, the weight of the bari tends to pull to the right, especially when seated and playing and ultimately it did not feel secure.

I ordered a standard (possibly BG, possibly not!) harness from When I tried it, there was just too much weight and it wasn't comfortable. I rang them up and had a long chat and we came up with the 'sax stick', which is a bit like a monopod for holding a bari. The main issue is you need separate ones for playing standing or sitting. I went for the standing one.

On the plus side, it does the job, but it is awkward to use. I wear the sax holder with it just in case I accidentally let go of the sax as it would crash to the ground... Also, there is no getting away from it being awkward to put down when you stop playing.

I had a chat with our resident bari player @MandyH who recommended the 'Freeneck' harness from Thomann in Germany. I procrastinated as it's €129 or nowadays around £118. After the challenges of playing bari at summer school last week, I bit the bullet and ordered it from Thomann on Tuesday and it arrived yesterday morning.

This is version 8.1K which is aimed at bari saxes and bass clarinets - careful to order the correct one as they do ones for bassoons etc as well.

Mine I think is different in how it works to Mandy's. It consists of a waist strap (like a rucksack). Two adjustable rods are attached to the waist strap at the back. On earlier versions, the rods went into a pocket, this is now different. The rods are in sections and you can remove sections to adjust the length to suit your back length. The bottom rods are threaded and adjustable. It's a minor faff to set-up and some diagrams or a web site link with a video wouldn't hurt, but all you have is a text description.

The rods are behind you and come up to just above your shoulders. There is a webbing strap which links everything together and there is a 'wide' bar (similar to Cebulla straps) holding the adjustable carabiner type hook.

When you attach the bari, the rods come forward a little and down, but should not touch your shoulders or neck. All the weight is transferred down the rods at the back and into the belt which is sitting your hips.

I've just tried it and although it probably needs some more minor adjustments, it seems to work well. There is zero weight on neck and shoulders. It is secure, you can let go of the bari and not worry that the bari is going to come away. I have not tried it, but if you needed to wear a jacket for a concert, it wouldn't get in the way.
I have recently got myself an Adams stand for playing the bari sax sitting down. I haven't had a chance to use it a lot yet, but it seems like the best solution for playing in a band - it is convenient, no weight, and it doesn't slip sideways. It has the extra advantage that I can just leave the bari where it is during the break.

The new design JazzLab Saxholder has less of a tendency to slip sideways, so that would also be a possibility.
I was aware that the design has changed slightly, but the principle still seems to be the same.
I have worn mine inside a shirt or dress. the advantage of the separate belt is that you can put the belt on, then poke the rods down the inside of your shirt. I'm not sure how that will work if it is all joined as one piece (other than putting it on before getting dressed! which might make driving interesting!)
I have owned mine now for 7 years (I bought it during the Paralymics in London 2012, which is exactly 7 years this / last week)
I bought mine at Crowborough store, where they were kind enough to loan me a Bari Sax for an hour so I could walk around the store carrying it. Then I asked for a chair to make sure I could play seated with it too.

Mine cost about £120 then, and I wanted to make sure it would work for me, before I invested.

I certainly haven't had any problems with it, or with playing both bari and tenor on it for long periods of time.

As you mention, it takes a while to set up, and is possibly easier to set up with a helper, but is definitely worth the effort.
Does anybody of you have a Freeneck 6.1, 7.1 or 8.1?

They are not produced anymore but I‘m urgently looking for one.
I‘m a professional saxophonists internationally touring and having very much back problems - A Freeneck would most possibly solve my problems.
Thank you!
Have you looked at the Vandoren harness?

I have no idea how well it works. But it has some rods down the length of the back too.


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