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Saxophones Jazzlab saxholder

I mentioned in some other strap reviews 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.

But 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 no longer felt the weight on my poor old neck (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 I tried recently has had that issue addressed, and it stays put right there in the middle of your stomach.

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. He advised widening the shoulder arms so that the pressure was more on the trapezius muscles.

He also cautioned that the abdomen cushion would be better if it was wider and so spread the load (I totally agree with this) and to be careful not to put pressure directly on the diaphragm (just below the ribcage)

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 its 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 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​

New Saxholder hookHook
The SaxHolder has recently been updated with a new hook
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 useful 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.A new

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.

Saxholder Pro​



A new recently introduced model is the Saxholder Pro. If you liked the original Saxholder, you'll probably love this. So what are the main differences between this and the original:

  • The covering on the shoulder handles is wider.
  • The handles can be locked in place. They lock automatically when in position, and are released by simply pressing a button.
  • The handles can be removed. This is done by placing them horizontally, (lining up the arrows) and pulling. They are colour coded red and yellow so can be easily attached the right way round even on dimly lit stages.
  • The cord length adjuster locks automatically. A realise button allows you to adjust the length.
  • The telescopic slider which adjusts the position of the stomach plate locks into place by rotating the locking device (very simple and intuitive)
  • The stomach plate itself is does not rotate through 360 degrees sideways as with the original, but still swivels in a vertical plane (forward or backward) to adjust to the contours of your stomach.
  • Overall the rounded profile of the vertical telescopic bar is wider and sturdier looking. The look is more elegant and less utilitarian.

The verdict:​

This is a big improvement both cosmetically and in regard to functional and ease of use. It is constructed from high grade, maintenance free materials: aircraft aluminium and kevlar (with stainless steel hook). It works just as well sitting down as standing up, moving around or bending down to pick something up. The original cord adjust was the traditional friction based adjuster common to most straps. Although these work as securely as they need to be, you do wonder that at some stage the it friction will eventually wear out the cord. With the lock/release device there is no significant friction on the cord at all, so it feels great and gives you total peace of mind. The cord is regatta cord with a breaking load of 250kg: perfect for a 6kg low A baritone!

In practice, compared with a traditional saxophone strap, it just feels like your saxophone is less than half the weight. As with the original there is no (aucun, keiner, ingen, ninguno, 没有) weight on your neck. I can now play my bass saxophone standing up for hours...
 
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nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
6,388
I have a Saxholder Pro. I agree that it is an improvement on the original Saxholder, and it's great for playing standing.

However I took it on a weekend course where I was sitting down with bari or tenor for long periods, and I found that after a while the wider shoulder pad started digging into the side of my neck.
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
401
When I bought my (second hand) bari sax, 6 months ago, it came with a saxholder (the old model). I find it very usefull, you hardly feel the weight of the bari, it is very comfortable. For tenor I still use my old harness (looks like this one, but with a plastic hook). It works well for my tenor but I didn't fancy hanging a bari on that one.
Anyway, I am very pleased with the Saxholder, it's a very usefull tool.
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,329
I couldn't live without my Saxholders! When I got the new one, I use the earlier model with the curved soprano. It's not heavy, but I still like the feel of zero weight on the neck.
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,101
I see there's a SaxholderXL Pro for those over 100kg or 190cm.

Bearing in mind all three models retail for £35 delivered on Amazon, why would someone buy a standard Saxholder over a Saxholder Pro?

I fractured T12 vertebra last year so may be a good buy if the Bondage Pro above isn't any good. Haven't tried it yet.

I was surprised the Jazzlabs aren't more expensive. Is the Cafe also selling them Pete?
 

ellinas

Senior Member
Messages
984
I"m 192cm 95kgs....
The original Saxholder is just fine.

It saved me. I had issues with the back of my neck. I can't play with normal straps.
I was about to quit playing sax. Until I bought a saxholder from my tech ..... what a revelation.
I can play standing for hours.

The best sax related gadget EVER.
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,101
I have to say the Neotech Bondage harness is good. I stood for two hours the other day with the tenor attached and didn't notice the weight at all. But at the same price as the Jazzlab if I had neither I'd probably go for the Jazzlab instead.

With the Jazzlab I can see I'd be able to swing the sax around on the stage more whereas the Neotech one keeps it tugged against my abdomen. In fact my right hand is noticeably pulled toward my body all the time.
 

_Dan_

New Member
Messages
14
On Saxholder sizes…

The Jazzlab site says that the XL size of Saxholder is for '...very big players, let say more than 100 kg (220 lbs) and / or taller than 190 cm (6′ 3”)'

I'm taller than that (at 6' 4" / 193cm) but a fair bit under 100kg (I haven't weighed myself in years but would guess around 85kg).

On the face of it I should go for the XL but a review on a website makes me think otherwise ("I'm changing it for a regular saxholder, though. I ordered the XL version because I'm taller than 190cm, (I'm 196cm tall) but it doesn't fit me. I guess it's for taller and thicker people.").

I'd like to try to pick the best option first time as I'll have to order online and would like to avoid the need to return if I get it wrong.

Does anyone have any relevant experience of the Saxholder that might help me pick the best size option?
 

_Dan_

New Member
Messages
14
Ask JazzLab?

I should have said… I have asked Jazzlab. I quickly received a response but it's not as helpful as I'd hoped for (understandably probably). I thought it possible that there could be a saxholder user here of a similar size that could offer advice based on real-world usage.
 

_Dan_

New Member
Messages
14
I'm 192 and 92kgs. The standard Jazzlab is just fine
Thanks for the info. It was enough to persuade me to buy the standard size which arrived today.

I'm responding in case it might be of help to anyone in a similar state of uncertainty at some point in the future:

So far I'm very pleased with it. At a little over 6'4"(193cm-ish) and probably around 85-90kg I can say the medium (standard) is the right choice. Using it with a tenor there's still about 1/3 of the length of the cord that came fitted still to play with.
 

DHM

Wrinkled retainer
Messages
249
I have to say the Neotech Bondage harness is good. I stood for two hours the other day with the tenor attached and didn't notice the weight at all. But at the same price as the Jazzlab if I had neither I'd probably go for the Jazzlab instead.

With the Jazzlab I can see I'd be able to swing the sax around on the stage more whereas the Neotech one keeps it tugged against my abdomen. In fact my right hand is noticeably pulled toward my body all the time.
I bought a Neotech about a week after taking up baritone and was happy with it. Then I saw Colin Stetson live and he was using a Saxholder with his long-wrap bass and I decided that if it could hold that instrument comfortably it had to be worth trying. I was an instant convert. I still have the Neotech, but it's a spare; I've not used it in many years.
 

ellinas

Senior Member
Messages
984
@_Dan_ glad I helped man.
This strap saved my saxophone life. I had issues with my neck ... And I almost quit playing.
Still having it it's the best.
 

squeak

Member
Messages
92
I vacillated about buying a harness for baritone and hated it when I finally got one. After more hesitation, I bought a Saxholder. It felt like a somewhat peculiar contraption initially, but now I don't think about it and use it every time. I just have the regular model, which works perfectly fine and would strongly recommend. The upgrades mentioned for the Pro model seem unnecessary, but I might change my mind if I got to try one.
 
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