Tutorials

Moving neck strap rings, or, "why does my vintage sax hit me in the teeth?"

oldcorollas

Member
Messages
50
Location
Sapporo
Hi BR,
I was wondering why my mouthpiece was always trying to break my teeth, so I did some measuring of internet pictures and compared my Nikkan to other saxes, new and old.

I measured the position of the strap ring, as well as the thumbrest positions, and plotted on the graph below (as these are measured form pictures, they are rather approximate, any better measurements would be appreciated!)


You can see "good ergo" horns are toward the left, with the ring about 50-52% up the body (measured from bow to tenon), whilst Conn 10M and 30M, and Buffet SDA have rather poor locations and strange thumbrest positions compared to most other saxes.
Interestingly, the Mark VI has relatively high positions for both thumbrests and the strap ring.. I wonder if they are weighted differently, or if people get the strap rings moved?


Measurements for my Nikkan
bottom thumb: 28.3% up body
ring: 56.6% up body
top thumb: 73% up body
ring position between thumbrests = 64%
My Nikkan has almost exactly the same locations as the 10M, and 10M people very often get the ring moved ring down a couple of inches (to save their teeth!)

So then I calculated what would happen to the ratios of the neck strap ring up the body (for balance), and between thumbrests, when moved a certain distance down, and got this:


I had some Copper tube lying around (10mm diameter, 2mm wall thickness), so i made a little device to test new hole positions. The strap ring has a small disc of Perspex (acrylic? PMMA) in it, and the lower end has a bit of cork to bold it off the body. It is secured at the lower end with a humble cable tie.


This allows me to move the following distances.
18mm (54.1%)
31mm (52.3%)
41mm (50.9%)
50mm (49.7%)
 
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oldcorollas

Member
Messages
50
Location
Sapporo
And here are the results.

First the original strap ring


then each hole in turn



I ended up using the second lowest hole, which gives good balance, and gives the split at 50.9%, almost the same as YTS82Z and SX90R. It also makes the sax feel a whole lot lighter as more weight is taken by the strap than the lower thumb, and this reduces the torque pushing against the upper thumb.

Higher holes still have too much left thumb pressure, and the lowest hole makes the sax a bit unbalanced when going for certain notes.



So.. if you think your horn is unbalanced, just measure the position of the neck strap ring, and compare to the graph! Maybe it is not your imagination :)
 
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jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,611
Location
Betelgeuse
Amazing how two minds can think so alike.

Amazing! I did almost exactly the same thing on my Conn C Mel. That had the strap ring in the wrong place and it always felt unbalanced. In my case I used two strips of 4mm aluminium I had lying around, but other than that, exactly the same idea. I didn't do graphs or maths or anything. I just used the tried and tested blokeinashed method!
 
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oldcorollas

Member
Messages
50
Location
Sapporo
cool :D how far did you move it down? what were the dimensions before and after?
blokeinashed method seems to be what most techs use also, but i thought i would try to make it a bit more predictable/understandable...

oh, the above dimensions are for Tenors :)
 
Messages
63
Location
Exmoor, West Somerset
Amazing! I did almost exactly the same thing on my Conn C Mel. That had the strap ring in the wrong place and it always felt unbalanced. In my case I used two strips of 4mm aluminium I had lying around, but other than that, exactly the same idea. I didn't do graphs or maths or anything. I just used the tried and tested blokeinashed method!
Amazing...just recieved my CMel from rebuild after pulling it out its case from 30 yrs ago and in the first 5 mins it smashed me in the mouth...:(
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,611
Location
Betelgeuse
cool :D how far did you move it down? what were the dimensions before and after?
I guess I moved it about 8cm. I'll measure properly later.

Incidentally, I have had some problem teeth recently. I was going to have a large canine fang removed, as it was loose. Playing my sax, I managed to knock the tooth with the mouthpiece. Out it came, saving me the cost of having a dentist remove it! :welldone
 
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oldcorollas

Member
Messages
50
Location
Sapporo
eek! i guess that is a plus? mabe still better for dentist to check it :D

hmm, C mel like this? http://www.worldwidesax.com/images/conn44863 001.jpg
from that
bottom thumb: 26.6% up body
ring: 58.2% up body
top thumb: 75.9% up body
ring position between thumbrests = 64.1%

yerp, thats a toothbreaker, quite similar to the conn-30M in the graph, but with the thumbrests spaced further from the strap ring.

(added C Mel tenor and nikkan to graph above. if anyone wants to measure and add more data points? :D )

edit, i've attached ring movement graph for C-melody tenor below
 

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jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,611
Location
Betelgeuse
Ha ha

I did actually go to the dentist, all sorted now.

My Conn C is a straight neck one, although I use a curved Aquilasax neck on it. Original sling ring was 59% of the way up the body. Now 51.5%, which represents a move of about 6cm.

Right thumb always felt fine, at 30% up. Here's a pic of the beast, with its monster Berg Larsen mouthpiece. It's a screamer of a sax. Only cost £100, as well.
 

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