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Beginner Thumb Protection?

Saxophone Sally

New Member
Messages
5
Hi. I play the Alto sax and i was wondering, is there any padding type thumb protection/sleeve for the right hand? After I play, my right :thumb: is all messed up and black-and blue from the lower thumb rest.
:thankyou:
:sax:
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Two points.

1) Yup, rubber sleeves are available.

2) Adjust your sling, thumb rest and neck angle. No weight should bear on the thumb and its real purpose is to keep your right hand in the correct place..
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Yes that's right and it looks as though this is another serious piece of advice from OG.

You might still get a callous forming on your thumb even when the neck strap is adjusted correctly. Personally it doesn't worry me, but a rubber thumb rest cover would help. I'm not sure "sleeve" is the correct word. A thought a rubber sleeve was the thing welded to the rubber gloves that I use to get weed and dead frogs out of the pond with.
YC
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,959
You can buy stick-on rubber cushions (or 'socks') that fit over the thumb hook - but they don't tend to stay on all that well and they're a bit one-size-fits-all.

If you don't mind getting your fingers a bit dirty you can make your own custom thumb hook cushion using Sugru. This stuff is the bees knees for 'comfort modding'. It's cheap, easy to use, non-damaging - and it takes a good long while to set...so you have plenty of time to experiment.

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/key_risers.htm

Regards,
 

Saxophone Sally

New Member
Messages
5
Thanks. Where can I buy one?
BTW I am in the 6th grade:w00t: and have just had a concert sunday night so the answer is not that urgent anymore.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Kev,
You'll start a war.

Lulu is an American citizen who lives in Vermont an American State.

Canada is a friendly but foreign country, and you'll kick off another bust up with the French, Americans, First Citizens, Native Americans, Uncle Tom Cobley and us, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and us.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,010
Hi Sally. Might I ask what brand of saxophone you are playing? Thanks.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,010
The reason for my question was to see if your sax had an adjustable RH thumb rest. Some Jupiter models do not. Is your thumbrest adjustable by loosening and tightening a big round screw near the bottom?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Your options are:

Adjust the thumb rest (if it's adjustable, good point by jbtsax)
Pad the thumbrest, couple of options above.
Get a technician to move the thumbrest, (but it won't be an invisible mod). Some bending my help.
Get/make a clip-on rest that sits differently (couple of examples on the forum)

Probably most important is to check the way you're holding the instrument. In particular what you're doing with that right thumb, as said above, it should be pushing the instrument forwards, not carrying it's weight. It may also be that you're pressing too hard to close the keys, putting excess stress on the thumb and so forcing it against the rest. If you can't get those low notes out without pressing hard on the keys, then get a technician to check/adjust the pads. All pads should seal with light finger pressure.
 

Saxophone Sally

New Member
Messages
5
"Is your thumbrest adjustable by loosening and tightening a big round screw near the bottom?"

There is a screw, about .8 cm wide and long on the bottom of the hook. I don't want to loosen it for fear of damaging the instrument itself. I talked to my music teacher and he said to either buy a sleeve from Cosmo™ of adjust my neck strap. I adjusted the neck strap, but it didn't help much and I think it may actually be getting worse. :crying:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,010
I would suggest that until the soreness of your thumb heals that you put a bandage on your thumb to provide a pad until the soreness goes away.

This is the saxophone holding method that I taught to all of my beginning students:
- Sit with the back straight on the front half of the chair with both feet on the floor and the head erect.

- Next set the neckstrap approximately where it should go and push the bell of the sax forward so that the body of the sax is to the side of the knee.

- Then allowing the neckstrap to support the entire weight of the instrument, balance the saxophone using the two thumbs.

- Still using the thumbs, tilt the saxophone back as if to play and without moving the head see where the tip of the mouthpiece touches.

- If it touches the nose, the neckstrap is too short. If it touches the throat, the neckstrap is too loose.

- The neckstrap length should be adjusted so that with the head straight, the tip of the mouthpiece touches the curved area right above your chin.

- Once the neckstrap is adjusted to this length, lower the head very slightly to place the mouthpiece in the mouth.

Sometimes the neckstrap digs into the back of the neck---especially when wearing a shirt without a collar and students unconsciously support the weight of the sax with their right thumb to ease the neck pain. The solution to this, of course is to get a neckstrap with padding, or to wear shirts with a collar---or both.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Nice one JBT but us ancients usually play standing up, on the grounds that if you sit down, you have to get up again. That is the difficult bit so can you spare us the sitting down bit, please? :confused:
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Nice one JBT but us ancients usually play standing up, on the grounds that if you sit down, you have to get up again. That is the difficult bit so can you spare us the sitting down bit, please? :confused:
Also there's a tendency to nod off once you're sitting down.

More seriously, though, I do all my practice standing, and much prefer to play that way. The breathing muscles work much better that way.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
Loosen the screw and allow the thumb hook to "float" into a comfortable position then re tighten it.

Jim.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Also there's a tendency to nod off once you're sitting down.

More seriously, though, I do all my practice standing, and much prefer to play that way. The breathing muscles work much better that way.
Me too. I find playing sax while I'm sitting is almost impossible.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,010
Nice one JBT but us ancients usually play standing up, on the grounds that if you sit down, you have to get up again. That is the difficult bit so can you spare us the sitting down bit, please? :confused:
Also there's a tendency to nod off once you're sitting down. More seriously, though, I do all my practice standing, and much prefer to play that way. The breathing muscles work much better that way.
Me too. I find playing sax while I'm sitting is almost impossible.
Boy you guys are a tough crowd. :)

I was directing my comments to Saxophone Sally who is in the 6th grade. In the US we have school band classes in which the students sit while playing. The exceptions, of course, are the high school marching bands.

The neckstrap adjusting method works equally well while standing, you just push the bell forward. I have found in my teaching that most poor posture, hand position, and mouthpiece angle problems are a result of neckstraps set at the wrong length.

In the "good old days" when I learned to play neckstraps were made of leather and once adjusted with a small belt buckle stayed at a fixed length until they needed to be changed as the player grew. The only folks who really need an adjustable neck strap are those who double on gigs.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Forgive me JBT but we just like a larf.

It was not intended to be critical and your very exact description was good. Just forgive our joint levity but when you qualify for a free TV licence in four month' 'time, life stops being taking seriously.
 
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