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Saxophones Thumb rest adjustments??


Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
The Malverns, Worcs
Is it possble to buy replacement thumb-rests?
When I play my Bari, my thumbs, particularly my right thumb, ache after about 45 minutes.
I've looked at what might be causing this and realised that the thumb rest does not sit on my thumb, but about 2cm above it, so I'm not supporting any of the weight of the bari on my thumb, but squeezing the body of it to cling on to it. My thumb is about where the screw goes through the thumb-rest.
I've taken the rest off to see if it was height-adjustable, but it's not, it's only angle-adjustable.

I recall someone mentioning some mouldable plastic that could be used for adding risers to the palm keys. Do you think I could build up the thumb-rest to meet my thumb using this stuff too?

Frustratingly, it's not my mouth that's giving out first when I play the bari, but my thumb :crying:
any advice gratefully received :welldone
Mandy, Stephen Howard mentioned this for exactly this purpose. The product is called sugru. After reading his suggestion and visiting their very enthusiastic website, I acquired some and have used it very successfully in non sax-related ways ... eg a "bandage" for a cracked handle on an espresso machine filter. I can believe this would do a great job for a thumb rest. My understanding is that it will be non-damaging in the long run, and can be cut away and any residue scraped away with a fingernail, but I've yet to try this, and you may wish to experiment to see the effect if any on your lacquer (if any :) ).
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Try looking on ebay they have things like that there
Hi Mandy,

I've had thumb comfort problems on various saxes and can really sympathise. The worst of all was/is my Conn soprano which has a ring or loop for the right thumb rather than a hook, but it was designed as a torture device rather than a comfortable support.

Steve Howard has also adjusted the RH thumb hook position on my Buffet soprano by de-soldering the mounting plate and moving it further round the body. That might be something that you could get a tech to do for yours.

There are replacement right hand thumbrests available from various places which are supposed to be designed on ergonomic principles and to fit many of the most common makes of sax. But if your mounting point is so badly positioned for you, then maybe they wouldn't work.

I have also used mouldable epoxy putty to make a comfortable LH thumb rest on another sax and while it looks a bit bodged, it works fine and is very comfortable. It was also quite fun to make.

Good luck

Hi Mandy, lots of good advice above. There's one thing in your post that worries me a bit. You say that you're not supporting the weight of the bari with your thumb. Really, I think the sling should support the weight of your bari. If you're trying to hold the weight of one (even in part) you're going to get a sore thumb, whether the thumb rest is in the right place or not.

maybe I didn't word it very well. The harness supports the weight of the bari, and I have it adjusted to the right height, but if I let the bari hang, the mouthpiece is about a foot from my mouth, I need to push down/forward on the RH thumb rest to pivot the bari mpc towards my mouth. The natural lie of the bari on the harness means I have its weight pushing back on my thumb.
If I put my thumb in the curve of the RH thumb rest, I am then executing a rather acute angle at my wrist to get my fingers on the keys.
Have you tried letting the bottom of the bari rest against your leg? I'm guessing that if you have to push it out with your thumb then you're holding it to your side.
The bottom of the bari rests on the side of my leg.
I have just tried bringing the bottom round to the front of my leg and that seems quite awkward, both from the position of the mouthpiece (I may need to drop the harness slightly, though) and from the angle of my right hand.
Maybe it would work with some practice. I can see that I wouldn't be pushing the bari forward with my thumb, as all that would be taken care of by my leg.
Ah, now I get what you mean Mandy. I'd go along with Nick, in fact I do that sometimes if I'm playing my bari for a while. Otherwise, doesn't yours have a peg on the bottom as well? They work when sitting down, and I've also seen one woman playing standing up with a peg resting on one of thos plastic step stool thinkgys as well. (Personally I hate the pegs and have never used mine, but it's just a thought).
well, I've tried the resting it on my leg thing - I am not a contortionist! I can't get the mouthpiece in my mouth and stand up straight, I need to bend backwards. If I try to put my right leg back, I am all twisted. It's defintiely not working for me. :crying:
However, following on from the comments about the the balance point of his tenor made by allansto, I was thinking I could do with a similar solution. Now I'm not metal fabricator, so I contemplated other options. So far, I have a chord (as in a piece of string, not a musical triad! :D ) wrapped around the low A thumb key post and then tied to a nappy pin pinned through the sax harness somewhere near my right collar bone! This has the effect of pulling the bari up so the mouthpiece sits just on my lower lip with no hands on the sax.
This means I am no longer trying to manoevre the bari with my thumbs at all - result - I am running out of music to practice before my thumbs start to ache! (there's only so many Christmas Carols you can practice on a sunny November morning!) :)))
Now all I need to do is make this chord-nappypin arrangement look a little more "professional".
Which will wear out first - the chord or the post?? :shocked:

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