Accessories Thumb rest experiments

Discussion in 'Saxophones & Accessories' started by nigeld, Nov 12, 2016.

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  1. nigeld

    nigeld learner

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    The thumb rest on a modern sax has a small amount of adjustment, but not enough to compensate for the differences in players' hand sizes. I have largish hands and I believe that I would find it more comfortable if my thumb was further away from the sax body, so that I didn't have to curve my fingers so much. My bass recorder was so uncomfortable that I had to bodge a different shaped hand rest in order not to get pain every time I played.

    So, inspired by the elegant thumb rest on @David Roach 's new soprano, I have started experimenting with different thumb rests. I bought a pack of 10 plastic thumb rests on eBay and I am trying to fashion different shaped rests using them.

    Here is a picture of my Mk1 rest for the soprano. It is about 10mm higher than the standard one and about 10mm further towards the mouthpiece.

    Sop Side small.jpg

    I am also trying an experimental thumb rest without a hook for my alto. I noticed on my old bari sax that the most comfortable position for me was to rest my thumb on the body above the hook, so I am trying out a thumb rest which is further from the body but has no hook. This should prevent any tendency for me to try to lift the sax with my thumb. Here is a picture.

    Alto side small.jpg

    Has anyone else tried any experiments like this? If I find a shape that is significantly more comfortable then I would be tempted to print it with a 3D printer, but I don't have access to one at present.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
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  3. brianr

    brianr Senior Member

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    great thinking.

    after an injury 10 years ago, i started to play without a thumb rest. i never put it back and it works well for me.
     
  4. kevgermany

    kevgermany ex Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Have you thought of using polymorph? Heat in hot water to about 60c. Then it's hand mouldable, has similar properties to nylon at room temperature. Re-usable....

    It's a plastic called polycaprolactone. Can find it easily on ebay etc., but watch the prices. I paid €33 for a kilo, but some of the small packs work out at €1 for 10g.
     
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  5. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    Getting the ergos right needs some out of the box thinking WIN_20161112_09_02_48_Pro.jpg
     
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  6. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    Its called quikwood. Mouldable epoxy. I put it on top of cling wrap so it did not bond to the metal. Wraps around upper part of thumbrest and the lower part of the keyguard above. push it close to shape and fine tune it with a file.

    I have big hands and had to switch to playing flat finger to avoid RSI when I started playing several hours a day.
     
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  7. nigeld

    nigeld learner

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    Interesting.

    I have made key risers using Sugru, but in this case, the part of the thumb rest that attaches to the saxophone has to be quite accurate, so using an existing thumb rest seems like the easiest way to make it. 3D printing would be best I think.
     
  8. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to add. Its on a tenor and the rest sits in the crook of my thumb
     
  9. nigeld

    nigeld learner

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    I could definitely try that with my alto or tenor, but my soprano doesn't have a convenient keyguard.
     
  10. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    Put a strap of metal to form the backbone and mount anchor and then have at I. One solution
     
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  11. nigeld

    nigeld learner

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    What size of sax was that?

    My current feeling is that there should be no need for a thumb hook on a bari or tenor, since they are far too heavy to lift with the thumb, and lateral support, if required, could probably be provided better somehow else. On the other hand, a hook feels good to me on a straight soprano. I don't know about alto, so I'm trying without a hook, but with extra padding to get my thumb further away from the body of the sax.
     
  12. nigeld

    nigeld learner

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    Most bassoons have a curly hand rest, where the top acts a bit like a hook that fits between the thumb and first finger. l discovered several years ago that I had a tendency sometimes to lift the bassoon using the hand rest while playing, so I made one that was straight with no hook. I found that it provides just as much stability as the hooked shape, but without putting strain on the hand. So now I'm trying out the same idea for the saxophone.
     
  13. jbtsax

    jbtsax old and opinionated

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    Many bassoon players use a seat strap to support the weight of the instrument. The "crutch" as it is called is merely to keep the right hand in position. It is not to push or hold the instrument.
     
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  14. brianr

    brianr Senior Member

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    That was on alto. at that time my wrist/thumb injury meant that i couldnt go near the Tenor.

    so, what little playing I could do, I did on a thumb-hook less alto. It felt really awkward to start with but I got used to it.

    after a succesful operation, I tried the tenor with no hook. And it felt ok there too.
    So, Ive just kept things hookless.

    it is different, and the tenor now pretty much rests on my body all the time, with no weight at all on my thumb. But it seems to work for me and I have no problems now, either with pain or hindering technique etc .
     
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  15. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    The tricks are to have the mp e in the right position and the hands in positions that can access the keys easily without causing RSI over time. How one gets there is an individual choice.
     
  16. carburetor

    carburetor Member

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    I nearly dropped a turd when I saw this. I thought I was the only one. Here is my right hand thumb rest on my tenor:


    I made it out of the same thing you did -- KwikWood by J-B Weld. Mine is actually held on by the screw that holds on the regular thumb hook. It is super comfortable.

    I get pain in my the distal joints of my thumbs when I play sax so I have to do everything I can to reduce and spread out the pressure on my thumbs. I made a custom left hand thumb rest and octave key as well, complete with ugly-looking but helpful foam padding:

     
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  17. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    I take it that is on a Sop .....great stuff Quikwood
     
  18. carburetor

    carburetor Member

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    No it's on my tenor.
     
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  19. Jazzaferri

    Jazzaferri Well-Known Member

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    yes on looking I can see now how it works
     
  20. nigeld

    nigeld learner

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    Here is my Mk II Alto thumb rest, inspired by @Jazzaferri and with thanks to all the people who suggested using mouldable plastic.

    It's made with Sugru. It is about 10mm further from the sax body and 10mm further towards the top than the standard thumb rest. I have made it quite a lot wider than normal, which feels more comfortable, and I have made a slight ridge at the top, which seems to work better than having it flat. It is slightly rounded, and the edges are very rounded because after starting these experiments I have noticed that the sharp edge on my bari thumb rest is quite uncomfortable.

    And yes, the F# key does open fully.

    Alto Mk2 Above 2 small.jpg

    Alto Mk2 Side small.jpg
     
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  21. carburetor

    carburetor Member

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    Nice design. Rather elegant.
     

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