Quite often we have to play saxophones like tenor and bariton on our right side. I will share my experience and what have I done about it!

Turning the body to the right side has  a slight inconvenience: the body feels uncomfortable after a while (it means the body turns too much on the right side because of the harness or big saxophone or reason X) and therefore it also affects DIRECTLY on your back problems, especially if you play in long term  these (tenor/bariton) instruments. What are the solutions that I have found for me?
First I tried with Neotech harness, but I felt always uncomfortable when I was sitting. Also I didn’t like  being tightly held against my chest. It teared so tensely to the right side when I was sitting and it turned my body too much to the right, that it was “I realized NOT healthy to my back anyway” – so I needed STILL to go to see physiotherapist. He explained me, that shoulders and hips: they are like a box I need to keep straight and NOT TO TURN.
Every movement that is rotation to your back is bad for discs and makes a lot of tension on the nervs that are between! Which I have felt of course.  Trust me, you won’t gonna like it! All My back pain came from not respecting that simple advice – “keep the shoulders- hips straightforward, do not bend them”!. And I thank him until today, as I am teaching everybody how to prevent back pains while we play saxophone!

Next step I bought: review Freeneck Harness

I will never suggest to play tenor-bariton-bass saxophones to play with neck strap, this will cause long term problems that are invisible many many years!!!! This ends up putting quite a bit of lateral pressure on your neck, all you can do, is to find what changes your life  for a while.
From the front, the Free Neck looks just like a standard neck strap.

I have compared in this video different harnesses I have used, click here!

 freeneck is one of  the most expensive harness I’d seen,  it’s  close to €135 at Thomann Germany e-store.
The harness itself comes in 3 parts.  The main bit is a normal looking neck strap string and hook from which projects a pair of long metal rods which extend down your back.
The end of these then connect into a pocket on a separate belt which clips around your waist (picture on the right).
Pocket is behind.  

The back of the neck has a metal plate , in the middle you have screws you need to adjust (picture on the left).
They come  across the width of your column vertebral/back which runs down the length of your spine.
You wear a belt around your waist, more around your hips I should precise, it has a pocket that is  part of the harness and you put the bottom of the rods tuck into the pocket. The rod length is adjustable, as is the cord that the hook is on.
The HOOK  has a “spacer” on the chord, so rather than the cord coming straight to the hook, it goes through a spacer, which keeps the cords about 10cm apart and carries away also the heaviness of the saxophone, really good invention.
So you can place the sax anywhere you like, as you could with a normal sax neck strap – to the right, out in front, or between your legs.
I used it for a while only for bariton and tenor, well, also on bass saxophone and then I realized that I like to play also on alto and soprano.
The same thing happened to Jazzlab Saxholder, although I do feel more haight on my shoulders with that compare to freeneck! Go and try if you see someone has, ONLY TRYING  ON will tell you what is for you the best. Please you are welcome to share your experiences.
How did I prevent back pains while playing tenor, bariton or bass saxophones?
Two principles:
1. I do play a lot in sitting, BUT tenor I keep saxophone straight forward also in sitting, I just found the position if I push the right leg more aside, It suits for me and therefore I DO NOT CAUSE  any back pains while playing tenor. When I can, I stand up for a while and play, because it is huge gratitude to my back! In case of course baryton and basse I place them aside, but still keeping shoulders-hips as straight as possible.
2. Keep it balanced, sit and stand up regularly. Do some exercises and especially bendings for arms and shoulders and back!
Harnesses packing problems!!!
For tenor sax it was always difficult to take Freeneck separately with my sax case, then notes, stands etc, and therefore I started to use Vandoren Harness, which has exactly the same principles as Freeneck, but Vandoren Harness I can pack together so little, that it goes to the belly of sax easily.

Review Vandoren Harness

Freeneck goes easily to the baryton and bass sax belly. And is really good to play the heavy instruments. Good value for the money. With jazzlab saxholder I can pack well into the case that has not saxophone shape, but when travelling, I take Vandoren Harness with me.
Vandoren Saxophone Harness IS  a great option for those having neck issues from standard straps, and those looking for a better harness.

Every sax harness is designed with the same basic principal; remove weight and stress from the neck by shifting it to the shoulders or hips.I believe that anybody with neck or back issues would benefit from trying out this harness.

The Vandoren Harness  takes away the pressure of the chest area and centers  partial  weight to the hips and along the waste and on shoulder pads. Behind the back you have two telescopic support to adjust the length (lengthen or shorten as you like) you need for you and combines with the hooks on your shoulder pads. The chest is totally free from that bound feeling. The waist is familiar pants and belts in normal clothing, and there is no feeling of stress from the harness strap at the waste at all. I love the adjustment space around the waste. when you stop playing you can simlpy detache remaining elastic ribbon to the hook and you feel comfortable while not playing. The harness looks beautiful on you. Look up the video here!

Larger saxophones will never feel weightless because they are just big and heavy. But, to take  the weight shift away from the neck is always a great choice, and the shoulders are a much stronger area of the human body with less concern for damage than a neck might be, with the central nervous system/column vertebral running though it. Getting the harness into proper adjustment is important, and each player will find a combination that will work best for his or her shape. Setting it up for alto or tenor or bariton is easy, it takes a little more experimentation with the bariton because it is so much heavier.

I like the fact that it can be worn under a coat, and it looks jut like a standard sax strap at that point. Some clothes cover the harness to be completely invisible!

The vandoren harness works well, sitting or standing, it keeps straight even shoulders-hips position, because the V-shape strap shortens from one side and lengthen from the other side!!!!

vandoren harness is my favorite

while playing aside!

With a long  strap and flexible hook in front of you, you can comfortably use a playing position in front of the body, or off to the side. The backside braces are hard but flexible plastic and sitting with the harness on really comfortable than I first though it might be. This harness will encourage to have a  better posture, since the center of gravity seems to rest on the shoulder pads, holding them forward and fighting the traditional slouch so many sax players have.

Purchase Vandoren Harness here on Amazon

Purchase Neotech Harness here on Amazon

Purchase Neotech Super Harness here on Amazon

Purchase BG Harness for KIDS here on Amazon

Purchase Jazzlab saxholder here on Amazon

Please, you are welcome to share your eperiences! Thank you!

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