Saxophone slings & throat constriction

Recently I bought a saxophone sling (neck strap) that had two apparent advantages over my old ones, as explained here:

Major nerves and the blood supply for the brain run through the cervical vertebrae. With the XXX Sax-Strap this area of the neck remains open while the weight and pressure are distributed to the muscles of the left and right sides of the neck.
Carotid Artery
Conventional slings can cause unpleasant pressure on the right and left sides of the neck, compromising the carotid arteries. A spacer just above the sling-length adjuster reduces this.

ceb sling.png

Now, that second feature of the XXX Sax-Strap is very useful, but the problem with the neck cushion design is that the sling has to stay completely symmetrical. My playing position skews it slightly, causing sideways pressure on the neck vertebrae from the RH cushion. After two rehearsals the consequent pain stopped me playing for a couple of days.

One solution is to stick with a conventional neck strap and use a spacer, such as Andy Scott’s Libero, which retails for £75, about twice the cost of the strap itself. So, here’s my solution, costing £1 in materials, taking 15 mins to construct, and weighing in at 1oz (28 grms):

With spare parts and tools from a child’s construction kit, in this case Meccano, here is what I used for my alto sax:



This simple version with just 2 nuts and bolts worked fine, but here’s a refinement using a rubber band around the two nuts to ease the gaps for your strap, while protecting it from chafing against the nut:


Finally, to guard against slippage once the spacer is positioned comfortably, two nuts may be added at the ends. Here I’ve added a central nut for bracing, plus stopper bolts.




I am temporarily on hold while kind people search for my missing blood platelets, or more precisely the cause of the little stickies’ demise. “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown!”

So, why not read my first novel, Stolen Hours, instead:



Meanwhile, a second (I won’t say ‘last’ because that would be manipulative) novel is currently (DC or AC?) being generated by steroids, sleep-deprivation and a cross-circuited (un)consciousness. It’s (possibly – too early to know) a pensioner’s coming-of-age story. Please seek medical advice, if you want to try this yourself.