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Are Clarinet neck straps Bad?

12836 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  grannybflat
I've been playing with a Clarinet neckstrap for about 7months, and recently got told that I should stop wearing one because it can cause bad habits or it might not cause bad habits, but there is no need for wearing it. Therefore I stopped wearing it.
But about a month ago, I started to have slight pains in my wrist, consequently stared wearing my neckstrap again.
Am I going to pick up bad habits? Or is it going to effet my clarinet playing?

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Only you know, saxophoniac3 — there are some pretty good clarinet players who use a strap but you can find a lot of criticism of the practice as well. What I've found, as doubler (whose tennis elbow forced him to sell his Mark VI soprano a few years ago) is that a neckstrap doesn't support the clarinet at the right angle. It tends to pull the instrument toward the body and the subtle force used to put it in the proper position ends up hurting more than just supporting the weight of the clarinet without the strap. But my problem is with the elbow, not the wrist. You might not be holding the instrument properly or it's possible an after-market improved thumb rest would help. You might also be helped by doing some dedicated strength exercises with a small barbell. But basically, if it works for you — and you can avoid developing "bad habits" — you're probably better off not punishing your body.
The only bad PRACTICE I can see is that a neck strap may cause you to hold the clarinet farther out from your body than is desired; e.g., we are all told that a clarinet should be held closer to the body than a soprano saxophone (which should be held straight out).
Interestingly, Dave and I have differing viewpoints here! Here's a system which gets some pretty good reviews.
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