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Discussion Starter #1
For ergonomic reasons, worsening shoulder arthritis specifically, I'm going to need to give up my beloved Martin Handcraft for a bent neck straight soprano down the road. Bending the player over some has been tried as well, but that causes other issues.

I prefer one piece over interchangeable necks. If I wanted a two piece there's a myriad of options. There's also a fair number of curved soprano options as well but that's a totally different kettle of fish.

As far as I'm aware, these are what's available:
Yamaha YSS62R / YSS82R
Eastman ESS640 / 652
System 54
Viking Sopranos

There's also the option of paying a large amount to have the Martin neck bent with no guarantee of success and a dead horn as potential downfalls.

Are there any other one piece bent neck soprano options I'm missing?

I'm in the research phase at this point and not in a hurry.


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Frankly, if I were unable to hold it out horizontally, I'd consider just going full curved. Holding it "kind of downward" puts a lot of strain on the thumb. Yes, clarinet players do this, but their horn is lighter.

And there are so many good choices these days in the full curved soprano.

I certainly wouldn't have your Martin bent.
 

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even clarinet players at some point have had the need to develop curved barrels

 

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I wouldn't dismiss a dual-neck straight soprano just yet. While I play mostly fixed-neck straight sopranos (my curved sop has a removable neck), I've owned several dual-neck models over the years and I found little difference in playability between fixed and dual-neck models.

After all the crabbing and nit-picking is done, I suspect it comes down to subjective reasons why folks bad-mouth dual-neck sopranos. We all have our likes and dislikes, which we are free to do. But I played dual-neck sopranos for many years and never gave the removable neck a thought until it was a subject on SOTW.

My bottom line is that I could play a dual-neck soprano and never give it another thought. Seeings that the curved neck may be necessary for YOU, throwing a removable-neck soprano into the mix will certainly broaden your field of selection AND I'm betting you won't feel any difference. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dave,

It certainly would make some things easier, like case selection. Something to ponder.

Thanks as always for your thoughts.



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I have owned a dual neck soprano for 1 millionth the time Dave has (like two weeks) and I love it, I can't tell the diff in tone when using the straight as opposed to the bent neck at all. But I sure as hell can tell how much less it hurts my right hand, which with the bent neck is pretty much not at all. This option certainly would open up a ton of options for you.
Good luck with your search!
Dana
 

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If you buy a detachable neck modern soprano, you could also buy an extra curved neck and have it further curved if you thought you'd like to try that, and the only risk would be to the one neck not to the whole shooting match.

I have seen a number of fine players on detachable neck sopranos as well as a number of fine players on one piece horns and can't tell a lick of difference attributable to the neck, from my vantage point as a listener.
 

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Dave,

It certainly would make some things easier, like case selection. Something to ponder.

Thanks as always for your thoughts.
My Borgani half bent sop fits in the Protec sop case, just the same as a straight fixed-neck sop. The horn, in either configuration, is supported just below where the bend occurs.
 

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John, have you ever played a bent neck soprano? I have, and to me, it makes virtually no difference. All it does is allow be to tilt my head 10 degrees higher than on a straight soprano. In other words, I don't think it's going to solve your physical problems. If your shoulders are the source of pain, straight or curved isn't going to change that position one bit. If anything, bent would only have a slight impact on neck strain. That's about it. Even on a fully curved soprano, my head angle is the same as on a straight, and my hand/arm positions aren't much different. The one thing that does make a difference is using a neck strap.
 

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If you buy a detachable neck modern soprano, you could also buy an extra curved neck and have it further curved if you thought you'd like to try that, and the only risk would be to the one neck not to the whole shooting match.
Another option is to buy a Yanagisawa "twin neck" soprano and then buy a Yanagisawa curved soprano neck.

The two necks for a Yanagisawa "twin neck" soprano
View attachment 241688

Yanagisawa sc-991 neck
View attachment 241686

Most photos of the necks are not exact side views, so it's difficult to compare the angles, but the sc-991 clearly has a greater curve than the "twin neck" curved neck.


I've read that the sc-991 neck is comaptible with the older 991 sopranos and the latest SW10 series.
https://www.kesslerandsons.com/product/yanagisawa-soprano-sax-neck-models/

The various models of Yanagisawa soprano sax neck should fit all modern Yanagisawa models from S88x series all the way through the current production. The SC991 neck will also fit on the older SC901 model and offer a better feel and new angle for holding the horn.
The SC991 neck will also work on the S991 models allowing the player to hold the straight soprano closer to the body than even the stock S991 curved neck does!



https://www.sax.co.uk/yanagisawa-ynsc991-neck-for-curved-soprano-saxophone-brass.ir



EDIT - I haven't tried this combination, but I get elbow and wrist problems playing a straight soprano, so I'm considering this option.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
mdavej,

Getting my left arm lower is what I'm seeking. When I play straight out that's past the point where the pain occurs.

Dropping down a small amount, by bending over gets me below the point where the pain occurs.

Sometimes a small amount can be the difference it takes.

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Gotcha. I’m just saying that my arm positions are all the same on straight, bent and curved. The only variable for me is head angle. So if I had a pain problem like you, bent wouldn’t have any effect.

Sounds like your head angle is constant and you raise/lower your arms to get the ideal angle. I don’t do that. My arms are always at the easiest, most comfortable angle.
 

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Gotcha. I’m just saying that my arm positions are all the same on straight, bent and curved. The only variable for me is head angle. So if I had a pain problem like you, bent wouldn’t have any effect.

Sounds like your head angle is constant and you raise/lower your arms to get the ideal angle. I don’t do that. My arms are always at the easiest, most comfortable angle.
Natural, relaxed position for both neck and arms is the correct answer. If you are bending your head down to get the correct angle to the sop mouthpiece, you are messing with your neck and air stream.

I played two-piece sops for long enough to determine that the bent neck worked best for me. I didn’t care for the removable neck aspects and issues, so I started looking at fixed bent neck sops. It was ultimately the tone that won me over with the Borgani Jubilee bent neck sop, so I don’t feel that I’ve made any compromises at all.

G’luck with the quest!


P.S. I do use a neck strap.
 

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Just a thot here, but the beloved Martin Handcraft is one heck of a heavy soprano. It is my favorite soprano bar none, I am right there with you. But it weighs more than a True Tone, and still more than a Conn New Wonder. Neither horn sounds as sweet as the Martin, but the lighter horn can make a world of diff and these two alternatives still have a great vintage sound, which I prefer to the modern sopranos.
 
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