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(Mods, please move this if it isn't in the right section. Maybe it belongs in the "straps" category or something.)

Yesterday afternoon I listened to Kamasi Washington's album "The Epic" and felt quite ashamed of my skills, so I determined it was time to practice. Threw the reed in a jar of water, waited for it to soak, went to get my sax. I always leave it in the stand after swabbing, with the strap already in place and everything ready to go.

This was my first mistake.

Because after hooking the strap on the ring, I always loop it around the neck so it's not thrown aside on the floor catching dust or being stepped on. This move unfortunately inspired my lazy nature and instead of spending a few more joules bending down to pick it up by the bell, I went against everything my instinct was telling me and just pushed the strap up. This was a horrible mistake: it held on for three seconds and fell down with a loud thud. After having a sample-sized heart attack, I bent down to evaluate the damage and curse myself for having the IQ of a plant. That's when it struck me: my strap's hook is not open-ended and the fabric was stretched up to the neck. There's no way it could have come off.
The sax on the floor argued to the contrary and I just resigned myself to looking for bent parts. The result wasn't pretty:

D side-key is absolutely dead.
Alternate F# tone hole's protection was so bent it wouldn't even open. This is it after unbending it a little by hand.
Bottom of the bell.
Pants Guard (Thanks, John!). Notice the unnatural angle.

I'm pretty sure the tech will find many other things I couldn't catch. Worst part is, I bought this tenor back in June and had it completely overhauled, so I can't even rationalize that "it was time for a check-up anyway". And two days ago I had talked to the tech about the possibility of welding two other rings in the sax (not that it would help, unless I wore two straps). I'm still quite thankful it fell on its left side, not the right. RIP wallet.

Bottom line is the old adage: ALWAYS PICK YOUR HORN BY THE BELL. A L W A Y S. No matter how firm your grasp on reality. No matter how sane you think you are. No matter how much you trust your neck strap. It may just think it's the perfect time to neglect the laws of physics, do a supernatural jump trough the ring and screw you over.

Cheers.


TL;DR: Picked sax by the strap. Dun goof'd.
 

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That thing on the side of the body is called a pants guard. It is supposed to keep your pants out of the workings of the rods down to the bell keys.

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I've had a similar accident where I was leaving a lesson and forgot to zip shut the case.

There went my tenor onto the floor. It only actually fell a few inches, by the time it tumbled out, but it was still about $150 to fix all the damage. The only "good" luck it was the cheap Chinese tenor I had bought when I started playing again, not the Zephyr.

Chalk it up to experience IMO. I don't think beating yourself up about an accident is going to make things any better.

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Henry; you got the sax in June and had it overhauled; do you remember any dent removal in the strap eye area? Dent work around any solder joint always is suspect. Otherwise, are we to assume the whole plate popped off and the eye remained attached to the base plate? That's an easy fix and the other work doesn't sound too bad. The bottom bow dent could be the worst of it.
You're right, never trust the strap hook or hook eye - they do fail. But also don't tempt fate by picking the sax up by the strap. I guess this is what you did but I still don't get your meaning in 'pushed the strap up'.

I've never had a hook eye fail but I did drop my tenor one time. I was using a standard Ray Hyman strap with a regular hook (no safety clasp). I inverted the sax on my right side for some reason and when I let go, it didn't snap back up - it hit the floor because the regular hook slipped out of the eye. I have never again used a non-safety strap since that night in 1967.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My tenor is a cheapie too, but it's the only one I have :D

Guess you gotta live and learn. I'll post how much it cost after the tech's done with it.
 

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The strap ring's still in place and firmly secured, saxman. By 'pushed the strap up', I mean exactly what you said: I attempted to lift the sax off the ground by holding just the strap (not my brightest moment :(). I also have a regular hook strap, but I never use it exactly because of that. I'll look into other strap options in order to avoid this happening again.
 

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i use a "jazz-lab" over the shoulder "strap"...you have to unclip it from the saxophone(safety hook)...best strap i have ever had...

and yes,always pick up the horn from the bell...

i did once have my mark6 tenor come off my strap years ago walking up some steps...it bounced on a step and i caught it on the re-bound...it was only damaged a little...

good luck with the fix up....
cheers,philip
 

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And if you are holding a sax by the bell, especially a tenor or larger, do not jerk it around. It needs surprisingly little force to distort the bow, putting the bell out of alignment with the body, such that the 2 lowest keys no longer close properly.
 

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And if you are holding a sax by the bell, especially a tenor or larger, do not jerk it around. It needs surprisingly little force to distort the bow, putting the bell out of alignment with the body, such that the 2 lowest keys no longer close properly.
FWIW, holding it by the bell isn't fool proof either. I can thiiiiiis close to dropping m at the time 1 year old YTS-62 because I got distracted and thought I had clipped the strap in but hadn't yet. Fortunately a 'second sense' told me something didn't feel right and I latched back on before it got away completely. I also almost dropped in out of the case once thinking it was zipped when it wasn't. Got saved that time by the magnetic flap. I now always zip asymmetric so the zippers aren't behind that strap when it is closed because then i can see it isn't zipped. Still, I don't think there is any absolute defense against carelessness. Maybe some of us just have to waste $1000 or so before we finally wise up.
 

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I always had to use an open-ended hook because sometimes I had to switch horns a a moments notice.. rock bands that call tunes on the fly with nothing but a "1,2,3,4" between tunes are notorious for this.. the gtr and kbd players just have to step on a box or press a button or two to set up the next song.. I like the solid mesh 3/4 inch straps because they will NOT break..
 

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Let me share another probable cause for a sax dropping on the floor. I have the habit of lifting my alto sax from its stand by holding it on the point between the body and the neck and using the neck screw as an anchor so the sax would not slip my hands.
 

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It occurs to me that there is no fault in the straps, per se, as the thread title implies, but the misuse, & careless application of it by the player.
 

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It occurs to me that there is no fault in the straps, per se, as the thread title implies, but the misuse, & careless application of it by the player.
I was thinking exactly the same thing. We need to be able to trust a neck strap.

But OTOH we need to know that (even if for some reason you leave the neck strap on the horn when you put it down) you should not attempt to pick the horn up by the strap.

(Been waiting for this :) )

Bottom line is the old adage: ALWAYS PICK YOUR HORN BY THE BELL. A L W A Y S.

I'm not aware that is an old adage. Most of the time I don't pick a saxophone up by the bell, I pick it up by the middle of the body, while of course making sure I don't grip so hard as to bend any rods.

While on the subject, neither do I pick a horn up by the neck (any more)
 

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I was thinking exactly the same thing. We need to be able to trust a neck strap.

But OTOH we need to know that (even if for some reason you leave the neck strap on the horn when you put it down) you should not attempt to pick the horn up by the strap.

I also wouldn't pick a saxophone up by the bell, I pick it up by the middle of the body, while of course making sure I don't grip so hard as to bend any rods.

While on the subject, neither do I pick a horn up by the neck (any more)
I am prepared to wager that you have never dropped a horn....neither have I.
Yet, I pick up my horn by placing four fingers down the bell, at it's rear, & wrap my thumb around the outside of the bell.
Never by the strap & NEVER by the neck....I shudder at the thought of the side loadings.
 

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...I pick it up by the middle of the body, while of course making sure I don't grip so hard as to bend any rods.
Even better if one picks it up from the stand holding the sax by the middle and around the tenon. to do this any other way is asking for trouble although sometimes I extract the saxophone from the its carrying case by lifting it with bell and tenon.



I cannot think of any instance where I ever contemplated picking up my horn lifting it from a stand with a strap.

I trust the hook and strap of the saxholder to securely hold my sax.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I am prepared to wager that you have never dropped a horn....neither have I.
No but accidents do happen. I was standing on a washbasin in a dressing room playing my MKVI tenor, and the washbasin came away from the wall.

There was significant damage.
 

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those foolish days
 

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No but accidents do happen. I was standing on a washbasin in a dressing room playing my MKVI tenor, and the washbasin came away from the wall.

There was significant damage.
That's only one stage removed from the Heavy Rock tendency to hurl TV sets from 7th floor hotel windows. :bluewink:
The world of Ozzie Osbourne & Spinal Tap. :)
 
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