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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I've been using the Vandoren FNH100 Universal Harness System for a few weeks for practicing and on a few (Tenor) gigs. It looks like the FREEneck 8.1 is a similar concept.

Does anybody have experience with BOTH of them?
I wish to know if the FREEneck fits better under a sport coat than the Vandoren strap.

Also, the FREEneck appears to be a bit more elegant. Does it look less bulky than the Vandoren in-person?

Any other comments about BOTH harnesses would be greatly appreciated. And with all due respect because I know we all just want to help here, please refrain from posting about other straps or harnesses. I'm only interested in these two for the moment.

https://vandoren.fr/en/accessories/ (you'll need to scroll down the page a bit)

https://www.thomann.de/gb/ergonomic_systems_freeneck_8.1k.htm

Thanks in advance!
 

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Forum Contributor 2016-17
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I have both, an older version of the Free neck and the Vandoren Universal Harness. Concept is similar. Downside to both is that the sax's weight pulls on the belt unnaturally shifting your lower back. I currently don't use either but tried them both today before posting. If I was to use one however it would be the Vandoren. Seems to be a better thought version of the Free Neck or at least the same concept. The problem with the Free neck is that it consists on 2 stiff rods. While it will "free your neck" from the weight of the sax, those rods tend to stick on your back. Somewhat uncomfortable although you could get used to it. It seems that with the newer version you can also purchase "suitable back padding" which should help. Adjusting my version of the Free neck was also difficult but it seems to me that they have solved this issue with the 8.1K version based on their description ("Height adjustment with one hand"). In addition, the 8.1 K apparently can be folded to fit on a tenors belt when transporting. My older version could not be folded. For concealing under a sport coat, the Vandoren also wins as the shoulder pads will rest naturally on your shoulders whereas the Free Neck will stick out like an antenna from the back of your coat.

In all I find the Vandoren to be a bit more comfortable and intuitive. Even so, construction is definitely cheaper as it is plastic and the foam pads could wear out fairly quick. From the get go, one of these pads fell off of mine and I could never find it. Not a big issue though but still.


While I understand that you wanted a direct comparison between the Vandoren and the 8.1K Free Neck, I don't think there will be many owners of both so I wanted to help as much as I could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for your thoughtful review! And thanks also for trying them again to gather your thoughts. It was very helpful to me.

One thing I don't like about the Vandoren is it bows outward in the back a bit. I would assume the Freeneck does not because it's made of metal, but as you said, it may be uncomfortable because it rests more on the back...

Sounds like some of the problems with the FREEneck may have been solved with the newer version, but I may just have to buy one and try my luck. Problem is, it appears my only choice in international purchase (I live in USA) and returns could be a big hassle -
 
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