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The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
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I had major (six hours under the knife) surgery on the vertebrae in the back of my neck and my neck can no longer support my saxes using a conventional neck strap, so I'm looking for an alternative. The Vandoren Support System Harness looks like it might work, but at $150 bucks, I'm not too keen to just order it out of curiosity. Has anyone used one who can share their thoughts about it with me? Thanks.
 

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Gary, I JUST picked one up for my bari. I tested it out with a tenor in the store and it felt really nice. After I got home I slapped the bari on it and you can still feel the weight of the horn of course, but it is distributed completely different than a neck strap. I haven't played on it for any extended length of time yet, but I am happy with it thus far.

Do you have any Vandoren dealers in your area? They had to order one in, but I was under no obligation to buy. I tried mine out in the store and got it for $139.50+tax, so I got to try it out and walk out the door with it for the same price GC or any other online retailer was offering.
 

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Gary, I can't give you any info on above topic, but just wanted to let you know that I'm glad to see you posting again :).

Hope your recovery will be good and fast.
That goes for me too. Be well.
 

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Gary:

Great to hear from you. Let me have a look and I think I have some harness, like those that my help for a Bari or someone not wanting to use the neckstrap for a Tenor.

They are not Vandoren, cannot remember the brand, but if you think they can help, PM your address and I will send them to you.

Have all the best,

JI
 

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I haven't tried it, but I'd be cautious. It looks like a variant of the Smart Strap http://www.smartstrap.com/ which I have tried. The Smart Strap is extremely well-made and 1/5th the price of the Vandoren. However, it did not work for me - the friction of the belt and shoulder pads were not enough to offset the weight of the sax and I could never keep the sax fixed securely in position. The sax always pulled the waste of the strap up. This might work better for someone with more gut than I've got, or maybe there's more to the Vandoren than what I'm seeing.
 

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I ordered one (for bari playing), but it hasn't shown up yet. Backordered until early June.
My back would like it to show up quicker.

It looks terrific, and a bit different than the smartstrap linked to above.
The smartstrap has vertical straps on the back, whereas the Vandoren harness has firm, telescoping arms on the back. Perhaps they keep the waste strap from riding up?
I'll know better when it shows up.

Good luck with your recovery!
 

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Hey Guys,

I just had the opportunity to wear it with my tenor and bari (low-A). ggmiller is correct, the rigid back braces prevent any upward pull at the waist. Instead I feel a slight pull backward like someone is gently pulling at the back of my belt. This is somewhat noticeable with the bari, much less so the tenor. Wearing the tenor is a snap and I really don't feel any great amount of pressure anywhere. The bari places the pressure near the top of my shoulder blades and the top of my shoulders. Although it's not exactly the same, the system sits about where backpack straps would.

For reference, I'm 6'2" and 260. The harness comes with two waist extenders for us... uh, 'plus' sized gentlemen. I've got a 40" waist and use one of the extensions. The back braces on mine are fully extended. It appears to be well-constructed out of quality materials and folds up into a neoprene bag that fits in the bell. It's really starting to grow on me and I already favor it over my Neotech harness. Time will tell, of course!
 

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If the Vandoren works as advertised in the video, that would really be great and I'd like to try it. Is is adjustable enough to use with an alto?

With the Smart Strap, I had the feeling that the bottom of the harness ought to really extend around the legs like a parachute to keep the horn from pulling it out of place. That would work I think, but I doubt anyone would use it.
 

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Oneof the things I like about the saxholder is some weight is pivoted in onto the chestpiece which, if my physics is right reduce the amount of downforce on the shoulders. The downside to it is he arms may be a bit narrow or heavier saxes.....maybe you will have to play alto for a while.....:-o
 

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Is it adjustable enough to use with an alto?
Just tried it and yes, it will certainly work with alto as well. The giant Vandoren "V" adjuster is kind of goofy looking, but I can live with it.

Also just discovered that I can adjust the width of the back braces. Initially the straps came over my shoulder about where a neckstrap would. I've now adjusted it a bit wider so they sit farther apart. This thing has quite a few adjustment options for a custom fit.
 

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After looking to the videos, I guess they will work better, the Vandoren ones, than those I might have. That rigid devices and transmission of weight to the waist would be my choice. They look great.

Gary:

Great to hear from you. Let me have a look and I think I have some harness, like those that my help for a Bari or someone not wanting to use the neckstrap for a Tenor.

They are not Vandoren, cannot remember the brand, but if you think they can help, PM your address and I will send them to you.

Have all the best,

JI
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey, thanks for the video link. The strap looks like it will work fine. Still can't play for about another month and a half while things continue to heal, but this harness looks like one of the best solutions I've yet to see. Now that I think about it, this looks like one that Ron Jeremy recommended to me years ago.
 

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Hey, thanks for the video link. The strap looks like it will work fine. Still can't play for about another month and a half while things continue to heal, but this harness looks like one of the best solutions I've yet to see.
As someone who also has suffered from back problems in the past, I certainly hope you find a solution. Back problems are really hard to take. At one point a few years ago, the only thing that would have worked for me was something that takes the full weight of the sax, sort of like a really tall sax stand. I actually looked to see if something like that was available, but it would probably have to be home made. Instead, I used a chair and some cushions to support that weight of the horn for a few weeks...you might try something like that initially. Re-injury would be a huge setback. Best of luck to you.
 

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The saxholder works amazingly well on tenor and bari when I'm standing, but I don't get on with it when I'm sitting because it slips off to one side. So for seated bari gigs I still use my harness (and a strap for seated tenor). However for standing gigs the saxholder is better than any strap or harness I've tried as there is zero pressure on the back or sides of your neck.

Sorry to read about your neck issues. If you were close by I'd offer a loan of my saxholder. I think they're about $70 to buy.
 

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The downside to it is he arms may be a bit narrow or heavier saxes.....maybe you will have to play alto for a while.....:-o
You can adjust the spread of the saxholder arms to suit the width of your own shoulders. There are three adjustable widths that I think would work for just about everyone. I don't really notice the weight of the pivot which sits on the lower stomach, but you're right it does mean that some of the weight of the sax is on the stomach and not on the shoulders.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
. . . but you're right it does mean that some of the weight of the sax is on the stomach and not on the shoulders.
That's good news. Stomach I've got. :mrgreen:
 

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Gary,
Hope you find something that works for you and perhaps after rehab you'll not need any contraption to keep on playing. I got to tell ya I "fiddled" with the new Vandoren last weekend at the Mallorca Jazz Fest and found it just as bad as that saxholder thing which I tried on about three months ago at Tonger in Düsseldorf.

JR
 
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