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I'm a 15 year-old sax player (primarily tenor, but I have experience on alto and bari) and I've been playing for 7 years. For as long as I've been playing the tenor, I've noticed that after playing for extended periods of time I would get discomfort in my neck. My private teacher told me I was constricting my neck when I play and that I should try blowing with more like a yawn to open up my throat more. I tried, but I don't seem to be able to get rid of the discomfort. It's really a drag and I'd love to be able to fix this problem. I hope someone on this forum will be able to help me out. :?

Thanks,

Peter
 

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It could be the weight of the sax, you should try a Gemini harness.

It could be the angle of the neck, go to www.codera.com, click on windinstruments and tools, click products and ADDjust Balancer

Do a search here for Phil Barone Tone Production thread, (part one). That thread may be a huge help for you. It was for me as was the Harness and the Codera.
 

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Greetings & welcome.

I'm with Saxland but it's not
entirely clear if you suffer neck
or throat pain.

rabbit
 

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Neck straps are a problem.
They pull down on your neck and pinch off the sound,
plus they contribute to round shoulders.

Try taking more of the weight of the sax on your right thumb
and push the sax out directly in front of you.

Sitting while playing also contributes to bad posture.

As the guys above suggested, you should check out the various
shoulder harnesses.

These relieve the neck problem, but they can be a bitch to get on
and off, and they also alter the balance of the sax. However, with time,
you can get used to the different balance.
 

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I was older than you are when I started experiencing sharp distracting neck pain while playing. I switched to the BG harness, and now use it exclusively on all voices, including soprano. The pain went away in several days.

Our bodies were not designed to carry such weight just from our necks. The neckstrap was ill-conceived, and only so many people are built to withstand that stress for a considerable length of time (standing up is worst). The harness feels constricting at first, but I move and breathe freely now that it is broken in.

Angel
 

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I was having some back problems quite a few years back and went into a very famous London saxophone retailer to try and purchase a BG harness. They only had neck straps. The response I got was an extremely patronising: "Oh, yeah, mate, right, do you think you really want to look like you're about to jump out of an aeroplane when you go to play your sax? huh, huh" I was an ok player at the time but i'm kind of diffident in person so I think he took me for a newbie (= in his opinion, idiot). My thought was: "No, you moronic [extremely coarse Miles-influenced expletive deleted], I want to play my sax without pain, I'm practising 3 hours a day after work." I bought a BG harness on the internet. I did get over the back problems, whether by good luck or good management i'm not entirely sure. There are a number of good solutions for helping with back pain in the immediate circumstances of pplaying - harnessess, special straps etc. Longer term you could try such things as Alexander Technique and Yoga. To relieve immediate acute symptoms you could see a (good) osteopath or chiropractor.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
rabbit said:
Greetings & welcome.

I'm with Saxland but it's not
entirely clear if you suffer neck
or throat pain.

rabbit
I'm sorry I didn't clarify that earlier. It's throat pain, like a sore throat. After a while they'll be a lot of mucus in my throat and nasal passage. Sometimes it almost feels like air is coming out of my nose while I play as it gets worse.
 

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Yeah, rabbit's post was apposite and in fact your original post was reasonably clear. I'm afraid i'm out of my depth a little but i'd say: see doctor and describe symptoms, (I mean it sounds to me like you might actually have tonsilitis or some such thing) But if all ok basically i think you might be doing a lot of breathing and snorting through your nose when playing which i've noticed can dislodge a lot of mucus. You should certainly be doing almost all your breathing in and out through the mouth when playing sax. An extreme method that i've seen illustrated to correct "nose breathing" is the use of a nose clip (like the ones you can use when swimming). But I would see a doctor and discuss all this with your teacher before taking any further action. Playing an instrument isn't meant to feel painful ("for the player,maybe, but for the listener.. yah.. yah..yah.you never heard my niece/daughter..yah.. yah..".[cue canned laughter])
 

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RootyTootoot,

I can see by your avatar that the BG Harness worked a treat
with your posture.

P.Morfe,

could be inflammation of the bronchials. Bronchitis.
 

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kavala said:
RootyTootoot,

I can see by your avatar that the BG Harness worked a treat
with your posture.

P.Morfe,

could be inflammation of the bronchials. Bronchitis.
No, no my little feathered kiwi friend. My expression is probably the result of a hastily consumed crumpet. The BG harness was fine. I really must post a more pleasing image of myself. BTW, what time are the convict ships sailing these days?
 

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RootyTootoot said:
No, no my little feathered kiwi friend. My expression is probably the result of a hastily consumed crumpet. The BG harness was fine. I really must post a more pleasing image of myself. BTW, what time are the convict ships sailing these days?
You need to study your history, RootyTootoot.

The convicts were sent to Australia.

There were no penal colonies in NZ to my knowledge.

However, many of Britain's most finest, adventurous, free thinking, witty
and intelligent subjects did decide there was a better life to be had
in our wonderful country.

I happen to be one of their decendants as you have probably already noticed.
 

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kavala said:
You need to study your history, RootyTootoot.

The convicts were sent to Australia.

There were no penal colonies in NZ to my knowledge.

However, many of Britain's most finest, adventurous, free thinking, witty
and intelligent subjects did decide there was a better life to be had
in our wonderful country.

I happen to be one of their decendants as you have probably already noticed.
You're right. And i'm about to do so. If you found my original remark offensive I withdraw it and apologise, unreservedly.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
You're right. And i'm about to do so. If you found my original remark offensive I withdraw it and apologise, unreservedly.
Not at all, Rooty

I got a good laugh out of it.

As an aside, of course many of these so called 'convicts' that were sent to Australia,
were in fact convicted of the most trivial offences. But they have the last laugh now
with the Ashes Series. Or should we not mention that ?
 

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kavala said:
Not at all, Rooty

I got a good laugh out of it.

As an aside, of course many of these so called 'convicts' that were sent to Australia,
were in fact convicted of the most trivial offences. But they have the last laugh now
with the Ashes Series. Or should we not mention that ?
Perhaps not. We English are a proud nation of sporting losers but we are sometimes very good at forgiving our opponents for their good fortune. BTW I have now done my research on the history of Australia and New Zealand and, following on from the earlier point about "convict ships", I have now come up with this useful little aide memoire: "Kiwis (New Zealanders) - the K is for the Kiwi bird, native only to those isles", Australian - the A is for 'armed robbery'".;)
 
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