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Forum Contributor 2016-17
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I'm a late bloomer, playing 4 years now learning music theory and alto sax.
I learned here on the site about the beauty of a vintage horns, repadding, cases, sheetmusic, rubber mouthpieces and how to find the best one for me and my horn.

Yet I never gave much thought to neck straps.
I was a professional photographer for 30years so I had some
neckstrap experience with chaffing and multi tangles, leather and nylon, thin, thick, padded, and stretchy.
Well..........

I was in the Boston Sax Shop this week and bought a Balam Back Strap for $100. I never dreamed
I could ever justify spending that much on a neck strap, but after practicing today I am sure I got the better bargain.

This type of technology and design is not just for your back- it's for your neck and the blood circulation. I
gained an extra hour of practice time right off every sitting, just because I wasn't tiring as fast or needing a break.

With this Balam Strap- The weight of the horn is spread over your upper shoulders- your neck is completely free.
It's truly amazing. I forget it is there. I recommend it to anyone who is putting in the hours enjoying playing a horn. even if you are not as old as I am.
Of course, superb craftsmanship, highest quality hardware, soft leather and its ease of precise adjustment support this design.
Its a game changer for me and I think it will be for many of you.

https://www.bostonsaxshop.com/staps/

Has anyone else tried it? What do you think?


"The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things."
Sax on the Web members and Temple Grandin
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Looks like a great design, has the over the shoulder hook of the saxholder which is good thing, and the cord separator of the Cebulla.




NB: it looks to me nothing at all like a Just Joes which is more of a conventional strap
 

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I'm a late bloomer, playing 4 years now learning music theory and alto sax.
I learned here on the site about the beauty of a vintage horns, repadding, cases, sheetmusic, rubber mouthpieces and how to find the best one for me and my horn.

Yet I never gave much thought to neck straps.
I was a professional photographer for 30years so I had some
neckstrap experience with chaffing and multi tangles, leather and nylon, thin, thick, padded, and stretchy.
Well..........

I was in the Boston Sax Shop this week and bought a Balam Back Strap for $100. I never dreamed
I could ever justify spending that much on a neck strap, but after practicing today I am sure I got the better bargain.

This type of technology and design is not just for your back- it's for your neck and the blood circulation. I
gained an extra hour of practice time right off every sitting, just because I wasn't tiring as fast or needing a break.

With this Balam Strap- The weight of the horn is spread over your upper shoulders- your neck is completely free.
It's truly amazing. I forget it is there. I recommend it to anyone who is putting in the hours enjoying playing a horn. even if you are not as old as I am.
Of course, superb craftsmanship, highest quality hardware, soft leather and its ease of precise adjustment support this design.
Its a game changer for me and I think it will be for many of you.

https://www.bostonsaxshop.com/staps/

Has anyone else tried it? What do you think?


"The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things."
Sax on the Web members and Temple Grandin


Thanks for that! I fully agree about the ergonomics! In addition to your excellent point about pressure on muscles impeding circulation, the bony bumps that stick out from the back of your spine vary from person to person. At the base of the neck, one in particular tends to stick out farther on some people and easily gets irritated from neck straps (that bump is called vertebra prominens). Even the weight of an alto can irritate it.

Here is another design that might be similar in concept to the Balam:
https://www.wwbw.com/JAZZLAB-saXhol...MIrcnVxcqj3AIVVQOGCh03aASGEAQYASABEgI6FPD_BwE

I've been using the Neotech harnesses (yes even for alto):
https://www.wwbw.com/Neotech-Soft-S...MI8fKYiMij3AIVQ1mGCh2lnwcoEAQYASABEgKwiPD_BwE

The Balam seems like it is less overall material compared to the harness and does not use the Neotech's strap around the ribs; the Balam substitutes the spreader. I tend to use the Neotech's rib straps with the bari to take weight off the shoulders (much like a backpack's belt). I am guessing that the Balam may be a better choice for lighter saxes, while the full harness may be better for the bari, bass, etc.

Does anyone have experience contrasting the Balam (and/or Cebulla, and/or Jazzlab) to the Neotech harness?
 

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I used the Cebulla for ~ 2.5 years on my tenors, great strap. Picked up a Balam a few months ago and love it. Best strap I've used. Takes a bit of fiddling with to get adjusted right for you, but once you have the bars and spacing adjusted for you the weight of the sax basically disappears. I've gone back to the Cebulla to contrast the differences, and I'm completely sold on the Balam, can't envision using anything else.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I used the Cebulla for ~ 2.5 years on my tenors, great strap. Picked up a Balam a few months ago and love it. Best strap I've used. Takes a bit of fiddling with to get adjusted right for you, but once you have the bars and spacing adjusted for you the weight of the sax basically disappears. I've gone back to the Cebulla to contrast the differences, and I'm completely sold on the Balam, can't envision using anything else.
I'm going to see if I can get hold of one to add to my review: https://tamingthesaxophone.com/saxophone-straps
 

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I'm going to see if I can get hold of one to add to my review: https://tamingthesaxophone.com/saxophone-straps
Pete FYI -- you can see a review of these straps on Steve Neff's site http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2018/01/balam-saxophone-backstrap-comparison-and-review

Jack Finucane (BSS) has a video on his site on how to adjust the straps as well as on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=GB9LUfs2Tag/

There are other threads here on SOTW about this strap as well..
 

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Very interesting.
How does the hook work ?
Can you adjust quickly when going from tenor to alto ?
 

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Very interesting.
How does the hook work ?
Can you adjust quickly when going from tenor to alto ?
The hook works just like most, slide it up and down on the harness to adjust height. I don't play alto, but it seems to have plenty of adjustment range.

You can check out the original thread with Steve Neff's review for more info. The thread talks about fit and adjustment of the strap.
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...p-Review-and-Comparison&p=3542866#post3542866
 

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Jazz lab is very similar in concept and really does take the strain and irritation from the back of my neck. It adjusts instantly on the slider for sop, alto and tenor, can’t say for Baritones as my GAS hasn’t expanded to those. Yet...
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Jazz lab is very similar in concept and really does take the strain and irritation from the back of my neck. It adjusts instantly on the slider for sop, alto and tenor, can’t say for Baritones as my GAS hasn’t expanded to those. Yet...
Saxholder works great, especially baritone and bass. The Saxholder concept goes bit beyond this one (and did of course was developed previously however I don't know what patents were involved ) as it includes extra relief of neck/back by having the some of the weight taken on the abdomen also.
 

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I just heard from a dealer this week that ProTek is making or has made/is marketing a Balaan imitation or similar format, at half the price.

Anyone know of that? I think its the cat's meow, but not at 100 dollars.
 

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I'm tempted by one of these...most of my tenor work is lively festival stuff with lots of dancing around. Think I'll wait for the cheaper protec version though!
 
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