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Starting out after an injury

1230 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  YveJ222
Hi guys. I'd like some advice about potentially trading in my alto for a soprano. Heres the history.

I bought an Elkhart Alto about 10 years ago. Picked it ap a few times but life got in the way and it has remained untouched for about 9 years 11 months! A couple of weeks ago I dusted it off to start again as I now have the time to commit to learning. My issue is that I broke both wrists just before Christmas. While they are both "healed" they are in no way what they were. I'm finding the Alto painful to play. It could just be bad technique or something I'm stuck with. I've bought a new neck strap but the weight on my right thumb causes so much pain. I'm also having issues stretching to the keys as my hands are tiny for an old bird.

I'm still very much a beginner and don't want to quit so I'm considering down sizing to a soprano. I'm hoping that the weight difference will be enough to ease the pain. I understand that its much harder to learn but figured im not so far down the alto path that it may not be so bad. If I did go for a soprano, would it be better to opt for a straight or curved model. Is the hand stretch required less than an alto? I've also seen an alphasax. Is this any good? In an ideal world I'd hop on a train and go shopping to try some out but its still not really an option. I've seen a few rental options but I'm just so confused. I'm uk based.

Any thoughts/advice appreciated.
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I am lucky to be in good health, but had similar issues with my right thumb on starting up again this year. Let's be honest - the ergonomics of the sax are pretty bad, especially the right hand. The natural position for the thumb is where the F# trill key is. The solution I found was to get a WAW thumbrest:

It allows you to place your thumb over the F#. I also tend to rest my sax on my body whether sitting or standing (the Eb guard rests on my waist when standing). It's not textbook, but after having enough pain to have to stop playing for a week I don't really care. It also had the bonus of giving me a position where the right hand palm keys are easier to use. The ideal ergonomics would probably require a redesign of the instrument, as the right hand is more pushing than holding up and ideally this would be done with the palm (the neck strap carries most of the weight and serves as a fulcrum). Unfortunately, we're stuck with what we got.

Another option is to get a stand and play it on the stand. Some stands are better than others but I've seen people use these in performance due to health issues.

Beyond that, if you're having problems with your left hand too, that may be due to the palm keys? You can get pads for palm keys that bring them closer to your hand. Ideally the movements for the palm keys should be small, your hands should be close to them already. When I started taking lessons again, the first thing my teacher did was advise me to bring my left hand down so that it was closer to the palm keys.

Good luck! I hope some of this is helpful.
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