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The Magic Of The Neck Strap (Tip for beginner and intermediate players).
The neck strap is made adjustable so it can raise or lower the saxophone. Proper playing position of the sax can help the embouchure and tone production. The jaw position, tonguing position and openness of the air flow need good mouthpiece placement in the embouchure. Lowering the jaw too much to play low notes hinders moving back up the horn smoothly. For example test using the neck strap at different lengths and hit a low Bb and while maintaining air flow play high Bb up two octaves. Then do the reverse and play from high Bb and drop two octaves to low Bb. Playing those octaves legato or staccato should be easier with the correct neck strap length and height position of the horn. That's a good place to start. Once that height is set, octave jumps are much smoother. The "Sweet Spot" is where there is the least amount of jaw and embouchure movement. There will always be a feeling of slight adjustments as the horn is played but less embouchure changes make for smoother and easier playing. With the right neck strap length "Overtones" and "Altissimo " notes are achieved with smoother play ability. The tone production of the horn is smooth and even from top to bottom when playing in a good position with proper air support. This tip is mainly for beginners and intermediate players. Advanced players are usually set in there ways of playing the instrument, so this is something for new players to try. Also this can take some of the weight of the horn off of the right thumb and avoid the extreme thumb callus which is due to holding the horn up because the neck strap is set too low.
After reading many of the post with playing questions I decided to share this tip from my book. This tip has helped many players and as always I enjoy contributing to SOTW.
 

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Good information. I teach my students to adjust the neckstrap length to have the tip of the mouthpiece touch right in the curve above the chin with good posture, of course. Then to tilt the head down just a bit so the mouthpiece enters the mouth. For the majority of players this puts the mouthpiece entering the mouth at the correct angle. I got this tip from Dr. Ray Smith at BYU who was a student of Eugene Rousseau.
 

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Good information. I teach my students to adjust the neckstrap length to have the tip of the mouthpiece touch right in the curve above the chin with good posture, of course. Then to tilt the head down just a bit so the mouthpiece enters the mouth. For the majority of players this puts the mouthpiece entering the mouth at the correct angle. I got this tip from Dr. Ray Smith at BYU who was a student of Eugene Rousseau.
For all saxes? I'll try that. This thread is a really good reminder. Some of us who are sloppy, and take long breaks between practice and gigs need to keep this and other things in mind. I'm thinking my intonation issues last night are probably a result of slouched posture and moving alignment. Many instruments - well all instruments demand consistent proper posture, position and alignment. Short cuts and sloppiness have a cost!
 

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Mouthpiece "height" is a very under recognized variable/issue in playing and technique.

Also, as related, neck/throat overall position; crunched, down/up angle, etc.

The thing is, a quarter or one half of a inch can make a difference!
 

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I was having trouble transitioning smoothly to and from the open C# until I read that your neck strap and bent forward posture should allow you to play that C# with all the weight on the strap and none on your right
thumb. What a difference!
 

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I was having trouble transitioning smoothly to and from the open C# until I read that your neck strap and bent forward posture should allow you to play that C# with all the weight on the strap and none on your right
thumb. What a difference!
Maybe try (octave lever + G key) for open C#. It may help stabilize the horn and could help raise the pitch on a note that's known to be flat.
 

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Great advice about a subject I hadn't given much thought to. I'll be experimenting with it in my next practice. Thanks.
 

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As a teacher of beginning saxophone students for many years, I became aware of how important "consistency" is when learning the fundamentals of tone production. I always put a thick mouthpiece patch on top of the mouthpiece and put an indent with my thumb nail where the top teeth should go. I also taught them how to properly adjust the length of the neck strap and to "bring the saxophone to them---not go to the saxophone". When I first started neck straps were made from leather with holes and a small buckle like a belt. The neck strap length was set by the teacher and was exactly the same length every time the student played. As the student grew it could be lengthened a notch at a time. This would not work for "doublers", but for beginners on one instrument it is ideal.
 
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