This is the improved Mark 2 version of the Saxholder, with shoulder straps that meet (they're longer than the original version).
The Saxholder by Jazzlab is an innovative new design which takes the weight of the saxophone across the shoulders rather than all on the neck.
A good friend of mine is an osteopath, who has done some work on my neck. I asked him to explain the problems of using a traditional neck strap.
"Saxophones are not like most wind instruments. No flute or oboe weighs more than a fraction of the weight of a sax, and if we are talking tenor sax, we are talking about a substantial lump of metal indeed. A strap around the neck is the worst possible way of supporting it. I won't bore you with the fine details of the biomechanics, but a neck strap places maximum strain on the neck, the upper back and the lower back, while changing your centre of gravity and therefore your posture. Just for good measure it will have a knock-on effect on the ribs, reducing your effective lung capacity and inhibiting your breath control. So if you want to make your sax as difficult as possible to play, use a neck strap!
In the past there was no alternative. You used a neck strap, became uncomfortable, tried to take more weight on your thumb (which really isn't designed to take a lot of strain in that direction), laying a nice foundation for future osteoarthritis in the thumb joints and straining one particular muscle (Abductor Pollicis Longus - a big name for a skinny little muscle) giving you a sore forearm."
Made from Kevlar and aircraft aluminium, the Saxholder is as high-tech as it looks but is also very simple and convenient to use. Simply lock the shoulder straps in position and adjust the telescopic and rotating abdominal rest to the most comfortable position and hook your sax on.
This is what my osteopath had to say on trying the Saxholder.
"To begin with I was sceptical. I thought it was spreading the weight to the top of the shoulders, but that really doesn't alter the mechanics so hugely - it would help the neck, but the weight would still be pulling the top of the back forward. I was wrong. I tried it on and it was a revelation.
The weight of the instrument is suspended from a point in front of the middle of the chest and transferred, not to the top of the shoulder, but behind the shoulders to the ribcage itself. Instead of pulling forwards and down on the neck and the upper spine, the force is spread through the entire ribcage - twelve ribs each side transmitting the force to twelve different vertebrae, so it is distributed throughout the thorax. The extending abdominal support should be used at the lowest possible setting as this helps to reduce the rotational force pulling the upper back forward even more.
The instrument feels as though it is floating in space - holding it is effortless, the hands are able to relax and, because the forces are so evenly distributed through the ribcage, the diaphragm is free to move, improving breath control. So this beautifully designed bit of kit will not only make you comfortable and delight your osteopath, it will even help you play better!"
The Saxholder really is very comfortable to use, both sitting and standing, with saxes of all sizes. It feels like the sax is floating in the ideal playing position all the time, without the bouncing feeling you often get from neck slings. After use, it folds neatly into the bag provided and should fit easily in most sax cases.
While having obvious advantages for those with upper back and neck problems, the Saxholder is so comfortable and convenient, even when playing for long periods, that we would recommend all sax players try one.