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A Comparison of 4 Popular Saxophone Neck Straps

Choosing a neck strap that fits you is easier said than done. Although a saxophone neck strap is a fairly simple design and many just see it as something that holds the horn while you’re playing, there are many neck straps that do not give sax players the support and comfort they desire. The four saxophone straps that I’ll be reviewing – all of which I own and have practiced with, include the:

All four of these neck straps are used by many students and professional musicians. This article will provide an overview of each neck strap specifically focusing on the areas that set each strap apart from the others as well as why these neck straps will save your neck (yes, pun intended)  in the long-run.

BG Yoke Saxophone Strap

BG Yoke Saxophone StrapComfort: The BG strap is made out of leather as well as a cushion-like cloth underneath which felt comfortable on my neck and shoulders. I believe these materials added to the support and durability offered by this product.

Support: I found that the BG strap is one of the only ones that distributed pressure evenly between my shoulders and neck. The BG yoke covered not just my neck, but my shoulders as well which has allowed me to practice longer while not having to adjust the neck strap constantly to alleviate pressure on my neck.

Value: Of the many neck straps out on the market, the BG Yoke Saxophone Strap retails between $65-$69.99. Although the price might seem pretty steep, the materials are of top-notch quality and the additional support has increased the amount of time I practice. If you don’t lose it, this neck strap will last you much longer than one of its less expensive competitors.

Neotech Classic Strap

Neotech Classic StrapComfort: There is many types of neck straps that Neotech has to offer. The first neck strap I ever used was the Neotech Classic Strap. I would have to say the foam-like cloth that wraps around your neck is very comfortable and seems to hold up over a long period of time

Support: According to Neotech’s website, the neck strap will make the horn feel 50% lighter and make playing 100% more comfortable. I found that the Neotech strap is pretty elastic so you find yourself having to pull it up a bit further to compensate for the fact that it will stretch down a bit.

Value: For just $16 you can purchase the Neotech soft sax strap. I believe that over time, this neck strap will start to wear out if used regularly. In fact, I’ve noticed that over time the clamp which closes the hook would cease to fully close. The result was that when I moved in certain directions, the strap would detach. Of course, this is potentially disastrous and something to be aware of if you’re considering this strap. If you like this neck strap, I would recommend purchasing two so that you have one as a backup, since at this price point it’s is a much less expensive alternative to the Oleg, BG, and RW straps.

RW Leather Neck StrapRW Leather Neck Strap

Comfort: Manufactured under the label of the famed New York City music store, Roberto’s Woodwinds, the RW neck strap offers superior comfort for a neck strap with such a small neck-guard. I found out that the RW neck strap was made by a manufacturer based in Germany called Kolbl. The Kolbl site offers many different straps made from some of the best materials. This neck strap has a very similar design to the Oleg neck strap but comes with either a metal or rubber hook and uses a adjust mechanism that very rarely gets tangled.

Support: This neck strap offers truly great support due to the high quality leather. I found this neck strap has actually improved my posture because once I adjusted the neck strap to my liking, it locked in that position for me.

Value: The RW neck strap starts at $64.95, so it’s also not one of the cheaper options out there. However, due to its durability, buying more than one of these straps is unnecessary. The materials which make up this neck strap will last you your entire playing career and the strap comes in either a brown or black leather.

Oleg Ergonomic Sax Strap

Oleg Ergonomic Sax StrapComfort: Similar to the RW neck strap, the Oleg neck strap s made up of the highest quality leather. I found this leather to be very durable and over time it has offered me superior comfort by relieving stress from my neck. This has allowed me to focus more on my playing and less on constantly adjusting my neck strap.

Support: I found the Oleg strap offers the same support as the RW neck strap, which has relieved stress from my neck and locks me into whatever position I adjusted it to. Some players might prefer a neck strap that is more elastic, such as the Neotech, but based on my personal experience, I prefer a neck strap like the Oleg and RW that locks you into the position you find is most comfortable and keeps you there.

Value: The Oleg neck strap starts at around $59.99 which is in the same price range as the RW and the BG Yoke Strap. Its excellent durability is similar to the RW and the BG.

Conclusion

If you are contemplating between the BG, RW, and Oleg, being that they’re all in the same price range, I can honestly tell you that any of the three will not disappoint you. Although it’s not a bad strap by any means, the Neotech is the least impressive of the four, which is not surprising since you usually get what you pay for. As for me, I prefer and use the RW Leather Neck Strap.

 

Category: Best of the Blog, Saxophone Product Reviews

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About the Author

Hailing from San Francisco California, Zachary Sollitto is a man of many skills and many passions. Besides working in the telecommunications industry, his love for playing jazz is paralleled only by his passion for the world of saxophones and saxophone equipment. Perhaps more than just about any saxophonist you're likely to meet, he maintains an up-to-the-moment awareness of the latest and greatest products hitting the market for saxophonists. Whether it's saxophones, mouthpieces, neck straps, or just about anything else, Zach is the man you want to talk to. Manufacturers looking to have their saxophone products reviewed can reach him by email at zach@bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com or by phone at 954-292-2951.

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Comments (23)

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  1. I have some Neotech Classic straps that I’ve used daily for over 10 years. They are showing the expected wear, but are still springy–no significant stretching yet. Not sure what you mean by the hook stretching. Certainly no sign of that here.

    • Yeah, that part about the hook stretching is a bit confusing, let me check with Zach about that and clarify that in the article.

      Glad that the Neotech is working for you though.

    • anton says:

      if u hav an old strap u not using any more i will be gratefull to hav it.i live in south africa.pls e mail me if u dont mind thanx alot fellow sax player anton

  2. John Nastos says:

    When I was first playing saxophone in middle school, I remember getting the Neotech Classic strap and being amazed at how much better the horn felt.

    Over the years, it did stretch out, and I found myself having to tighten it all the way in order to get it to the right height. It was such a slow change, though, that it didn’t occur to be to try anything else.

    After forgetting my Neotech one time, I tried a friend’s Oleg — a style I didn’t like at all when I was just starting — keep in mind I was in middle school, smaller, and less strong.

    Now the Neotech doesn’t see the light of day — I find the elastic quality to actually put more strain on my neck (because it pulls at different forces depending on the position of the horn) than the Oleg, which is consistent in tension and distributes the weight more evenly. I find myself easily doing longer practice sessions and not having shoulder and neck strain issues after long gigs.

    • Yeah, I agree about the Neotech, I’m constantly having to pull mine up every few minutes since it keeps moving downwards on its own. Granted, mine is ancient, but I’d like to try out the other ones suggested here and see if I can’t do better.

      • David Smith says:

        How do these straps with the Cebulla.

        • Zach says:

          The Cebulla strap looks like a great strap. It reminds me of the RW leather neck strap and the oleg but with more attention to the neck. I currently use the RW leather neck-strap which was made in Germany which is where the cebulla neck strap is made as well. If I could get my hands on one, I would love to try the cebulla out and see how it compares.

          • David Smith says:

            I now have both the RW and cebulla and
            they are a lot a like;the RW fully padded
            and the cebulla with a little more padding but recessed in the middle I
            seem to like them both equally and both are over priced,but you pay for what you
            get.The cebulla is on ebay for $69 but
            you can offer less.Item number
            180775159831 from sword5ish87.

  3. Bill Plake says:

    I’m in complete agreement about the problem with the Neotech strap. The biggest complaint from some players is that it just doesn’t feel stable (and in fact it’s not). To get the optimum contact relationship between the hands and instrument, you need something to “push back at you”. The continuous movement of the instrument because of the changes in the tension of the strap don’t really support that need very well. And their claim that it relieves the pressure on the neck by making the instrument lighter is just physical science fiction. The elastic strap bottoms out and the full weight of the instrument goes right into the neck.

    I myself stopped using neck straps years ago in favor of a harness. For sure, many saxophonists don’t like harnesses, and I can understand why (ironically, lack of mobility being the main complaint). I’ve modified mine to allow for more mobility with the instrument (again, so I can sense the opposition between my hands and the instrument). I’ve yet to try the Oleg strap, but from the looks of it, it seems the best design of the bunch.

    • Thanks Bill! Yeah, this comparison was a bit of a wake up call for me, as I’ve been using the Neotech for years without giving it a second thought. I’ll definitely want to be trying the others out ASAP!

  4. Jason The Obscure says:

    Nice review of good stuff. I have been using the Oleg, and like it so much I’ve got two (just in case) one gets lost. The feature that Zack did not mention (there are two versions of the Oleg Ergonomic Strap) is that one version comes with snapoff/snapon back straps that drop down your back and clip on your belt.

    Why is that good?

    For heavy horns and long playing times, the staps do a neat job of transferring the weight load onto the shoulders. Pop off the back straps and you have what Zach pictures here in his review. I rarely use the back straps because the Oleg is soooo comfortable.

    I didn’t know about the Roberto/Kolbl strap until Zach reviewed it here (thanks Zack). So I’ve greatfully bookmarked it for future reference, but my Olegs will probably happily outlive me.

    • Hmm, that Oleg sounds tempting. I definitely need a new strap, and if I end up getting the E-Sax mute that I’m thinking about picking up, I’m going to need something with a ton of support.

      Thanks for chiming in Jason!

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  6. Jimu Grimmett says:

    RE Neo Tec Straps

    I have used them for over ten years and find them comfortable. Lately started only using a strap when performing.
    I do all my practice resting my Alto or Soprano on a stool in front of me while seated, without wearing a strap at all!
    This allows no weight on the hands, arms or neck.

    If your having neck problems I suggest you at least try this for a while
    Ciao
    Jimu

    • Yes, I understand that Joe Henderson used to do a lot of playing with his neck strap off. Sounds pretty challenging, but I could see there being some benefits. Thanks for chiming in Jimu!

  7. I used a DeJacques strap for about ten years, which I really liked. Eventually I had to replace the hook with something more simple, but this worked fine for quite a while. Recently, the material that goes around the neck started to get pretty worn down, and I decided it was time for something new. I went on eBay and found some very good looking leather straps coming out of China for less than $20 and purchased one. The strap lasted me two hours before breaking – fortunately, I caught my tenor before it dropped. A valuable lesson learned…. Go with a trusted name when it comes to hanging your saxophone around your neck, and don’t skimp. A good strap is worth every penny!

    • Wow, so glad that the tenor didn’t hit the floor, it may have never been the same again! I agree, the neckstrap is not one of those things you skimp on, since it not only keeps the horn from plunging to an untimely demise, but it really affects your health and your playing as well.

      Thanks Sam!

  8. I just had Mike Manning make me a neck strap. I love it. It’s handmade, and you can’t beat the quality. The hook is very heavy duty, and despite my skepticism, the choice of hook (he offers a few options) does actually affect the sound. I can’t recommend this strap enough!!

  9. Larry Weintraub says:

    I used the Neo tech when I played bari in the Navy. It helped. I used it on tenor in marching band because the strap would give and if I stepped in a pot hole I didn’t destroy my mouth. However for regular playing on tenor and alto I love the old standby, the Ray Hyman strap that used to come with the Selmer Mk VI. On tenor I am on my 2nd one since 1974. They last. On alto I have one of the old white ones that must have been made in the 40′s or 50′s. Again it last. For the new straps being made I like the Rico neckstrap. It holds the horn really well.

    • I have a Neotech, but it keeps loosening constantly. I have a Rico one that I haven’t used yet, I’ll give it a try. Thanks Larry!

      • Larry Weintraub says:

        The Rico has a nice hook that really holds your horn good. Maybe to good. If you are playing a show and have to make a fast horn change you might get hung up. I actually like the good ole’ Ray Hyman neck strap the best for tenor and alto. But the Rico is good too.

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