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Does Your Neck Strap Contain Hidden Power to Improve Your Sound?

Rico and Neotech Saxophone NeckstrapsLast week, as I was about to begin a practice session, I saw that I had a few brand new plain-and-simple neck straps that were sent to me by the kind folks at Rico. Burnt out on my old and sagging Neotech strap, I decided to give the Rico strap a try.

First thing I noticed when I started playing was that the horn was now being held in place quite firmly, since this strap doesn’t allow for the natural bounce that the largely elastic Neotech does. So I found it more difficult to hold the mouthpiece in place with my embouchure. But I got used to that pretty quickly, so not too big a deal.

The Hypothesis

Now I remember reading an article a few months back on David Valdez’s site, Casa Valdez where he and one of his students (who happens to be an engineer) tested out hypothesis that the neck strap hook actually affected the sound coming out of the horn, with metal or brass hooks resulting in a brighter sound than their plastic counterparts. According to electronic sound analysis, there was indeed a difference, and the hypothesis was proven to be correct. (You can read that article here, fascinating stuff.)

My Reality

Well, as soon as I put my Neotech strap on, as the Casa Valdez article suggested, I could instantly tell that the sound was indeed much darker and less focused. Besides the metal hook vibrating more resonantly with the brass on the horn, the thin, string-like makeup of the actual strap surely sucked up less sound than the thicker Neotech strap, so this all made perfect sense.

The next thought was that I had to share this on this site. I mean, what a great way to brighten – or darken one’s tone! So I proceeded to hook a mic up to my computer and record myself playing on each strap. The results were actually quite surprising.

Neotech and Rico Neck Strap Hooks

While the Rico strap sounded and felt brighter and more focused to me, it really didn’t sound noticeably different than the Neotech on the recording. And I have to admit, I was sort of bummed. There went my hypothesis.

That said, since I am partial to a brighter and more focused sound, I’ll probably stick with the Rico or another strap with a metal hook, since the affect alone will probably make playing more enjoyable to me.

In fact, it’s my belief that the gear we play on doesn’t affect our sound nearly as much as we think it does.  To the average listener, we are basically going to sound like us no matter what we play on – even if the difference seems to be night and day to our ears.

Check out these samples of each strap and see if you can hear a noticeable difference:

Neotech Strap (plastic hook)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Rico Strap (metal hook)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Moral of the Story

Of course, this is not the most scientific experiment. I wouldn’t be surprised if the metal hook had a bit more mass to it, the metallic vibrations may have been substantial enough to make a noticeable difference. But in my case, I have to settle for the illusion that I’m sound brighter and more focused – which is not the ultimate goal I was looking for. But, I believe it works to my benefit just as well, since feeling as though I sound better is incredibly important for enjoying a sense of musical freedom and power.

So I encourage you, try out a few neck straps with hooks made of differing material, and leave a comment to let me know whether or not you, or anyone else, actually hears a difference in your playing….

…or just leave me a comment and let me know whether you hear a difference in my playing from the sound samples above.

Category: Best of the Blog, Best Saxophone Tips and Techniques

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About the Author

I've been playing the sax since the late 80's, but my musical journey has run quite the gamut. The musical rap sheet includes tours with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and reggae master Half Pint, center stage at the L.A. Music Center, cozy cafes, raucous night clubs, gear-drenched studios, and the pinnacle of any musician's career - playing weddings in New Jersey! (duh). There's a lot of other stuff too, but you should be reading these blog posts and leaving comments instead. Now off you go!

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Comments (55)

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  1. To my ear, you sound a little “brighter” with the Neotech, although what “brightness” sounds like is notoriously difficult for people to agree upon. I don’t hear a difference in “focus.”

    I’m on record as being a skeptic about things like neckstraps (or even instrument finishes) having any audible acoustical effect. My biggest gripe with David’s test and with yours is that they are not double-blind.

    However, I do come to the same conclusion that you do: if a certain neckstrap makes you feel better in some way, then you will probably play better. I think the effects are real, but they are an indirect, psychological phenomenon rather than a direct, acoustical one. If a neckstrap “feels” right, that’s good enough for me.

    • Hey Bret, sorry that you’re only seeing the comment now, it got held in my site’s comment spam filter and I just now noticed it! I think that putting the hyperlink in the comment is what triggered it (even though it, of course, wasn’t a spammy hyperlink).

      In terms of the double blind approach, I assume that you mean I should have only offered the audio and waited to get people’s guesses in the comments?

      As for the player trying the straps, you obviously can’t double blind them, since they are going to very quickly know which strap they’re playing (even if you had 2 identical straps with the only difference being the hook). Plus, for me, the perceived sound change was massive, so no blinding needed there.

      Anyhow, I do agree that double blind testing is generally the best way to go with these things. Maybe if I have both samples and set up the page so that people had to click a popup link to see the answer, that would have been ideal.

      But yes, *feeling* better usually leads to *playing* better.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Ericdano says:

    Though, to do the test “properly” you should have done it with a brass or bare metal hook. A plastic covered metal hook isn’t going to allow unfettered vibrations to pass through like a bare metal one would. I think that is what Dave tested and found to make a difference.

    And the strap they tested, joes strap, hands down is the most comfortable strap ever regardless if the brass hook does anything or not.

    • That’s sort of what I was getting at when I mentioned that a bigger metal hook could have made more of an impact on the sound, but you’re totally right. I gotta try one of those Joe’s straps, sounds like those are the ones to check out.

      Thanks Eric!

  3. Tim OBrien says:

    Might also have to do with your ‘confidence’ in feeling that you’ve got a more secure attachment to the horn.

    I personally have to use a Neotech shoulder harness due to neck damage I have from spinal arthritis. If I had to go to a standard neck strap I probably wouldn’t be able to play any more. And I could see that going to a more secure metal hook could make me feel more confident (I never did like trusting an expensive horn to a cheap plastic hook…)

    • ericdano says:

      That is true, but if you think about it it makes sense. When you play, the whole horn vibrates. A plastic hook is like an anchor. A dead spot. Even a plastic covered metal hook. It’s an anchor.

      A metal hook. Less of an anchor, depending on the metal.

      I think it would be interesting to conduct the test David did and include one where there is NO neckstrap attached to the instrument.

    • Hello Tim,

      Maybe you can find a strap that’s soft and supportive but with a metal hook, perhaps the Joe’s strap would do the trick (?).

      Thanks!

      Doron

  4. It’s interessting that on your side of the ocean many people think that material doesn’t matter. I had “big fights” about that on SOTW.
    There are people who say, the physics say, that it can’t matter. But they are interpreting their physics wrong.

    The saxophone vibrates in resonance with the air column. It’s just the air column that produces the sound. But the system saxophone has an backwards influnce on the air column.
    So everything that dampens the vibrations of the horn “steals energy” from the system.
    So everything that changes the Eigenfequences of the saxophone CAN has an effect on the sound. It doesn’t mean, that everything is hearable.
    But this explains why material, finish and the mechanic has an influence.

    Now the weight of the sax is hanging on this hook, so of course it interferes with the eigenfrequence.
    But in my experiences they are not that big.
    There are a lot of “resonance weights” which can alter the sound a bit but in the end this are just toys. None of them really improves YOUR SOUND. None in the audience will hear if you play a metal thumphook oder one of plastic, but for a pro player himseld this small difference.

    But there is a practical reason for plastic hooks. Metal hook will wear of the ring where it hooked in.

    Oh, and with those recordings there are always two problems. When you play, you get much more feedback from the sax than just the recorded sound. The Solidboresound is far a player also very important.
    And depending on the mic, how you convert the file and with which boxes or headphones you hear those soundfiles you are always loosing something. And we are talking about small and fine accoustics here.

    • Hello Tobias,

      As for the recording, as you may have guessed, my recording setup is quite low-end, using my clip-on live performance-oriented mic, although the mp3 is compressed at a pretty high level (192).

      The point is, the difference I was looking for was big enough to where a loss in audio accuracy would have still allowed a difference to come through between the two sounds. Even with a proper recording setup, my guess is that the difference would have been little to none.

      Thanks!

      Doron

    • TenorMoxie says:

      The point about ring wear is well taken. It is important that the hook is brass and not steel, since brass is softer than steel. A larger hook will have more contact and put less pressure on the ring.

    • 1saxman says:

      Tobias is right about ring wear – a steel hook will eventually eat it’s way through the ring, which is why I only use the plastic hooks now. A plastic-coated steel hook might be okay but keep your eye on it and stop using it if the plastic wears and exposes the steel.

  5. Hey Everyone,

    If anyone is interested in trying out a neckstrap that will cause the horn to resonate a bit more, check out manning custom woodwinds.

    http://www.manningcustom.com/index.html#/SOLUTIONS-03-04/

  6. Barami says:

    I know many people that believe in the metal strap hook.

    I heard Jeff Coffin speaking once about another aspect of this issue. His feeling was that having a large piece of material around his neck was dampening his sound (stealing energy) and thus using a harness opened up his sound and allowed it to vibrate much more.

    Of course these kinds of things are generally not noticeable to the audience (other than how funny you look in your harness). But if they make a musician more comfortable and happier with their sound that will benefit the overall performance. Hopefully that is noticeable to the audience!

    • Hello Barami,

      I might think that the harness could deaden the sound as well since there’s a good amount of material there, but I’ve never played one, so I’ll have to take Jeff’s word for it. Maybe it’s the fact that there is no thick neck pad. I also know that the harnesses provide excellent support as well, so that’s a double bonus (to make up for the “cool” factor that’s sacrificed).

      Thanks!

      Doron

  7. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron:

    I can’t tell a difference in your sound with either strap. However you seem to be more comfortable in your playing wth the Rico neck strap. It does hold the horn secure.

    As I mentioned earlier I used the Neo Tech when I was in the Navy Band and we were marching/playing on an uneven surface like a field. That way if I did step in a pot hole the horn/strap would give a little and I wouldn’t get hurt.

    I do like the Rioc strap but I really like the good ole Ray Hyman neck strap the best. The material seems to last a long time. Since 1974 I have gone through only 2 Ray Hyman neck straps. I even have an old white one for my alto that must have been made in the 40’s or 50’s.

    The 1 downfall for the Rico strap is the hook is a little hard to get unhooked or hooked quickly. So if you have to make a fast horn switch going from sax to clarinet while playing a show it might not be the best choice to use.

    Take care,

    Larry

    • Hello Larry,

      Yeah, I remember you in the past bringing up that point about make rapid instrument changes, and it’s a good one.

      I still have a few other straps I want to try, but the whole point here was to share how much the strap affected my *perception* of my sound, and that given the right strap, could possibly actually affect an outsider’s perception of my sound (although I doubt that even the most extreme variations would be terribly noticeable).

      Thanks!

      Doron

      • Larry Weintraub says:

        Doron:

        Tonight when I practiced I tried both my Rico neck strap (which btw was gift from Rico) and my Ray Hyman neck strap. My Hyman neck strap is metal where the neck strap slides and adjusts but the hook is white plastic. I could not hear any difference in the sound between the 2 neck straps.

        Certain neck straps are maybe more comfortable than others to some people so they may think they sound better because maybe it holds the horn better. For the most part I think this is all in your heads. Record yourself as Doron did using the same reed, same mpc, same lig but different neck strap. I could not tell 1 bit of difference between Doron playing the Rico or Neo Tech neck strap.

        There are bigger issues to tackle like how to get better gigs playing Jazz and why Real Jazz is held in such low esteem by the majority of Americans. Then we have the dumbing down and cutting of music from school programs.

        • I actually don’t think that it was the comfort of the strap that made me feel better, but I think that it was the way the sound was resonating in my skull that made me feel as though the Rico was allowing for more resonance and focus. That said, the Neotech probably is a bit more comfortable, although mine is totally worn out and overly elastic at this point.

          Also, I mentioned your name in my latest newsletter, so thanks for the great tip/insight about making fast instrument changes! eepurl.com/nw-kf

          • Larry Weintraub says:

            Doron:

            Thank you, that was nice of you to mention me. Fyi – I do play pro and as you know I am retired from the Navy Band in Norfolk, VA.

            Re: doubling. I actually started on clarinet, then went to alto, then tenor. Later on I also played bari and bass clarinet. I played all those horns in the service bands at 1 time or another.

            I can tell your readers this and you were correct in your comment. If you are going to play pro you should learn to play clar and flute besides the saxophone. I have played in the pit orch as a pro paid performer and except for a few rare cases I have played tenor and clarinet on every show. Even playing in back up bands for groups like the Four Tops and others I have had to play clarinet along with tenor. Also as you mentioned some big band charts both older and more contemporary call for doubling.

            Here is the way it usually breaks down. 1st alto, piccolo, flute and maybe some clarinet. 2nd alto, flute and some clarinet. 1st & 2nd tenors, clarinet and maybe some flute. Bari, bass clarinet, maybe some regular clarinet and maybe some flute.

            As a guy who plays tenor sax I have been able to get away with just playing clarinet as my double. A lot of the older shows have divided woodwind parts where the top stave is flute and the bottom stave is clarinet. You pick what you want to play.

            In my jazz combo I do play some clarinet on some tunes to break up the sound of the group some. This is especially true on some of the swing and dixie tunes.

            Well I hope this helps your readers out. Btw it used to be a requirement in the Navy Music Program that sax players had to double on either clar or flute. Also Clar and flute majors had to double on sax. SInce I’ve been retired they have done away with that requirement. However it is still a good idea to at least learn 1 other woodwind.

            See ya,

            Larry W

          • Thanks for sharing that Larry, I agree, doubling has many upsides for pros, although I personally can’t stand playing flute or clarinet – or I’m too lazy…

  8. Jake Jacobsen says:

    I’ve never looked at the strap thing in such a technical way, however I really enjoyed using a harness strap until I tried the Rico strap. I got the support that I enjoyed from the harness and I thought it actually made the sound brighter and free.

    • Wow, most people prefer the comfort of the harness and don’t mind sacrificing that “cool” factor. :-) But if the Rico works for you, then that’s awesome. Now you can look AND sound cool while you’re playing.

      Thanks!

    • David Pick II says:

      This year I switched from a neotech neck strap to a harness for my tenor. Now I have issues using the neck strap because I’m not used to the weight on my neck. I don’t know if there is a sound difference but I definitely prefer the harness for the comfort. It also seems to sit better. But I have not actually tried any neck straps other than the neotechs.

      This spring Bob Sheppard was in my hometown for the University’s Jazz festival. He uses a strap/harness system he personally designed. It acts in a way similar to a harness because it goes over your shoulders, but it has a single clip that attaches to your belt loops, it looked even more efficient than the harness.

  9. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron: One last comment before I go teach. People shold check out http://www.sallozano.com, http://www.danhiggins.net and do a Google search for guys like Gene “Cip” Ciprano, and Terry Harrington (the bari sax of Liza Simpson) among others. All these guys are Hollywood Studio cats. The greatest players you never heard of. I believe Dan and Sal are in the band on “Dancing With The Stars”. They are all incredible players. Do a You Tube search on Dan, there are videos of him playing clarinet, alto flute and C-melody sax. He was the lead alto in the NTS or UNT One ‘O Clock Band back in the 70’s. All these guys play great jazz and double. Sal’s sight has a lot of good advice.

    Well that’s it see ya later.

    Larry W

  10. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron:

    That’s because you probably didn’t start w/clar or flute. It is much harder to go from sax to clar than the other way around. Of those guys I mentioned only Sal Lozano didn’t start w/clar. Even though he plays it okay you can really hear a difference between him and Dan Higgins and Cip Ciprano. Basically from your position you would just need to get with a really good teacher and tough it out.

    Larry W

    • Yeah, I know. I actually had a great teacher when I was in college and home for the summer – Vince Trombetta, who taught Brecker back in Philly. Vince was awesome, but man, did I hate that clarinet. In fact, doubling was one of the biggest downsides I saw to becoming a full-time pro.

      • Larry Weintraub says:

        Doron:

        Wow Vince is famous as a teacher man.You were so lucky. Well if you don’t like clarinet than learn flute and play alto on big band and shows. for clarinet, you just have to embrace it man, be one with the clarinet. It is different than sax, it is much less forgiving of a lot of things.

        Of course you can do combo and rock/funk band stuff & just play tenor. Look at Eric Alexander he said he started on clar but put it away a long time ago. He only plays tenor on gigs. As does Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen and a host of others. Michael Brecker did start on clar but he switched over to alto & then tenor and never looked back. For a while he played flute as a double on studio dates in NYC.

        It’s up to you and what you want to do. As for me because midi’s and synth have basically replaced horns in shows & backup bands I practice mostly tenor and do a lot of practice with jazz improv skills. I do keep my clar chops up enough to play jazz clar on my gigs. Because of the lack of show work etc these days I really don’t keep it as honed as I used to.

        In the Navy I played a LOT of Clar. I also played the saxes and bass clar quite a bit. But for concert band I was always on clar because I could play it. In ceremonial band it ended up being about a 60-40% split between clar and tenor. They just need people to play those dog gone hard clar parts for concert band.

        Tommy Newsom told me the trick is to play your doubles so well that no one can tell which instrument is really your major instrument. Btw even though he played lead alto on the Johnny Carson Show he considered himself a tenor player and played it really well. I’ve heard him play tenor live in Norfolk. He also played clar and flute really well, at a very high level. He is from the Norfolk area originally and came back here sometime in the 80’s. I actually took a consultation lesson from him in ’99 and I got to know him a bit. He was really a humble guy and a Great Player/Writer.

        See ya later Doron.

      • David Pick II says:

        I actually enjoyed learning clarinet, even though my tenor is still my favorite. My first inspiration for clarinet was actually the clarinet solo in the cantina band song from star wars. Also, this year in Jazz band we played Sunset and Mockingbird (From Duke Ellington’s Queen Suite), and I really enjoyed the clarinet soloing. It’s definitely a song to check out

  11. mrG says:

    I won’t question David’s results, but something I would just like to throw out here because it may be relevant is this: one should never discount psychological effects.

    Ultimately, everything is psychological. We do not hear with our ears or see with our eyes, we hear and see within a richly detailed map of reality projected in a dream inside our brains, synchronized only a few hundred times a second with imperfect data acquired from not just our ears and eyes, but with our whole body, and that data filtered through our expectations and history.

    So, for example, when they tested the confidence-level of people doing what they do, but did so with the people wearing either name-brand clothes or visually identical knock-offs, even knowing that this was an experiment, they found that the knowledge of wearing not-the-real-thing actually did undermine the confidence and thus the performance of the wearer. I’m sure there was more to that story than this, but the upshot is how our pre-perceptions based on what we believe we know can greatly affect outcomes, and thus, if there’s a strap that makes you comfortable, that gives YOU the experience you find ‘better’ than the other straps, then that is very likely to show in your playing, in your sound, articulation, creativity, everything. Playing on a cheap plastic no-name strap vs playing on something exotic becomes knowledge that will come to bear on your sound, for better or worse (a punk-jazz group may find their angst is enhanced by the cheap strap ;)

    On top of this, people’s perceptions are far more deep than our philosophies imagine. We cannot simply record a sound from each horn and play them back and decidem, because the transducers and transport has already altered the sound, and the perception will vary from person to person. To be scientific, we’d need a player who doesn’t know which strap they are using (which isn’t practical so we’ll have to overlook this one) and a significant-sized audience to account for personal variation.

    I propose we use the Lincoln Centre, we fly a bunch of you out there and put you up in the Marriott, and we hold a series of concerts so as to account for day-of-week effects, and we finance this critical experiment with National Science Foundation grants. Who’s with me on this. All in the name of Science, of course!

    • I totally agree with that. Maybe if they made 2 identical straps, one with a metal hook and one with a plastic hook and somehow found a way for players to not know which one they were playing on, it would be possible to get some more accurate results.

      Otherwise – Marriott?! I would never slum it like that! Either I stay at the Waldorf or this little trip of yours, Gary, is a no-go! ;)

    • TenorMoxie says:

      You can get the same effect by rigging the shoulder strap from a Pro-Tec case, with the big steel snap hooks, as a neck strap. It’s clunky. It’s ugly. It’s cheap. But the effect is definitely there. There is no psychological enhancement from using such a setup.

      So what exactly is *the effect*? I would describe it as lending the sound a more “solid” quality. The frequency response graphics on Casa Valdez are pretty interesting. They seem to indicate that the effect is due to certain frequencies being suppressed in addition to others being enhanced.

      The difference between plastic and metal hooks can be minimized by the player dulling their sound. So, as has been emphasized repeatedly, the player is the most important element in all of this. If the player doesn’t put the oomph into the horn to find the effect, it ain’t gonna happen.

      Explaining just how the metal hook makes a difference might be a topic for a Doctoral dissertation.

  12. mrG says:

    aw, c’mon, these are hard economic times, man, you have to cut them some slack. What about Mandarin Oriental then, it’s just around the corner from the Lincoln Center, so we’d economize on the limo fares.

  13. mrG says:

    any hotel that has a room named for Lester Young is quite alright in my book.

  14. mrG says:

    I’m on hold with the NSF right now. They’re gonna dig this idea, I just know it. Oh, yeah, and I kinda muffled your name when reception answered, and they said, “Oh, DOCTOR Orenstein” and I said, “whatevah” and that’s when they put me on hold. Geez is it nearly midnight already?

  15. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron:

    Okay guys not to make you jealous or anything but the govt put up both my Navy Band from Norfolk and the Wash DC Navy Band at the Waldorf Astoria during Fleet Week in 2000.

    They must have gotten some “great rates” or maybe they were trying to “help out” the Waldorf. Anyway it was real nice but they had us 2 to a room that was kind of small.

    We found a really nice and inexpensive cafe’ down the street. The food was really good and it beat the prices at the Waldorf. BUT they had really good drinks in the bar at the 2 for 1 price.

    Well you know it’s a tough job but somebody had to do it. Oh yeah the F Train was out the door to the left, all we had to do was show our Military ID Card and we rode for Free!! I took that train all over town.

    See ya later guys,

    Larry W

    • Larry Livin’ Large! I would imagine that the accommodations there were almost as nice as what you no doubt enjoyed during basic training.

      • Larry Weintraub says:

        Doron:

        Surely you jest. The Waldorf was about 2 steps better than the barracks at basic, ha, ha!! Actually except for the size of the rooms it was pretty good.

        They have Cole Porter’s piano in the ballroom and no one is allowed to touch it.

        Well take care and enjoy NYC if you do go.

        Larry W

  16. TenorMoxie says:

    David Valdez emphasized that the effect was pronounced with a large brass hook, which the Rico strap hook is not.

    The Just Joe’s strap is incredibly comfortable, with great adjustment characteristics. As an added perk, Joe threw in a “Jazz at Joe’s” CD. Bend, OR, home of great skiing, scenery, beer, and neckstraps.

    If you want to try some more weird science with your horn, blow some long tones as a friend holds the bell tube in a strangler’s grip, gradually increasing the pressure.

    • Very true about the Rico strap. My Neotech was getting too stretchy, but I liked the “shock absorber” type of effect it had, kinda made life easier technique-wise. I really do need to try this Joe strap. Thanks!

  17. Dusan says:

    Hi from Prague.. I have a comment about it. I have a very old tenor saxophone. Neck facing is down, not as new horns. When players have played 70 years ago in bands, they sat still. But when I play, I stand many times. I need to give my horn from my body further. But at the appropriate angle to the lips. I do not play to the right side, but ahead. When I’m pushing away the saxophone, it revolves around the CENTER-POINT of rotation. (around the ring) Mouthpiece goes down to my lips, unfortunately. Not vertically. If you have no cord, my sense from the position of the saxophone is the best. My arms are not up. The ring is very worn. Its thickness is small. I have to change it. I think to change the position of the ring. What do you think about it?

  18. harold pizer says:

    hi doron, I wonder if you can put on your tech geek hat for a minute and help me with a couple of questions? 1) What do you think is the best combination tuner/metronome to buy, or do you think a tuner and metronome should be separate items, and 2) What basic equipment would I need to have to record myself ( video as well as audio) in order to put myself on youtube? I notice that a lot of people use something called a flip video recorder, but how would that be connected to a computer to load on to the internet–you tube? Thanks in advance for your help Doron, and if any of your readers have suggestions for me I would appreciate their input as well.

    • Hello Harold,

      I actually use a free metronome (Mobile Metronone) as well as a few tuner app (DaTuner Lite) on my Android phone. They both seem to work great. I’m sure that there are great iPhone apps as well. Otherwise, I unfortunately don’t have much to offer than to say go to Amazon.com and try whatever has the best reviews.

      As for video recording, I do use a flip cam which can plug directly into my computer via USB, and then I edit the video using the free iMovie software that came bundled with my Mac. iMovie actually lets you edit a movie and then upload it directly to YouTube.

      I hope all of that helps!

      Doron

  19. mrG says:

    If I can chime in here on this, I recently bought a Kodak “YouTube” camera that sells on Amazon for about $85 and while it was a bit dissappointing on my first HD trials (shot indoors from the balcony of one of our youth orch concerts, very fuzzy, although decent sound) it is proving very useful for making the VGA-mode (ie youtube HD) videos, reasonably good sound, and best of all, very robust and portable. For the price, I’m pretty happy with it.

    I think for serious work, beyond tutorials or live clips, you might want to use something like an H2 Zoom recorder and then redub the sound over the video from the kodak; that’s a pretty decent set up for under $200, and if you use opensource video software like Kino or OpenShot, you can be your own podcaster for very little money.

    For metronomes and tuners, I’m of the mind that the best are those you actually have with you, and so I’m finding the only versions of both that I use anymore are the cellphone apps of which there are many.

  20. james frankie [alto sax] says:

    best site , yes, ever :frankie sp

  21. james frankie [alto sax] says:

    i wear bg harness; less attractive but far more comfortable. practice longer hours. Neck freedom. cost more money.

    • Yeah, those harnesses provide a lot of support. My friend and Bulletproof Saxophone Playing contributor Bill Plake, who’s an expert in the realm of physical positioning of the body and reduction in tension uses a harness as well.

  22. james frankie [alto sax] says:

    I always kept/keep a BG harness and BG padded neck strap. I used them interchangeably. But I wanted to used the harness most, only when I started producing notes across a 4 octave range [V16 A7M).I keep a good hollow in my throat/vocal cavity, and I am a diaphragmatic/torso player.I get on better in upper 2 octaves with absolutely nothing offending my throat (like outer neck tension from a strap or tight shirt collar). Or anything that bends the neck down; which squashes the hollow. The hollow creates the resonance [res chamber, like a double bass box]. And a diaphragm and chest cavity is the other chamber, which is compromised by a stuffed gut, especially of/in gluttons. Good athletics and feeding habits enhance upper 2 octaves. The next chamber, more familiar,is the mouth cavity, then the bone nasal chambers. Neck strap also compromises my double and tri tongueing; as i want a high vel air stream through that neck hollow and buccal hollow, and a free and agile tongue to lick/flick that airstream, the diaphragm being like an old pipe organ pump. The sensation and awareness of the neckstrap can unfocus me:subtle things are needed higher up , until you are a real grounded expert. I am amateur. Two straps over the shoulder,as with harness, divides the weight/pressure of the sax by 2; like 16 wheels divide that weight of a super truck by 16. [james frankie, BSc Theoretical & Mathematical Physics].
    The upper notes are better, being produced by coaxing, rather than by brute force and bullying or biting hard.
    I, a sax-site fanatic, like this site best,and it`s the one I forward to my friends : it gives the right medicines for ailments, not placebos. The author has the gift[or some Divine passion], of diagnosing the patients at/on sight. James Frankie [alto sax, organ, pedagogy]

    • You bring up some very interesting points, James, it’s clear that you’ve put some study and some thought into these things!

      And thanks for the very kind words about that site, I really appreciate you forwarding it to your friends, and I hope that the site continues to be useful to you! :-)

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