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:
- BG Yoke Saxophone Strap,
- Neotech Classic Strap
- RW Leather Neck Strap [Sorry(!), but this web page has disappeared since the original publication of this article]
- Oleg Ergonomic Sax Strap.
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.
Comfort: 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.
Comfort: 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 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.
Comfort: 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.
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.