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Choosing A Saxophone Sling

11th July 2022

To play their instrument comfortably, saxophonists use a sling or harness. When it comes to choosing a saxophone sling, how can you know which is the best for you? We sell a range of Saxophone slings and harnesses – lets look at the selection and help you decide which you need!

Why does the saxophone need a sling?

Simply put, the weight and ergonomics wouldn’t be friendly on your hands and wrists if you played without one. The 2.2kg to 3kg an alto sax weighs doesn’t sound like much, but without a suitable strap this weight is all on the right hand thumb! Such a weight on the thumb restricts motion of the rest of the hand. It can also lead to serious, lasting damage to the hand and wrist.

Playing the saxophone with a sling or harness takes the majority of the weight off the player’s hands. This means there’s an improved range of motion, which by extension allows for greater dexterity and speed whilst playing. Choosing a saxophone sling to suit your body shape and preferences will help you avoid potential injury.

Types of slings & harnesses

A sling, also referred to as a strap, goes around the neck of the player. They have an adjuster allowing the player to lengthen or shorten the sling to suit their height and sax model. Slings are the most popular option as they come in a range of styles to suit all budgets and preferences, as well as being the easiest to use.

The most popular sling we sell is the BG Deluxe, pairing a simple design with comfort, thanks to the soft cotton neck pad. Some people will opt for a sling with a wider neck pad, like the Neotech Soft Sax Sling. A wider neck strap is less likely to ‘dig in’, which can cause discomfort. It also distributes the weight of the instrument more evenly across the neck. You can even combine function with style! We have plenty of high end, ‘luxury’ slings available, such as the MySmoothMoose in brown elk leather.

Harnesses are suitable for new or smaller players adjusting to the weight of the instrument, and for those who find neck straps uncomfortable. They’re also great for baritone players, who have a much weightier instrument to contend with! Rather than distributing the weight of the instrument on the neck, harnesses spread the weight across the shoulders and back. BG produces harnesses to fit men, women and children of all sizes to ensure a comfortable playing experience for all!

Shoulder straps bridge the gap between sling and harness, like Neotech’s Neo Sling, which spreads the instrument’s weight over one shoulder and across the back. The Sax Holder has proven particularly popular with tenor and bari players. With fully adjustable shoulder brace and abdomen support, it holds the weight of the instrument slightly away from the body and entirely off the neck.

How do I go about choosing a saxophone sling?

A neck sling is suitable for the majority of players in most situations, just be sure to find one that’s comfortable and the correct length for your height. If the instrument’s weight is an issue, then you may want to explore using a harness.

Book an appointment in one of our testing rooms to try a few options if you’re still not sure which you need! Our team can help you pick what’s best for your body and instrument. We also offer 14 day approval on most accessories, so you can use your new sling in lessons, rehearsals and at home to see if you want to stick with it.