Antigua Winds
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1

    Default Jaw pain strap recommendations


    I am looking for a different strap on the advice of my physiotherapist.

    I have pain in my temporomandibullar joint (jaw hinge). It suddenly came on when stressed earlier this year. I am seeing a physio and it is gradually reducing in every day life. However, it is still really bad when playing saxophone and starts after a few notes.

    On seeing me with my sax, she has recommended doing something different strap-wise as I am currently tilting my head up and forward (ie jaw forward, forehead back). I have a plain strap with some padding I sewed on about 10 years ago. I have tried a Neotech too but that is no better. Obviously I am working on correct starting posture and not pulling the sax up too high.

    Today, I have picked up a RedStrap ATBL harness (I am playing alto) and a BG yoke strap. I have previously tried a different harness but it kept the alto awkwardly close to my body.

    The RedStrap feels different but a bit odd so not sure. Also it pulls across my chest (I'm female). The yoke doesn't seem any different to a normal strap. Jaw pain comes in just as quickly as normal but haven't tested for long enough to see if it is slightly better and might improve long term.

    I have see lots of recommendations for the Cebulla strap so am considering getting this.

    Does anyone have any recommendation for what to get/try/do? It is impossible to play sax for more than 5 minutes straight and I need it sorted.

    General suggestions not related to the strap would also be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much,


  2. #2

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    You might like to consider the SaxHolder. In my humble opinion, the Cebulla neck strap is a beautifully made product with a thoughtful refinement but it's still a neck strap. The full weight of the sax is still on the area around the neck. The SaxHolder distributes the weight away from the neck.

  3. #3
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sunny Southampton, UK

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    The Cebulla is a wonderful strap, but I also use a Saxholder, mainly for baritone and bass as it makes them feel so light. The Saxholder is especially good alternative to a harness for ladies as there are none of the usual harness problems in the chest area.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    Good straps you could try are:
    For the neck:
    Just Joe's gel strap - one of the best straps out there
    Cebulla - also very good but some have problems with the big cushioning, i like it

    no pressure on the neck:
    Freeneck - slighlty unknown in the US but the best i know for baritone, no pressure on your neck at all

    in general:
    You seem to play the sax at an awkward angle (Never try to do it like Sanborn, that really isn't good what he is doing on some pictures). When you play, the back of your neck should be more of a straight line , no bend/buckle anywhere on your neck. Your head should be in a position like when you would walk on the street, the jaw less than 90 degree down (angle between the neck and jaw) but not pressed on your larynx. Walking on a street you would not push your chin in the air because you would have to look in some distance to the ground in order to see where you are going and to prevent yourself from falling into a hole or stepping on something. The same goes for the sax. If you imagine your neck as a straight line your jaw shouldn't have an angle of 90 degrees or higher it should be less than 90. You will feel that the higher the angle of your jaw the stronger the pressure, tension and bend at your neck will be. Let the physio check on you for some time whether you proceed with holding the right position with the saxophone.

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Belle Harbor-Greenwich, CT and Grindelwald Switzerland

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    If you are having TMJ problems the first place to go is your dentist, if he does not see an obvious cause he will send you to a maxillofacial surgeon to correct any jaw imbalance. I doubt if any neck strap would correct anything if you really have TMJ.

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member Captain Beeflat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Devon. UK.

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    [QUOTE=Ra I am currently tilting my head up and forward (ie jaw forward, forehead back).

    Kindly meant....but have you considered changing your stance & curing any problem at source?
    I agree with randyj that the strap change is a palliative at best.
    If everything is coming your way, you are probably in the wrong lane.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    Thank you so much for all the answers.

    I didn't explain very clearly. I was holding my head up and forward, I am now ensuring I set up in a neutral position (like walking down the street) every time I play. However, the jaw pain is still present (my brain is holding the muscles too tightly out of habit). The physio has been checking my position and now I am holding my neck correctly but the habitual pain is still there. She suggested a change of strap because a) the problem may be partly linked to the old strap and b)a change to the habit of playing could be helpful.

    I had a dentist check my jaw about a week ago, she noticed it clicks but was not concerned.

    I have spent 10 years being fine with the weight of the saxophone so would like to go back to being fine with it!

    The clicking jaw has been all my life. The current pain has been about 2 months and might be stress/tooth-pain/posture related but nothing specific happened to injure it.

    Playing soprano saxophone is less painful.

    Thank you for all the help and suggestions so far.


  8. #8
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Forum Contributor 2012

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    I've had TMJ issues in the past. You might be using your jaw muscles too much (or just tensing them up too much) to put the necessary pressure on the reed. Try keeping your jaw very loose and relaxed while you play and focus on using the muscles around your mouth to put pressure on the reed instead. Think about Larry Teal's "purse string" analogy. In addition to taking stress off your jaw, it will also help you open your throat up more when you play, resulting (for me, at least) in an improved overall tone. It could be a win-win solution.

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member Saxland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Southern Canada

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    What make and model sax are you playing on? What mouthpiece are you on? The neck angle can cause this, as can the physical size of the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece can be forcing the jaw joint father open than it likes. The neck angle and the mouthpiece size combined with the movement demands on the jaw especially with an alto, there may be lateral movements your jaw is not liking. As well, you may be able to play a mouthpiece that has a higher beak, but also slightly narrower, as it can have a smaller circumference or equal and places different demands on your muscles that your jaw may agree to.

    I have TMJ and can not play on an alto Selmer series II neck. It just hurts. What you are describing happens on that neck for me. A mark VI neck is fine as is a Barone, for me.
    CANADA'S National Jazz Radio Station is www.Jazz.FM

  10. #10
    Forum Contributor 2010-2015
    Musician and Store Owner
    Just Joe's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    Lots of solid advice.

    PM sent

  11. #11

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    +1 for the saXholder.

    I have a very serious heart condition which for the past several years has restricted my playing to sitting in a chair, due to the stress on my neck muscles restricting even blood flow across my chest and back. I ordered a saXholder from Christoph Huber <> in early February. By mid March I was able to resume standing play and can stand playing up to 2 hours. The various adjustments allow the distribution on any of a number of shoulder and back muscle groups, completely freeing the neck. Pat, my wife, uses a BG yoke strap but tires standing after a half hour or so. I adjusted my saXholder for her to try out last Sunday and after 1 day she had me order one for her.

    Christoph, the distributor for the US, indicated yesterday that he is going on a two week European tour leaving today. If you miss him, it is worth the wait.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations


    Thank you again for all the advice. I am playing on a Yanagisawa 991 with the standard ebonite mouthpiece which is a 5.

    I am in the UK.


  13. #13
    Forum Contributor 2014 MoonMind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Re: Jaw pain strap recommendations

    The Saxholder is an interesting piece of gear, but I still prefer other harnesses/holders better. Specifically, I use a Freeneck at home and a Zappatini Synthesis on stage and for rehearsals (except for my curved soprano - Cebulla for that, mainly for safety reasons, not weight). The Zappatini is the most versatile of them all - it takes the weight off the neck, is very secure, but still allows for free movement without any special limitations; the Freeneck is even nicer on your neck and shoulders, but requires you to control your posture and restrict your movements while playing - not my cup of tea while on stage (while this is not very likely, it actually *can* swing sideways while on your back - not a good thing, especially not with one of the big horns...). But this may actually help with your problem! But beware: The Freeneck is a big piece of gear - it's too big even for my tenor cases!

    The Saxholder is intriguingly simple and quick to put on, but it doesn't feel as positive and secure as the Zappatini when moving, and I personally didn't like the pad on my abdomen much, but I agree that especially women might feel differently. For a maximum of comfort, I'd still recommend the Freeneck, and for a maximum of versatility, the Zappatini, in spite of all the Saxholder's undisputable merits.

    That said, if you can get over your posture problems, I think a Cebulla is actually enough for alto and soprano. It's the strap I carry in my bag all the time because it's good enough in most situations. If I ever forget the other straps or harnesses (something that happens), I can still play, even bari if need be.

    ss: King (H. N. White, curved); Bauhaus Walstein Bronze AI (straight).
    as: King Super 20 SilverSonic; Yanagisawa A-6; Selmer SuperAction 80 II; Lyrist "Briard"; Yamaha YAS-25; Jupiter JAS-769-767.
    ts: Yanagisawa T-500; Cannonball T5; Conn 10M.
    bs: Conn 12M; Yanagisawa B-6; Keilwerth The New King.
    => Support Free Software! <=

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Site Meter