Unisex Sax Harness

mannequin, saxophone harness,

My harness is seen here on my favourite mannequin. She’s a bit thinner than the average person, but you get the idea. Photo by M. Margison

Because I suffer from chronic neck and back pain, my love for big horns has caused me a lot of grief. I started checking out harnesses, but I didn’t like the way they were designed.

mannequin, saxophone harness,

As you can see in this side shot, the metal hook hangs from the shoulders–allowing free movement of the horn . Photo by M. Margison

First problem: As a woman, I couldn’t find one that was comfortable for me.

Second problem: I just didn’t like the way the horn is attached so close to your body. I prefer the type of freedom a regular strap gives.

Third problem: All the harnesses I was able to find had a plastic hook or clip assembly. I didn’t want to hang my expensive horns from a 50¢ piece of plastic.

A few years ago, I had a friend’s husband design a custom harness for me. Paul was retired from the military, where one of his jobs was to repair parachutes. He was also somewhat of an inventor, so I went to him with a conventional harness and a regular strap, and told him I would like to have a combination of these 2 things.

What he created for me is like a partial neoprene vest that goes over the shoulders and has Velcro straps, which do up under my breasts. Men have tried it on, and it works great for them too—it is truly a unisex harness. The best part of this harness is that it not only takes the weight off my neck, but it also gives me the same swinging mobility that a regular strap provides. The only drawback with the harness is that it can get a little warm, especially when wearing it on a hot stage on a sunny afternoon.

mannequin, saxophone harness,

Back view. Photo by M. Margison

With only neoprene and elastic over the shoulder, the weight of heavy horn is spread out over a larger area and doesn’t dig into your neck or shoulders like conventional straps do.

metal hook assembly, saxophone harness

Close-up of metal hook assembly. Photo by M. Margison

The hook I had Paul put on the harness is metal, which I’ve been dipping in Plasti Dip every few months for several years.

Want to try making one yourself? Take a look at this image.