#2 How To Assemble Your Sax (Part 2) - The Main Body & Neckstrap

beginner setup & gear Jan 20, 2019

In this free video lesson, for absolute beginners on saxophone, I cover how to put your instrument together correctly. Part 1 of this two part series covers the assembly of the mouthpiece and neck and this second part covers the assembly of the main body of the sax and the neck strap (or "sling").
You can find my Complete Beginner's Series here for all the lessons. Here are the Q&A topics covered in this lesson, with video time stamps (min:sec). Clicking on the time stamp will take you straight to that portion of the video on youtube (in a separate tab). Full Time stamps for the video and a complete transcript are at the bottom of the blog.
What is a saxophone neck strap (sling)? (0:40)
  • the neck strap, also called a sling, is an adjustable loop that goes round your neck and clips onto the body of the sax, helping to take the weight of the instrument off your hands
  • there are different designs of neck straps made with different materials, including a harness, which takes the weight off your neck and puts it onto your shoulders
  • most neck straps have a safety clip or carabiner that attaches to the brass loop on the body of the sax
How do I fit the neck strap to the sax? (1:22)
  • Put the neck strap round your neck first, then carefully pick up your sax by the bell with one hand while you clip in the neck strap with the other
  • Once clipped in you can put your hands in the right place on the sax
  • Be careful that the sax doesn't swing on the sling - the mouthpiece might hit you in the face!
  • Adjust the neck strap length so that the mouthpiece falls nicely into your mouth. Goldilocks - not too high, not too low
How do you pick up (and put down) a saxophone? (1:25)
  • a sax is fragile and should be firmly picked up from the bell
  • don't grab a sax by the keywork as it could damage or misalign it
  • if you don't have a sax stand, carefully lay the sax down with the side palm keys facing up, in other words, the main pearl keys and the big pads on the bell are facing DOWN
What is a saxophone end cap (or stopper)? (1:25)
  • an end cap is a short plug that fits into the narrow end of the sax body when the sax is being stored in a case. It protects the exposed octave linking mechanism from damage
  • if the end cap is missing a champagne cork is a good alternative
How do I fit the neck to the sax body? (1:56)
  • remove the end plug from the sax body if it's still there
  • slacken the screw on the right and gently slide the neck into the body, turning side to side a little if need be. Careful you don't snag the octave mechanism linking pin on the body
  • line up the octave key hoop with the pin on the body and tighten the screw back up
  • the fit should be smooth and easy, if it's too slack or tight take your sax to a repair shop and always make sure the join is spotlessly clean
How do you operate the neck screws on the sax? (2:25)
  • at the tenon join of the sax, where the neck plugs into the body, there are two sets of tightening screws - the screw on the right tightens the join between the neck and the body, the screw on the left is used to secure a marching band style "lyre" mini music stand to the sax
  • the screws should be firmly tightened and the neck shouldn't move, but not over-cranked
So hopefully you've got some useful info from my debut YouTube video on Get Your Sax Together, and I'll see you next week for part three, which covers how to blow (embouchure). Jamie :-)
Video Time Stamps

0:01 - intro and theme music

0:40 - how to use your sax neck strap (sling)

0:59 - different types of neck strap

1:22 - how to attach the neck strap to the sax

1:55 - fitting the sax neck on to the main body

2:05 - the end cap

2:25 - the neck screw and lyre stand screw

3:21 - recap

4:19 - sign off

Video Transcript

Hi folks! I'm pro saxophonist Jamie Anderson from Get Your Sax Together dot com. In this video we're going to cover part two of my complete beginners guide to assembling your saxophone.

In part one we covered how to safely and correctly assemble the neck and mouthpiece mechanism and you'll find a link for that video up there somewhere on the card... in this second part we're gonna cover how to connect the neck of the instrument to the body and how to use your neck strap correctly, so let's do it!!

Right the first thing we want to do is find your neck strap which is going to look something like this and as you would expect you just pop it round your neck and you can adjust how long the neck strap is with this adjuster on the front. So just hold the clip and then you can move it up and down.

So just before we move on there are different types of neck strap. Yours might look a bit more like this, a kind of skinny one, or what I use is a harness which looks like…THIS. So this harness is what I prefer to use as the weight of the instrument is taken on your shoulders and not your neck and you can sometimes get quite a sore neck after a while with a regular neck strap.

Once you have your neck strap on we're going to pick up the saxophone, making sure you pick up the saxophone by the bell and not these keys because they could get damaged quite easily, so pick up the sax by the bell and then all you're gonna do is take your neck strap and clip it into the hoop on the back of the instrument making sure you don't connect it to these keys by accident. There should be a definite hook and that is where you put the clip of your neck strap and then the saxophone is safely harnessed round your neck while we go and put the other bit in.

So, with the body of the instrument safely attached to your neck strap we go to the final stage, which is putting the neck into the instrument. One thing to look out for when you take your saxophone out the case is that the top of the body will often have a cap to protect this small key - or, in my case, a champagne cork...so you'll see that there is a thumb screw on the right-hand side of most saxophones - not to be confused with the one on the left which some saxophones have and how that's to put a very small music stand in for marching bands - you won't need to worry about that. Most of the screws that control the neck will be on the right-hand side, so just slacken it a little bit and then take the neck being careful not to damage these keys again, and gently slide it in.

When you've got your neck into the body of the instrument try and make sure that the small key sticking up from the body is around about the middle of the curved piece of the key on the crook - and when you're safely in just gently tighten up that screw. Just like the ligature you don't want to over do it but just make it firm so the neck doesn't wobble about and move.

And there we have it - your fully assembled saxophone!!

Okay let's have a little reminder of the steps we need to do one more time. Number one put your neck strap around your neck. Number two - pick up your saxophone by the bell and connect your neck strap to the loop on the back. Number three - slightly loosen the screw on the right hand side at the top of the body. Number four - gently insert the neck into the main body and gently tighten up the screw on the right hand side.

So congratulations, you've now got your saxophone successfully assembled and you're ready to make a noise, and THAT is what we're going to cover in part three of my beginners series, and you'll find a card for that up there somewhere...if you like the content - if you love the channel - please DO subscribe and I'll see you next time on Get Your Sax Together dot com!

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