Testing Gimmicky Sax Gadgets – Better Sax
Gimmicky Sax Gadgets

Testing Gimmicky Sax Gadgets

Today I’m going to be testing out gimmicky sax gadgets for you. All of these were sent to me by the people who make them, No one is sponsoring this video so I’m going to be brutally honest with you.

Some of these things are really cool, and others are less so in my opinion. Let’s get started.

SaxSupport

This first thing was sent to me a while back by a gentleman in Australia. It’s called the SaxSupport, and it is meant to relieve the weight of the instrument while playing and take the place of a neck strap.

I’ll be testing this out on my bari sax, but it is designed to work for any saxophone – alto down to bass.

There’s a velcro strip that adheres to the bell, and you then attach a peg which holds it up…

Sax Support
Sax Support

Now I know what you’re thinking… There’s no way that thing is going to hold my bari sax… But guess what? It does! I didn’t think it would hold, and it did!

Now the maker of this assured me that the velcro strip could be removed without damaging the lacquer on my horn. This is my beloved Yanagisawa 901 baritone saxophone, and I do not want to mess up the lacquer.

After testing this thing out a bit, I have determined that it does what it says it’s supposed to. I haven’t had any issues with the peg slipping, although, I am still a bit hesitant with it.

I find that this is a good solution for practicing since I can now play the bari sax for long sessions and not have to worry about my back or neck getting sore.

It’s also good for recording since the horn does not move from it’s position at all.

The downside to this is that you are restricted in your movement. So for a lot of performance situations, this is not going to be an ideal solution. If you can play with a neckstrap or harness, you’ll probably want to stick with that on gigs.

My preferred harness for bari is still the SaxHolder.

Despite these minor inconveniences, I am going to continue to use the SaxSupport for long bari sax practice sessions and recordings. Anyone who has back or neck issues, will likely find this device extremely useful.

Currently it sells for $89 USD, you can purchase one for yourself here.

Reed Well

Now I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a regular drinking glass when I first opened the box…

This is called the Reed Well, and at first glance it appears to be just a drinking glass with some text on the side. But don’t be fooled!

The inside of it has 12 flattened sides that are meant to hold your reeds. When the reed is wet, it sticks rather nicely in place. To be fair though, I can get a similar result with an ordinary glass of water.

The numbers allow you to keep track of which reed is which, something that the ordinary glass of water can’t do for you.

There is also a sponge that fits inside the glass and holds the reeds in place as well as moisture, so you can empty the water out, but leave your reeds inside with the desired amount of humidity. 

There is a plastic lid that fits on top which I have unfortunately misplaced. It will hold your reeds in place but is not meant to be water tight.

This is a gadget for the high maintenance reed folks out there.

I let this one sit on the shelf for a long time before trying it out. Mainly because I usually just wet reeds in my mouth and if I want to soak them, I just put them in a glass of water.

My assessment of this is that if you are a reed in water person and I know many of you are, this is probably something you will dig.

If you don’t put reeds in water, you probably won’t use this for much except maybe the occasional drink…

Silencer

This thing… She’s got a great embouchure…

This is a device that’s meant to allow you to practice “silently.”

Well just with the mouthpiece of your saxophone which while that is certainly beneficial to your embouchure and great for building your tone, it’s not a lot of fun.

Jump to my demo of the silencer here so you can see what it sounds like…

For me, I would not have chosen that word, I would have called this the ”still really annoying, but ever so slightly quieterer.” The thing that I find most effective when practicing with just the mouthpiece is playing as wide a range as possible. 

I will often play a major scale up from the lowest note I can mange up to the highest. Unfortunately with the silencer you lose a lot of range. I can still play the high end, but not the low notes. 

MY Improved “Silencer”

So here’s an alternative DIY version of the silencer which I came up with… Use only the mouthpiece and neck, and then insert the silencer into the neck

You’re welcome.

If I had to choose between practicing with the silencer or just the neck, I would go with this version.

There you go, instant improvement to your product. I suggest that in addition to all the attachments included with the “silencer”, they put attachments that will fit into all the various neck tenon sizes. This way everyone has a choice as to which annoying sound they want to practice.

With the neck it is several degrees less annoying for the player and anyone unfortunate enough to be listening.

Let me know in the comments how appropriate the name “silencer” really is to you.

Key Clamps

These are a set of key clamps, I don’t even remember where I got them but I bought these myself a long time ago. 

I have used key clamps for long periods of time on a couple different horns and my verdict on these things is a big thumbs down.

What they do is clamp your keys closed when you’re not playing. The idea is that it will help keep your pads well seated so that you don’t get leaks.

Unfortunately the act of having the keys clamped down can actually have the opposite effect and create leaks since most of these pads are set up to be open most of the time and when they are closed it’s just momentarily. 

You can have success with these if you put them on, and then get your horn adjusted to accommodate the new deeper pad seats they inevitably create. If you decide to do that though, you are stuck with them; and if you stop using the clamps, your pads will soon go back to a less deep seat and need adjusting again.

If your pads are installed well in the first place and you get regular maintenance from a qualified repair technician, you should be able to stay pretty leak free without using key clamps.

Wooden Wall Stand

Now this is the newest sax gadget I have just received, and it was the item that got me to make this video that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I just needed that one amazing gadget and here it is.

I am in love with these. It’s called the Inaki sax stand and 2 is just not enough for me. I’m going to get some more of these, because aside from being the coolest looking thing in here, it is an amazing space saver.

The chance of these horns getting knocked over has been greatly reduced and now I have more floor space since I don’t need these sax stands any more.

These are hand made and designed by a young man in Spain who is also a great classical saxophonist. 

There are 2 versions. One accommodates alto, tenor and curved soprano saxophones, and the other is specifically for alto sax only.

It took me about 60 seconds to install these on my wall and all the necessary hardware is included. You just drill your hole, put the anchor in and then screw in this standard picture frame hook. That’s it.

I will admit that I was very nervous about putting my precious saxophones on these things as the whole thing looks unstable, but it is extremely stable and the system does not leave any marks on the bell of the instrument.

I believe they are available in different woods, but they probably sent me these since they match my existing acoustic panels.

Now you probably think that this cool stand couldn’t possibly get any better, but wait, there’s more… you can also use this as a table or floor stand, not just on your walls.

Thank you Mr. Inaki for sending me these marvelously practical and beautifully innovative stands!

If you’ve got any other gimmicky sax gadgets you’d like me to test out, leave a comment below!

Interested in more Saxophone Gear reviews? Check out this list of great gear to get for yourself or as a gift!

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About the Author

As the founder of BetterSax.com Jay’s mission is to help developing saxophone players break away from traditional music learning methods and discover a more efficient, practical and fun way to become a Better Sax player. The BetterSax YouTube channel’s videos have been watched by millions and thousands of students have made meaningful progress on their instrument thanks to BetterSax courses.

Jay Metcalf

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2 thoughts on “Testing Gimmicky Sax Gadgets”

  1. Thanks Jay for your work on blogs and videos. Speaking of gimmicks, I’ve recently watched Dana Colley (from Morphine) play a bari and a tenor sax simultaneously: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4QWKDuLOkQ (0:59). As a beginner player I marveled at that feat and thought if you would be interested in covering that technique in one of your videos. Not quite sure how embouchure can work with two saxes, whether he plays same notes octave apart or totally independent lines. Your help in taking this technique apart would be really appreciated.

  2. Ty Jay
    I enjoy the tips and tricks
    ……Saxophone lung prevention
    ….Learning about how reeds are made
    ….sweet water
    Playing in public is a new thrill that keeps me practicing.

    Take care, Eric

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