Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Search of the Perfect Saxophone Neck and Mouthpiece Bag

There are saxophone neck bags available commercially, but I'm not going to review them.  I've seen them made of felt, polar fleece, and some kind of thin soft plastic stuff.  Usually around $10.  Sometimes a new mouthpiece comes with a free semi-protective bag.  Sometimes people appropriate other items (Crown Royal bags or old socks, which might tell you something about the player).  All of them can hold a neck or a mouthpiece. But none of them do what I want them to do; provide the most protection at the cheapest price.

I sometimes carry the neck inside the horn's bell, as is the situation required by the Soundwear case reviewed in another blog.  The Soundwear case (now my favorite) comes with a polar fleece type of neck bag, which is just barely adequate.  The separate Soundwear mouthpiece container has a metal zipper pull on it, which is inadequate.  I don't want anything metal rubbing up against my horn's surface.  No zippers, no zipper pulls, no snaps, no nothing.  But as much protection as I can get.

Enter the neoprene personal electronics case.  These are intended to provide protection for your cell phone, GPS, ipod, ipad, Galaxy tablet, etc., etc.  The sizes are fairly standard, and you just need to know which one is likely to fit an alto neck, a tenor neck, or a mouthpiece. 

Here is a neoprene pouch that is intended to fit a 7" tablet.  Overall dimensions are about 8 inches by 5 inches.  Perfect for an alto neck.
No zippers or snaps to scratch the neck or the horn.  The neoprene folds easily and the neck can be inserted into the bell.

These can be bought for under $3.00 on eBay (including shipping) and are also available locally for about twice the price.  The 8 inch "tablet cover" fits a tenor neck.  Both of these have just enough room for a mouthpiece to be placed in with them and still fit in the bell.  The 8" pouch can be bought on the internet for $3.15, including free shipping from China.

But how do we protect the mouthpiece?  Same thing, just a little smaller size.  These little neoprene pouches are for cell phones and hand held GPS and are about 6 inches by 3 inches, just right for a tenor mouthpiece, ligature, and cap.  The pouches can't scratch the horn if placed loose in the case or in the bell and they can't scratch the neck when placed in the neck bag.  They are about $2.50.

These are even smaller drawstring neoprene cell phone bags that fits a tenor, alto, and soprano mouthpieces.  They have a little plastic cord stopper, but it won't hurt anything.

Unfortunately, they are harder to find than the larger smart phone and tablet neoprene pouches.  When you can find them, they are about $3.00.  More than the tablet "neck" pouches for some reason.

Most of these items are available as promotional items and you can get them printed with custom logos and trademarks (even free salesmen samples from some suppliers).  Here's a tenor neck and mouthpiece pouch with my new business logo. 
 Business is slow.

Seriously, these bags are hard to beat for the cost and protection that they provide.  Just look around on the internet or Ebay and get the size that fits your needs.  Be advised:  this material is waterproof, so if you put you neck away without swabbing it out, which you shouldn't do anyway, it is possible that it will stay wet.  

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