Saxophone/thumb and tenor sax


I need some clarification on the proper position of the thumb when playing tenor sax.  I try to adjust the strap, but still the instrument rests on my thumb (and it is heavy).  If the strap is too tight, I can't get the mouthpiece in my mouth.  I am new to the tenor.  I play it sitting down and even though someone said to hold it to one side, I play it best(?) in front of me.  I guess I'm still experimenting with how to hold it.

Joel, Great question. Most tenor players who sit will play to the side and that may help a little, especially if your horn does not have an adjustable thumb rest.

I would suggest trying a new strap. Avoid the the 'stretchy' kind if possible (they may feel good at first but they allow the horn to 'hang' more on the thumb).  Go with either a 'traditional' old style strap OR a shoulder harness type.  I have lots of friends going to this kind as it alleviates lots of pressure on the neck, back and even thumb.

Good luck and keep me posted!



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eugene Cantera


I have been a music educator for over 25 years and have taught on many levels from young children and school agers on through to college level, professional players and senior citizens. My main areas of expertise are saxophone(s) though I have taught many instruments including, guitar, bass, piano, oboe and drums to name a few. I have also done research on horns both vintage and new.


I have been in music education for 25 years and I have written and published in the subject of professional music education.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal, Marketing and Higher Education Newsletter.

Bachelor of Music Education, Hartt School of Music - The University of Hartford.

©2017 All rights reserved.