FAQ

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What is the difference between a conventional neck strap and BREATHTAKING Strap?

The BREATHTAKING Strap is designed to rest on the shoulders* instead of hanging around the neck. As a result, the weight of the instrument is evenly distributed in 3 ways - the shoulders and back - enabling one to play in a relaxed posture. In addition, the Front Bar* prevents the shoulder straps from squeezing the neck, making deep breathing easier.The sound quality dramatically improves as a result of good and relaxed posture and deep breathing, which leads to better control of techniques.

*BREATHTAKING owns patent registrations in the unique 3-way design and Front Bar.

What is the difference between Lithe and Lithe Premium?

Lithe Premium is made of top grade Italian tanned leather; in addition, a special sewing method is used. 
Because of this, it has a better fit than Lithe and players can feel even less weight of their instruments. 
Lithe Premium has many benefits, including excellent sound quality, that are worth more than the price difference compared to Lithe.


Why does the Back Strap have to be loose?

To produce good sound quality, it is important not to let breathing disrupt body movements.
If the back strap is too tight, it will prevent the body from moving freely, resulting in the player not being able to breathe smoothly.


How can I find the best size for me?

Depending on the product size, the lengths of the shoulder strap and the string, and the width around the neck are different. Therefore, before purchasing, we recommend that you try on different sizes. If you do not have access to a retail store, please contact us: info@breathtaking.jp
Our straps are made to work for all instruments, from soprano to baritone. Please select the size of the strap according to your body size rather than the size of the instrument.
For those who find the string too short, it is possible to special order a strap with a longer string. (See Q5)


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Sizes

S Size Female Size 7 〜 9 Male S 〜 M
M Size  Female Size 9 (largish) 〜 Size 11 Male M (largish) 〜 L
L Size  Female Size 13 〜 Male L(largish) 〜

※Sizes shown here are Japanese sizes

What can be done if the string is too long or too short?

The length of the string can be adjusted as follows:
If the string is too long, tie a knot below the adjuster. (See Video #2 on how to shorten the length of the string.)
If the string is too short, it can lengthened by the maker:
*After purchase - please return the strap to the retail store where you made the purchase for lengthening the strip (additional cost is needed).
*Before purchase - please consult with a retail store near you.

How high should the Front Bar be for the best comfort?

The instrument weight on the shoulders feels differently depending on the height of the Front Bar.  We basically recommend having the Front Bar at about 5 cm from the top.  However, one's posture and body shape can affect the feel of the weight, so please try out different positions to find the optimal height for you.  When the optimal position is decided but the string is too long, it is possible to shorten the length. (See Q5) 
The lower the Front Bar, the smaller the movable range of the Adjuster, and the length of the string will be the shortest.  
Please adjust the position of the Front Bar in relation to the instrument used.


What should I do to soften the leather when it is new?

BREATHTAKING leather gets softer after use and fits the body better. However, at the beginning, you may find the leather a little stiff. Gently knead the Shoulder Strap to break in the leather for a better and comfortable fit. (See How To Break In The Leather)

Is it possible to replace the hook with a swivel hook?

Both metal and plastic swivel hooks wear out and tend to break after long use.  
The BREATHTAKING Strap is made to last for a long time; therefore, we have chosen not to use swivel hooks. 
In addition, the material of the hook can affect the sound quality. BREATHTAKING hook is made of materials that are carefully chosen for the best sound quality. 
*For New Purchases of Lithe Premium Only: However, since many customers have requested the use of a swivel hook, therefore, a special swivel hook which is strong against abrasion is now available to domestic customers through special order.
To protect the growing bodies of young players, who may have been using other straps with swivel hooks to secure their instruments, we highly recommend our strap with the swivel hook. To place your special order, please contact your nearest retailer. 


Is the elastic band connecting the hook to the back strap replaceable?

We made the elastic band that comes with the strap but you can easily use a store-bought hair band even though the size may be different. The elastic band loses its elasticity if the Back Strap is worn too tightly. (=The elastic band is stretched.) To get the full benefits of the BREATHTAKING Strap, please wear the Back Strap loosely. 


How different is the bassoon strap from the saxophone strap?

The reverse side of the strap for bassoons is made of suede.
This is to prevent the strap from slipping and sliding during performance.
Also, the bassoon strap has 2 hooks connected together.  When used connected together, the scope of movement of the instrument becomes wider, and the sound quality becomes richer.  
A player can choose to use either one or both hooks.


Can the strap for bassoons be used with or without the balancer?

Yes, either with or without the balancer is fine.
If the balancer is used, the frong string may be too long. Adjust the length by tying a knot.
(See Video #2 - How To shorten The Length of the String)

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What exactly is a mouthpiece patch?

A mouthpiece patch is a sticker to put on the mouthpiece where the upper teeth rest. It stops the teeth from slipping on the mouthpiece and prevents abrasion of the teeth and the mouthpiece. 
BREATHTAKING Mouthpiece Patches are so thin that you don't notice they are there. They are made of material that creates just enough friction (to stop the teeth from slipping), enabling a player to freely control the tone color and achieve a comfortable blowing feel. 


Why are the patches white?

The material has been specifically chosen to fulfil the intended functionality that BREATHTAKING developed, so the natural color has been intentionally preserved.


Why do mouthpiece patches protect the gum?

When a thick, cushioned mouthpiece patch or one made of non-slip material is used, the teeth cannot easily get a grip of the mouthpiece, thus putting stress on the gum. 

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Why suede?

After trying many different materials, we decided to use suede because of its comfortable fit and the tone color it can create.
However, please understand that it is easy to leave scuff marks and stains on this material, so use it with care.