My first saxophone was a soprano and I had trouble with my right
thumb. I solved it with two things that work together.
1) a neck strap. Yes, I know many people simply hold the soprano out
in front of themselves. Most people who do that, however, play for
generally shorter periods of time. For myself I found that a neck
strap allowed me to play for longer periods of time as the strap took
the weight of the horn and my right hand needed only to push the horn
out away from my body instead of also holding it up against gravity.
2) The other critical component was installing a Forza right hand
thumbrest on my soprano. This alone saved me from having to give up
saxophones in general. I also play tenor and have installed Forza's on
all my ten of my horns.
The great benefit to me of the Forza is that the designer, Ton
Kooiman, is the only engineer who correctly identified the ergonomic
problem and solved it. Namely, before the Forza, I was using the
common thumb hook which tends to force the thumb to be bent abnormally
backward into what I call the 'hitchhiker' position. This is okay for
very short periods, but any serious player who wants to spend time
with his horn may find as I did that when the thumb is in the
hitchhiker position and repeatedly stressed isometrically with the
tensioning and release and then re-tensioning of the tendon repeatedly
as your hand works the other fingers, one will likely develop
tendonitis. Similar to carpal tunnel of the wrist, the tendonitis in
the thumb was very very painful.
A neckstrap used in conjunction with a Forza totally solved the
problem for me. Everyone is different and some people don't encounter
the problem. Those that do, and that includes me, will find the Forza