Shoulder Straps - Old and New
Hello, my name's Matthew and I'm a Tom Bihnaholic. (I can ear the chorus of "Hello Matthew" in my head.) First post for me, but I've been a Tom Bihn user since 2006. I'm in pretty good company in this forum to be sure. ;-)
I started down my path with a Super Ego in 2006. It came with the super beefy 2" strap with the hefty sliding pad for the shoulder. This was a good thing because I pack that baby to the gills. I love that bag, my chiropractor loves it too. The sliding pad is cool, a little non skid on one side, nylon on the other, and a filling of foam goodness.
In 2008 I got an Imago for my recording gear and other miscellanea. (Small field recorder, accessories, harmonicas.) It has a 1 1/2" strap with the low profile slider pad. That makes sense, it didn't need to be as substantial as the Super Ego. Unless I'm carrying uranium there's no way an Imago will pull the same weight as a Super Ego.
In April, after nearly getting popped walking on to a plane with a Super Ego - Aeronaut combo I had a "why am I carrying all this crap" moment and sprung for the Ego. That bag came with a number of small improvements (I like the clip rings in the cargo area) but the same 1 1/2" strap with the low profile slider pad as the Imago. I noted that the current Super Ego listing also shows a 1 1/2" strap.
For day to day use I switch between the Ego and Super Ego depending upon what needs haulin' and where. Despite the smaller payload, I find the carrying experience with the Ego to be less satisfying than the Super Ego. I'm not sure if it is the strap width or the shoulder pad or maybe a little of both.
Using the Ultimate strap for my Aeronaut I have found it to be comfortable on the shoulder, but it bounces about. I should have expected this. As a sax player I have a number of neck straps made from mostly neoprene. They're comfortable but they create a dynamic system: they stretch when loaded which can make it a challenge to place and keep the horn where you want it. (The payoff is no post gig neck pain, so I live with the challenge.) The bouncing behavior of the Aeronaut is a mild irritant, but my shoulders don't seem to mind. Although I haven't tried carrying the Aeronaut with a more "static" strap, I don't see the Ultimate strap as an ideal solution for heavier loads.
That was a long setup. Here are the questions for this suspicious forum:
1) Does anyone have similar experiences / thoughts on this [cough] weighty matter?
2) Is here a way to get the beefy shoulder pad in a 1 1/2" format? Or maybe put as a product suggestion, would it be economical for TB to offer such a pad? The new pads are nice and sexy, but I prefer the old one. Maybe others do too. (And that pad was unique to TB products.)
To be honest I have other applications where the "old school" pad would be useful. I could see buying a number of them to retrofit shoulder straps on sundry sax cases. Although I do have a number of horns, my buying patterns alone will not drive TB's business model.
This really is a minor issue. But the products get better with user feedback so I figured I'd do my part.
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving.
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