HOW WE STARTED
The history of all ERGObrass supports are based on the ERGObone, the first support device for the trombone.
I started to develop a trombone support device in the autumn of 1999 as a result of suffering from frequent, gradually growing pains in my left elbow whenever I played a little more than usual. At times I also suffered from pain in the wrist.
I looked for a solution on the trombonists’ many homepages, where there was discussion about the problems of trombone playing and also occasionally some talk about the symptoms caused by the tension in the left hand. As a result from these discussions, however, advice was only given on the way the instrument’s body should be pressed with the left hand’s fingers in order to minimize stress.
I finally realized that it was completely useless to wonder how to cope with physically supporting the instrument’s weight when the solution would naturally be that a trombone needn’t be supported only by hand in the first place! Neither saxophones, bassoons nor violoncellos are supported merely by static tensed hands or knees (violoncello). Even many clarinetists and oboists nowadays prefer to support the few hundred grams of their instruments with their body rather than with their hands only.
I also noticed that the chairtube provides essential help for young trombone learners in finding a right playing position, which is, as known, often difficult for them.
After great worldwide success with the ERGObone, many French horn players have asked me to develop a similar device for their heavy instruments. So I started to work on a project for developing a French horn support with the help of Mr. Olli Hirvonen, principal horn player of the Turku Philhamonic Orchestra, Finland, and Mrs. Erja Joukamo-Ampuja, professor of the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland. After several prototypes I ended up with most simple and effective version.
The next project was to design a similar version for the euphonium with world-famous euphonium artist Jukka Myllys.
And, as usual, success led to new inventions. I understood that also the trumpet and cornet should be played with a handy support. Ergonomic issues are so very important for us not only for the sake of our health. Relaxation also enables better breathing and offer a light and sensitive feel for the instrument.
Our next invention, the ERGOsax for specially soprano saxophone, was made also by a customer request. I was asked from a French soprano player Philippe Poussard to design also a support for his ergonomically very demanding instrument. And again: many prototypes, many test plays both in France by Philippe and also here in Finland with many soprano players and after all this work the soprano support became ready.
This invention, the ERGOclar for the clarinet was a natural step to adjust the ERGOsax to fit the clarinet with one extra little piece.
The latest addition to our product family was the ERG-Oboe in 2021 when I got a request from Spain via a German, Heiko Frosh, Oboe Shop. A Spanish oboist / English horn player Jose Antonio Massmano wanted to get a similar playing support for the English horn and oboe than the existing ERGOclar was. However, it was needed to make some changes.
So, we started to cooperate with Jose Antonio. Here in Finland the National Opera Orchestra English horn player Laura Kemppainen joined the team. We got also a couple of oboe students in the USA to give their ideas about the prototypes. Many tests in Finland, Spain and US, WhatsApp talks and emails. Finally after countless prototypes and eight months testing work we ended up in a different shaped attaching head and another completely new invention. The head became a penguin shape with a narrow curved beak which can get a good grip of the oboe neck strap ring. Perfect!
What was more important, we added an extra spring to the system and because the rod goes inside the spring, we could make the spring bending adjustable! This concept was so ingenious that we applied a patent for this.
And since the ERGOpenguin works also with other woodwind supports, from now on this invention will improve our ERGOclar and ERGOsax supports as well. It will be set also to the second new product in 2021, the ERGOEwi for EWIs (Electronic Wind Instruments) which we designed at the same time.