The guitar strap is usually billed as an ‘essential’ guitar accessory, but why do you need one, and which should you buy?
The guitar strap is an accessory that is often taken for granted. It’s a bit like a goalkeeper, in a way- whilst it is doing its job effectively, you don’t know it’s there, but if it doesn’t… it’s not worth thinking about!
If you’re a beginner, you may have been told that you’ll need a guitar strap by a friend or your teacher, and you may well ask, ‘why?’.
In truth, it very much depends on how you play. If you play classical guitar, it’s unlikely that you’ll need a strap. This style of guitar is generally played whilst sitting down, and often with a footstool to raise the leg that your guitar will rest on to the correct height.
Most commonly, straps come into play when guitarists playing whilst standing, supporting the instrument so that the player’s hands are free to move around without risking the guitar crashing the ground and meeting an untimely end.
So, if you want to stomp around the stage (or your living room/bedroom), throwing Rockstar shapes, you’ll need a strap.
A guitar strap sometimes can be useful when playing a guitar whilst sitting down, too, however. If beginner needs just a little extra support, or some help holding the guitar in the correct position, a strap can be ideal.
Whilst -pretty much – every electric guitar comes with strap buttons (the metal studs on which a strap is attached), some acoustic guitars don’t – classical guitars rarely have them, in fact. Be sure to check this before purchasing a strap.
If your acoustic guitar doesn’t have strap buttons, never fear. Fitting strap buttons is relatively straightforward. Contact your local Dawsons store – the staff will be able to sell you and fit strap buttons, should you need them.
There are hundreds of guitar straps available – so which should you buy?
1. Fender Monogrammed Guitar Strap
The Fender Monogrammed Guitar Strap is instantly recognisable and has been a familiar accessory in the Fender range for decades. Two-inches wide, this strap features light padding for extra comfort and comes in a variety of rather fetching colours to match any and every guitar finish.
2. Redwood Extra Long Guitar Strap
This is the most popular guitar strap we sell. Made of super-tough, but lightweight nylon webbing, it provides plenty of comfort in a long-lasting design. Plus, black goes with anything, doesn’t it? And it’s very slimming, too…
3. Levy Dm5 Lightning Bolt Ends
Levy produce an astonishing selection of guitar straps, including the Levy DM5 Lightning Bolt Ends in Red. With this, you’ll join the ranks of other famous guitarists such as Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley and Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes in terms of style. Made of soft-hand polypropylene.
4. Taylor Suede
Like a great many things Taylor produces, the Suede Guitar Strap is a very luxurious option. Made of soft, high quality suede with elaborately embroidered Taylor logo. Designed to last a lifetime just like their guitars, this guitar strap even features strap pin holes specially cut to accommodate Taylor guitars.
5. Planet Waves PWSPA200 Acoustic Quick Release
The Planet Waves PWSPA200 Acoustic Quick Release Guitar Strap is a cleverly designed accessory for those with acoustic guitars. Rather than having to add an additional strap button towards the headstock of the guitar, there’s are string to tie around the headstock. Not only that but the quick release mechanism allows you to unhook the guitar with ease.
Evolution of the strap
Initially it appeared to be a rather joyous April Fools’ prank, it seems that Trivium frontman Matt Heafy’s recent collaboration with German company Richter Straps is 100% legit. Behold, the Double Guitar Strap.
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Guitar straps are not ergonomic. The concept of a weight on one side of a trapezius/ shoulder joint for an entire musical-lifetime is detrimental to the balance of your body. With my signature dual strap, the weight is balanced on the other shoulder – offering a 60/40 weight distribution and is a lifesaver no matter your musical level. Get your Matt Heafy @richterstraps dual strap now and save your body. (You can always use this as a dual or single strap with a simply click on/off feature).
Admittedly, it isn’t quite as cool as the single, over-the-shoulder strap we’ve all come to know and love. But Heafy is a man who lugs around a heavy guitar night after night across hectic tour schedules, and what is definitely not cool is giving yourself back and/or shoulder problems to contend with. He’s not a soft lad either, regularly putting in the hours practising Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so if he says it’s helpful, then I’m sure he knows what he is on about. However, only time will tell as to whether or not it’ll truly take off.
You may have already seen all those horrendous “Guitar Fail” videos on YouTube. I’m talking about the ones where some absolute piece of work attempts to chuck their guitar round their head when suddenly, the guitar breaks free of the strap and takes off through the air. The guitar looks majestic for all of about two seconds until gravity kicks in and introduces your instrument to the nearest hard surface.
Want to minimise the chances of that happening to you? You’re going to need Straplocks.
The Schaller S-Lock Straplocks provide a system that attaches to your guitar and your strap. Magnetic clasps allow the pieces to slot and lock together, which you can release when you wish.
Disclaimer – I’m not saying that you should put the straplocks on and then swing your guitar round your head, don’t do that. But if you want to do it, then do it, it’s up to you. But if that guitar comes flying off or if the long neck of your bass means that the headstock whacks off the floor then you’ve only got yourself to blame.
If you fancy a more affordable option and the ability to use your current strap and not have to swap out the strap buttons on your existing guitar, then Fender’s Strap Blocks will see you right.
Get in touch
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Build up your gear knowledge with our growing “Gear Wisdom” series where so far we’ve covered:
- Why Do I Need a Guitar Stand?
- How to Restring an Acoustic Guitar
- Cleaning Your Electric Guitar
- How Not to Coil a Cable
- What is a Capo Anyway?
- A Guide To Gibson Pickups
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.