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Don't skimp out on a good strap

Don't skimp out on a good strap  ·  Source: Gearnews

You’ve been playing guitar or bass for years, and have been playing with bands. You have some cash and want to invest in gear, but aren’t sure where or what. If you’re still using the first guitar strap you got, or have really skimped on the one you’re currently using, maybe it’s time you upgraded that.

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Beginner’s woes

Being a cheapskate, I never thought it worth investing in a guitar strap. I mean, when I started playing, I was tying up broken strings together because I couldn’t afford a new set, so a guitar strap was really low on the list of priorities. I’d buy cheap picks that would break and discourage me from buying more. So when I thought of a guitar strap, it was literally something to keep the guitar hanging on me.

A strap of the cheaper variety

A strap of the cheaper variety

And so it was. I would walk in to stores and get the absolute cheapest strap I could find, to replace the other absolute cheapest strap that I had misplaced. Or sometimes, I would ‘splurge’ and get the second cheapest strap. You know the kind. You probably have one right now. The black nylon ones. Now that I’m trying to remember, I’m not sure why I kept losing straps that I had to keep buying new ones. I’ve definitely bought more of these cheap straps than guitars I’ve had. I guess when you get a £4 strap, you probably don’t look after it as much as you would a £40 strap.

I couldn’t fathom how much better a strap could possibly be. £40, maybe, I suppose, would get you a more comfortable strap. But a strap that cost £100 or more?! Some guitars cost that much!

Upgrade

Then, much later, after I got my first ‘non-budget’ guitar, I wanted to reward myself with a matching strap. I thought I’d treat myself to a nice, not dirt-cheap strap. I was checking out the Richter brand, that are made in Germany. There were two versions that caught my eye. There was a nice black and purple one, but, as mentioned above, I’m a cheapskate, so I went for the budget version. You can check both of them out below.

It really was an eye-opener! The strap was leagues more comfortable than the garbage junk I’d been buying! And the best thing was, it stayed put. The material wasn’t sliding around on my shoulder.

I liked it so much I had a second one made. And I’ve used this new one to death. I love it. I ended up putting Schaller locks on both straps, and the corresponding buttons on my guitars. If I need to change guitars, it’s an easy swap.

Don’t be a cheapskate

When starting out, I can understand that the guitar strap is not an expense that is on top of one’s list. You even get one free with most starter packs. But if you’ve been with the guitar for a few years now, and play standing up, I really think spending on a quality strap is a good investment. It’s much kinder to your shoulder, looks nicer, and will last you a long time. I’ve probably spent more money altogether on the crap cheap straps than I did on my current straps.

I suppose there’s also a lesson to be learned here. It’s often better to pay a little more and get something that is better quality and will last a long time, than get the cheapest thing on the shelf. That’s not to say that spending money guarantees a superior product, but it usually means less headaches. This goes for picks, strings, cables. It’s better to drop a lump sum, if you are able, than to drop little bits over a long time that eventually adds up to a considerable amount. You don’t have to spend a million dollars. Just don’t be like my friend who used a rope as a strap, and put a pillow on his shoulder to keep it from cutting in!

There are lots of great strap companies out there. Some make some fantastic custom designs too. Just make sure that it’s comfortable, and the length you need it to be.

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4 responses to “Don’t skimp on your guitar strap!”

  1. eat yr Ghost says:

    Oh those cheap ones are nasty and so flimsy!

    I discovered a small Chicago company named Souldier that I swear by. Members of Wilco, Modest Mouse and The Decemberists use them, and as I prefer the “car seatbelt” style, it was an easy sell. I’d guesstimate I have 10-15 of ‘em between all my instruments. I colour match to the guitar usually.

  2. Jef says:

    Yeah, Souldier is some of the best you can get for vintage-style straps. I use those and also Heistercamp for leather straps, who can’t be beaten. As for strap locks, I personally prefer Dunlops over Schaller, as the Dunlops are stronger and you can still use the button with a regular strap. I have Dunlops on all 50 plus of my guitars.

  3. bob says:

    i have several of the most expensive levy straps (mss17) and some of the cheapest fender straps…(nylon)
    I think they are both great in their own way

  4. AF says:

    This is free advertising but Right-on straps are the best out there. Their “Steady” line is great value. You’ll thank me later!

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