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Buying An Acoustic Guitar Strap

Updated on February 14, 2011

So you want to get a strap for your acoustic guitar, but with such a huge range to choose from, how do you know which is the best guitar strap for you? Here are some things to consider when buying a guitar strap.

Materials

Guitar straps are made from a variety of materials. The most common include:

Cotton - cotton straps are lightweight, and are probably the most comfortable to use, especially if you’re going to be playing for a long time. They’re available in a wide range of colours and designs.

Synthetic materials – many straps are also made of synthetic materials. These can be more durable than cotton.

Leather – a lot of people like leather straps. These are hard-wearing, but often more expensive than other types. Imitation leather guitar straps are also available, and are a good choice if you don’t want a bit of dead cow hanging on your shoulder. The choice of designs is a bit more limited with these straps.

If you want something a bit different than the average, you might want to get a custom guitar strap. These are available from many sites, and you can choose the design (your band logo, perhaps), colours etc. These are naturally more expensive than a standard strap, but having a strap that expresses your own personality, or which is a work of art in its own right, can be a nice touch.

Features

Many straps have padding, to increase comfort. This may be built into the strap, or take the form of a separate piece of material which sits on the shoulder, and through which the strap is threaded. Padding is important, because you want a strap that’s pleasant to use, not one that cuts into your shoulder.  Having said that, since acoustic guitars are lighter than electrics, a strap which feels uncomfortable with a heavy electric guitar might be fine when used with an acoustic.

Guitar straps should also be adjustable so you can get the right length to suit your playing position. Nearly all straps are adjustable, but not always in the same length range, so if you’re especially tall or short, this is something to be aware of.

You can also get straps with strap locks. These prevent the strap from coming off the peg on the body of your guitar and sending it falling to the floor – this can happen if the hole in the strap is too big or stretches over time, and is obviously something you don’t want! You can also get strap lock systems to fit to your guitar itself, so you can use ordinary straps more safely, but if you don’t want to mess with the hardware on your guitar, choosing a strap with a built-in strap lock is a good alternative.

Neotech Acoustic Guitar Strap

Source

Straps Specifically For Acoustic Guitars

Many straps aren’t made specifically for acoustics. These can be used for an acoustic guitar, but one thing to be aware of is that many of these straps are designed to fit onto guitars with strap pins at each end. Some acoustic guitars have these, but it’s common for acoustics to just have a pin at the base, and not at the heel of the guitar. So to use a strap like this on a guitar without the necessary pin, you’ll have to tie it (securely!) to the headstock.

Straps that are designed for acoustic guitars can have ties at one end, so you can do this easily.

Another option is to fit a second pin to the guitar, but this can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing, as it’s easy to damage the guitar. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, have it done for you by a guitar repair person.

What if you have a nylon string acoustic guitar which has no strap pins at all? Most players of classical and flamenco guitar don’t use straps, since these musical styles are generally played sitting down. But there may be situations in which you want to play a nylon string acoustic standing up, in which case you’ll either need to get pins fitted to your instrument so it can take a normal strap, or use a special strap that doesn’t need them.

These classical guitar straps are similar to ukulele straps, and attach to the instrument at the sound hole, and to your body by a loop that goes around your neck. They look very different to ‘normal’ guitar straps, but are easy enough to use. They can be used for steel string acoustics too.

Where To Buy Acoustic Guitar Straps

You can get guitar straps in any music store (although guitar straps for acoustic guitars in particular can be harder to find) , but for the best selection and lowest prices, it’s worth looking online. Internet retailers typically have lower overheads than physical stores, and will often pass the savings on to you. Plus they don’t have the same space restrictions, so can often offer a wider range of straps to choose from.

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