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How to install Schaller Straplocks onto Gibsons without modifying the Guitar

Updated on March 13, 2014
Schaller strap locks fitted to a Gibson Les Paul LPJ
Schaller strap locks fitted to a Gibson Les Paul LPJ

Many musicians worldwide rely on Schaller strap locks to keep their instruments safe from falling when on stage. I install them on all of my guitars however when I received my new Gibson I realized that they would not fit, I found a way around this problem and here is a guide on how to do the same.


Why you should use straplocks

You may be questioning why you actually need strap locks, is it really worth all of this effort just to install them? Yes, yes it is, if your guitars falls off the strap then you may break your guitar to the extent that it may not be able to be fixed, this isn't a small chance either. I often had my first guitar falling off its strap before I put strap locks on, luckily each time I caught it. If your guitar falls and breaks you will wish you had made this small amount of effort.

Why does Gibson use these two sizes?

Gibson use two different sizes due to the painting process at which the guitars are hung by this screw position, Gibson didn't feel comfortable by hanging the guitars by a smaller normal screw so instead they used a larger screw.

Problem

The reason that schaller strap locks do not fit Gibson guitars is because on Gibsons the screw for the bottom strap button is larger than the screw for the top strap button. The strap locks are only designed for the size of screw used at the top, not at the bottom. Thus the screws supplied with the strap locks would be loose inside the hole. All guides I found on the internet suggested to use that smaller screw that came with the strap locks and just pack out the extra space in the hole with matchstick ends. To me this seemed like a real bodge and thus not something I wanted to do on my brand new guitar. This fix also didn't seem to be as secure as a normal standard screw would be. So instead I came up with a solution that involved only needing to modify the £10/$15 strap lock rather than the many hundreds of pounds/dollars guitar. This technique allows you to use the original Gibson screws with the strap locks.


Equipment Needed

  • Drill, Hand or power
  • Drill bit very slightly larger than the many body of the Gibson screw
  • File
  • Utensil to hold the strap lock still whilst drilling.


Steps

  1. Hold the strap lock button still and drill out the inside of the strap lock button. This drill bit should be very slightly larger than the main part of the Gibson screw and thus when you have gone all the way through the screw should fit through the strap lock. I found the material that the strap locks were made out of was surprisingly solid and strong, it took me 15 minutes with the hand drill to get through (albeit with the slightly blunt drill bit).
  2. If you try to fit the strap lock to your guitar now you will find that the screw head is too large to fit into the strap lock. Look at the schaller screw and see how it fits, the screw head needs to be recessed into the strap lock for it to be able to lock as intended, otherwise it will just slide off!! Luckily there is an easy solution to this. The screw gibson provide has lots of spare space around the philips head grooves, you can simply file off this excess metal until it fits into the straplock as the normal schaller screw does.
  3. Fit the strap lock onto the guitar as you normally would.

Your Schaller strap lock is now fitted to your guitar securely with no need to modify your guitar and risk damage to it in the process. This is such a simple process to do and I was really surprised that the matchstick technique was even suggested by people as it isn't any easier to do and is far less efficient.

Hope you found this guide helpful and enjoy playing your now safely held Gibson guitar.

Do you use strap locks on all your guitars?

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