Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

December 20th, 2016

Guitar Care is Easy With this Guide

The more you play your axe, the more you’ll need to think about guitar care. After all, a clean guitar sounds so much better than a filthy one.

Sweat and grime from your fingers become a magnet for all sorts of dust and moisture. That is definitely not going to improve your playing.

You can take your guitar to your local technician for maintenance. Or you can follow these tips and perform your guitar care yourself. It’ll save you money and give you real satisfaction!

So read on to discover the easiest ways to keep your guitar singing for years to come.

Start with the absolute basics – storage!

Don’t put your guitar on the ground when you’re not using it. Buy a floor stand, or put it in its case.  Either option should lessen the chances of your guitar being knocked over or dinged.

Prevention is better than cure. So using a good quality strap is an easy way to avoid your guitar coming loose while playing and having an accident.

It’s also a good idea to keep your guitar in its case when you’re not using it. Exposure to sunlight can damage the finish on the body.

Storing the guitar in its case also helps to keep the dust and any random grime away. It just means you’ll need to clean it less often.

Some players also recommend using a humidifier in the room where you keep your guitar. Overly dry conditions can warp the wood. It’s best to keep your guitar at around 70°F and 45% humidity.

Wherever you keep it, make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. Avoid damp and overly humid places too. Remember your guitar is made of wood, and wood responds to changes in the environment.

You have to take care of the strings

The most obvious aspect of guitar care comes down to your strings. They get dull over time and really wreck your sound.

Yes, it can get expensive, but it’s the very least you can do for your guitar.

So change them now if you can’t remember the last time you did change them. When you remove them, do it two or three at a time. You don’t want to cause any damage to the neck.

It goes without saying, but when you do change the strings, make sure you have the right ones for your guitar!

But if you really don’t want to change the strings too often, you can at least clean them. Get into the habit of wiping them every time you play.

A dry lint-free cloth is all you need. Loosen them a little so you can get the cloth around the whole string. Just pinch the string using the cloth and move your fingers along the string.

Keeping the strings clean will definitely help them to last longer.

Guitar care for fretboards and bodies

The fretboard is pretty easy to deal with and doesn’t need constant care. If you play regularly, you might only need to clean it 2-3 times a year.

Once you’ve taken the strings off to change them, give the fretboard a rub down with a soft damp cloth. You can use a soft toothbrush or toothpick to get any grime from the edges of the frets.

If your fingerboard has any hairline cracks, it’s a sign that the board has dried out. Linseed or almond oil will help condition it. Just use one or two drops and wipe off any excess oil.

But if you have any problems with wear spots on the fretboard, see your local technician. You don’t want to use sandpaper to try and remove them if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Guitar care for the body is simple. Use a clean lint-free cloth to remove any dust. Then use guitar polish on the whole body, avoiding the electronic components.

It goes without saying, but never use a furniture polish on a guitar. Ever.

If you really want an amazing finish, there’s one final step you can try. Add a tiny amount of carnauba wax to a micro-fiber cloth.

Polish the whole guitar body. Once it’s dried, rub the body gently with a polishing cloth then remove the wax.

What about the hardware?

Unless it’s all gotten really icky, you shouldn’t need to touch the hardware too often. It generally just attracts dust and fingerprints.

You can use basic glass cleaner on a clean cloth to polish your metal tuners, and a slightly damp cloth will sort out any dust or prints on the bridge.

Just make sure you let them dry out thoroughly before you put the guitar back in its case. You don’t want to introduce any dampness to its storage area.

But it’s vital that you keep any kind of moisture away from the pickups. Use a bone dry cloth, or compressed air, to remove any dust.

Failing that, you can always use a clean paintbrush that you keep solely for the pickups to brush away dust. Choose a good-quality paintbrush as you don’t want it to shed hairs all over the place.

And for players into more advanced guitar care…

Keep your old strings!

You can actually use them as backups for 1/2 or 3/4 size guitars. They also work as backups in case you break a string. They’re not perfect, but they’re better than nothing.

You should also start a stockpile of guitar parts. It might sound strange but pretty much anything from your guitar can be kept as a spare part. Pickups, electronics, jacks, bridges – keep everything.

That also includes the neck or the body. You never know when you might need any of them!

These parts will also come in handy if you decide to build your own guitar.

It’s also worth putting together a kit you can use for touch-ups. You might be horrified at the idea of using a magic marker on your guitar. But what would you rather have – a visible scratch, or an inked in line?

Besides, Sharpies are a great way to customize your guitar.

Even if you don’t want to slap sticks on your axe, starting a guitar care habit is really easy. Practicing a regular maintenance routine is a good way to keep your guitar in tip-top condition.

So start by changing your strings and try out these tips. You’re sure to hear the difference a clean guitar makes!

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December 13th, 2016

How to Buy a Guitar: Get on the Electric Train with This Guide

You’ve been watching your rock idols for a while and now you’re wondering how to buy a guitar.

With roughly 2.3 million guitars sold in the US every year, you’re in good company.

But it’s a good idea to think about what type of music you’d eventually like to play. It’ll affect everything from which body to go for, to what custom guitar straps you might like.

So keep reading and find out how to choose the guitar for you!

The genre of music you want to play will affect the type of guitar you go for.

If you favour rock, punk or metal, then go for a solid body guitar. Unlike acoustic guitars, they have no resonance chamber.

That just means they need an amplifier to really make any sounds. A combination of pick-ups and electronics pass the noise from the strings onto the amp and presto! Music appears.

You’ll have seen plenty of solid-body guitars in music videos or at gigs. The Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster are two of the most famous.

Not sure what a Gibson Les Paul looks like? Think Jimmy Page, Slash, or Zakk Wilde. Like the sound of the Stratocaster? Check out Jimi Hendrix, Bryan Adams or Eric Clapton.

Alternatively, if you know you want to play metal, choose an axe suitable to the task. Ibanez and ESP do guitars aimed specifically at metal players.

They have thinner necks to make it easier to move up and down the fretboard. That makes it far easier to play at high speed.

But if you’d rather play jazz, then look at hollow body electric guitars. They don’t have a sound hole like an acoustic. They also use different pick-ups than their solid-body cousins.

Hollow body models often have a warmer tone to their sound. That hollow body gives you extra sustain, which is also great for blues or indie music. Think Noel Gallagher.

Last but not least, you can also get electric acoustic guitars. Very simply, they’re acoustic guitars with pick-ups. You play them like an acoustic, but you can plug them into amps if you want to play in public.

But we’re assuming you want to shred like a maniac!

And don’t just look at it. How does your chosen guitar sound?

It’s amazing how many new guitar players choose the look of an axe first. But when you ask how to buy a guitar, you’re also asking how to buy a particular sound.

So don’t buy a guitar you’ve never tried. That’s especially true if you’re going to choose a used model. If its sound doesn’t suit what you want to play, you won’t get any satisfaction.

Try plucking a few strings to see how they sound. Can you feel the vibration of the note throughout the entire body?

Does the sound seem metallic, or warm? It depends on the wood used and really affects the sound you can make.

You’ll also need to pay attention to the pickups. If they’re oval-shaped with metal spots under the strings, then you have single-coil pickups.

They’re more suitable for blues or rock lead players.

But if the pickups are metal rectangles, then you have humbucker pickups. They give a great level of ‘growl’ to your playing, especially if you’re a rhythm player. They’re also fantastic to use with distortion pedals.

You’ll certainly be able to unleash your inner James Hetfield with those!

Will your chosen guitar be comfortable to play?

Flying V guitars look really cool. But they’re not very practical if you want to sit down while practicing.

And comfort is a surprisingly overlooked issue when people ask how to buy a guitar. But there’s no point buying an axe you won’t want to play.

So look at the distance between the frets. Is it a comfortable distance for you? Will it tire out your hands having to stretch your fingers too far?

Then have a look at the action of the guitar. That just means how high the strings are relative to the fretboard.

A high action means you’ll need more pressure to play a note because the strings are further away. Low action strings are nearer the fretboard and easier to press.

But if they’re too near, you might end up with string buzz. (If so, you can get the neck adjusted to raise the strings.)

Also check where the bridge is. Does it have string-guides? Does it get in the way when you rest your hand on the body?

Finally, think about what kind of strap you want to use. It can make all the difference in how comfortable your guitar is. And it can also say a lot about you!

You want a guitar to be comfortable to play, so be sure you’re happy with the bridge placement.

Don’t just think about how to buy a guitar – also think about how much to buy one!

You wouldn’t get your driver’s permit and buy a Lamborghini as your first car. So likewise don’t buy a Gibson Les Paul for $1000s when you’re starting out.

But you don’t need to buy the cheapest of the cheap to start playing.

Used models can be a great place to start. Look for more advanced players looking to upgrade their guitars and pick up their entry level axes.

Further down the line you can even consider building your own!

If you really want a guitar by a big name, then check out their lower priced series. Fender has the ‘Squire’ series which uses the same designs but cheaper materials.

If you’ve really got your heart set on a Les Paul, check out the Epiphone range that is Gibson-affiliated.

Bear in mind you’ll also need to buy accessories to bring your new guitar to life. Think:

  • Amplifers
  • Cables
  • Pedals
  • New strings
  • Guitar straps

So don’t blow your budget on an amazing guitar and find yourself stuck with a pitiful amp. As well as asking how to buy a guitar, you also need to ask ‘how much to buy a guitar?’

And if you’ve got your heart set on a guitar that costs more than a small house, don’t worry. Just use that as an incentive to practice!

So there you have it! If you want to know how to buy a guitar, then keeping these questions in mind will certainly help you choose the model for you!

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November 23rd, 2016

Our Top Ten Budget-Friendly Gifts for Guitar Players

Do you have a friend or family member that loves to play the guitar? Are they in a full band or just like playing the guitar as a hobby?

Finding a gift for any musician can be a bit of a pain, especially if you aren’t so musically inclined yourself.

Guitarists are picky, but for good reason. Good equipment and accessories for making music are usually far from cheap.

However, we managed to put together a list of fantastic gifts for guitarists that are not only easy on the wallet but are valuable and useful as well.

Check out these super cool gifts for the guitarist in your life!

Ten Totally Awesome Gifts For Guitarists

These gifts will blow your guitarist friend away.

Pick-a-Palooza DIY Guitar Pick Punch

How cool is this guitar pick punch from Pick-a-Palooza?

The punch acts as a sort of hole-punch that creates guitar picks out of plastic items like old gift cards, hotel room key cards, old driver’s licenses, and other thin plastic items.

Not only is this item fun to use, it’s really handy as well. Long gone are the days of trying to find a guitar pick lying around.

With the Pick-a-Palooza, you can make your own guitar picks for convenience or just because you want a cool-looking pick.

This item also comes with plastic strips in various designs and a pick holder.

Donner Dt-1 Chromatic Guitar Tuner Pedal

Tuners can be expensive. Unfortunately, they’re an absolute necessity for even the novice guitarist

This guitar tuner pedal from Donner is great because it is suitable for a wide range of tuning and can be added to a guitar player’s board of pedals for convenience.

It’s also under $20. Sound pretty great, right?

Planet Waves Pro Winder String Winder and Cutter

Every musician that performs has been here at least once: You’re in the middle of a set and suddenly a string goes flying in your peripheral vision. You’ve broken one of your strings.

Hastily trying to put a new string on in a short amount of time between songs is stressful. Luckily, this string winder and cutter from Planet Waves will allow you to install and wind strings very quickly.

The built-in cutter is also super handy for getting rid of excess wire in a pinch.

Really, every guitar player should have one of these. And it’s less than $8.

L’MS Guitar Sidekick Universal Smartphone Support Phone Holder

This product is just plain useful. And every guitar player out there will appreciate useful.

Whether your guitarist is still learning how to play the guitar well or they enjoy writing their own music, this handy smartphone adapter will allow them to view their smartphone hands-free while they play.

The days of fumbling with a laptop or smartphone to look up some guitar chords or jot down notes are long over with this product.

Simply stick this handy gadget onto the body of the guitar via a suction cup and you’re ready to go! It’s like a smartphone orchestra music stand.

Strap Graphics Custom Guitar Strap

If you want to get extra fancy with a gift for your guitarist, you can also get them a customizable guitar strap made with high-quality materials that are both personal and durable. Strap Graphics has a really affordable selection of options to make a really cool and really personal guitar strap.

You can also find already printed guitar straps from Strap Graphics that are pretty cool too.

Guitar Capo

A guitar capo is one of the most common guitar accessories next to the tuner and the guitar pick. A cap is a handy clip-like device that can change the pitches of the guitar strings.

There’s a pretty good chance that your guitarist already has one of these little things, but they are as easy to lose as guitar picks are. They’ll definitely appreciate a backup capo.

Guitar Cables

If your guitarist is a fan of the electric guitar, they will absolutely appreciate a new cable or two.

This GLS Audio 20-Foot Guitar Cable is one of the best. The soft tweed cloth jacket allows for easy movement of the cable, and it also works wonderfully too. The material is durable, flexible, and worth every penny.

GHS Fast Fret String And Neck Lubricant

This string and neck lubricant from GHS strings is under $10 and extremely useful.

Guitar players, especially those that smoke cigarettes, are at risk of distorting the sound their guitars produced by the amount of oil and debris on their guitar strings.

Plus, the neck of the guitar can get pretty gross very quickly.

This neck and string lubricant not only allows for smoother and less painful playing, but it cleans the strings and neck of the guitar as well.

Herco Precision Screwdriver Set

The guitarist in your life will absolutely love this set of screwdrivers from Herco. The set includes six mini screwdrivers that include two Phillip heads and four metric heads from 1.4 to 3.0 millimeters.

Having a set of guitar screwdrivers is super handy for repairing guitar pedals and other guitar-related equipment.

And the set is also only $7. That’s a total steal.

Guitar Fretboard Note Stickers For Beginners

If your guitar fan is fairly young or still trying to learn how to play the guitar properly, this set of stickers from NEWEIGHTS could be the best learning tool you’ll ever give them

These stickers are color coded and designed with note letters. Place these stickers on the fretboard under the strings in the appropriate spot for each string and note, and suddenly the process of remembering where specific difficult notes are is much quicker.

This product isn’t designed to be permanent by any means. It is simply a great tool, especially for little guitarists, to get a more visual and better feel for where notes are.

Start Shopping!

We hope these suggestions can help you find the best gift for your guitarist friend or family member. If all else fails, you can always get them a custom printed guitar strap instead!

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November 9th, 2016

Build Your Own Guitar: Make it Custom, Make it Yours

Picking up a new guitar and laying into those first few chords is a special feeling. It’s something anyone who’s ever held a pick can relate to.

So what if we told you there’s something that trumps it? Would you believe us? If you’ve ever had the opportunity to build your own guitar you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Nothing is quite like the feeling of playing an instrument that is uniquely yours. No one has the same guitar, and no one ever will. The guitar becomes an extension of yourself.

It’s hard work to get the exact kind of guitar you’re looking for, and there are several ways to make it happen.

We’re going to show you how to build your own electric guitar from start to finish, and how it customize it along the way.

How to Build Your Own Guitar – The Basics

The first step in building a guitar is deciding what kind of guitar you’re after. The general process is the same for acoustic and electric guitars, but small variations in strings and wood choice make the builds slightly different.

We’re making the choice for you in this article, and focusing on electric guitars.

Next, you will need to decide what your definition of “build” is. Building from scratch is labor intensive. It requires access to a variety of tools and a quiet space to focus and keep your guitar safe.

Your other option is ordering custom parts from different suppliers and piecing together the guitar. It’s not technically “building” it, but your guitar is customized all the same.

Veteran guitar builder Tony McKenzie, likens the assembling process to building a house. You don’t call it assembling a house, so why call it assembling a guitar?

Constructing the Body

Body construction always starts with a solid piece of wood. It seems simple enough, but this step is enormously important for your final product.

Different woods create different sounds. The way sound reverberates through the wood affects pitches, tones, highs, lows, and more.

Here’s a quick breakdown of sound characteristics by common wood type.

Alder

Alder wood creates a strong, clear, full-bodied sound with strong mids and above average lows. The highs are somewhere between harsh and smooth, and the sustain is average.

Swamp Ash

This specific type of ash creates a twangy, sweet, and fluttery sound. The lows are firm, the highs pleasant to hear, and the sustain is average. Swamp ash is a popular entry-level body type.

Basswood

Basswood delivers a strong sound. The body is strong but well balanced. The midrange is also substantial, though also uniquely soft. This wood gives your sound a boost.

Korina: Korina is about balance. Its sound is resonating and warm, with clarity and sustain.

Mahogany

By itself, mahogany has a warm tone with a well-balanced bite. Mahogany doesn’t hit hard, but it’s not soft either. The wood provides good depth with full lows and average highs.

Maple

Maple is extremely dense and hard. This produces lively, precise tones.

Maple Top – Mahogany Back

This is a popular combination. It yields mahogany’s depth, warm tone, and sustain, combined with maple’s clarity and definition.

Rosewood

Rarely seen in electric guitars, this wood makes for a heavy and overly bright sounding guitar. It’s best suited to acoustics.

Walnut

Walnut is similar to mahogany. The sound is warm and full, but with more of a lower end hit.

Once you’ve decided on a wood, it’s time to carve your body. Note that for dual wood type bodies you’ll need slimmer wood blocks. The final product needs both wood types combined to form the proper body depth.

Choose a shape and trace it onto your solid wood face. Next, use a bandsaw to cut out the stencil. Make relief cuts near any curves to prevent the blade from slipping.

Now sand any rough edges and relief cuts that mar the exterior of the guitar. This is a good time to route out the pickup cavity as well.

Trace your pickup cavity outline and use a router to hollow out space for the pickup. Since you’re already sanding the exterior, add the pickup cavity to your sanding list.

Attach your strap buttons to the sides of your guitar. Drill out the proper depth holes and screw in the strap buttons.

We recommend a strap to every player not only for comfort but customization as well.

The final step is tracing a neck cut out, and routing out a space to attach your neck to the guitar. Make sure to mark out drill holes for attaching the neck to the body.

Shape The Neck

A guitar neck is an easier build than the body. Though again, wood type matters immensely.

Mahogany – Ebony

This combination typically refers to a mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard. The ebony contributes clarity and definition, a strong bass and snappy highs, while the mahogany brings warmth and an open sound.

Mahogany - Rosewood

Mahogany here lends its same warm, mellow tone. A combination with rosewood produces complex highs, creamy lows, and a strong midrange. The sound takes on an almost sweet character.

Maple

The most common neck wood, maple sizzles in the highs, has firm lows, with a punchy yet edgy sound that still maintains excellent clarity.

Maple – Pau Ferro

The same maple goodness, but with improved clarity and definition. Lows aren’t quite up to snuff, but an open midrange compensates.

You can build the neck either before or after the body. The only stipulation being that it needs to complement the guitar body’s size.

It’s also time to build your guitar head. Cut out a shape you’re interested in from the same wood as your neck. Remember to drill holes for your tuning pegs.

Attaching the fingerboard is straightforward, but the frets are complicated. Inserting tuning pegs can also cause issues if you’re not familiar with stringing a guitar.

We recommend taking the unstrung product to a master tuner who can ensure your new guitar will play as well as it’s built. They can also recommend the proper strings to suit your play style.

Attaching the rest of your guitar’s accessories and finishing the wood are projects for a different article. Both processes are an art in their own right.

If you follow this guide you too can have a custom guitar that looks and sounds like only a one-of-a-kind instrument can.

If you’re looking for a custom guitar strap for your new ax, visit our website. We specialize in giving your guitar the unique look and character it deserves.

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November 2nd, 2016

10 Awesome Guitar Apps Players Will Actually Use

When it comes to being a guitarist, we all know that creativity and self-expression are the reasons we were drawn to becoming a musician.

At Strap Graphics, we get it. That’s why we offer custom gear to help you make your set up even more personalized (right down to a custom guitar strap to complete the look).

Gear is one thing, though. If someone you or someone you know is an avid musician, bringing in technology on the go to supplement your craft is one way to get your fix when playing isn’t always an option.

Both classical guitar and the electrical guitar are among the world’s top 6 most popular instruments– meaning there is an almost endless market for lessons, theory, gear, and apps.

Strap Graphics wanted to give you a leg up on integrating tech into your guitar practice, so we’ve broken down our Top 10 Guitar apps that you will absolutely use.

Our Top 10 Guitar Apps

1. Real Drum

Now starting off with Real Drum may seem like a strange choice– a drum app topping the list of guitar apps? But it actually makes a lot of sense.

If you’re wanting to take your music to the next level, adding drums in with your guitar jamming is one way to create a larger sound that more closely mimics what you could do with a full band.

It’s available for both Andriod and Apple devices, and it gives you the ability to create a drum backing for your music without needing to learn complicated programming.

2. Smart Chord Scales

This guitar app is currently only available on Andriod devices, but Smart Chord Scales offers users a detailed breakdown of chord options that is worth checking out for Andriod users.

With this app, users can view the chord notation, fretboard viewing, and more. You can even branch out from the guitar and check out the apps options for the bass, mandolin, and other instruments. Using this app to advance your knowledge of chords and scaling is a top recommendation from us at Strap Graphics.

3. Guitarist’s Reference

Guitarist’s Reference is an incredible app that you should treat like a portable encyclopedia of all guitar-related information.

This app is available for both Apple and Andriod devices, and it offers users a diverse variety of functions. Our favorites are the reverse chord finder tool, the quizzes, and theory information.

4. Guitar Lessons by Guitar Tricks

For those who are at the beginner or intermediate level of guitar playing, or even if you’re a seasoned player, this app should be on your radar.

It is available for download on both Andriod and Apple devices, and it houses over 11k comprehensive guitar lessons that can benefit any player.

The true benefit to an app like this is that it offers similar levels of instruction and detail to an in-person lesson, but makes it portable and affordable for those who are unable to find the funding, time, or location to commit to in-person lessons but feels comfortable tackling an instrument on their own.

5. Amplitube UA

Only available for Andriod devices, this great app allows users to experiment with a variety of sound effects and pedal-like options without actually having to invest in one.

For a casual guitar player, this is huge since we all know the costs associated with buying pedals isn’t the cheapest. However, this app does have one downside: it requires you to purchase the iRig UA.

6. Real Free Guitar

This great app is available for players that use Android and Apple devices and it will change the way you play when you can’t, well, play.

Real Free Guitar is a next level guitar simulator that allows users to strum, pluck, and practice chord placement from the comfort of your smart device. Instead of wondering how you will get your practice in during travel or even the work day, now you know.

7. Gibson Learn & Master Guitar

Coming to you from the legendary Gibson guitar brand, the Gibson Learn & Master Guitar app lets Andriod device users benefit from their expert-level knowledge of guitar playing and techniques.

This app is the complete bundle, it gives you the option to tune your guitar using a great interface as well as the options of using a metronome or checking out their master lessons.

The only downside to this free app is the fact that it is not yet available for Apple users, with no work on whether or not this is in the works.

8. iShred

This Apple-only app lets users enhance their recordings through the use of different effects and distortions to transform your recordings into professional sounding clips. With this app, simple samples that you’ve recording can also be shared through Airplay to let all of your friends have a listen.

9. Songsterr Tabs & Chords

Songsterr is an app that gives you the ability to learn and play along to songs in real time and gives you the ability to slow down songs without losing the sound quality during those times where you need a few extra seconds to get something just right.This app is available for both Andriod and Apple device users.

This app is available for both Andriod and Apple device users.

10. Youtube

Youtube may seem like an obvious yet surprising selection for our #10 must have app for guitar users, but hear us out. In this day and age, Youtube is the biggest repository of free content available, with over a billion users watching or uploading content.

As a guitar player, free is always good as is having a variety of content and approaches to learn from.

While you may be in the process of learning how to fingerpick to incorporate some of these techniques into your metal band, it is a tricky process. One video you find on youtube may not break it down enough for you, which is why that diversity of content is incredible. You will always be able to find what you need –sometimes from your favorite band members!– with a quick youtube search, which is why it has to be included on our list.

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October 26th, 2016

The Ultimate DIY Custom Guitar Tutorial

Whether you play for fun or professionally, you want a guitar that represents you. But face it, a new and custom guitar is expensive. If you want that custom guitar of your dreams, you have to embrace your DIY side.

Doing your own guitar customization and personalization can save you anywhere from $200 to even a grand! Therefore, you can change your guitar’s look more often and style it up for different gigs, music videos, and photo shoots.

And you don’t have to be naturally crafty to make a cool custom guitar.

If you’re completely new to DIY, you’ve come to the right place. DIY guitar customization is easy to learn, and even the simplest tricks can take your guitar from boring to eye-catching.

So let’s break down the DIY custom guitar tips you have to know.

Come Up With A Custom Guitar Plan

If you want to do a great customization job on your own, you need to have a plan. Your guitar is your baby and winging it could be a huge mistake.

First, think about the overall look you want for your custom guitar. Ask yourself these questions while you brainstorm:

  • What color schemes appeal to me?
  • What mood am I going for?
  • What visuals inspire me? (Galaxies, mountain ranges, events, etc.)
  • What theme do I want to capture?

You don’t want to overwhelm your custom guitar with too much design and accouterments. That’s why it’s just as important to edit.

The following tools are extremely helpful for nailing down that final design:

  • Color Wheel: Use a color wheel to learn which colors go best with one another, otherwise known as supplementary and complementary colors.
  • Beginning drawing and painting books: Beginning art books can teach you basic techniques for composition.
  • Stencils: Stencils are great if you have difficulty drawing precise shapes.
  • Sketchpads and tracing vellum: Draw out your ideas first before customizing. Use tracing vellum to create more accurate designs.
  • Colored pencils: Use colored pencils to test out your color choices first.
  • Magazines and image libraries: Looking for inspiration to strike? Research magazines and online image libraries to inspire creative ideas.

Soup Up Your Custom Guitar Body with Stickers

Sick of looking at that plain guitar body?

Fortunately, this is one of the easiest remedies in the book. Adding special stickers and decals can completely change the style of your guitar. Moreover, they’re designed to mimic the look of real inlay work!

If you want to a space-age guitar, for example, add constellation decals to your body and star stickers to your fretboard. Likewise, leafy inlay and fretboard stickers would make for an eye-popping environmental design.

There are even simple decals that mimic the look of classic, all natural wood guitars. Basically, if you have an idea, there’s a good chance there’s a sticker for that.

Removable stickers and decals are especially helpful for children’s music teachers, wedding singers, birthday acts, and anyone else who needs to frequently change the look of their guitar.

Feeling Bold? Use Sharpies and Stencils

If you cringe at the word “sharpie” then you may want to look away for this one. However, one of the best ways to capture that tattooed look is with sharpies and stencils.

Most importantly, you can create a more personal, “lived in” look with sharpies. You tell stories as a musician, and a custom guitar covered in doodles is a story in itself.

To nail down a cool doodled look, practice your doodles on a separate piece of paper first. Free draw any symbols, letters, words, or iconography that strikes you. You can also use tracing paper and magazines to collect more images.

You could also design a large graphic to sharpie onto your guitar instead. For this technique, you’ll want to draw a pencil outline on the guitar first. You can’t afford to make any mistakes with a sharpie in hand.

Don’t forget that sharpies come in different colors, not just classic black, so have at it!

Upgrade Your Tuners

Don’t let this tip slip through the cracks.

Just the simplest turner upgrade can make a world of difference. Consider these designs for your custom guitar:

  • Multi-colored metallic tuners: These are great for adding a simple splash of color.
  • Antique brass tuners: Perfect for creating a classic, sophisticated look.
  • Skull and crossbones tuners: Ideal for metal bands and goth shows.
  • Owl tuners: These guys really stand out, and perfect for young beginners.
  • Steampunk style: Add metal engraved tuners to give your guitar a subtle steampunk touch.

You can also clip on digital tuners to fine-tune your sound with even more accuracy.

Re-Design Your Guitar Straps & Other Accessories

Your guitar strap is one of the easiest elements you can change.

You can run out to the mall, but you need a wide selection to choose from.

Instead, more musicians and hobby players are opting to personalize their own guitar straps online using their own unique designs. Bands and small production companies, for example, can print their original logos on their straps, making online personalization a quick and cheap self-marketing tool.

With a new guitar strap in tow, you may want to consider these tiny but important details:

  • Tye a classic bandana around the nut of your guitar to nail down that vintage look.
  • Add new bindings to your electric guitar to freshen it up. Bindings come in a large selection of colors, swirls, marbleization.
  • Change out your guitar strings. Guitar strings come in different colors, glow in the dark, and metallics.
  • Switch out your bridge pins. Bridge pins come in classic abalone, brass, and ebony.
  • Add new pick up covers. This is a clever DIY tip for Stratocaster owners. Shake up your pick up covers with new or alternating colors.
  • Change out your knobs. Knobs are easy to replace, plus, you can find them in brass, shell, semi-precious stone, and more materials.

Think your guitar is finally ready for that makeover?

Remember that a little goes a long way with DIY. Come up with a customization plan for your guitar and use these tips to craft a totally unique look for your custom guitar.

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September 27th, 2016

Custom Guitar Straps (and Other Great Gifts for Guitarists)

Does somebody you love like to shred?

What do you get these people for birthdays, or at Christmas, or any other time you’re looking for a special gift?

Guitar players are usually relatively easy to buy for. There are a lot of helpful little gadgets (like custom guitar straps) and accessories that really make a difference for someone who’s using their guitar a lot, whether they’re playing gigs or just jamming for fun.

Here are some of the best guitar gifts to get a musician who really loves their axe.

Digital Gear

One easy guitar gift is an electronic digital tuner that attaches to the headstock of the guitar. With one of these small gadgets, there’s no guesswork in figuring out whether you have a true A, E or D.

The tuner helps a guitarist to adjust to a group’s sound and saves a lot of time when it’s most valuable – when it’s time to tune up for a performance.

Another great idea is a smartphone holder that goes onto the guitar the same way. With so many of today’s musical resources online, from chords and sheet music to lyrics and tablature, having the ability to hold the smartphone up where you can see it without using your hands is really going to be an advantage.

Pick Makers, Pick Cases

Other great gifts for guitarists revolve around the pick, a small piece of plastic that is absolutely necessary for some kind of playing. Guitarists who are into specific genres might buy different kinds of custom picks, such as curved fingerpicking models.

When it comes to gifts, you can buy a set of picks or a case for picks to be kept in when they’re not in use. You can also buy a pick maker, which allows the guitar player to simply punch out customized picks out of sheets of plastic — for example, an old credit card that’s been retired.

Pickups and Traveling Amps

Other unique gifts for guitar players can provide better sound and make it more portable.

A pickup makes any acoustic guitar into an electric guitar that sends sound through cables to an amplifier. A travel amp can give the guitar player a hands-free experience for cranking out tunes anywhere that he or she is not connected to a full sound setup.

The small amps take batteries and are really nice tools for versatility on the road.

Guitar Holders

Most guitar players have cases, but a small forked guitar holder helps to keep guitars out of the way when they are not in use. Over time, for somebody who really uses the guitar, this small accessory can really help to prevent dings and dents and other kinds of wear.

Capo

A capo is a small accessory that allows guitar players to play in different keys.

It’s not big or expensive because it doesn’t have any digital components. It’s simply a specialized kind of clamp that goes onto the fretboard.

However, any guitar player who knows his or her music theory can tell you that a capo is very useful when it’s time to put a song into a different key. Whether you’re trying to match a vocalist’s range, or change keys in order to read sheet music, the capo really provides the quick versatility that you need. That’s why this is another excellent small gift for a musician.

Pedals

Many guitar players who like the electric sound are really into effects pedals.

Unlike many of the above options, these aren’t small or cheap gifts. You might have to pay $200 or more for a pedal, because of its complex electronic design. Pedals plug into an amplifier to provide different kinds of sounds, from simple gain or ‘crunchiness’ to reverb, sustain or delayed — where for example, a delay pedals help guitarists to re-create the kinds of sounds you hear in the signature work of bands like Pink Floyd and U2.

A pedal can be a great way to allow a guitar player more freedom to play around with sound and perfect a signature guitar style.

Custom Guitar Straps

A custom guitar strap is an excellent gift choice for nearly any guitarist.

Without the guitar strap, most guitars are pretty awkward to play.

You have to be sitting down in a chair, or standing with your legs up on a chair balancing the guitar on your leg, or holding an acoustic guitar close to your body while you pick.

It’s really not optimal — and as soon as the guitar player tries to stand up, he or she realizes that it’s time to get a quality custom guitar strap that can be adjusted to just the right length.

Get a custom guitar strap to give your guitar player not only the freedom to play comfortably, but the option to play in style. Customized decorative guitar straps are valuable to players in many colors and patterns, and they’re a great choice for Christmas or any time of year.

Decorative Stuff

There is almost literally no end to the amount of decorative gear that you can get a guitarist, which can make gift shopping even easier.

Of course, none of this stuff really relates to guitar play in a practical sense — unlike all of the gear mentioned above, these are not things that someone will really use while he or she is playing. That doesn’t mean your guitar player won’t love it, though.

You can get guitar shaped clocks, skillets, or drink stirrers. You can get various types of home furnishings and cases and holders for mobile devices. All of this stuff will make the musician’s home look like an A&R rep lives there – which just might be the way they want to live!

One person’s collectibles are another’s clutter, but lots of guitar players like to adorn their living spaces with some kind of decorative tell-tale sign that they are into music.

Think about any of these attractive gifts for guitar players when it’s time to go out and shop for someone who is pretty good on the strings.

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October 1st, 2015

Halloween season

The Halloween season is officially upon us. Although the stores tried to roll it out back in August we don’t think Halloween officially can be celebrated until October. Although we’ve offered our Darkside Skulls Guitar Strap for awhile now we thought it was the perfect strap for the Halloween season.
darkside-skull-2-5-700x700 copy

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August 13th, 2014

Design your Expression, Express your Design: Customizable Electric Guitar Straps

b>Design your Expression, Express your Design: Customizable Electric Guitar Straps

So you have a wicked sick electric guitar, strap locks, but some generic old strap that you’ve had for years. Time for an upgrade! Strap Graphics’ electric guitar straps are the choicest around for one simple reason: you can design your own! 

electric guitar straps 4

The difference between electric guitar straps and acoustic guitar straps is how the guitar is attached. Some acoustic straps have a string that tie to the top of the neck. Electric guitar straps attach to the strap nuts at the base and wing of the guitar body. Since music is a form of personal and exponential expression, wouldn’t it make sense to further that expression with riveting visuals on your strap? Your guitar is a work of art, and your strap should be too!

When defining yourself as an artist, it is necessary to have music, lyrics, and an image that represent your style. Designing a strap could represent numerous things that could be related to a musical endeavor or just you as a person. These could include a myriad of styles and images that suit you in more ways than one.

Strap Graphic offers several different options of material for their two types of straps: Leather and Polyester. The leather straps have suede backs that feel luscious, and the polyester straps have leather ends heightening their strength potential. Both types of straps are able to be fitted with all major strap locks. In addition, this is an all American company based out of Oregon. Due to this, the materials are exquisite and derived locally.

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There are tons of straps listed on our website, and even more possibilities once you start designing! 

The best part of Strap Graphics is that there is 100% satisfaction guarantee!

If you are ready to get the best guitar strap money can buy, contact us today!


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August 13th, 2014

Secure Your Valuable Axe with Electric Guitar Straps

Secure Your Valuable Axe with Electric Guitar Straps

Playing an electric guitar is not exactly the same as playing an acoustic. For one thing, most acoustic guitars are made to be played while the musician is in a comfortable sitting position. If you are accustomed to practicing while sitting down, attach a sturdy strap and then try to play the same guitar standing up; you’ll immediately recognize the difference.

electric guitar straps

If you want to be a well-rounded guitarist, learn to play both acoustic and electric and practice while standing up at least half the time. Doing so may increase your playing opportunities exponentially. A player who can get into the groove while strutting on stage is an asset to any show band.

Every stand-up player needs electric guitar straps they can rely on, whether they are a world-class player who owns a quiver of classic Fender Telecasters or a humble garage band guitarist who’s going electric for the first time. A well-made strap can go a long way toward enabling a guitarist to play for extended periods of time without becoming fatigued. A snappy strap says a lot about a guitarist’s personality, as well.

electric guitar straps 1

Now that you’re convinced of the necessity of a comfortable and secure guitar strap, we’d like to invite you to design a custom strap. All you have to do is choose the strap size and select the materials. Use our online design template tools or upload your own images. Contact us for further info about how to order your custom strap from Strap Graphics.

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