August 21, 2022 6 min read
This is your dream moment: you're on stage, you're in flow, when suddenly...it happens.
A sharp pain jolts through your shoulder where your guitar strap has been digging in all night. You hit the wrong chord in pain. You're thrown out of flow, and everyone knows it.
Unfortunately, this kind of embarrassing situation can happen thanks to uncomfortable guitar straps. And frankly, we think you deserve better than shoulder and neck pain during your performances.
This is why we've broken down what to look for when shopping for comfortable guitar straps, so you can rock out pain-free and with peace of mind.
The material a guitar strap is made out of is one of the most important things to consider. This strap will be your buddy for hours during shows in a variety of climates, so you want a material that's not only comfortable but durable.
You'll also want to consider how breathable the material is, and whether it will irritate your skin.
Soft leathers like Nubuck leather and suede leather are excellent for their strength yet softness and flexibility. The rule with leather is to choose softer or "broken in" types since this will create less rub on your skin.
The flexibility of leather will also allow your guitar strap to conform to your shoulder rather than digging in with stiff edges.
Neoprene guitar straps can also work well, especially if they include padding. Neoprene has the benefit of helping to whisk away moisture, which is great for sweaty sessions. Some neoprene straps also include specific types of padding that increase comfort.
Other popular materials used to make guitar straps include:
Whether these materials are comfortable or not truly depends on the design of the guitar strap. For softer materials and lighter guitars, you may not need as much padding.
However, for stiffer materials and heavier guitars, you may want to consider if a guitar strap has more padding. Stiff materials paired with a heavy guitar can cause the material to dig into your skin and cause pain and irritation.
If you choose soft or distressed leather and your guitar isn't too heavy, you may be able to play comfortably without heavy padding.
The width of your guitar strap is another extremely important consideration for comfort.
Standard guitar strap widths range from 2 to 4 inches, but there are many straps available in wider widths.
Depending on the heaviness of your guitar, a wider strap may help distribute weight more evenly. If you are using a heavy bass guitar, a wider strap can help ease the pressure on your shoulder.
However, it isn't always true that a wider strap is better. If you are using a lighter guitar, a wide guitar strap may make it more difficult to maneuver your guitar.
The comfort of your guitar strap also depends on its length. Generally, the standard guitar strap length is between 40 to 60 inches and can be adjusted.
While this works for most people, you'll want to consider how tall you are, as well as where you prefer to hold your guitar.
If you're under 6' you'll likely do fine with a standard strap. The same is true if you typically play sitting down.
However, if you're taller or like to hold your guitar at knee height, you should look for an extra-long guitar strap. If you're unsure, try out a few different lengths to get a feel for what is the most comfortable.
Why is length so important?
Because when you don't have the right guitar strap length, you can tire yourself out by trying to hold the guitar with your arms. This can also affect your performance if your guitar isn't sitting at a natural height.
Investing in a shoulder pad is another option for making your current strap more comfortable.
Shoulder pads for guitar straps are often constructed of comfortable foam, adding a plush layer between your shoulder and your strap.
They can also fit on a variety of guitar strap types. Pay attention to sizing to make sure your shoulder pad will fit your strap before you buy.
Ideally, your guitar strap will be comfortable enough to use without extra padding, but if you can't invest right now, a pad can work in a pinch.
It might seem like attachments on your guitar strap wouldn't make much of a difference in how comfortable it is. However, since the strap also handles the weight of your guitar, it can have an effect.
You'll want to determine that your guitar straps are made of sturdy material, such as leather. This will not only help handle the weight of your guitar more efficiently but also secure you against breaks or snaps.
You can also find guitar straps with a lock function, which helps lock the attachment knobs in place. This can save your guitar from falling during a performance.
If you've browsed sites like Amazon, you've likely come across quite a few enticing guitar straps. And they were likely very affordable.
While some of these straps may be well-crafted and designed for quality, it's usually the exception rather than the rule. Many guitar straps on Amazon are mass-produced and lack the craftsmanship that creates comfortable straps.
Saving a ton of money on your strap may feel good, but there is typically a reason why these products are so cheap.
Many straps on Amazon are made with cheap materials like fake leather and Nylon. Because they are so low quality they are easily prone to breaking or tearing, and can do a real number on your neck and shoulders.
On the flip side, when a strap is handcrafted with fine materials, the designer can contour and pad your strap with care. Plus, expert stitching is also used so you can rest assured your attachments and lining won't rip.
Spending a bit more on quality may seem scary, but in reality, you may be spending even more in the long run if you have to replace an Amazon guitar strap that broke within a month.
Last but never least, your style and aesthetic is something to consider when choosing a guitar strap.
You may be tempted to grab a strap because the design or colors are perfect for your style. Of course, feeling confident in a strap's design will help you play more comfortably, but at the end of the day, comfort is more important.
No matter how beautiful a design is, its novelty will wear off fast if the material is causing you pain. This is why it's key to choose a guitar strap that is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable.
As far as "vibes," leather guitar straps will always be classic and timeless, while other materials like Nylon can look retro and futuristic.
To rock out with the most comfort, you'll also need to determine what type of guitar you're playing.
Are you rocking and electric, bass, or acoustic guitar? Or do you play multiple types?
Many guitar straps will work for bass, acoustic, or electric guitars, but others may work best with specific guitar types.
Sometimes it can be hard to find a comfortable guitar strap that catches your eye. Perhaps the strap is as cushioned as a pillow, but it looks like a slab of rubber. Or, perhaps it has a great design but rubs you the wrong way after one session.
In these situations, we always recommend going custom.
At StrapGraphics, we provide custom leather guitar straps and polyester guitar straps designed for your rock-out style.
These straps are made of durable, comfortable materials like soft Nubuck leather and luxury bonded suede leather.
Our guitar straps are also handmade and give you access to edge-to-edge customization with your design. Our sublimation process for our polyester guitar straps ensures you can sweat on them, wash them or spill beer on them without ruining the print.
This ensures your guitar strap, like your music, remains one of a kind.
In addition, we also offer a variety of designs, such as Christian leather guitar straps, tactical leather guitar straps, English bridle leather guitar straps, emboss guitar straps, and more.
In short, we have an endless array of quality, comfortable, customized, and rock-solid straps to choose from.
Create your dream custom strap today. Contact us here.
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