The Musician’s Guide to Guitar Straps for Acoustic Guitars
If the Covid-19 pandemic did one good thing for the world, it's that it brought music into the lives of so many people. Now, for the first time ever, as many as72 million peopleare playing guitar.
Whether you're new to the scene or a 25-year veteran, you still need the right gear for your instrument. Let's talk about how to choose the right guitar straps for acoustic guitars!
Who Needs Guitar Straps?
Not all guitars need straps necessarily, but it's one of those accessories that it's better to have and not need than the other way around. This is especially true for acoustic guitars. Have you ever tried to play an acoustic guitar while standing up?
Yes, acoustic guitars are lighter on average, but they're a lot bigger. Holding a guitar up between your forearm and chest takes a lot of effort during a full song. If the guitar starts slipping down in the middle, correcting it mid-song can be impossible.
For that reason, anyone who will stand to play will need a guitar strap. You never know which open mic nights will have seating or not!
Also, if you carry your guitar with you when you travel, a strap can make for very convenient transportation. This is especially helpful on vacations, camping trips, or anywhere else where you'll carry multiple items.
How to Determine the Right Size
The size of your guitar strap is essential for your playing. Fortunately, most of them are adjustable, but you still need to ensure you're buying the right size. The strap needs to fit on your guitar's strap pins, and it needs to feel comfortable around your neck.
The length of a standard guitar strap is between 40 and 60 inches. For an average-sized adult between 5' and 6'5", this shouldn't be a problem. Test out some straps to ensure they are comfortable for you.
One of the most common challenges is finding straps short enough, but they do exist. 60 inches should be more than enough even for tall people. This is because most guitarists play while sitting, which means they're used to the guitar positioned higher on their torso.
Keep in mind that the remedy for this is also in how you practice. We recommend sitting up straight or practicing while standing more, as hunching over has led tochronic back painfor many guitarists!
If you're on the shorter side and you're used to your guitar being near your shoulders, it may feel more comfortable to keep your strap as short as possible. There are shorter straps for this reason, or you can buy a custom-made strap at the length you want.
If you are used to practicing while standing, then you may want a longer strap. For most people, 60 inches should be more than enough, but it's up to your preferences.
Finding the Right Strap Pins
If your guitar currently doesn't have strap pins, or if they're damaged, it's important to find the right one. Your strap pins will remain on your guitar, even when you take the strap off, so ensure they fit in with your guitar's aesthetics.
Generally, we'd recommend using neutral colors or natural wood to compliment an acoustic guitar. White, silver, or black strap pins will go with virtually any guitar. If you have a natural wood finish on your guitar, consider adding a strap pin with a similar wood.
A little more length is needed for acoustic guitar straps than for electric guitars. Acoustic strap pins are on the back of the neck and the bottom of the body. Electric strap pins are usually on the bottom of the body and the end of the top cutaway, which is closer.
For new strap pins, all you'll need to do is drill holes smaller than the screws you're using and carefully screw the pins in with a screwdriver. If you're replacing existing pins, simply remove the old ones with a screwdriver and tighten in the new ones.
Just remember to buy full-size strap pins and to secure them properly and in the correct locations. This can be nerve-racking for newer guitarists, but it can be done. Otherwise, visit your local luthier to drill the holes for you!
Choosing Guitar Strap Materials
Now that you know how to determine the right fit and how to install strap pins let's talk about the final piece of the puzzle. Here are the two most common types of guitar straps and their materials.
Leather is theclassic guitar strap material. It offers the best aesthetics, neutral tones that work with any guitar, and a classier appeal. This is perfect for shows or simply making your guitar look more professional.
The only downside with leather is maintaining it and keeping it dry. Leather doesn't last forever, and it can fade or decay over time. However, you should still get a few years of heavy playing out of a quality leather guitar strap.
If you want a long-lasting leather strap, the best option is to go with aburlap leather strap. These tend to be stronger and less prone to fading while still offering plenty of comfort and style!
Polyester straps are great for making a statement, and they last forever. Polyester straps are durable and come in all shapes and sizes. Polyester straps can come in camouflage, rainbow, plaid, or whatever you want.
Of course, these don't always give off the same "professional" vibe, especially on an acoustic guitar. However, if you want your strap to stand out from your guitar, or if your guitar already has a painted design on it, thenpolyester graphic strapsare the way to go.
Best Guitar Straps For Acoustic Guitars
Now that we've discussed the different types of materials, fits, and pins, it's time to choose a strap that's right for you. Here are some of the best options for any type of guitarist!
This is one of the most comfortable acoustic guitar straps on this list. If you're unfamiliar with the term, distressed leather is a technique that gives the leather a rugged look with dark creases. This will help your strap look worn in like a professional musician who spent years on tour!
Also, distressed leather is made with full-grain leather, which is very durable and long-lasting. We recommend this type of strap to an aspiring professional musician who wants to keep their strap for a long time!
Tactical leather is the leather we associate with police and militia. It's very durable and comfortable to wear, and it can last for a long time with proper treatment.
Moreover, this is the material of choice forGuitars 4 Vets, a nonprofit that helps victims of PTSD with musical instruments and lessons. Tactical leather is perfect for any type of service member or someone who wants to look a little badass with their guitar strap!
The most comfortable and classic item on this list is standard leather straps. You can see these well into the era of rock & roll and to the present day. The only downside is taking care of them, as they will fade over time.
These are truly the best option for budget-friendly hobbyists or any guitarist who wants to stand out. Polyester can come in bright colors, neutral tones, or whatever you want. They can even be made to look like leather from a distance!
Polyester is perfect for anyone who wants a strap that will last for a long time without breaking the bank. The only downside is that they are less professional in appearance, and they aren't always as comfortable as leather straps.
Honestly, the best strap money can buy is the one that youdesigned. We discussed what materials and sizes are right for which musicians, but it really comes down to what you want. If you want a strap that's truly yours, you can make it however you want, including the material, design, and fit.
For example, if you want a rainbow strap with your name on it in big letters, it's yours! If you want a custom leather design, you can even choose the type of leather. The possibilities are endless withcustom guitar straps!
Play It Loud and Proud
Now that you know how to choose the best guitar straps for acoustic guitars, buy a strap that works for you! Just remember to choose the right fit and material for your needs, and you can tour with that strap for as long as you want!
Stay up to date with our latest tips for guitarists like yourself, and don't hesitate tocontact us with any questions or for help with custom gear!
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