What Makes a Guitar Strap Vintage

September 30, 2019 4 min read

What Makes a Guitar Strap Vintage.

What Qualifies as Vintage Guitar Straps

Your guitar strap can say a lot about you as a player. Making music is about expressing yourself through the songs you play all the way down to the pattern on your strap. 

So, if you're trying to fine-tune your performance, you should know a little something about guitar straps. We're going to talk about vintage guitar straps in this article, giving you a little insight into the history of the guitar and where you can fit in.

Understanding Vintage Guitar Straps

The idea of vintage guitar straps seems pretty simple, right? 

Not exactly. Picking out a strap that looks kind of old won't do the trick. Plus, you want your strap to fit into the context of who you are as a player. We'll talk about the variety that exists within the idea of the vintage guitar strap and how you can use your knowledge to create the perfect strap.

Let's get started.

What is Vintage Exactly?

We think of the word "vintage" as describing something that is old enough to be a little rustic and dated. Record players are often thought to be vintage even if they're relatively new. 

T-shirts with old bands on them are "vintage," even though they're freshly printed and sold at superstores. So, it's clear that items don't have to be created in the '70s or '80s to be considered vintage. 

They do, however, have to represent a time of the past, typically one that has a desirable aesthetic or theme. The quality of a vintage item is certainly improved by the fact that it's actually from the time period it represents, though. 

If you can't have something that's actually from 1975, however, you can certainly do a good job of emulating its style. When it comes to guitar straps, there are a few distinct styles that you can shoot for. 

Styles of Vintage Strap

There have been a lot of different styles of guitar straps over the years. It seems that we can distinguish strap styles through genre and decade.

Early on, guitar straps were primarily thin. It was almost like they were just shoe strings attached to either end of the guitar. Delta blues players and their rock & roll ancestors were known to use simple straps even after they rose to fame. 

The late '50s and early '60s were also home to thin straps and basic, monochrome leather straps. In fact, the strap of choice in this time was something akin to a belt with a hole on either end. 

It wasn't until the late '60s and early '70s that guitar straps started to take on a unique character. Around this time, leather straps gave way to adjustable fabric ones. Fabric is a lot more forgiving in terms of creativity. 

Woven paisley and geometric patterns become the norm, echoing the patterns on popular clothing during the hippie movement. As rock and roll branched out into the genres of metal, punk, and grunge, the styles shifted a little bit. 

Grunge and punk players were more inclined to wear checkerboard straps or plaid straps.

In the face of so much variety, how can you choose the right vintage strap?

Choosing the Right Vintage Style for Yourself

Instead of choosing a pattern with the most intense, glaring psychedelic patterns in an attempt to be vintage, put a little time and thought into the strap you choose. 

Think about your roots as a guitar player, musician, and band member. Who are the players that inspired you and what kinds of straps did they wear? What genres have led to the birth of your band and what styles did they wear on stage?

You can even consider emulating a classic style of clothing or album design on your guitar strap. A truly fitting vintage strap will represent a time period and the artists from that period that have made you who you are. 

If that means going with a straight black strap, so be it. If that means rocking a checkerboard strap that boasts all the colors of the rainbow, go for it. 

Does it Actually Need to be Old?

The nice thing about guitar straps is that you can design them however you want. A strap doesn't necessarily have to be old for you to consider it vintage, as we've discussed. 

Additionally, heavily used straps are more liable to break down and snap while you're playing. If you're playing live, you want to be especially careful about the straps you choose. A snap during a performance could lead to a major disruption of the show and that's the last thing anyone wants. 

At the same time, you are the judge of the quality of the strap you choose. If your uncle was a rocker from the 80s and you want to use his strap, go right ahead. So long as you can get some reliable use out of it, there's no problem with using something that's been around a while. 

Where You Can Go from Here

Our recommendation is that you sift through your catalog of music and identify those people, groups, and genres that define you as a musician. Explore online a little bit and get a feel for their clothing styles and commonly used guitar straps. 

After you do some recon, you should have a pretty good idea of the aesthetic that you'll want in a guitar strap. You can then seek out a specific pattern from a specific player's strap, or browse around and try to find similar straps. 

There are even ways to create your own guitar straps with your own designs. This is an excellent option for people who want to take on a specific look without compromising their style in any way, shape, or form. 

In Need of a Quality Strap?

If your search for quality vintage guitar straps isn't going well, you're not out of luck. We have options for people in need of anything from camera straps to guitar straps. 

Explore our site to find out more about guitar straps and how you can design your own.