If you play the guitar regardless if it’s acoustic or electric, you might need a guitar strap. By using it, you’ll be able to play while standing, and you can be sure that your guitar won’t fall by accident. However, sometimes it can be a bit of a problem and you should make sure that you do everything properly to avoid damaging your instrument.
Before we proceed further, we should mention that there is a difference between using a strap on acoustic and electric guitar. So depending on which one you play, you should proceed accordingly.
If you don’t have a strap yet you can check my recommandation at my post Top 27 Must Have Guitar Accessories For Every Guitarist
How To Attach A Strap On An Acoustic Guitar
First things first. Most people started learning on some acoustic guitar and you should be aware of how to use and attach a guitar strap. However, there are several variations depending on the model of the guitar. So, let’s dive deeper.
Acoustic Guitar With Two Pins
If you own a guitar that has two strap pins, it will be quite easy to attach the strap. The first strap pin will be located at the heel of the guitar or the lower bout. You will attach one end of the guitar strap there. The hole in the strap will be perfect for the pin, just be sure to turn it right for easier use. Remember that the hole that is near the adjustment mechanism (if it has one) belt goes to the bottom pin.
The second strap pin is usually at the higher bout or behind (near) the neck of the guitar. You will repeat the same process for the other end of the strap.
Acoustic Guitar With One Pin
It is possible, however, that your guitar has only a lower strap pin. While it is possible for almost any technician to install the second pin, it’s not really necessary for you to use the guitar. There are some straps that come with a piece of lace that will help you to properly use the strap.
You will attach the lower part of the strap the same way as you would if you had two strap pins. Now, for the second part, you will put that piece of lace through the hole in the strap. What you need to do after that is to tie it around the neck. Of course, you won’t do this on any part of the neck but the place on headstock behind the so-called zero frets. Simply pull the lace underneath the strings at the point where the headstock meets the neck and tie it. This will allow you to use the guitar strap on almost any acoustic guitar.
The other way to do this is if you have a piece of lace with a hook. The first part of the process is the same as in the previous example. However, instead of trying to tie the lace to the neck, you would simply place the hook in the soundhole of the acoustic guitar placing it under the neck.
Acoustic Guitar Without Pins
Finally, there are acoustic guitars without a single pin. While you might wonder if there’s a chance to even use the strap, the answer is quite simple. You would use the process that’s similar to the second part of the previous example with the Gulley Hook. There are straps that are designed especially for these types of guitars and you would use both ends of the strap attached to a hook.
Then you would proceed to place it underneath the body of the guitar and attach it on the bottom side of the soundhole.
These straps are usually worn over the neck or over one arm, unlike regular straps. However, you should be aware that the balance of the guitar is not really perfect and that you should hold at least one hand on it to prevent it from falling and any other form of damage.
How To Attach A Strap On An Electric Guitar
When it comes to electric guitars things are a bit simpler. The electric guitar is usually played while standing and there is little to no chance that your guitar is without strap pins. Since electric guitars are a lot heavier compared to acoustic ones due to the amount of wood, probably all of them will have two strap pins.
The process for attaching the strap is simple. You would use a guitar strap with two holes (you won’t need a lace here) and place each of them on the strap pins or buttons. This will allow you to play the guitar while standing without wondering if something would happen. Don’t forget that the hole that is near the adjustment mechanism (if it has one) belt goes to the bottom pin.
How To Adjust The Length Of A Guitar Strap
There are two types of guitar straps, the first one is not adjustable and you won’t be able to change the length or properly set the position of your guitar. Needless to say that these are not really good. While they are not that common, you still might find one where the length can’t be adjusted so try to avoid these as much as possible.
The other type of guitar strap is adjustable. You will be able to change the length and adjust it whether you want your guitar to be higher or lower. The process for this is rather simple and as you can imagine there are several different types of guitar straps available.
For the first type, there will be holes in the upper part (the one you’ll attach to the pin on the neck). You would take the front of the adjustment tab and insert it into a tube hole on the main strap that fits your needs the best. After you have confirmed that the length is good, you will loop the end of the adjustment tab and put it back through the adjustment tube hole in the main part of the strap. The only thing that’s left is to pull. After everything is settled and the strap is adjusted properly, you will attach the end of the strap pin and you’ll be ready to rock.
The second type of guitar straps is equipped with a so-called tri-glide adjustment system. You probably saw one of these before on backpacks or bags. There is a tri-glide buckle and the strap goes through it. Simply pull one end of the strap through the buckle to adjust the length. You will have plenty of options and depending on your height and your preferences you will undoubtedly be able to find the perfect length for you.
What Is The Perfect Length Of The Strap
While this is one of the most common questions, the answer is not that simple. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the position of the guitar, and you should try to find the one that suits you the best. However, you should be aware that if you put your guitar too low, you will put additional pressure on your wrist since you’ll have to bend them in order to play anything. While you could just pull the neck upwards to allow you to play while standing, it might vary a lot compared to when you play while sitting.
One the other hand, if your guitar is too high, it might be difficult to play properly if your guitar is up to your neck. Try to find a comfortable position where you will be able to play without a struggle.
How To Wear Or Use A Guitar Strap
When you finally attached the guitar strap (firmly), there is only one thing left to do – play the guitar. However, many might ask what is the best way to wear or use the guitar strap while playing the guitar. There are several answers to this question so let’s start from the beginning.
When you stand up, you will place the guitar strap over your left shoulder if you are a right-handed guitarist. The lower part of the strap or the one that’s attached to the bottom of the guitar will go behind your back and over your left shoulder. From there it will go in front and it will be attached to the higher end of the guitar or the place near the neck. This way, you will be able to play comfortably and the guitar will be in the perfect position for you to play.
However, there are players that sometimes use the strap differently. Freddie King, for example, played the guitar with a strap over his right shoulder even though he was right-handed. He placed the strap similarly with the only difference that he placed it over his right shoulder. This might not always be the best option since it can fall off your shoulder easier and the guitar will be placed more to the right compared to placing the strap on your left shoulder.
Finally, if you play an acoustic guitar without pins, the strap will go on a hook and be placed in the bottom part of the soundhole. You will have one option left – to place the strap over your neck like a tie. The only issue here is that there won’t be two points of the fulcrum and the guitar could easily fall.
How To Prevent The Guitar From Falling Out Of The Strap
You should know from the start that this is something that could happen easily and it’s also the last thing you want. If you watched one of the best shows ever recorded The Last Waltz, you might have noticed a moment when Clapton’s guitar almost fell because it fell out of the strap.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent this from ever happening. The answer is simple – strap locks. These strap locks are easy to mount and they will ensure that your guitar never straps never falls off. They are a full replacement for regular strap pins and they are easy to use.
Once you replace the old pins, you will remove the “cap” and place the strap. After that, all you have to do is place the cap back on and it will keep your strap secured.
Of course, if you are looking for a quicker solution without having to replace anything, or you simply can’t be bothered with tools, there is another solution.
The second type of strap locks is used with regular pins and they are usually made of rubber. However, this rubber is not a soft kind but the sturdy one who can’t be deformed easily. What you’ll do here is this – you’ll place the strap on the guitar the same way you’d do normally. After the strap is properly placed on the pins, you will use this piece of rubber to place it over the pins and strap. Since the rubber is not easily deformed you might struggle a bit. However, you’ll be sure that the strap won’t fall easily and that your guitar will be fixed and safe regardless of how much you move.
If you wish to know more on the subject and prevent your guitar from falling, check out my post How To Keep My Guitar Strap From Falling Off
The Difference Between Strap And No-Strap
As we mentioned, almost every guitar player uses a strap. However, if you have never used it before you should know a few additional things. Most of us started playing the guitar while sitting and the change is huge.
When you first stand up with the strap, you’ll notice how everything is different. While you might try to adjust the position of the guitar to be the same way as it was when you were sitting, it will not always be possible. Not only that it will feel different, but it will be much harder for you to play. Furthermore, if you are having a gig, your playing might suffer.
One of the best advice for you would be to practice playing the guitar while standing. This way, you will get used to a different position and different play styles.
Furthermore, the length of the strap should be perfect for you so that you can play comfortably and get used to it as much as possible. The next piece of advice is to experiment with different lengths. Try a few different positions for your guitar. There is no harm in that and you might better find the one that suits you the best.
Try Different Straps
You should also try different brands and types of straps. Guitar playing should be comfortable and you shouldn’t be forced to adjust to something that is not right for you. If you have the chance, try a few different types, lengths, styles, brands, and anything else. You could always use this as an excuse to express yourself through your guitar strap.
Do I Even Need A Guitar Strap
If you play a classical guitar, the chances are that you’ll mostly play it while sitting. However, if you play an electric guitar, you should definitely get a guitar strap. The electric guitar is not a solo instrument and you will usually play it with other people. It is always a good idea to practice on time playing with a strap to adjust to a different kind of playing. Furthermore, when you are on the stage, your bandmates will stand, so you should stand too.
There are so many things you should consider when you decide to buy a strap. One of those things, of course, is the price. While the price can vary between $20 and $500, there will be no need for you to pay some ludicrous amount of money for a simple guitar strap. Be sure to check which one will suit your guitar the best and that you’ll like the most.
You should also be aware that it might take you some time before you get used to playing with a strap and while standing. Naturally, as with many things in music, the best course of action would be to practice. Take your time and you will get used to it and it will be the same whether you play sitting or standing. Just don’t put pressure on yourself and keep practicing until you’re satisfied.
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