The ultimate guide to your perfect guitar strap!
Not sure which guitar strap is best for you and your needs? What is important when choosing a strap? We will show you.
When playing the guitar, the issue - the right guitar strap - is often "taken lightly". Unfortunately, little attention is paid to this essential "support for the guitar". One buys a new guitar from the store and quickly grabs a cheap strap on the way out, or perhaps looks around on the Internet for simple models.
If you are looking for the right guitar strap today, you are faced with a huge and rather confusing offer. The straps are made of leather, nylon, or cotton in bright colors or plain. The price range is enormous. There are guitar straps from €10 and also straps that cost over €200. Likewise, there are great differences in terms of wearing characteristics and quality. Here, you can find cheap industrially produced straps, as well as high-quality handmade leather straps to, individual boutique variants, far from the mainstream.
We will show you what to look for when buying the right guitar strap and what factors you can use to evaluate and compare them.
1. 1. How important is the wearing comfort of the guitar strap?
Absolute priority should be given to wearing comfort, especially when playing while standing up for long periods of time. The comfort of the strap is particularly important because it will be on your shoulder for many hours, depending on your demands. Only if you feel really comfortable while wearing the guitar, can you be able to concentrate 100% on your playing.
The guitar strap should not prevent you from playing by cutting into your neck, slipping around annoyingly or by exerting painful tension on your shoulder.
With or without upholstery (padding)?
With a strap that is too thin, cutting is inevitable. So, you will probably quickly lose the fun of playing. Buying a guitar strap that can only be used for 2-3 songs due to poor comfort would simply be too bad. Therefore, pay special attention to a soft and not too thin contact surface. We recommend a belt thickness of at least 2 mm. The material should be incredibly soft and above all not "sharp-edged". If it may be a little "more", a sewn-in padding will be a great choice. Thanks to the padding, the thickness of the strap is usually well over 2 mm and ensures comfortable wearing.
▶ Our tip: Cotton, leather and neoprene offer soft edges on non-padded straps. Guitar straps made of polyester, nylon, seat belts are in most cases thin and rather sharp-edged.
Do I need a breathable strap?
This decision depends on the area of use of the strap and your personal requirements. Depending on where you play music, sweating while playing the guitar is unavoidable.
- For stage gigs: If you play gigs in warm spotlights, in non-air-conditioned rooms or outside on hot summer days, for example, it makes sense to consider buying a breathable guitar strap. With breathable material, you will sweat significantly less, and it will contribute to your well-being.
- For the rehearsal room: When practicing in the rehearsal room or at home, you probably would not be sweating very much. For this purpose, your strap does not necessarily need to be breathable.
▶ Our tip: Guitar straps made of natural fibers like cotton or leather have good breathability. They are especially suitable for gigs wherein you can get sweaty. Non-breathable synthetic fibers such as, vegan leather and polyester are less suitable for stage gigs as they encourage more sweating.
2. Should the guitar strap be non-slip, or should it easily slide through?
How smooth the strap should be, depends on your preferred playing style.
- For wild guitarists: if you like to slide your guitar back and forth while playing, you should go for a strap with a smooth contact surface. If you have a strap with a slippery/smooth bottom, the strap can perfectly slide back and forth over your shoulder.
- For relaxed guitarists: If your movements are more moderate, we recommend a good non-slip strap. Nothing is more annoying than a strap that is too slippery, causing your instrument to slide uncontrollably, hindering your playing experience, as a result. This is particularly important with top-heavy guitars. These tend to tilt towards the guitar head side, so that part of the weight has to be held with the gripping hand. Therefore, when buying your guitar strap, look for a rough contact surface to avoid this problem.
▶ Our tip: Cotton, suede leather and neoprene offer a good grip. Polyester, nylon, and smooth leather are suitable if the guitar explicitly supposed to slide.
3. How much does a guitar strap cost?
There are guitar straps from €10, as well as straps that also cost over €200. Likewise, there are great differences in terms of wearing properties and quality. Here you can find cheap industrially produced straps, as well as high-quality handmade leather straps, or other individual boutique variants, far from the mainstream.
Thus, the price of the guitar strap depends on your personal demand. If you only use a strap once in a while, a cheap strap will probably be enough for you. If you play a lot and for a long time, it will be best you invested a little more on this.
- For guitarists with less demands on the guitar strap: Take a look at the workmanship and the material when buying. Are all the seams really tight? How stable is the material? Industrially manufactured straps are usually "cheap", produced in China, and do not convince with perfect workmanship and long durability. Depending on your requirement, you might get to buy here several times. These straps are available from €10.
- For guitarists with high demands on the guitar strap: On the other hand, there are manufacturers who specialize in handmade guitar straps. Here you will usually find a very high-quality standard with excellent workmanship and robust materials. If you want to enjoy a guitar strap for a longer time, it is worth spending a little more money. These straps are available from about €60.
4. How stable should the guitar strap be?
A good guitar strap should carry the weight of the guitar without any problems. The strap should not be too thin, and the material should not stretch when pulled hard. Especially with heavy guitars and the high tension that arises when playing, the strap should be robust, tear-resistant and above all well made. Since even poorly processed seams could open up under certain circumstances and cause the guitar to crash.
▶ Check attachment: You should also pay much attention to the fastening/attachment. Pay particular attention to the end piece with the hole, which is put over the strap pin. Depending on what material it is made of, it can lend out under heavy use and automatically lever the strap out of the strap pin. Therefore, this tab should not be too thin. We recommend at least 2.5 mm. It is best if the tab barely goes over the belt pin the first time.
Since nothing is worse than having your guitar fall off, especially if it is of an awfully expensive specimen, we recommend in principle the attachment by means of a > Straplock System including Security Locks. This > Strap lock can also somewhat curb the borrowing of an end piece that is too thin.
▶ Our tip: Pay attention to firm seams and the thickness of the end pieces. We recommend at least 2.5 mm thickness. For maximum safety, we recommend the combination of a solid end piece and the Straplocks belt lock. With this, you will be bombproof on the road.
5. What are the right guitar strap measurements?
How long should the strap be?
There are two factors that determine the right length of your guitar strap. Your physique and your playing style. The guitar should always hang high enough so that you have enough freedom of movement and can grip without problems. Most straps are adjustable in length, which provides some wiggle room.
- For an average adult height, you probably would not go far wrong with a guitar strap between 35 to 65 inches (90 and 170 cm long).
- If you are rather short or play the guitar close to chest level, an extra short version might make sense.
- If you are particularly tall, or play your guitar at knee height, you should go for an extra-long version when buying.
▶ Our tip: Before buying, we recommend measuring the approximate distance the strap needs to travel from one strap button to the other over your shoulder. This works best with the help of a tape measure.
Picture: Comfortable real leather guitar strap "Vintage Toffee Deluxe", 65 mm wide with 4 mm padding.
How wide should the strap be?
The optimal width depends on the weight of the guitar, personal feeling, and the wearing duration. The weight of a guitar can be between 2-6 kg, depending on the model. After playing for a long time, the back could feel the impact. The standard strap widths for guitars range between 5 and 8 cm. Anything less than 5 cm is usually too uncomfortable. Basically, the wider the strap’s contact surface, the better the weight of the guitar is distributed on the shoulder.
▶ Back problems?: If you already have problems with tension and back pain, we recommend a well-padded and at least 6-8 cm wide strap. Regardless of the weight of your guitar. To counteract the one-sided strain while playing, we recommend some movement while playing. You can, for example, walk a few meters or stand differently in between.
▶ Our tip:
- For light guitars up to about 3 kilos, unpadded, 5 cm wide guitar straps are usually sufficient.
- For heavier guitars, we recommend either straps with a thicker contact surface, such as the Heavy Nylon Guitar Straps, Thick Ethnic Guitar Straps or a wider strap with padding.
- For particularly heavy guitars, you should definitely go for a wide and padded strap to counteract back / shoulder pain during prolonged carrying. Also be aware that depending on your build, a strap that is too wide may rest directly against your neck.
5. Which material is the right one for the guitar strap?
There are hardly any limits to the material. Below we will explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of the different materials in relation to a guitar strap. The common materials are:
- Synthetic leather (vegan)
- Nylon / Polyester (synthetic fibers)
- Cotton / hemp fabric (natural fibers)
Leather straps | Advantages and Disadvantages
Leather is still one of the most popular materials for guitar straps, as the variety is extremely large. Starting from different colors, styles, shapes, to elaborately embossed and super soft padded straps. The way of tanning, vegetable or by means of chrome salts, is also increasingly becoming an issue today.
Real leather straps look more sophisticated than synthetic straps and are also more durable. They hug the body very well. Padded straps in particular provide an extremely high level of comfort. As a natural product, genuine leather has the great advantage of being breathable. This means that you sweat significantly less when wearing it.
However, the ethical factor as well as the price, which is significantly higher compared to synthetic fibers could speak against genuine leather.
Advantages of leather:
Disadvantages of leather:
Vegan Leather Straps| Advantages and Disadvantages
For vegans who do not want to sacrifice the leather look and good comfort, a vegan leather strap (synthetic leather) can be a great alternative. Faux/synthetic leather, like genuine leather, offers a huge variety. From colors, textures, and styles to embossing and padding, everything is possible. Faux leather is mostly insensitive and resistant to stain, which makes it especially easy to care for.
The longevity depends on the quality of the artificial leather. Therefore, vegan belts may not be visually appealing after 1-2 years. The leather bursts open and starts to crumble. Since faux leather is not breathable due to the closed surface, heavy sweating and "sticking" occurs.
If you opt for artificial / faux leather products, you should also be aware that all plastics are petroleum based and that there can be environmental impact in the manufacturing and also disposal of the products. Also, vegan leather may contain plasticizers and solvents that can cause allergies on the skin. Last but not least, depending on the quality of the artificial leather, the guitar strap may smell like "chemicals".
Disadvantages of synthetic leather:
Nylon / Polyester | Advantages and disadvantagesThe great advantage of synthetic fiber straps is that these materials hardly change after long use and are very robust. Therefore, guitar straps made of this material are very inexpensive.
However, with straps that are only made of nylon, polyester, or polypropylene, you should make sure that they are not too thin. Often, they are rather hard and black-edged, which leads to cutting at the neck. Due to the mostly smooth surface, they also tend to slip uncontrollably, which can be a problem especially with top-heavy guitars.
Furthermore, these synthetic fibers have poor breathing properties. This means: it is easier to sweat with these straps than with cotton, for example.
Advantages of synthetic fibers:
Disadvantages of synthetic fibers:
▶ Our tip: Do you like the simple, elegant look of safety straps or the shiny surface of nylon / polyester straps? But you do not want to do without slip resistance and high comfort? Then you might like these double stitched guitar straps made of > nylon or > car seatbelt These guitar straps were connected on the back with a thick cotton band. Therefore, they are non-slip, do not cut into the neck and are super comfortable.
Advantages and disadvantages of neoprene guitar straps
Neoprene straps usually have additional padding on the inside. Therefore, they possess a good level of comfort. Also, the contact surface is not too smooth to ensure a good grip on the shoulder. The material is resistant to stains and easy to clean. However, there are strong restrictions in terms of appearance. Almost only black variants are common and refinements, such as embossing, are not possible.
Advantages of neoprene:
Disadvantages of neoprene:
Advantages and disadvantages of guitar straps made of cotton / hemp
Guitar straps made of this natural product have some advantages: The surface texture is mostly roughened and dull. Unintentional slipping is prevented by this property. Thanks to the soft feel of cotton or hemp strap, the strap can be worn comfortably on the shoulder. Since the edges are particularly soft, depending on the thickness, there is usually no cutting into the neck. The material is exceptionally durable and skin friendly. Since cotton and hemp are natural products, they have good breathability. This prevents excessive sweating.
Advantages of cotton / hemp:
Desventajas del algodón / cáñamo:
• dries slowly
Guitar straps with patterns made of material combinations
When a design comes into play, the second layer is usually used on the guitar strap. Unless the base strap has already been printed. All of the above-mentioned materials can serve as the support surface, with their advantages and disadvantages. Leather, synthetic leather, nylon, polyester, cotton. A patterned fabric or a colored woven ribbon is then sewn onto this base. If the carrier belt is soft and thick, the sewn jacquard woven tape could also cut in. This depends on the softness of the woven tape.
▶ Our tip: Always make sure that the sewn-on fabric or woven tape does not have any sharp edges either. Either the woven tape should be super soft or directly folded in, so that no cutting can occur.
7. How important is the appearance of the guitar strap?
This depends entirely on your personal taste. For many guitarists, the appearance plays a big role. Either the strap must match the outfit, or the guitar, or reflect the personal style. Whether the guitar strap is made of leather, nylon, or cotton, in all areas there are a variety of designs that serve different styles. Such as vintage, retro, rockabilly, leather look, classic, modern, floral, paisley, simple and elegant, monochrome, swank, or animal style. From skull and crossbones, and stripe patterns, to floral and hippie patterns, to attached studs or glitter.
Basically, the right guitar strap for you depends on your personal preferences, demands and your investment.
If you do not want to compromise on any of these factors, take a look around our store. All Steyner guitar straps combine highest wearing comfort, safety, slip resistance, durability, and unique styles - handmade from Germany.
Here you will find guitar straps that are guaranteed to be comfortable!
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