Guitar Straps – All You Need to Know
The guitar strap is one of those accessories which is often overlooked. Most of us think that it doesn’t matter that much since it won’t affect the tone you are playing. If you are one of those, you might wanna reconsider. A guitar strap can affect your playing more than you would realize.
A good guitar strap will provide comfort and a good balance of the instrument for your body to be freer and make the hand and finger movements less restricted.
If you are a guitar player you must have realized by now that your posture and body movements affect your playing and your tone a lot. If you haven’t realized it yet then the next time you play take a moment to notice your posture and observe. You will notice the difference when you get into a proper posture and the freedom of movement it gives you.
Whether you play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, or a bass guitar, a guitar strap is very essential to get a good balance and play the instrument properly. A good strap can give you a lot of control and accuracy over the thing you play and make playing even more comfortable and enjoyable.
What is the length of a guitar strap?
Guitar strap lengths are anywhere from 40 to 60 inches. However, you can find some options for a 70-inch strap as well if you need. Guitar straps may be either adjustable or non-adjustable.
Before going forward we should talk about the length of the guitar strap you need. There are two types of guitar straps available:
- Adjustable guitar strap – This type of strap allows you to change and adjust the length according to your need and comfort. The process of changing the length to fit your needs is very easy and you can easily drop the guitar down or pull it back up according to your need.
- Non Adjustable guitar strap – These are custom-designed straps that cannot be adjusted. Because of the lack of adjustment, these types of guitar straps are not very common to find and not very popular either. You have to know exactly what length of strap you want before buying it.
The best and easiest way to measure a strap is to put the guitar on and adjust the strap until you are comfortable with the length of the strap and can play with ease. At this point you can ask another person to measure the length of the strap for you. You can also do it on your own using a tape measure.
Another method is to adjust the guitar strap length while putting it on and then take the guitar strap off to measure it separately. But there can be errors because of some accidental adjustments so I would recommend you get a friend and use the first method.
Guitar straps width sizes?
The standard width of a guitar strap ranges from 2 inches to 4 inches. A wider guitar strap is usually considered more comfortable since it distributes the weight of the guitar over a larger surface area, whereas slimmer guitar straps can be more maneuverable while playing the guitar.
A wider or slimmer strap type to choose depends on the type of your guitar and its weight usually. A wider guitar strap is more suitable for heavier bulkier guitars like a bass guitar since there will be a larger surface area to distribute the weight and make it more comfortable. But if you have a lighter guitar then you should go for a slimmer strap which will allow more maneuverability.
Acoustic & Electric Guitar Straps
Acoustic guitars are generally lighter and much bigger in shape and size because of the presence of the soundhole.
Because of the body of acoustic guitars, wider straps are generally preferred for acoustic guitars. Since the weight of the acoustic guitar is much less, the straps can get away with less padding material and can get cheaper as a result.
Attaching a strap on an acoustic guitar is different than an electric guitar as well since most acoustic guitars come with only one strap button at the bottom of the body. The other end usually needs to be tied to the head of the guitar using a string. This can be uncomfortable for some people since it can make the guitar balance awkward. To deal with this problem you may have to add another strap button on the guitar body according to what feels comfortable to you.
Electric guitars, on the other hand, are much smaller in size but since most of them are a solid block of wood they result to be much heavier than acoustic guitars. Although there is hollow body electric guitar available, they still tend to be much heavier than acoustic guitars.
For this reason, the straps designed for electric guitar tend to be more padded and reinforced to make it comfortable for the player. They may not be wider since the overall body of the guitar is still smaller. But due to the heavier weight, the strap needs to be padded properly or it can result in bruises on your body.
Usually, the electric guitar comes with two strap buttons already attached to its body so it’s relatively easy to attach a guitar strap. But if you plan to gig with the strap I would recommend investing in some good strap locks to save the guitar from falling while playing.
Bass Guitar Straps
Bass guitars are generally bulkier and bigger than electric guitars. To compensate for this the straps designed for bass guitars are generally much wider and are heavily padded so it is comfortable for the player to play the guitar while standing up and moving around the stage.
If you are choosing a strap yourself and not from the ones specially designed for bass guitars then I would recommend looking at straps with good padding and wider straps. This will give you enough room to distribute all that weight and you will not get bruises while playing.
The Bass guitar also comes with two strap buttons on its body so it should be very easy to set up your guitar strap but for this one as well I would recommend investing in good strap locks if you will be on stage with your guitar.
Where should a guitar strap sit?
A strap always works the best with personal preference. A strap should always be comfortable and give you as much control over the instrument as possible. You should think about long play sessions while standing, sitting, moving, and in about every scenario possible. You should also keep the looks of the straps in mind and choose the strap which makes you pick up the guitar and play it.
I would recommend taking your instrument with you to the shop before buying and trying out different straps you like with your instrument and taking time to feel the comfort level in every strap and then making the decision.
How can I make my guitar strap more comfortable?
If you wish to get a more comfortable guitar strap then you should look for an extra padded guitar strap. You should also consider taking a wider guitar strap to distribute the force even more.
There are a lot of options available with extra soft foam padding or memory foam which makes the strap even more comfortable to use.
You can also invest in some fur pads if you want to make your straps even more comfortable and it should be good enough.
In conclusion, you should keep your comfort and the looks of the straps you like as your topmost priority while making the decision. From the tools you got above you I am sure you are educated enough to make a good enough decision for your guitar straps. Don’t forget to take your instrument with you to the shop to try out and get the feel of the strap before buying.
You can find all sorts of custom-made straps as well with more artwork done on it for a higher price but keep in mind your comfort is more important than showing off your expensive strap.
I hope this article helps you in choosing the right strap for yourself. Have fun playing.