It could easily be argued that a guitar strap has become an essential piece of gear in a guitar player’s life. Whether you want to look as cool as your guitar idol or are ready to start playing a few gigs, a guitar strap will undoubtedly come in handy.
However, it is essential to know what to look for and how to attach a guitar strap. So, here’s how to put on a guitar strap:
- Find out if your guitar has got strap buttons.
- Get a guitar strap that feels comfortable to use.
- Attach the guitar strap to the strap buttons.
- Strap the guitar around your shoulder and make sure it’s secure.
- Adjust the length of the guitar strap, as necessary.
Something that may seem obvious to some is not always obvious to others. Attaching a strap to your guitar can undoubtedly be a complicated task, especially if your guitar is not already fitted with the necessary hardware.
Discover everything you need to know about attaching a strap to your guitar whether you have strap buttons or not.
How To Put On A Guitar Strap
Do not worry if, up until this point, you have been feeling somewhat frustrated or confused. Attaching a strap to your guitar is often more complicated than it seems!
We will thoroughly unpack each step you need to take to successfully secure a strap to your guitar and get you ready to play an endless number of gigs!
Here’s how to put a strap on your guitar:
1. Find Out If Your Guitar Has Got Strap Buttons
Before you go out and purchase a stylish guitar strap, it is essential first to examine your guitar and find out whether it has something called strap buttons fitted to the body.
Strap buttons are extremely helpful little attachments that make putting a strap on your guitar an absolute breeze!
Strap buttons are small, usually circular-shaped (but do come in other shapes) pieces of hardware attached to most guitars. Electric guitars come fitted with strap buttons as a standard.
However, while most acoustic guitars have strap buttons, it is not uncommon to find acoustic guitars without them or, in some cases, fitted with only one strap button.
That is why it is vital to examine your guitar before purchasing a strap to ensure that the strap you buy is suitable for the strap buttons that your guitar is fitted with.
Strap buttons are located at the bottoms of the body of the guitar and at the neck heel (the area where the neck of the guitar is joined to the body.) If your guitar only has one strap button, it will likely be the one situated at the bottom of the body.
- Read More: Learn the Parts of an Electric Guitar (with photos + labels)
Having two strap buttons is the ideal situation you want to find yourself in. However, if you see only one or no strap buttons at all upon examining your guitar, don’t panic! There is still hope for you with plenty of options to try out.
However, for the next few steps, we will be referring to guitars with two strap buttons and covering the alternatives later in the article.
If you have only one or no strap buttons, continue reading to find out how to put a strap on an acoustic guitar and how to attach a guitar strap without strap buttons.
2. Get A Guitar Strap That Feels Comfortable To Use
Alright, now that you know that you have two strap buttons fitted to your guitar, it is finally time to go out and purchase an epic guitar strap.
Buying a guitar strap is always an exciting experience for a guitar player, whether it is your first time or your hundredth time!
Although some might tell you just to grab the first strap that catches your eye, it would be far wiser to be more intentional about the type of strap you end up choosing.
The first thing you should examine is that the strap is an appropriate size for you. Although most guitar straps are adjustable, you want to ensure that the strap you buy is going to fit you comfortably.
The next thing to look for is the material used to make the strap. Most guitar straps – particularly the more affordable options – are made using a material that looks and feels very similar to the average seatbelt in a car.
While these options often have exciting graphics and colors on them, they are not known for being the most comfortable.
After roughly a few minutes, you are likely to feel like the strap is digging into your shoulder, which will become highly uncomfortable over long periods of time.
Try to look for a guitar strap with some padding around the shoulder area. These guitar straps work wonders in enabling you to play comfortably while standing up for hours on end.
Usually, these guitar straps are made using leather or faux leather – which is a fancy term for artificial leather.
While these options are typically less budget-friendly, they are well worth it in the long run since they will offer you maximum comfortability during extended periods of playing guitar while standing.
Ultimately, choosing a comfortable guitar strap is far more critical than a cool-looking guitar strap; however, it won’t be challenging to find a strap with both.
- Read More: Our Guide to Buying Guitar Straps
3. Attach The Guitar Strap To The Strap Buttons
Now that you have found the perfect guitar strap for you, it is finally time to attach it to your guitar.
Once again, what may seem like an easy task, attaching straps to guitars – especially brand new straps – is known to be a challenging and often strenuous task. You will need some strength for this step, especially if you have purchased a new guitar strap.
On either end of your guitar strap, you will notice that there are thin, small slits in the leather – or faux leather in many cases. These small slits are called buttonholes and are responsible for securing the strap to the strap buttons on your guitar.
Upon initial inspection, it will likely seem as though there is no way that the buttonholes are large enough to fit over the strap buttons.
However, there is a good reason for that. To be as secure as possible, straps need to fit as tightly as possible onto strap buttons. The last thing any guitarist wants is their prized guitars to fall thanks to an unreliable strap.
Firstly, make sure that your strap is facing the correct way. The buckle or clip where you would adjust the length of the strap should be facing outwards so that it won’t be pressing against your shoulder.
Starting with the strap button at the bottom of your guitar, secure the buttonhole completely over the strap button. Again, this will likely take substantial force, mainly if the strap has never been used before.
As you use the strap more regularly, the buttonholes will stretch slightly, making it easier to attach in the future.
Next, attach the other end of the guitar strap to the strap button near the neck joint of the guitar.
Once again, ensure that the buttonhole is secured completely over the strap button. You need to see the entire strap button coming through the buttonhole for a proper fit.
Along with a pulling motion to get the buttonholes over the strap buttons, moving the strap from side to side while pulling is another helpful way to attach the strap to your guitar securely.
4. Strap The Guitar Around Your Shoulder And Make Sure It’s Secure
Now that the strap is attached to your guitar, it is time to strap your guitar around your shoulder and do a final check to ensure that the strap is connected securely.
With the strap around your shoulder, stand up slowly while still holding most of the guitar’s weight in your hands. Gradually allow the strap to carry more of the guitar’s weight while checking the strap buttons to ensure that the strap is attached securely.
It may seem over the top, but once again, you want to be thorough when trusting something to hold the weight of your guitar to avoid any damage at all costs.
Related, you also want to make sure the strap buttons were installed correctly – especially if this is the first time they are taking weight with a strap on them! That’s why we’re extra careful.
5. Adjust The Length Of The Guitar Strap As Necessary
By this point, you are undoubtedly starting to feel cool with a guitar strapped around your shoulder and feeling ready to stand before an audience and show off your skills!
However, before you jump straight to that, the final thing that you need to adjust is the length of your strap to ensure that your guitar is in a comfortable position for you to play while standing up.
If you have never played guitar while standing before, you will immediately notice that it is a different experience altogether.
Although the length of your strap can be somewhat subjective, there are a few helpful tips to consider to give you the most comfortable and efficient playing experience.
It is highly likely that you have seen rockstars with their guitars hanging low on their bodies, which somehow completes the rockstar image by simply looking awesome.
Although this strap position undoubtedly looks cool, it is unfortunately far from the most practical way of playing guitar while standing up.
While this strap position will do wonders for your rockstar image, it won’t have the same effect on your playing.
When your guitar is strapped too low, you will need to bend your wrist quite a lot to play most chord shapes effectively. This position also makes it difficult to stretch, making playing technical lead lines trickier.
The ideal strap height for your guitar should be close to where the guitar would be positioned while playing in a seated position.
This makes transitioning between a seated and standing position a lot smoother and will ensure the most comfortable playing position.
How To Put A Strap On An Acoustic Guitar
While having two strap buttons is the ideal situation you want to be in, there are many guitars – especially acoustic guitars – that often have only one or, in some cases, no strap buttons at all.
If your acoustic guitar has only one strap button, there is an easy workaround. In these cases, the one strap button is located at the bottom of the guitar’s body.
When buying a strap for an acoustic guitar, the strap will often come with some shoelace or nylon string tied through one end of the strap. If the strap doesn’t come with some sort of shoelace or nylon string, you will need to purchase some separately.
Attach the one end of the strap to the strap button on the bottom of the guitar as described in the previous steps.
Then, ensuring that the shoelace or nylon string is tied to the other end of the strap through the buttonhole, you will need to tie the strap around the top of the guitar’s neck behind the nut and underneath the strings.
Make sure to tie a string knot since this will be partly responsible for supporting the weight of your acoustic guitar. Acoustics are generally lighter than an electric guitars, but you still want to be able to trust the strap to hold your prized possession.
How To Attach A Guitar Strap Without Buttons?
By this point, you might be worried about what to do if your guitar has no strap buttons at all. Again, although it is somewhat rare, this issue is mainly found on acoustic guitars and on classical guitars.
The solution is very similar to having an acoustic guitar with only one strap button but with something extra.
There are guitar straps explicitly made for guitars with no strap buttons. The one half of the strap works similarly to the previous method in that it will be tied to the neck of the guitar using a shoelace or nylon string.
However, these straps are different because they come with a closed loop that resembles the ribbon from a medal, with a hook attached to the end. It may sound strange, but they do come in handy when you have no strap buttons.
While holding the guitar against your body, lead the loop down the back of the body at the narrowest part. Then, loop it up and around until you can attach the plastic hook to the guitar’s soundhole.
While this method is somewhat unconventional, it is widely used for classical guitars. However, something to be cautious about is that you still need to support the guitar’s body to prevent it from tipping forward.
If the guitar tips forward, the hook will not be enough to hold it, and you could risk a fall and ultimately damage the guitar.
With a bit of caution, these strap designs are great options when you have no strap buttons fitted to your guitar.
There is, of course, the option of getting strap buttons fitted to your guitar. However, this requires precise drilling and placement and should ideally only be done by a professional.
Overall, the process behind attaching a strap to your guitar is, in many cases, more complicated than most people realize.
However, with proper guidance and necessary care, you will be comfortable playing in front of crowds without fearing your guitar taking a nasty fall.
As always, Happy Playing,