A guitar strap is one of the most important accessories we six-string lovers need and use daily.
There’s no way to play standing up without one, but many people use straps when playing in a sitting position, as well.
A strap will help stabilize your guitar and keep it in the same spot relative to your hands in either playing position.
How To Put On A Guitar Strap
To install your strap, first, locate the strap attachment buttons on your guitar.
One will be on the bottom side panel, and the other will be on the upper bout, the back or the heel of the neck.
Take a look at your strap.
It probably has a wide end and a skinny end.
The wide end is meant to attach to the upper bout/neck heel button and will have a hole in it for just this purpose.
Work the hole in the strap down over the strap button, shiny side up, until your strap is touching your guitar and the button has popped completely through the hole.
If you’re unsure which side should face front, look for the manufacturer’s logo.
Logos are advertising and are always intended to be seen.
Make sure it’s visible, and you should have your strap on correctly.
Take the skinny end of your strap and work it down over the bottom strap button the same way.
You just installed your guitar strap.
If you have concerns about your strap coming off and causing your ax to bite the dust, you may want to invest in a set of strap locks, which are designed to prevent that unpleasant situation from occurring.
Strap locks or not, it’s a good idea to get in the habits of never lifting your guitar solely by the strap and to never take both hands off of it when it’s hanging on your shoulder.
How To Wear A Guitar Strap
The way you wear your guitar strap matters a lot more than most players realize it does.
It can make whatever you’re playing seem easier or more difficult.
Your strap is normally worn on the shoulder of your fretting hand.
Assuming you’re a right-handed player, this means it goes on your left shoulder.
You will occasionally see pictures of guitarists such as blues legend Albert Collins playing right-handed using a very short strap slung over his right shoulder, but that position is the exception, not the rule.
Once you have your guitar strap hanging from your left shoulder, it’s time to figure out how long it should be adjusted to be.
While this is a bit of a personal issue, there are some basic facts to consider that will help you play your best while standing.
Most young guitarists start out wanting to wear their instruments extremely low in emulation of their rock and roll power chord-playing inspirations.
This looks cool under the stage lights and is doable, especially for Drop D one-finger-chord material, but it often creates a problem if you try to play anything else.
The problem is the position it puts your wrists into.
When you play really low, both of your wrists must be bent to their maximum to get any playing done.
This is an awkward and limiting position for most people.
I’ve found that, as students improve and tackle more challenging songs and techniques, their straps get shorter and shorter.
This lets them play without maxing out their wrists all the time, offers much more flexibility in terms of movement and is a great deal more comfortable.
This is usually when a choice is made between looking cool and sounding good.
Get Inspired From Other Guitarists
Pay attention to where guitar players of different styles wear their instruments.
Check out a punk player, a technical metal player, and a jazz or country player, and you’ll most likely see big differences in how low their guitars are worn.
In the end, it really is up to you and wherever you play the best is where you want your guitar to be.
It’s well worth your time to experiment with the length of your strap, though, as it’s one of those seemingly small details that actually has a big impact on how your hands interact with your guitar.
You’ll know when you find your personal comfort spot because everything you play will feel and sound better.
Now strap that plank on and get back to practicing!