Do you need a guitar strap?
Maybe you got a new guitar and it came with a free guitar strap as part of a guitar accessory package.
Maybe you’re thinking about buying a guitar strap… but you’re not sure if you’ll actually use it.
Maybe you’ve been using your strap when you practice, but you don’t see the point because your sitting down.
Why do we even bother with guitar straps?
(Note: If you’re just looking for guitar straps, Amazon has a great selection that you can check out here; you can probably find more expensive hand-crafted straps on sites like eBay and Etsy).
What are guitar straps for?
Guitar straps hold the guitar in place while we’re standing up.
Are acoustic and electric guitar straps different?
Most guitar straps will work with either style of guitar.
Some guitar straps lean more towards a particular style of guitar or style of music.
For example: An embroidered and embossed leather guitar strap with fringe is probably NOT targeted towards guitar players in heavy metal bands.
But you never know I guess.
How do I attach the strap to my guitar?
Most guitar straps have a little hole/slit where you can slide/pop in the little metal button on the bottom of the body of your guitar.
Just like you button a shirt.
The other end of the strap has a similar opening and attaches to the top of the body of the guitar.
Depending on the guitar style this button could be located in a different spots (base of the neck, top of the body, etc).
How do I attach the strap to my acoustic?
(I only see one button)
Some acoustics don’t have a button fitted at the top of the body.
In this case, you can thread a string under the the strings of the guitar above the nut.
Thread the other end of the string through the guitar strap’s button hole.
I use thin paracord, or you could use a shoelace – make sure it’s strong enough.
Some straps actually come with an extra string for this exact purpose.
Ok, my strap is attached… How do I play now?
It’s weird isn’t it.
If you’ve been sitting down while playing guitar, suddenly standing feels…. strange.
Electric guitars are heavy and you can really feel the weight of them.
Acoustic guitars are bulky and you can really feel how much they stick out.
So, how do you get used to playing with a guitar strap?
Get used to the size and weight of standing while playing the guitar.
Chances are you’ll have to make other adjustments as well.
For example, when I first started standing while playing guitar I noticed that I needed to adjust the neck of the guitar so the headstock was closer to my face.
Play around with the length of the strap.
Some people like to have the guitar hang low near their belt buckle.
Some people like to have it higher on their body around their bellybutton.
Ok… but do I actually NEED a guitar strap?
Unless you’re going to be standing and playing… No.
With one exception: kids.
One thing I’ve noticed when teaching little kids to play the guitar: they like to let the guitar sit in their lap.
They’ll rest the guitar – face up – in their lap and bend their wrist underneath in order to play.
They do this because it’s easier to see the strings (and see what they’re doing).
As a kid – it makes sense.
As a guitar teacher – it’s frustrating.
But more important: it’s terrible for your wrist.
Bending your wrist underneath the neck of the guitar is painful (and bad form).
Wearing a guitar strap can prevent the guitar from slipping down.
This ultimately reinforces proper form and technique.
It’s not an end-all solution (and guitar straps can be annoying for kids as well).
Just something to consider.
That’s it! Let me know what you think – if you agree/disagree – by leaving a comment below.
(Jake Posko does Online Guitar Lessons and Coaching as well as in-home lessons in the Annapolis, Maryland area including: Annapolis, Edgewater, Severna Park, Pasadena, Crownsville, Arnold and Kent Island, inquire about lessons by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org).