One could argue that a good guitar strap is the most crucial component in one’s setup. Far too often, we spend hundreds, and even thousands of dollars putting our rigs together, compiling an arsenal of boutique effects, high end guitars, and amplifiers crafted from the finest electronic components available to man. We obsess over diodes, pickups, fret sizes, neck profiles, speakers, tube options, and so on. That’s all well and good, and I probably won’t stop doing any of that any time soon. But when is the last time you thought about buying a good guitar strap? I mean, like, really thought about it? I’m assuming that you use one, and I suppose you could play sitting down at all of your shows, or behind your head if you’re the theatrical type. More often than not, our precious guitars are attached to us by a piece of leather, vinyl, or some other material. Straps are freaking important—they’re the one thing between our guitars and the floor. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the sweet straps out there. Some of these companies are heavy hitters that have been around for awhile, and some are young upstarts, but all of them make a great product and can hold your guitar with both utility and style.
One of the O.G. manufacturers of guitar straps, Couch crafts straps from a wide array of materials ranging from synthetic leather to recycled Army seat belts. Ever wanted a guitar strap with cats on it? They’ve got you covered. Brown western? You betcha. For those about to rock, be sure to check out the lightning bolt strap, which is sure to be a crowd pleaser when combined with a dramatic stage entrance combined with a fog machine. If you’re all about going big or going home, try one of the three-inch straps for maximum support and comfort—there’s no way your axe is dropping when one of those bad boys if holding it.
Ernie Ball makes some of the best guitars in the business, and is now in the effects game too with the awesome Expression Overdrive and Ambient Delay, so it makes sense that it offers straps as well. Whether you’re a fan of classic jacquard, tweed, or leather, there are plenty of options to choose from. There’s even a locking strap, which ensures your guitar’s safety and stability without having to modify your beloved instrument with strap locks. Maybe you’re a Joe Bonamassa aficionado, and you want to wear the same strap he does—just grab one of his signature straps. If you don’t want to significant chunk of change on a strap, but still want something that’s cool and high quality, Ernie Ball’s got you covered.
Gear Supply Co.
Gear Supply Co. has established itself as the ultimate guitar accessory company, and I make no secret of the fact that I am a fan. As I write this article, I’m wearing my GSC. t-shirt, drinking out of my GSC coffee mug, and I two of my guitars are fitted with GSC seatbelt straps and rubber strap locks. If the seatbelt look and feel isn’t your thing, they also make canvas in leather straps. The colors are clean and cool, with options like navy blue, wine red, forest green, seafoam, and cloud gray. The straps are handmade in the USA, and you can proudly support a small American company when you purchase items from Gear Supply Co.
If you’re all about leather, Levy’s is the way to go. The family-owned company has been making straps since 1973, and Levy’s leathers are a great option for holding your precious instrument. The first nice strap I ever bought was a brown leather Levy’s for my first guitar, a Yamaha acoustic dreadnought. That was many moons ago, and both the guitar and strap are still intact, and still making music. From old school tooled leather, to stars and stripes polyester, and even hemp straps, there’s something in the Levy’s lineup for everyone. The hand-brushed suede strap, with its Native American vibe, will set you back a couple bills, but you’ll look like Neil Young circa Buffalo Springfield, and that, my friends, is priceless.
Moxie & Oliver
Seattle, Washington is home to many great bands, so it makes sense that it would also be the home of some of the most beautiful guitar straps in the business. If you like making things in your spare time, and spend a lot of time at your local farmer’s market, Moxie & Oliver straps are right up your alley. The unique designs on each leather strap are clearly made with care, and they’ll set you apart on stage. These straps are the perfect choice to hold your favorite boutique or heirloom instrument, as they possess that same type of quality. If you have a guitar you plan on passing down to a family member, you should pass the Moxie & Oliver strap along with it.
I am the proud owner of an Original Fuzz duffel bag, and it accompanies me to every gig and rehearsal I go to. OF also makes killer straps with striking designs—there’s truly something for everyone. What really caught my eye about the company’s straps is that many are named after artists; when I saw that there was one named after Doug Martsch, I knew the company was legit. From canvas, to leather, from wide to skinny, there are a ton of excellent strap options from which to choose. If you love making unholy noises with tons of effects and amplifiers, and are a fan of My Bloody Valentine, what better way to cap off your creative expression by donning the Kevin Shields strap? When you look at Original Fuzz gear, you can tell it’s quality stuff, and you can tell everyone that sees it thinks it’s super cool.
Perri’s guitar straps ticks two crucial boxes for me: fun and function. When I hosted a Christmas party, I wanted to be sure I decked the halls to the max. I was pleased to find a radical wide Perri’s strap in a fun Santa Claus pattern at my local Guitar Center. It always gets compliments, and it seems to have a special power of cheering people up, as if it were once worn by Kris Kringle himself. Perri’s makes straps from just about every material you can imagine, and they also offer licensed straps of your favorite bands; if you’ve been in a deep depression because you don’t have a Billy Idol guitar strap, snap out of it, because your dream is about to come true.
A guitar strap is expressive, just like the instruments used to make music and the music itself, so you should find one that suits your vibe and personality. Which strap do you prefer? Maybe you’re a fan of classic leather. Wacky screen prints might be your thing. Perhaps you long for a strap that reminds you of the seatbelt in the car your parents drove you around in when you were a child. Whatever you choose, you should pick out a guitar strap as carefully as you would your guitar or amplifier. It’s an important element to your overall musical aura, and it’s the one thing keeping your guitar from a trip to the repair shop. Pick a strap, put it on, and rock!