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Whether you need something to keep your instrument close as you’re rocking out on stage, or you need to throw your axe over your shoulders to free up your hands, a good guitar strap is an essential part of every guitar player’s kit.
A guitar strap has one job, and from a construction perspective there really isn’t much to it – it’s meant to make it easier for you to hold — and play — your guitar.
What Are the Best Guitar Straps?
The best guitar straps should be durable enough to handle the weight of the instrument, while being adjustable in length to suit different sizes, and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. Here’s what else to consider.
Material: Cotton, nylon, and leather guitar straps are common, and each vary in terms of how heavy an instrument they are capable of supporting. Leather is the strongest, though usually more costly. For acoustic guitars and other lightweight instruments, well-made cotton and nylon straps work just as well. Many also include leather trim at the ends that keeps the cotton fabric from tearing.
Accessories: Some guitar straps will not work without a strap button, which keeps the strap from slipping or tearing from the guitar, so keep this in mind. We’d recommend a strap button even if the guitar technically does not need it.
Style and Appearance: Especially if you’re performing, style sometimes matters when it comes to the right strap. What kind of design elements, if any, are you looking for? Is there any kind of design that you absolutely do no want? Do you need something purely utilitarian or are you trying to make some kind of fashion (or political) statement? We’ve found options to satisfy every playing style — and personal style too.
1. Ernie Ball Black Polypro Guitar Strap
It won’t be winning any beauty contests, but we like this heavy-duty nylon strap for a few different reasons, not least of which being that it reliably holds most guitars.
For one thing, it’s adjustable to comfortably fit even very tall guitarists, which can be a problem for the over-six-foot crowd. We also like the durable leather ends which help protect the strap from tearing away. People like them for guitars with an end-pin jack because the leather ends are sturdy and hold up (and can be easily enlarged with scissors if you need).
Pros: Durable, doesn’t tear, and long enough for tall people.
Cons: Because it is nylon, it won’t be strong enough for very heavy guitars.
2. Guitar Strap Embroidered Red Vintage
If you do happen to be looking for something a little dressier, we love the old-school vibe of this brightly colored woven strap, ideal for rolling stones, rambling men, and dixie chicks alike. We also think it makes a great gift for the guitarist in your life who doesn’t need anymore novelty guitar picks (though if you’re hedging your bets this strap actually does come with two matching picks included).
Perhaps more importantly, people really love how comfortable the strap is, designed to evenly distribute weight and made of lightweight, breathable fabric that cuts down on the mid-show sweat factor. Other standout features are the included strap locks and buttons to keep the strap secure, and nifty pick holders..
Pros: Handy features like strap buttons and pick holders. Cool, retro-inspired style
Cons: The style is relatively specific, so it won’t suit everyone’s tastes.
3. Soft Cotton & Genuine Leather Ends Guitar Strap
One hundred percent cotton, practical size, attractive. Check, check, check. There’s really not much else to say other than this guitar strap works nicely in pretty much all situations, be that on stage or in the garage.
The strap can be adjusted to fit everyone from children to people of “I played basketball in high school” height. It is also comfortably-sized at two inches in width, which also keeps the strap from sliding off your shoulder while playing. The soft cotton fabric is another plus for anyone who doesn’t like the feel of a scratchy or sticky strap on their neck.
While it is adaptable for acoustic, electric, and bass guitars (with a pair of strap locks and button adaptor included), we’d remind you that it is still made of cotton, meaning we wouldn’t advise it for an instrument much heavier than eight pounds or so. It does have tapered leather ends, however, which helps keep it secure and tear-free.
Pros: Easily adjustable and made of comfortable cotton fabric.
Cons: Leather trim is somewhat thin.