How to put a strap on a guitar

How to put a strap on a guitar

The guitar is great for expressing your musical creativity, but if you hold it for a long time it can start to feel heavy. A strap will allow your arms to rest and prevent you from dropping your instrument, which could cost you dearly in repairs. Most electric guitars and a few acoustic models already have buttons on each end of the body to attach a strap. If your instrument does not have one, you can install one, but you will have to be very careful not to split the neck.

Attach a strap to buttons

Look for a good strap.

It should be long enough to allow you to play easily when standing. Consider purchasing a padded strap to prevent it from tucking into your neck or shoulder while you play. The padding can be foam, fur, or some other soft, plush material.

Some straps are cotton, others are synthetic material like seat belts and the more expensive ones are good quality leather. Choose the material you prefer.

There are all kinds of different models. Look for one that matches your style.

Look for the strap buttons

They are found at both ends of the guitar’s sound box. They are small metal buttons. The first is at the bottom of the box. In other words, if you position the guitar vertically with the neck facing up, the knob will be located below the instrument. In general, it is about 1 cm long depending on your guitar model.

On some models, the top button is on the handle. On others, it sits on the crate, near the point where the handle meets it.

If there is no button on your guitar, it will need to be installed in order to use a strap. If there is only one button on your instrument, you can either install another button on the neck or tie the strap to the neck with a string.


Tie one end of the strap

Slip one of its buttonholes around the button at the bottom of the guitar. Usually, buttonholes are made to be very tight around buttons, because if the strap does not hold well you may drop the guitar and break it. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to push the buttons into the slots, but you should be successful by forcing a little.

Most straps have triangular leather or faux leather ends. Each of these parts has a small round hole with a slit in one side. It is these leather triangles that will support the weight of the instrument as you play.

To ensure your comfort while playing, be sure to orient the strap so that the length adjuster faces out. Otherwise, it might hit you in the shoulder.

Tie the other end

Push the second button through the hole at the other end of the strap. Once you’ve attached the first end, find the button near the neck of the guitar. Slip the second buttonhole around this button to attach the other end of the strap to the instrument.

Test the strap

Pull firmly on it to make sure it is attached firmly to the guitar before passing it around your neck and over your shoulder. Play a few simple chords and songs to make sure the strap is snug and doesn’t get in the way when you play. Try to play in several positions: standing, sitting, and even kneeling or lying down.

If you are right handed, place the strap over your left shoulder to position the guitar in front of you so that you can strum the strings with your right hand and press it down with your left hand. If you are playing left-handed, do the reverse by placing the strap over your right shoulder.

If the strap comes off the buttons easily, do not use it. Look for another model or buy blocking devices.

Adjust the length

When playing with a strap, you need to be able to play as naturally and easily as without. The strap should allow you to hold the guitar at a height where you can press down on the strings and strum them normally. Use the strap adjuster to adjust the strap length as needed to keep you comfortable and play smoothly.

Be sure to point this device outward to prevent it from hitting your shoulder when playing.

To adjust your strap, pull on it where the buckle is until it is the length you want.


Install strap buttons

Pay attention

If you decide to install strap buttons, do so very carefully. Installing a button can allow you to attach a strap easily, but if you make a mistake you risk splitting the wood which can permanently damage the guitar. If you are not used to modifying guitars, it may be safer to hire a professional.

If you already have a button at the bottom of the instrument, you can simply tie the strap to the neck with a string instead of installing another button. However, this can put pressure on the handle seam and damage the finish. So take into account the risks of both methods when choosing one.

Purchase the necessary accessories

Purchase strap buttons and washers at a music supply store. Some button sets are sold with washers, but in other cases the accessories are sold separately. Washers are inexpensive and will prevent knobs from damaging the finish of the guitar. If they are not delivered with the buttons, it is therefore strongly recommended to buy them.

Buttons can have many different shapes and colors. Look for a style that will go well with the style and finish of your guitar.

Usually, strap buttons are sold in sets of two. Depending on the model chosen, these lots can cost around $5 to 15.

For added security, purchase strap buttons with locking devices. These are metal pieces that fit over the strap to keep it from coming loose while you play.

Hold the guitar

Stand or sit down as you normally would when playing, and hold your instrument so that you are comfortable. Even with a strap, your hands will be supporting most of the weight of the guitar. Hold it normally to determine which level the strap provides you with the most comfort.

It is important that the strap helps you support the guitar in a comfortable way. Otherwise, it may prevent you from playing properly.

Ask for help

Have someone help you wrap the strap around your neck. Since you need to be comfortable, this step will be easier with some help. If the strap has a pad, position it over your shoulder and then let the ends of the accessory drop in front of you so that they meet the guitar at a natural angle. Pass the end that attaches to the neck in front of your left shoulder and the end that attaches to the bottom of the sound box in front of your right shoulder or vice versa for left-handed people.

You will need to position the button at the bottom of the guitar in the center of the bottom of the rib, directly in front of the neck.

Some guitars already have a button at the bottom. In this case, attach the strap to this button and then pull it up behind your back. Pass it over your shoulder on the other side then find the point on the handle where it will attach at a natural angle.

Mark the position of the buttons

Draw guide marks on the guitar at the points where you want to install them. If you position the guitar vertically with the neck up, the bottom knob should be installed on the part that touches the ground. The other must be installed either on the handle or on the body near the handle. Mark the marks at least 3 cm from the edges of the instrument so that the strap can support it properly.

Draw guides as small as possible, because if they are bigger than the buttons and you can’t erase them, they might be visible.

If you put a button on the heel of the handle, you risk cracking it. If you don’t want to take this risk, tie the strap to the handle with a string.

Measure the buttons

Choose a slightly smaller drill bit. You will have to screw the strap buttons into the guitar. If you are using a drill bit with the exact same diameter, the screws will not hold in place in the wood and the knobs will not hold the strap properly.

The diameter of the buttons depends on each model. Even if this is not the first time you are installing them, it is therefore advisable to measure them.

For example, if the button screws are 3.5mm in diameter with the thread and 3mm without the thread, use a 3mm diameter drill bit.

Mark the depth

Make a mark corresponding to the depth to which you want to drive the screws on the bit. If you drill the guitar too deep, you risk sticking out the other side of the wood. If you don’t go far enough, the screw may split the wood. Hold the drill bit against the instrument to determine how deep the hole should be and draw a mark at the point corresponding to that depth.

A red felt line will be easily seen when drilling through the wood, but if you watch the bit carefully, you can use any color you want.

The correct depth depends on your guitar and the location of the hole, but chances are that a depth of 1 to 2.5 cm is sufficient.

Drill a hole

Cut it out with a Phillips screwdriver. Use a cordless drill to drill through the wood, stopping at the depth determined in the previous step. This hole is called a guide hole. Insert a Phillips screwdriver inside and turn it to drive it to about the same depth as the drill to form the thread needed to insert the button screw correctly.

Milling will reduce the risk of the wood splitting and the varnish chipping.

Install a button

Place a felt washer over the hole you just drilled. Position the button over the washer and screw it in place without forcing. If you have the impression that it is sinking askew or is stuck, stop right away and unscrew it. Otherwise, you risk splitting the wood.

Most strap buttons are sold with small felt washers. If you don’t have one, you can buy some at a hobby store or leave them out.

The washer will prevent the strap knob from rubbing against the varnish of the guitar and wearing it out or damaging it.

Repeat the process

Install the second button in the same way. If you are installing two knobs, find the second mark you drew, drill and countersink a hole at that point, put a washer over it, then screw the second knob into place. If you only want to install a button, this step is unnecessary.


Use blocking devices

Buy metal accessories

Attach the outer part to the strap. Strap locks are commonly referred to as straplocks . They are made up of two parts: one that attaches to the guitar, like a normal strap button, and one that attaches to the strap. Install the button on your instrument in the same way as a normal button and attach the other part to the strap following the instructions in the user manual.

When you attach the strap to the button, the device will lock it in place. To remove it, simply press the release system, which is usually found on the side of the accessory.

If you have an expensive guitar or do a lot of movement when playing, this is a good option.

Install plastic straplocks

Position them on the knobs and rotate them. The function of a straplock is to prevent the strap from coming off the button while you are playing. The inexpensive plastic models come in the form of small discs with a hole in the center and a swiveling top with a series of ridges. To install such a device, push the strap button into the center hole and rotate the ridged part to lock the accessory.

After locking both ends of the strap in this way, it should stay in place no matter what movements you make while playing.

It is not necessary to install special buttons for these models. You can install them on the buttons you already have.

Use rubber washers

If you don’t have a strap button, use 8mm diameter washers. While the buttons don’t cost a lot, there are some free options. For example, you can install a tight rubber washer on each button after installing the strap. The washer will keep the strap in place while you play, and it will be much less likely (but not impossible) for it to come off the instrument.

You can buy rubber washers at any hardware store.

A piece of advice

If you install a knob on a classical or old guitar, you risk reducing its value. This will not impact most modern guitars, but if in doubt consult a specialist before making any changes.

If you don’t want to pierce the guitar, tie the strap to the neck near the head with nylon thread or old lace. Insert the tie through the hole at the end of the strap then slip it under the strings of the instrument and firmly tie both ends together. Make sure the wire does not touch the strings, as it will prevent them from vibrating properly.


Items that you will need

  • A strap for strap buttons
  • Felt
  • Strap buttons
  • Washers
  • A forest
  • A cordless drill
  • Phillips screwdriver




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