Sep 23, 2011
The Art of the Custom Guitar Strap
Sure, we all own at least one of the those dollar bin Ernie Ball straps…either as a backup or your main strap. I am guilty of owning two But every once in a while, we want to feel like rock stars…. complete from head to toe…. maybe not exactly like the gentleman above, but you get the idea You’ve got the right guitar or bass… you have a kick ass fuzz setup…. you’ve got the outfit picked out…. you have the perfect pair of sunglasses…. you know what brand of cigarette you are going to smoke while you play…. but did you get yourself a strap that compliments your guitar and says “Yeah, I’m kind of a big deal” ?
Ok, so maybe we don’t all put that much thought into it, but as a lady, I do love to accessorize and when it comes to playing guitar, a custom, unique strap is a great touch to add to your look. Plus, sometimes they just make you feel cool How many of us have ever strapped a brand new guitar over our shoulders and stood in front of a mirror? Be honest….. I know my hand is up
I compiled a little list of some really cool and unique strap companies that range in price from very reasonable to you-need-to-be-making-rockstar-millions-to-blow-this-much-on-a-strap! These are just some unique companies that I know of or have purchased straps from in the past. I just wanted to give you something that is a little different from what you may find in a guitar store. I have no affiliation with any of them. Please feel free to leave your favorite strap maker in the comments below.
Now sure, it must be said that you can go on Ebay and type in “Custom Leather Guitar Strap” or “Vintage Guitar Strap” and find a ton of offerings…. most of them looking to be around 50 bucks. So, by all means, if one of those tickle your fancy, you should go with one of them. Crooky straps is just a store that I happened to land on one day.
Crook Straps is just one gentlemen, Ted, from the UK. I’ve been buying straps from him for years. Something about supporting an independent builder or craftsmen just speaks to me There isn’t anything particularly showy about the straps, they just have a nice, classic feel to them. He dyes all of his own leather and has a bunch of colors for you to pick from. You are also able to choose the hardware for the strap you want , strap width and he offers custom tooling of names, designs, etc. These more ornate straps cost about 50 US dollars.
When I first got my ES 335, I wanted one of those old, vintage style straps…. kind of reminiscent of the old Fender straps.
I wound up purchasing the strap on the right in the picture. He sells them on Ebay for about 33 US dollars. If you live in the US, you may be intimidated by having to pay for shipping from the UK… but honestly, Ted only charges about 8 or 9 bucks for international shipping. I was surprised to see just how quickly the strap arrived…. he had it made and sent out to me within a day. Now it must be noted, these straps in the picture, while having the wider shoulder pad, are not actually padded. That doesn’t bother me all that much though… so I promptly went back to his store and picked up the black one on the left as well
Here are some of the other straps Ted offers.
It is also worth noting that Ted is open to doing some custom orders as well…. I recently had him make me two straps that look like old men’s belts. Keep a lookout in my vids for them
If you want to contact my guy directly, email him at email@example.com
Like I said, I just like supporting the independent guy that is working out of his basement
I know some of you love these straps as much as I do I currently own two of their straps and hope to get more one day. Here are the two that I own…
Both are made out of vinyl. They have so many cool designs for straps that I can’t possibly show them all here. The prices are extremely reasonable… the white and red strap above is 35 bucks and the bird strap is 40 bucks. Shipping in the US is only 3 bucks. They make a lot of straps from re-purposed materials, such as a Cadillac top, old luggage, old seat belts, etc. Additionally, they make actual belts, camera straps and wallets. Very cool stuff… there is a reason this company is really taking off
Here is some info right from their site…
Couch is all about getting a guitar strap that looks good AND is well made starting at less than 20 bucks. We started Couch cuz no one was doing it and we really wanted a decent guitar strap. We had to move out of our Long Beach apartment and sleep on our friend’s couch for a while to get the money saved to buy a sewing machine to get this thing going. We have killer racing stripe straps for only $35 and lots of new guitar straps made of vintage, deadstock and recycled materials that blow away what most big box corporate strap makers provide for the same price.
Look, most guitar straps are either really bad or really overpriced. On top of that, hardly anyone is making them vegan and sweatshop free in The United States. Why can’t someone else just make a guitar strap that isn’t either completely generic like the music store ones or looks pretty good but cheaply made and overpriced like the fashion strap companies? If you’ve spent any time shopping online or around your town, we’re sure you know what we mean.
When it comes to our straps being vegan, it’s not that we’re freaks or anything, it’s just that when it came to making guitar straps, we were not into purchasing the actual hides of leather and then stamping the tabs out of asymmetric sides of beef before sewing them on our straps. The buying and selling of animal skin carcasses was a little too weird for us, thanks.
For my guys that like the real southern looking strap styles, this may be one for you to check out. For what the straps are, most of them are reasonably priced…. I have seen similar straps go for much more. For example, here is a pretty kick ass looking Brindle hair strap that sells for $100…
Here is one of their artist series straps…. this is the Bruce Springsteen and they have it listed at $125.
I just noticed that Cserni also has an ebay store. He seems to list straps there for a bit less than they sell for on the website. For example, the Bruce Springsteen strap above lists for $125 on the site, but sells for $99 in his Ebay store… the link is below.
There is also a really cool looking Waylon Jennings tribute strap and for any of my country fans, they have a Toby Keith style strap. Also, if you are into having a lot of metal on your strap, this is the site for you
There are native american themed straps, as well as a bunch of different material types… such as Rattlesnake, Viper and Python…. and as you may think, these are a bit more expensive because they are actually made from snakeskin
He also does custom straps for a pretty reasonable price based on the materials you can choose from. Another one man operation…. check him out!
CUSTOM GUITAR HERO STRAPS
This is for my nylon loving Ernie Ball fans Maybe you love that plain nylon strap feel, but have always been thinking of adding a little flair to that strap…. here is your chance…
So, once you get passed the cheesy “Dazed and Confused” musical interlude on the splash page, take a look at the custom straps section. This site offers you Ernie Ball nylon straps, in all colors, with the option to have your own logo or name or saying or signature stitched into the strap. It’s kind of a novel idea if you think about it
You are able to select the strap color, the thread color and the alignment of your text or image or what have you. All of the straps go for about 35 bucks. So, if you would like a little something extra on your beloved Ernie Ball, check it out
MOODY LEATHER STRAPS
There are many that swear by Moody straps. I have had the pleasure of wearing one and I must say, they are extremely comfortable and well made. Now, these are a bit more expensive than some may be used to, with the lowest price starting around $125. The straps are offered in two different widths… 2.5 and 4.0 inches. Not many bells and whistles here with the straps, just good quality.
Here is a pic of one that I have…..
This one sells for $207. They have a one star version that is $188 and then they have a six star version that sells for a bit more at $225. I just liked the way they did the stars on their straps and of course, I love having that little Moody signature showing. In looking, it turns out that Mike Dirnt of Greenday uses this same version. So, maybe you’re still a Greenday fan and want to rock one like the band does… I don’t know What ever feeds your G.A.S :)
They also offer straps in suede. They aren’t all that much more and they look pretty sweet as well.
They also have a pretty cool line of straps that are white with a different backing color, such as pink, camel, etc. I understand these may be a little expensive to some people, but to be honest, I have seen straps made of leather that are of lesser quality selling for more at Guitar Center and Sam Ash. These guys make a pretty solid strap and are made of genuine Italian leather…. which is soooooo soft Just a nice and comfy strap.
Another brand of straps many guitarists swear by. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure to rock one of these yet, but there are many strap patterns on the website that speak to me
The straps have a cool, vintage textile look to them and the offer many different possibilities. Guitar straps, bass straps, banjo straps, dog collars, leashes, belts, and for my polka fans…. accordion straps.
Most of the prices here are reasonable… with most I am looking at being at the $60 price point, which is still pretty good for a quality, handmade strap. Plus, they are a nice little independent shop in Chicago…. and you know how I have a soft spot for the indies
Below is just a small selection of the different patterns available…
There is a really nice selection available on the site and you do get to somewhat customize your strap by choosing between several options….. end tab colors, recycled seat belt color for the underside, if the end tab is leather or vinyl, silver, brass or black plastic hardware and decided if you would like strap lock holes only.
Here is an excerpt from the site:
After years of knitting, sewing, crafting, creating, imagining, and inventing, we decided to put the projects to rest and share our hobbies with friends. Our first guitar straps were created as ambitious presents for guitarists in local Chicago band, The Lesser Scene, who performed initial quality control tests. Violin and viola case straps were then customized for chamber group, Quartet Parapluie, who command a crowd at Danny’s bar in Wicker Park on lucky Friday nights. Their enthusiasm and encouragement drove us to take our products to the public. Our first ‘official’ showing at Intonation Fest, 2006 featured our guitar straps with an added line of belts, handbags, messenger bags, and apparel. As our first custom orders rolled in, so did members from the weekends headlining band, The Streets, and their support and praise was enough to realize that people appreciated the selection, beauty, and craftsmanship. Since our first shows, our product line has expanded to include bass guitar straps, banjo straps, camera straps, sax straps, additional apparel items.
At Souldier, all of our products are handmade in Chicago. We do not outsource to other agents and pride ourselves on the craftsmanship of our product. Our straps and hand cut leather ends carry a lifetime warranty that we are proud to standby. The online store was created with the customer in mind, offering complete customization of any and all products we offer. With an ever increasing product line, we hope you continue to visit the site, and contact us with your designs ideas. Our products are not designed for the masses, but for those are committed to their craft.
Now this is one hell of a custom guitar strap site. Basically, you have the ability to create a strap with almost any image you can dream up or may have seen… as long as you aren’t truly infringing on someone’s copyright. Hell, they even offer you the ability to work with your own personal graphic designer through their website for an additional 30 dollars. Prices of the straps range from $59 to $99.
Looks like their straps come in two sizes…. 2.5 or 3.5 inches. The straps are all made out of leather and take approximately 2 weeks to complete. All of the pictures on the site are of custom straps…. they do not actually sell any stock strap… it is completely a “create your own” based business. Here are some others I thought were cool…
Here is a little info about them from their website…..
StrapGraphics started as three friends and an idea many years ago. It was born from a passion for music and creativity. Technology finally caught up with our idea, and a new product was born.
Our home is Portland, OR – a place ruled by fair trade organic coffee, craft beer, and a diverse local music scene. Growing up immersed in such a passionate culture, we’ve learned to take pride in our work, and offer only the best product possible. It’s how we represent.
Obviously we’re into custom guitar straps, but we don’t see our product as just guitar straps. We see a blank canvas for guitar players to further express their individuality. Just as music is a passion for everyone working at StrapGraphics, so is exploring that “X” factor that defines us as unique. We hope that our customers share in this passion, and use our custom guitar straps as another showcase to their creativity.
ACTION CUSTOM STRAPS
Now, most of the straps available on this site are quite expensive, but I know some of you out there are always looking for an expensive new guitar toy, so here you go
The straps available on this site range from the very basic, know as simply classy, to denim or painted snake skin…. yes, you did read that correctly, painted snake skin.
The strap above sells for $450 and is completely hand painted. They also sell Cobra, Diamond Watersnake, Bullsnake and Rattlesnake straps.
Below is an example of one of their denim straps….
This strap is called the earth child and retails for $250. It is 2 1/2” wide and is adjustable from 44” to 54” in length.
Here is one of their star straps…. Te-ha style!
This particular strap lists for $250.
In addition to their leather, denim and snakeskin straps, they also sell deer skin. The one below sells for $195.
I do not currently own any action straps, so I am not really able to tell you how comfortable or durable they are. Plus, I think I would rather spend my money on some fuzzies But, to each their own and I figured some of you may really enjoy these premium straps.
I took the following from their website….
What you will find in every Action custom strap is:
1) Unsurpassed handmade quality. Even our most basic straps are hand assembled from precisely cut pieces of leather.
2) Deliberate and original design. We won’t ruin your strap by cutting adjustment holes in the body of the strap, nor will we add any metal adjustment pieces that will scratch your guitar or camera. Instead, for our guitar straps, we sew an additional piece of leather, of our own design as well, on the back. We have designed them to be comfortable, so you can pound on that heavy guitar a little longer without getting a sore shoulder. And because we roll the leather to make our straps there are no hard leather corners to dig into your shoulder!
As well, all Action custom guitar straps are designed to have just the right amount of slippage, so you won’t find the back of your shirt in the front. That is to say our straps won’t bind your shirt, so that when you push down on the neck of your guitar; your shirt stays where it should! Nor will our guitar straps bleed on you even if you are sweating like a horse under the spotlights.
3) Unconditional Guarantee. If you order a custom strap from us and upon receipt, you don’t like it, send it back for a refund! How can we be so sure you will like your strap? The strap you receive will be exactly as described, although pictures can’t convey the feel and smell of our leather straps!
It is also important to note…. they do have a clearance section
Again… this was just a few companies I thought were a little outside of the norm of what you can find in a guitar store. And again, I have no affiliation with any of them.
Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below…. if you know of a gem of a strap company, please share with all of us!