One of the most overlooked pieces of music equipment are custom guitar straps! Yet these custom guitar straps play such an important part in the development of skill and dexterity for the guitarist.
Nothing could be more simple than a guitar strap: a strip of fabric or other material with a leather or synthetic piece on each end, & a hole in each of these end pieces that make it possible to attach the guitar strap to the guitar.
But why is choosing the correct custom guitar strap so important? If you haven’t been playing long, or you’ve just been too busy to notice, you might have overlooked a few things.
- Some electric guitars are heavy! No, not music style heavy but actual heavy, as in how much they weight.
- Some gigs are long, & at times exhausting.
- Some days you notice one of your shoulders seems a little sore, but you haven’t got time to dwell on it, so you put it out of your mind.
- You wear your guitar really low because it’s cool to do so based on the style of music you play, but it causes you to over-bend your wrists, making playing unnecessarily hard.
We all know that a guitar strap is made to hold a guitar via your shoulders, at an adjustable length to suit the position favoured by the guitarist. But the best way to play your guitar is comfortably! Now this statement may seem pretty obvious, but many guitarists think that they’re comfortable while playing their guitar.
In other words, if you’ve been playing your guitar for years really low & hunched over, chances are, the reason you feel comfortable is because you’ve given yourself curvature of the spine. Essentially, you’ve re-molded your posture. So over time your body has gotten used to this bad posture.
- Can you correct this bad posture with custom guitar straps?
- Can you improve your playing with custom guitar straps?
- Can you play long gigs with a custom guitar straps?
The answer to these questions is, YES!
As well as the right custom guitar straps, you need to adopt the right guitar strap height. Do you want your guitar positioned insanely low like Slash, or maybe crazy high like Shawn Lane?
Or do you want to set your custom guitar straps height to medium like Joe Satriani, Tommy Emmanuel, and lots of other extremely versatile and inspiring guitarists?
It is at the medium height that your body, hands, and wrists will feel the most comfortable. This is because your posture will be pretty close to a normal standing position. If you’re not willing to adopt this medium strap height because you’re too set in your ways, you should probably ask yourself a few questions before you totally dismiss the idea of re-adapting your stance.
- Are difficult chords more difficult, the same, or easier to play?
- Are scales more difficult, the same, or easier?
- Are difficult passages more difficult to play?
- How does your back feel after playing for extended periods of time in your current position?
If you’re already a medium strap height kind-a guy or gal, disregard the previous. That is, unless you still have soreness after long gigs, rehearsals, or practice sessions. So if you fall into this category of players, or you’re one of those guitarists that believe it’s too late for you to change posture and the damage has already been done, you may take relief in the knowledge that there’s a product on the market that eases the pain, it’s called the Gel Guitar Strap Soulder Pad by Planet Waves.
This may be just the thing for those of you who have back and shoulder pain that gets worse the longer you stand and play.
So what do we mean when we talk about custom guitar straps, as opposed to normal guitar straps? Well, it doesn’t mean that you have to get an ultra specific custom guitar strap with diagonal stitching that leans to the left that’s made specifically for you & no one else. That would be ridiculous.
All that’s meant by the term custom guitar straps is that you customise it to you, the player. Can it look stylish, unique, cool, or even fashionable? Sure! It can be all of these things, but more importantly it can be practical, comfortable, durable, & long lasting as well.
So how do you choose the right one? Well, if you only have one custom guitar strap you’re already off to a bad start.
I know I speak for all guitarists when I say, we’re not one dimensional. We’re multi-faceted. We have many playing situations. This means that we need different custom guitar straps customised to each situation. You wouldn’t wear the same clothes for every occasion. If you did, you’d become pretty smelly, pretty quick. So if you don’t want your playing to stink – change your custom guitar straps & change them often to suit the occasion.
Let’s shed a little light on the different playing situations that a guitarist would encounter:
Custom Guitar Straps
|Jamming with fellow musicians for an indefinite period of time||
wide with padding
|Practicing for an hour standing up||
medium to wide
|Practicing for an hour sitting down||
|Teaching a guitar student for 30 minutes||
thin, or medium
|Playing a short set at a music festival||
|Playing a two hour concert||
wide with padding
|Improvising to backing tracks for an indefinite period||
|Watching TV & playing during commercial breaks||
|Playing in two bands having completely different styles – showmanship could be a factor making physicality an element of one of the bands||
depends on particular variables