A guitar strap is an essential accessory for any guitarist, as it allows them to comfortably play their instrument while standing up. However, the process of putting on a guitar strap can vary depending on the type of guitar you own, and some guitars may not even have the proper hardware to install one.
In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide on how to put on a guitar strap for an electric, acoustic, and classical guitar, as well as how to install strap buttons and strap locks. So, let’s get straight to it!
How to put on a guitar strap for an electric guitar
Attaching a guitar strap to an electric guitar on is not the most difficult thing you’ll do, but you’ll want to make sure you do it right to ensure it comfortably sits on your body. Here is my step-by-step guide for putting a guitar strap on your electric guitar.
Best electric guitar strap: Ernie Ball Jacquard Guitar Strap
Step one: Find your strap buttons
Locate the strap button on the bottom of your guitar. These are typically located at the end of the guitar body opposite the neck.
Step two: Attach the strap to the strap buttons
Take one end of the guitar strap and thread it through the strap button on the bottom of your guitar. Make sure the strap is secure and won’t come loose. Next, attach the other end of the guitar strap to the button on the top of your guitar. This is typically located near the base of the guitar neck.
Step three: Adjust the strap to your liking
The strap length may require a little trial and error as you need to account for your height and the length of your arms.
Once you have adjusted the length, make sure it’s tight so it doesn’t move when you’re jumping around.
Step four: Test it out
Finally, test the guitar strap to ensure it is secure and comfortable. If the guitar feels too heavy or uncomfortable, adjust the strap until it feels right.
How to put a guitar strap on an acoustic guitar (one strap button)
As most acoustic guitars only have one button, the process of installing a guitar strap is slightly different. While you can use any strap for your acoustic, you’ll find that a dedicated acoustic strap comes with a piece of string on one end to wrap under the strings on the headstock. The good ones have a clip or a leather strap to make them easy to disconnect. Attaching the strap to the bottom strap button of an acoustic is no different than an electric guitar; just thread the strap through the peg.
Best acoustic guitar strap: Rinastone Leather Strap
How to put a guitar strap on a classical guitar (no strap buttons)
Classical guitars are different than acoustic guitars for several reasons. Classical guitarists don’t typically use straps because classical guitar technique requires guitarists to sit in a chair with a footstool. That said, if you like the sound of a classical guitar and want to stand up while you play, there’s no reason not to use a strap.
Classical guitar straps are designed with small hooks that go in either side of the soundhole and around your body. This allows you to use a strap without drilling holes into your precious classical instrument and possibly obstructing the acoustics.
Best classical guitar strap: Right On! Dual Hook Strap
How to install strap buttons
While most guitars are pre-equipped with strap buttons, not all have them installed. You may also need to replace broken strap buttons on your guitar at some point if they break or the screw strips.
What you’ll need
- Drillbit (same size as the strap but screw)
- Painters tape
- Measuring tape
Here is my step-by-step guide to installing strap buttons on your guitar.
Step one: Work out where to place your strap buttons
The first step is to determine where to install the strap buttons. On both acoustic and electric guitars, the bottom strap button is located in the center of the bottom of the guitar. Use measuring tape to find the center point of the bottom of the guitar.
On electric guitars, the top strap button is typically either on the top cutaway or directly behind the area where the neck and body come together.
Acoustic guitars typically only have a bottom strap button. However, they occasionally have a second strap button behind the neck or on the rounded part where the neck and body fuse.
Step two: Mark the placement
Place a strip of painter’s tape on the areas of the guitar where you will install the strap buttons. Then use a pencil to mark the point where you will drill a hole.
Step three: Drill the holes
Check the instructions of the strap buttons and use the appropriate drill bit size to drill a small hole into the marked spots on your guitar. If the instructions don’t specify the drill bit size, simply choose a bit that is slightly smaller than the screw. If you are replacing old strap buttons, you can skip this step.
Step four: Install the strap buttons
Take one of the strap buttons and align it with the hole you have just drilled. Use a screwdriver to screw the strap button in so that it is tight but not so tight that it indents the wood of your guitar.
Repeat this step for the second strap button if needed.
What are locking guitar straps?
Locking guitar straps are specialized guitar straps designed to keep your instrument securely in place while you play. They feature a locking mechanism that attaches the strap to the guitar, preventing it from accidentally coming loose or falling off. Essentially, these are guitar strap buttons designed to be extra secure. The strap is placed on the strap button, and then a bolt mechanism is placed on top of the strap to completely lock the strap in place.
Best strap lock: Schaller S lock. This model also comes with strap buttons that are designed specifically for this type of strap lock, so you can be sure your strap is properly secured.
How to install strap locks
Here is my step-by-step guide for installing guitar strap locks.
Step one: Install the strap buttons (if needed)
The first step is to install standard strap buttons. Follow my above method for this step. If your guitar already has strap buttons, this is not needed.
Step two: Place the locking mechanism through the strap
Guitar strap locks generally come in two parts: the main locking piece, which attaches to your strap buttons, and a nut and washer to secure the lock. Place the main part of the locking mechanism through the strap.
Step three: Secure the lock using the nut and washer
Place the washer and then the nut on the elongated part of the lock sticking through the strap and tighten the nut. Once tightened, the strap should be sandwiched between the two parts of the locking mechanism.
Step four: Ensure the strap lock is released
Pull out the tip of the strap lock, and keep it open as you slide it over your strap button. Once the lock is on top of the button, release it, and it should attach securely. Repeat this step on your other strap button. You should now be good to go!
How to adjust a guitar strap
Some players prefer to have their guitars sit high up on their chests like the Beatles, while others top for a low-slung guitar, Kurt Cobain style, but it really depends on your personal preference.
Here is the right way to adjust your guitar strap.
Step one: Hold your guitar in your playing position
Hold your guitar at your preferred playing position, not the height at which it sits.
Step two: Adjust the strap length until the guitar is at a comfortable height
If the strap is too long, adjust it by pulling on the excess length until the guitar is at the desired height. Alternatively, if the strap is too short, loosen it by pulling on the adjustment mechanism or buckle until the guitar sits comfortably.
Step three: Test the guitar strap to make sure it is secure and comfortable
If the guitar feels too heavy or uncomfortable, adjust the strap again until it feels right.
Step four: Finish off extra adjustments
Some guitar straps have additional adjustment options, such as adjustable shoulder padding or other length adjustments. If your guitar strap has these features, adjust them to your preferences.
If you are a beginner guitarist and are looking for some good learning materials, check out my guide on the best beginner guitar books!
Do guitar straps fit all guitars?
Definitely not! Just as guitars come in all shapes and sizes, so do guitar straps. The length of the guitar strap and the attachment hardware may differ. Some strap buttons are smaller than others, so you’ll need to make sure that your strap fits snuggly on your guitar’s strap buttons and won’t fall off. Acoustic guitar straps also generally need a little more room to fit comfortably and may need a string of a leather strap to attach to the headstock.
Can you hold a guitar without a strap?
While it is possible to hold a guitar without a strap, you won’t be able to play comfortably if you are standing. Of course, sitting and playing without a strap is completely fine, but if you plan on standing up and playing, I highly recommend investing in a guitar strap.