Which End of Guitar Strap Goes Where: Addressing A Musician’s Problem

Playing guitar is fun, but it’s tough when you play it while standing. You need a guitar strap, if not, your arms will really sore, especially for extended hours of playing. If you play without a strap while standing, it’ll be more difficult and you can’t focus on playing. Plus, there’s a bigger chance that your guitar will fall.

Now, there’s an interesting question rounding up on the internet through some guitar forums. Which end of the guitar strap goes where? It seems like a stupid question for some, but, it’s a sensible question for those who haven’t seen or used a guitar before. That’s what I’m going to answer in this article.

The Guitar Strap

Before I’ll delve into the ways to attach the guitar strap to the guitar, I’m going to discuss a bit about it. The strap DOESN’T affect the sound of the guitar in any way, nor does it affect the playability. However, it will help you to play comfortably even for longer hours.

Guitar straps are made of different materials, sizes and designs, primarily promising comfort while you play. Even though you’re using a strap, sometimes it gets annoying on your shoulders, or they tend to heat up. Aside from the material, you’ll also need to consider the length, width and locking mechanism.

Length: In general, guitar straps have a length of around 40-60 inches. But, if you’re playing bass guitar, you’ll need longer straps. Some cheaper cloth or nylon straps have a buckle to adjust the length according to your built.

Width: Some straps have a single width, while others have 2-inch width on one end with 4-inch width at the thicker end. But, whatever the width of the strap it boils down to the comfort and support it offers to the players.

Locking Mechanism: Commonly, straps have leather loops that can easily be connected to the guitar pins. The problem with this is it slips off, thus, dropping the guitar. So, some manufacturers made strings with strap locks or clip locks to prevent this problem.

Material: Nylon and cloth are popular materials for budget guitar straps. However, if you want a more comfortable strap, you can have the one made of leather or memory. But, they tend to be more pricey.

Most guitar straps have one end directly sewn or attached to leather with a hole, let’s call this part the ‘top’ part, while the opposite end is the ‘top’ part. Then, the part where the buckle is facing is the ‘front,’ while the flip side is the ‘back.’ The back part of some straps is padded to add more comfort, especially when you’re playing heavy guitars like bass.

Attaching the Strap with Two Pins

When installing a strap to your guitar, first look at the base of your guitar. Check if there’s a strap pin there. It’s a metallic stud protruding from the bottom of the guitar. Most guitars only have a strap pin, but if you’re lucky, you’ll also find another one at the guitar’s heel. If this is the case, you can easily attach the strap to the guitar.

To do this, stretch the guitar strap with the bottom end on your right and the top end on your left. Since the strap has holes, simply insert the hole into the pin at the bottom and at the heel. Make sure that the strap is facing front, otherwise, the buckle will dig into your shoulder. It’s uncomfortable and it’ll be hard for you to adjust.

This configuration tends to slip and the guitar may fall. So, for added protection, you can add strap locks, if yours doesn’t have one. Or, simply inserting a rubber after you’ve placed the strap. This acts as a stopper to keep the strap in place.

Attaching the Strap with One Pin

If you only find one pin on your guitar, then, you need to be creative. There are two ways to alleviate this problem — install a strap pin on the heel and put tie a strap to the headstock.

Adding a guitar pin on the heel

It’s very easy to add a second guitar pin on the heel. You can just put a screw, where you can connect the top end of the strap. However, don’t just screw anywhere on the heel. You can put it to the sides or at the bottom. But, when in doubt, it’s better to go to your local guitar store or have a professional do it for you, otherwise, you might ruin your guitar.

Tying the strap to the headstock

This is the simplest workaround for guitar with only one pin. However, if you can imagine, the strap extends to the headstock, which might be cumbersome for some.

Use a strong and durable shoelace or any material that you can tie to the headstock. Make sure you’ll secure it under the strings, behind and against the nut, on the headstock side. Then, once you thread it, probably locking the string with a double-knot, tie the top end of the guitar strap. Once done, you can adjust the length of the strap to the position that’s most comfortable to you.

Here is a YouTube video that summarizes what I’ve discussed here. It provides additional methods and tricks on how to securely attach the strap on your guitar. 

So, which end of guitar strap goes where?

The answer to this question would be based on your comfort. However, I have suggestions that might help you attach the strap fast and secure. Within the article, I have defined the parts of the guitar strap above, so you can easily understand what I’m going to say.

When you install the strap, make sure that the adjustable buckle is located in front. This is to make sure that it’ll not dig into your shoulders. Another thing is, when you install the strap, ensure that the buckle is located where the bottom of the strap is (which is also connected to the base of your guitar.) With this, you can easily reach out to the buckle to adjust the length of the strap without the need to change position.

Aside from accessibility and adjustability of the strings, the buckle or any piece used to adjust the strap length won’t be bothersome to your shoulders. So, it won’t hurt your shoulders and you can play more comfortably.

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