Anyone who plays the guitar, especially a bass guitar, knows that it is easier to use a guitar strap. Generally considered as accessory products, leather guitar straps are the strongest straps available. Other materials such as nylon and cotton are used. They are durable, high-quality materials but leather straps are still stronger and more durable.
What Is A Leather Guitar Strap?
For convenience, a leather guitar strap is affixed to both ends of a guitar. A leather guitar strap is a thin piece of leather attached to the neck and base of a guitar. You can then place it over your shoulder so that your guitar is secured in place. Furthermore, there are various styles and types of guitar straps to chose from.
In the same way, there are different guitar straps; there are different types of guitars. Different types of guitars have their leather guitar strap attached differently. Bass and electric guitars are examples of guitars that have their leather straps attached differently from each other. Other leather straps are custom guitar straps with personalized engravings and detail.
As you select the best material suited for your guitar, make sure you have the required support for your guitar. A standard leather guitar strap is about 40-60 inches in length, depending on the size of your guitar. Some guitar straps go up to 70 inches. However, the thickness varies from 2-4 inches depending on how heavy your guitar is and the width you generally prefer.
Variations Of Leather Guitar Straps
There are different types of leather guitar straps. Depending on the type of guitar and the comfort of your shoulder, a leather guitar strap should be helpful in whatever category. Furthermore, you can always add a personalized touch to your guitar strap. Strap pins are available on most guitars nowadays. However, if you own a classical guitar, it might not be equipped with strap pins.
1) Padded Leather Guitar Straps
A leather guitar strap is padded with foam to make it easy on the shoulders to offer comfort and functionality. However, musicians know the pain of wearing non-padded leather guitar straps for long, long periods. It is tiring and can cause pelts and blisters if you wear a non-padded guitar strap. In addition, you will be very sore if you wear one for a long time without it being padded.
In addition, padded leather guitar straps issue some sort of stability for your guitar. Hanging off your shoulder with a guitar that's heavier on one side is uncomfortable and painful. Furthermore, If you compare padded leather guitar straps to ones that are not padded, you will definitely notice the comfort or discomfort that comes with the strap you shop for.
2) Handmade Leather Guitar Straps
Some guitarists prefer to have handmade leather straps. Provided you have the leather, stitching and design should not be an issue. There are extremely talented leather workers specifically for custom jobs. Some people prefer handmade guitar straps because they get to pick out the color, style, and design they prefer on their guitar straps.
A lot of decision-making goes into crafting a handmade leather strap. It can be handcrafted to suit your needs and, at the same time, hold your guitar well enough so that it isn't hurting your shoulder. Furthermore, the outcome is obviously something you want with a handmade strap and not something you will barely use.
3) Personalized Leather Guitar Straps
When you shop for a new leather strap, some manufacturers offer personalization services. If you are a customer with a personalized strap in mind, then you should find exclusive offers. You can get to navigate and play around with different materials and accessories. Furthermore, sellers also offer premium upgrades and varieties of leather.
For example, you can tailor your guitar strap down to the length and width of the strap and the color as well. Furthermore, colors vary from dark brown to light brown to any other color you know. Engraving details, patterns, writings, and rhinestones are also some of the personalized items you can add to your order.
4) Thin Leather Guitar Straps
Some guitarists prefer thin guitar straps. For some reason, they just work for them. However, leather usually stretches and things out with continuous wear. The weight of a guitar will most probably reduce the life of a thin leather strap. The weight of a guitar will stretch the leather until the leather strap breaks.
Either way, some guitarists are used to the familiarity of a thin leather strap. Unfortunately, a thin leather strap doesn't live long. However, thicker guitar straps hold a guitar well and last for a long time. Furthermore, a thick strap distributes the guitar's weight evenly over your shoulder compared to a thin guitar strap.
5) Premium Leather Guitar Straps
Premium leather is expensive but worth it. If you have a guitar strap made of premium leather, then you should expect it to last long. Premium leather is a good product, and it is also most widely used in designing leather guitar straps. Not only are premium leather straps comfortable, but they are also great at making heavy guitars feel lighter.
For most guitars today, the leather strap is made from premium leather sourced from all over the world. The selection results can be seen in the detail of the design, from the stitching to the price. Premium leather costs about 100 USD. So while a guitarist can go through multiple guitars in a year, a premium leather strap will hold out for many years.
6) Vintage Leather Guitar Straps
Vintage leather straps take on the shape, form, and design of original rock icons. The guitar straps from old rock and roll icons are replicated. From the type of leather down to the contrasting stitching, vintage-style guitar straps look exactly like their classical counterparts in terms of build and quality. Feel free to do your research on the type of vintage strap that will be best for you.
For the most part, vintage guitar straps have a sophisticated look; therefore, the replicas should not be any different. Either way, a vintage strap should always have contrasting stitching for it to really be considered vintage. From the moment you purchase a vintage strap, you might not be able to go back to a regular guitar strap.
7) Distressed Leather Guitar Strap
Most new guitar straps come stiff and are uncomfortable to wear. Furthermore, to achieve a smooth and easy-to-wear leather guitar strap, you have to wear the strap for a long time. This gives it an aged look. Keep in mind an aged look on a leather guitar strap is a good thing. Your distressed leather strap will look good at first glance.
A distressed leather strap is not something to be taken lightly. A guitar strap can last a guitarist for ages. You might need a guitar every few months, but the one constant is your leather strap. It will last you for ages. A helpful tip is to oil your leather strap every few days to keep it flexible. Dried leather is tough, unforgiving and it will hurt your shoulder.
8) Suede Back Leather Guitar Strap
Suede leather is great for leather straps because of the resistance it offers. In order to reduce slipping when you wear it, the velvety feel of suede leather offers protection against slipping. You will love not only the smooth texture but also the change suede leather brings to your guitar strap. Traction is important for any guitar strap.
Most guitar straps slip and get irritating each time you wear them. Unfortunately, slipping is not a new occurrence. Most guitarists share the same predicament when their straps slip all the time. However, a good alternative is suede leather. Furthermore, you should note that suede leather is very soft, and therefore it will stretch out, as is the case with all musical gear.
9) Buckle-type Leather Guitar Strap
Whether you own an acoustic, electric, or bass guitar, having a buckle on the strap is one of the smartest things to have. When shopping for a guitar strap, you should check the category of items with a buckle. Why are we insisting on a buckle? Because a buckle lets you adjust the length of the strap without a problem. Isn't that great?
Most guitars nowadays have a buckle for added customization. The sooner you can adjust the length of your franklin strap, the better you can play your favorite instrument in the world. The buckles are usually strong and durable. However, it won't hurt to stock up on a few buckles, just in case you need to fashion another buckle to your strap.
10) Italian Leather Guitar Strap
From Italian suits and shoes to Italian leather guitar straps, it seems like Italian leather is the perfect accessory to shop for. With exclusive deals and the best quality, your shopping experience should be exquisite. Italian leather is one of the best leathers in the world. It is tough and soft at the same time to provide a quality experience.
Unlike most guitar straps, Italian leather guitar straps are not fitted with a buckle. However, they are still adjustable, and the material is still soft. They also offer great comfort in contact with the suede backing and build. As a result, you will always be comfortable with suede and Italian leather material on your shoulder, even for extended periods.
Types Of Leather
Whether you are shopping for shoes or a guitar strap, the term "leather" gets thrown around a lot. However, to ensure you have quality all the time, you should understand what it means to have a great leather product. Furthermore, some products are termed as "high-quality leather." Therefore, you should be able to tell the difference in the product, be it the leather itself or the stitching technique.
a) Full-grain Leather
This is the strongest, toughest and most durable leather. It comes from the top layer of the hide and has all its natural grain with it. Additionally, it is the highest quality category of leather that money can buy. The grain on this leather is so tight, and this quality makes this material able to resist moisture excellently. This is the sort of leather that is used on furniture.
Apart from being of high quality, full-grain leather ages very well. It also develops a better look over time from being handled over time. Full-grain leather is take just below the hair of the animal and immediately processed in a tannery. Most of the world's leather is taken from cows because of its size and great quality leather.
Guitar straps made from full-grain leather will last for ages. When you select full-grain leather products, you should ensure the tanning process and dyeing is done perfectly. This ensures you select quality guitar straps and other leather products. Full-grain leather is also beautiful as it is strong and supple.
b) Top-grain Leather
After full-grain leather, top-grain leather is next in line. It is a step down from full-grain leather. The term "top-grain" simply refers to the fact that it is sanded and buffed for a pristine look. Handbags and gun holsters are great fits for top grain leather. It is tough but not pliable. When you compare top-grain and full-grain, the top grain is less pliable.
Top-grain leather is not suitable for guitar straps because it is tough. The whole point of guitar straps is a great comfort as you navigate music or a country tour. Furthermore, top grain leather is treated and corrected for blemishes and imperfections. The major reason it is not suitable for guitar straps is that it isn't as supple as full-grain leather.
Top grain leather also has to have the hair removed. However, it is still quality leather, and it will offer years of service and comfort. Furthermore, the lifespan of top grain leather is 10-15 years. To enhance the durability of top-grain leather, most tanneries make use of a plastic coating to offer resistance from scratching, scuffing, and staining.
c) Genuine Leather
Genuine leather simply means that there is some leather in the product. This doesn't mean you are not getting leather; it simply means the leather category doesn't match up to full-grain leather standard. Genuine leather is extracted much closer to the flesh of the cow. If you have heard of suede leather, this is where it is extracted from.
In addition, suede leather is used to layer the back of a guitar strap to help with grip. Using products made of pure suede or genuine leather is okay because it is still leather. However, genuine leather might not be very tough. It is prone to stretching and damage, especially if it is used all the time. In addition, it is prone to breakage and scuffing.
At first glance, it is very beautiful and looks exquisite. However, it cannot stand up to years of abuse or daily wear and tear. It will give out. There is no constant appearance to genuine hide. It can look different in different places. Purses, shoes, and briefcases are sometimes made with genuine hide. In addition, with proper care, suede and genuine hide can last for years.
d) Bonded Leather
This is the last grade. Most probably, also the lowest category of leather products. While it might look like a beautiful hide, it doesn't match up. It is the product of multiple leftover scraps of leather glued and then stitched together. It is then painted with polyurethane and a finishing to give it an enhanced look.
While it is easy to be carried away by what an item looks like in a photo, you should be all about the functionality. Bonded leather is more like plastic than real leather. Additionally, it doesn't have the sort of flexibility that real leather has. Over time it begins to peel and crack and doesn't stand up to repeated wear and tear. It is not suitable for guitar straps.
Most desk accessories, books, belts, and cloth linings are lined with bonded leather. Furthermore, it is an affordable option when you want the feel and looks of leather for a reduced price. On your search for an affordable leather option, you should consider products such as bonded leather which will help you navigate stretched finances.
Best Leather Guitar Straps
Many brands are offering the best leather guitar straps. However, we have carefully selected the top 3 brands for your perusal. Feel free to check the stores out and get more information on their full-page website. As you shop, you should remember to select the items you feel are great for you.
i) Taylor Wings Guitar Straps
In the acoustic world, this is one of the best guitar straps ever to exist. They are well known for their taste in distressed guitar straps. Their products are made of the highest quality leather, and they are available in a dark brown finishing. The straps are multi-layered for added strength and reinforcement, ready to take a beating and still retain functionality.
This brand is renowned for its embossed wing and 2 to 3.5 inches in width. The strap is adjustable and comfortable and exudes confidence around the neck of any guitarist. Furthermore, the distressed look the straps offer is very tasteful. As previously mentioned, the more leather ages, the better it gets to look.
ii) Fender Leather Straps
Any leather product has to be broken in. Fender already offers guitar straps that are already broken in. Furthermore, these straps are available in four different finishes. Brown, green, tan, and black, so you can choose your favorite color if you feel like color coordinating. It is perfect for guitarists of any height as it comes fully adjustable.
Additionally, it is made from full-grain cowhide. This is the best type of leather there is. It is tough yet soft and pliable. Furthermore, it also has an oiled finish giving it a very beautiful look that will last for many years to come and still offer comfort and functionality. It also makes the perfect gift for anyone you might know
iii) Odin Viking Series Leather Straps LM Products
These are purely handmade guitar straps. They are made with the finest leather and surround a Norse-themed look. Overall, this company also makes some of the best leather straps. The straps are heavy to ensure they will hold up and hold out for as long as possible and then some more. In addition, it has brass detailing that complements the overall look of your acoustic guitar.
Not only are these straps indestructible, but they are also handcrafted from thick, belt-weight leather and metal hardware. So whether it's for a guitar, bass, banjo, or other instruments, each Odin strap is handmade down to the stitch design and detailing.
What Makes A Good Leather Strap?
Depending on your personal preference, you might be tempted to go for the first thing that catches your eye. However, there are a few things to watch out for when purchasing a leather strap. The key among them is your budget. After that, you can then start to shop and find out which is the best guitar strap for you and how it fits your needs. Here are a few factors to look at in a good leather strap.
Width: If you own a heavy instrument, chances are you need more width for shoulder support. A standard guitar strap should be able to hold your guitar's weight and cushion your shoulder from the strain.
Length: A good strap should have a good length, and it should also be adjustable. Depending on your height, it should be able to go up to your knee. An adjustable strap can save your shoulders unnecessary strain.
Material: We have already mentioned that the best material for a guitar strap is seemingly leather. As much as there are other materials that are quite strong, nothing beats the feel and durability of leather.
Fit: Every strap should have a break-in period. If possible, you should try to wear your leather guitar strap for a full day to know if you are adaptable to it. Sometimes you may need a few adjustments. For example, padding can be added to your strap for comfort.