Have you ever struggled to hold up your acoustic guitar for an entire gig or practice session? Do your shoulders start screaming in pain after just a few songs? Don’t worry, friend, we’ve all been there! Attaching a comfortable strap to your acoustic guitar can be a total game changer when it comes to playing longer and preventing any embarrassing instrument drops.
In this handy guide, I’ll walk you through all the steps for attaching a strap to different types of acoustic guitars. We’ll go over acoustic-electrics with two strap buttons, simple acoustics with just one button, and even fancier classical guitars with none at all. I’ll also give you tips for adjusting the strap so it fits you perfectly. And for extra security, I’ll even teach you how to install locking strap buttons.
Time to strap in and learn how to put on a guitar strap acoustic style! Let’s rock and roll.
Before we dive in, let’s go over the basic supplies you’ll need:
- A guitar strap – Go for something 2-3 inches wide and padded for the best comfort
- An acoustic guitar – Steel-string, nylon-string, or acoustic-electric
- Strap locks (optional) – For extra security
- Strap button kit (optional) – If you need to add buttons to your guitar
Okay, now that you’ve got the essential gear, let’s get strappin’!
Acoustic Guitars with Two Strap Buttons
Many acoustic-electric guitars come with two strap buttons already installed. One button is located on the “top horn” where the neck meets the body. The other is on the “lower bout” towards the bottom of the guitar.
Attaching the Strap
To attach your strap:
- Locate the two protruding strap buttons on the top and bottom of your acoustic guitar.
- Take one end of your strap and slip the strap hole over the top button by the neck.
- Then take the other end of the strap and push it onto the lower strap button.
- Make sure both ends are secured firmly over the buttons.
- Give the strap a few good tugs and then try slinging the strap over your shoulder to test it out. Strum a few chords to make sure it feels comfortable.
If your strap feels too loose or tight, you can easily adjust the length:
- If your strap has a buckle, slide it up or down to find the perfect fit.
- Other straps may have a threaded adjustment system. Feed the strap through to make it shorter or longer.
- Make sure any buckles face outward so they don’t dig into your shoulder.
And that’s it – you’ve attached and adjusted your strap! Now you can rock out strap-free and focus on your music.
Acoustic Guitars with One Strap Button
Many acoustic guitars only come with a single strap button on the lower bout. But don’t worry, you can still attach a strap with a simple trick.
Securing the Strap
Here’s how to secure a strap on a one-button acoustic:
- Take a piece of lace, string, or a strap adapter and thread it through the strap hole on one end of your strap.
- Tie the lace to the headstock of your guitar, just under the strings by the nut. Tie it tightly!
- For extra security, loop the lace under the strings towards the bottom of the headstock before knotting. This anchors it firmly.
- Push the other strap hole onto the existing strap button on the lower bout.
- Adjust the strap length so it fits snugly but comfortably.
Now your strap is secured on both ends – time to practice those chord changes!
Watch For Neck Pressure
One thing to keep in mind with the one-button method is that it puts more pressure on the neck joint. This can potentially damage the finish over time. Just try to avoid sudden jerky movements that yank the neck while your strap is attached this way.
Acoustic Guitars Without Buttons
If your acoustic guitar has no strap buttons at all, you have two options:
A) Take it to a guitar shop and have two buttons professionally installed. This avoids any risks of cracking the wood that can come with DIY installation.
B) Install the buttons yourself following these steps:
Installing Strap Buttons
If you want to install your own strap buttons, here’s how to do it safely:
- Buy a strap button kit withfelt washers to prevent finish damage.
- Hold your guitar as if playing to find the most comfortable strap positions.
- Have a friend drape the strap ends over your shoulders to the top and bottom of the guitar.
- Mark the locations with a bit of masking tape and a marker.
- Use a drill bit slightly smaller than your strap screw to avoid stripping the wood.
- Drill pilot holes where you marked, being very gentle and straight.
- “Countersink” the holes using a larger drill bit to recess them. This prevents cracking.
- Screw in the buttons with felt washers until snug. Do not over tighten!
Be very careful when drilling as you can easily crack the delicate finish or wood. If in doubt, it’s best to have an expert handle installing the buttons.
Classical Guitars Without Buttons
Classical and flamenco style guitars often have no buttons at all. But specialized straps have been designed to work with these instruments.
These unique straps have a few possible styles:
- A loop worn around your neck or over the shoulder, with a lace that ties to the sound hole. This lets the guitar hang from the strap alone.
- A full shoulder strap with a lace that similarly ties inside the sound hole to anchor it.
- A hybrid strap/harness that has both a neck loop and a lace for extra stability.
The key is evenly distributing the weight and preventing the strap from sliding around. Be sure to keep at least one hand on the guitar at all times as well when using these strap methods.
Adjusting Your Strap
Getting the perfect strap fit makes all the difference in comfort. Here are some tips:
- Look for wider, padded straps over skinny basic ones for better weight distribution. Materials like leather or neoprene prevent sliding.
- Adjust slides, buckles, or laces to find the “sweet spot” length that works for your body and technique.
- Make sure any buckles or clasps face outward to prevent irritating your neck.
- Consider adding padded “sleeves” to reduce friction on your shoulder.
Take the time to really dial in the fit. It will make playing with a strap so much more enjoyable.
Using Strap Locks for Security
For some extra insurance that your strap won’t ever slip off accidentally, strap locks are your friend. These handy devices hook into your existing strap buttons securely.
Types of Locks
There are two main types of strap locks:
- Plastic locks twist onto your strap buttons over top of the strap. They just add some friction and grip.
- Metal locks actually replace your existing buttons with locking posts. The strap then snaps firmly onto the posts.
To install strap locks:
- For plastic locks, just twist them over the strap and buttons. No modifications needed.
- For metal, unscrew your original buttons and replace with the locking posts.
- Snap the matching socket piece into the strap ends.
It’s that easy to add some extra security! Metal locks tend to be more heavy duty.
Phew, we covered a ton of ground here on attaching a strap to your acoustic guitar!
The key takeaways are:
- Use existing strap buttons when possible.
- Loop a lace through the strap if you only have one button.
- Consider installing two buttons yourself or having a pro do it.
- Tie to the sound hole for a classical guitar.
- Get the strap length adjusted just right for comfort.
- Add strap locks if needed for extra peace of mind!
With your guitar now properly strapped on, you can focus on mastering those new chord shapes and melody lines. So grab your axe, strap up, and start jamming!