When it comes to guitar, there’s just so much to know.
How do you tune your guitar? How do you get an overdriven or distorted tone from your amp? What pick should you use?
And, of course, another common question is, “How do I put on a guitar strap?”
The good news is that this generally isn’t complicated. But depending on what kind of strap you have and how many strap-pins your guitar has, there are different methods.
So, let’s take this step by step. Here’s how to put on a guitar strap.
Step #1 – Examine Your Guitar
First, what type of guitar do you have? Is it an acoustic, classical, or electric?
Depending on what type of guitar you have, you’ll likely have a different number of strap-pins, or maybe none.
The most common configurations are:
- Two strap-pins. Most guitars have a strap-pin located on the body adjacent to the neck and another at the bottom of the body. This makes buying a strap easy, as most will work just fine for this configuration.
- One strap-pin. Some guitars have one strap-pin at the bottom of the body. On an acoustic guitar, there could be an input pin (because of onboard electronics) that doubles as a strap-pin. For this type of configuration, you can buy a guitar strap that comes with a lace, or even use a spare shoestring. You would then tie the lace around the headstock above the nut.
- No strap-pin. Unfortunately, there are some guitars with no strap-pins let alone input pins. Classical guitars often fall under this category because they aren’t necessarily designed to be played standing up. If you bought your guitar secondhand, then there’s also the possibility that the pins broke off. The good news is you can still get a guitar tech to install pins on your instrument.
So, for some of you, Step #1.5 will be taking your guitar to a guitar tech to install or replace strap pins. It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, but you should be prepared to spend some money.
Step #2 – Buy A Strap Matched To Your Guitar
Assuming you got the strap-pin business sorted out, you’re ready to find a guitar strap that will work for you and your guitar.
There are several things to keep in mind here.
One, some straps are shorter while others are longer. You can’t wear your guitar low without a longer strap, and in some cases wearing it too high can feel just as uncomfortable as having it too low.
So, it’s good to have some leeway.
Two, strap-pins can vary in size, and so can the holes on guitar straps, which are designed to fit tightly around the strap-pins.
That means purchasing a strap with tiny holes can make it more challenging for you to put your strap on. Either way, it can take a while to “break in” your strap, especially if it’s made of material like leather.
Three, guitar straps are made from a variety of materials, feature different designs and are of varying lengths.
This is something to examine while you’re testing out different straps at the guitar store. Or, if you’re purchasing online, be sure to check the specs and reviews for more detailed information.
Materials can affect comfort and durability. I generally prefer straps that only have leather ends and aren’t made entirely of leather. That’s a preference more than anything.
As far as designs go, you can go with whatever you like. There are a lot of cool designs to choose from.
Length is a significant factor since you want your guitar hanging at a comfortable height. Be sure to check the specs before purchase.
And, don’t forget – if your guitar only has one strap-pin, either buy a guitar strap that comes with a string or ensure that you have a spare shoestring on hand.
Step #3 – Put The Strap On The Guitar
For most guitars and straps, this will be a simple process.
First, identify the front and back of the strap.
The most common issue beginners tend to run into is their strap twists in the middle, making it uncomfortable to wear.
If you’re careful doing the attachment procedure, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
So, lay your strap down flat front side up on a table, desk, bed or even floor and make sure it isn’t twisting.
Now, take the top of the strap, identify where the hole is, and fit the strap’s hole around the strap-pin next to the neck. You may need to apply some pressure. Ensure that the strap-pin has gone all the way through the hole.
Next, repeat this process for the bottom of the guitar. Take the bottom of the strap and push the strap-pin through the bottom hole until it’s through completely.
If you did everything correctly, the guitar should be held up by the strap, which you can now wear. Bring the strap behind your neck and slip through your dominant arm but not the other.
If you have a guitar with a single strap-pin, then attach the bottom of the strap first, pull the lace through the top hole of the strap, and then tie the lace around the headstock above the nut.
Here’s a video showing you how:
Step #4 – Adjust The Strap For Comfort
Most straps are adjustable, at least to a point.
There’s always a chance the strap is fine where it is, in which case you can skip this step.
Otherwise, you’ll want to use whatever mechanism is there for adjusting the strap.
Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of feeding your strap through a clip (one direction will lengthen, the other will shorten).
In the case of a leather strap, it usually involves feeding the top through one of several preset holes.
Now you know how to attach a guitar strap. Have fun playing standing up – as you’re about to find out, it’s a lot different than playing sitting down!