A guitar strap can be bedazzled with bling, or strictly utilitarian, depending on your personal preference and style. The important thing is the feeling of confidence when you sling that Stratocaster around your shoulders -- it's held securely at a position that's ergonomically acceptable to you. By making your own handmade guitar strap, create an accessory that expresses your personal style, fits you perfectly and keeps you strumming along.
One of the simplest methods for creating a handmade guitar strap is to find a belt easily transformed for this purpose. A visit to your local thrift store will supply you with numerous options. Search for belts that are made of quality leather -- these will provide the most sturdy strap material. Studs, rhinestones and painted leather jazz up options and reflect personal style. Canvas belts also work. If you're looking for a one-off strap for a particular gig, a less sturdy option such as heavy plastic will suffice, as long as it's strong enough to hold up for at least a few nights. You don't want your beloved instrument crashing to the stage in the middle of your big solo.
If a visit to the thrift shop just isn't in the cards for you, purchase new materials to make a handmade guitar strap. Go the belt route, by purchasing a brand new belt from the store of your choosing and following the suggestions above. A leather goods store will provide you with a selection of widths and lengths of leather customizable to your specifications. Leathersmith Designs suggests using a 5 to 6 oz. leather thickness for optimal strap strength.
Wide belts make better choices than thin ones. They're stronger and distribute the weight over a greater shoulder area, thus making them more comfortable. Test the length of the belt by draping it over your shoulders as you would a guitar strap. When calculating length, remember not to include the buckle, as it will be removed when making your strap.
Customizing Your Strap
To transform your raw material into a functioning guitar strap, first remove any extraneous parts, such as the belt buckle, by severing that portion from the rest of the strap. Then drape the strap over your shoulders to determine the proper length, and punch holes through the leather where you position your strap locks. If you're using a repurposed belt, you may simply have to widen already existing holes. Do not make these holes too big, just large enough to slip the strap peg through. The WWW Guitar Advisor website suggests adding strap locks to ensure the pegs won't pull through. A limitless variety of decorating options are available for adorning your handmade guitar strap. Use leather carving or wood-burning tools to personalize your strap with a one-of-a-kind design, and acrylic paints or dyes add cool imagery.
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