If you want to gig and walk around on the stage, or if you practice for hours on end on your feet than you probably have experienced the pain of holding up a guitar. No matter how lightweight the instrument is there is no way not to strain your neck and back from holding it up. That is why we have straps. Not only do they keep you more comfortable physically but they also make sure that your instrument won’t slip out of your hands and fall, causing damages that will cost you a lot more than just straps and strap locks. We have a very comprehensive list of all the best straps and strap locks in our opinion but that’s not why we are here for. In this article, I want to talk about the actual process of installing strap locks on your guitar. While there is always an option of taking your instrument to a shop to get them installed you will be saving a bit if you do it yourself, not to mention the fact that you will be getting a bit more experience with setting your instrument up.
What You Will Need
Installing strap locks in not as hard of a task as you might imagine. You don’t need elaborate tools created specifically for this matter. One thing that you will definitely need is a hand drill. Please don’t use a mechanical drill because it won’t give you as much control over the process and you might end up drilling too deep or scratching the surface of your instrument. Apart from that, all you need is a set of strap locks – most models come with several different sized ones for different guitars – and a strap, obviously.
Just like with most processing involving your precious instrument the first thing you need to do is use a soft, stable surface so that your guitar does not get damaged in the process. For instance, when you are changing strings you won’t be just lying on your couch working on your guitar on a coffee table with five unfinished beer bottles.
Another issue to keep in mind is whether the guitar you own has strap buttons. Most guitars nowadays does come with strap buttons and that makes your task a lot easier. If for some reason your model does not come with that you will have to drill a hole yourself which I would not recommend if you are a novice. Not only will you risk scratching your instrument but also maybe installing the buttons in the wrong place.
Once you know that there is already a strap button the first thing you need to do is remove them. For this, you will need the drill. Once again, please don’t use mechanical one.
When you have removed the strap buttons open up the package of your new strap locks. What you usually find there is a new screw, strap lock, washer and nut (this varies with every brand). Now the most important part is making sure that the screws you will be using for installation are the same size as the ones that came with the guitar. By doing so you will make sure that you don’t drill too far into the guitar and cause any damage.
Next thing you need to do is install the new strap buttons. For this, once again you will need the drill. Make sure you do not tighten the screw too much so that it does not damage the instrument. BUT don’t let it be too loose so that it does not fall all midway your practice.
NOW all you have to do it take the lock and put it through the precut hole in the strap of your choice. Make sure that the bigger part (U shaped one) is on the outside of the strap. With certain straps, the hole might be a bit too tight. You can, of course, cutaway at pieces. Make sure you don’t cut too much.
Take the nut and washer and place them in the barrel. Tighten the nut and make sure everything is done right because after this all you need to do is attach the strap lock to the strap button/mount. Once you have done this process on one side of the instrument the other one should be much easier.
Strap locks are an easy and inexpensive way to keep your instrument safe. Despite the first appearances, they are not that hard to install. I hope the step-by-step guide was somewhat helpful and, of course, if you are are not sure which ones to buy you can always check out of a list of the best strap locks and the best straps that will guide you through the process of buying them.