Some guitars come with a strap button on the top and bottom for you to use. Others come with one on the bottom of the instrument, but there isn’t one for the top.
If you’re unlucky, the guitar doesn’t come with any strap buttons. Classical guitars aren’t supposed to have them with their design, but you can also find this issue on entry-level acoustics and some electrics.
The process of finding the best spot for your strap button is the same for all guitars.
Where Is the Best Spot for Your Strap Button?
The best place for a strap button on a guitar is in an area where the screw has enough material to grip the wood in the neck. It should have enough mass to prevent poking through the heel once installed. For most musicians, the best spot is to place it on the treble side of the heel.
Before starting the process of installing guitar strap buttons and strap locks, you’ll need to secure a few items.
|Guitar:||Your guitar should be cleaned and secured to a table or the floor. Be careful when using clamps because the ends can damage the finish, even if rubberized. The best option is to use twine to strap it to the working surface.|
|Strap Button:||The Eison guitar strap locks and buttons provide a secure quick-release system that makes it easy to install a strong connection. They work with acoustic, bass, or electric guitars. Pull out the button to remove the strap and slide to install. You can even use this product to replace your existing pins or screws.|
|Cordless Drill:||The DeWalt 20V Max Cordless Drill is also usable as a driver. It comes with a complete drill set or other add-ons to ensure that you can maximize the use of this tool. The lightweight design is remarkably compact, providing a slow and high speed option to make the drilling process simple and easy. Almost anyone can use the half-inch ratcheting chuck to get the right grip strength for use.|
|Gaffer Tape:||With Lockport gaffer tape, you can set the product and forget about it. This product stays strong, but it cuts easily so that you can use it to set your button without a problem. Unlike similar items, it doesn’t reflect light. That means you have less interference for the installation process. It sticks strong and stays on through the project.|
|Drill Bit:||You must choose a drill bit that’s about one size smaller than the screw for the button to have an effective finish. It helps to use some tape as the depth guide on longer bits to ensure your pilot hole doesn’t go too deep. If it slips, you could damage the instrument. The DeWalt 29-Piece pilot point set gives you the right combination of quality and sharpness.|
Once you’ve got the instrument and your tools available, it’s time to start the installation process for your strap button.
How to Install a Strap Button on a Guitar Successfully
After you’ve got everything together, you’ll need to decide where to install your strap button or locks. It’s a good idea to mark the location by placing an ink point on the guitar or by covering the area with tape before marking it to protect the finish.
You have two primary areas to review when installing a strap button for a guitar.
- Neck Heel. You’ll want to install the strap button somewhere with enough material for the screw to grip the wood. It shouldn’t come through the other side. Although it’s usually put on the treble side, you can put it on the back edge where it’s out of the way of the higher notes if that’s more convenient.
- Endpin. You must center the drilling location for this placement option to ensure the instrument balances well after the project. It’ll drive most musicians crazy to see an off-center install, especially since it could affect how the guitar gets stored.
Don’t place the strap button on the guitar’s body unless you’ve got a solid-body model that you play.
Poking a hole in a hollow body design creates a sound generation problem that the button won’t always fix once installed.
Drill the Pilot Hole
Once you have the location marked on your guitar, it’s time to grab your tools to install the strap button. If your drill bit is too small, it might be too challenging to turn the button screw by hand. When it’s too big, there might not be enough wood left for the grips to manage.
Don’t rush the drilling process. I know it’s tempting to just get the job done, but you don’t want any mistakes during this installation step.
One careless moment is enough to create enough of a slip that it misaligns the hole or damages the instrument.
The easiest way to make sure your drill bit goes into the correct depth is to create a guide. Wrapping a small piece of tape around where you need to stop is the cheapest and easiest method to use.
To find out how deep the pilot hole should be, place the drill bit (before it gets chucked into place) next to the screw for the strap button.
Tape it just a little lower than the screw head to ensure you’ve got the correct measurement.
Install the Strap Button
After the pilot hole gets drilled, you’re ready to install the strap button or lock on the guitar. Although some products say that you can use a cordless screwdriver or drill for that job, the risk of over-tightening it that way is extreme.
It’s also less likely for the button or lock to slip during the installation, which means you’re lowering the risk of damage to the instrument.
If you find that tightening the strap button is too difficult, that usually means the drill bit for the pilot hole was too small. Pick the next size up, mark the depth indication again, and redrill it. That should fix the problem.
You will need to place the screw through the button and felt with some designs. Use a standard screwdriver to finish the work.
How to Install Strap Locks
When you want to install a strap lock on a guitar, it might seem like the work requires a different set of instructions. It’s actually all the same.
Most people replace their pre-existing buttons with strap locks because that process eliminates the need to create a new hole. In that situation, the work is as simple as unscrewing the old product and screwing in the new one.
If you replace the screws, please remember to be mindful of any size differences between the two products.
Most have a standard size, so modification isn’t usually necessary. When the new one is bigger, you might need to drill a new pilot hole in the existing location to match.
When the new screw is too small for the current hole, consider using the original screw with the new product.
If that item is the only one you want to use, the hole must be filled and a second pilot hole drilled to continue with the installation work.
Select a Dedicated Strap
Once the new strap lock buttons are on your guitar, don’t forget to select a dedicated strap to attach to your locking pieces. On most designs, you’ll find additional metal components that connect with it. Although it differs based on the brand you’re using, it typically separates into two pieces based on a button release or unscrewing a nut.
With this design, the strap end gets sandwiched in-between each half before getting locked into place. You’ll need to take this step on both ends before connecting everything to the new locking buttons.
Some people prefer to have a professional take on this project to avoid the liability of damaging an instrument – and that’s understandable.
We cannot be held responsible for mistakes or damage that occur from following the steps above.
If you’ve never tried to install a strap button before, I highly recommend contacting someone who can provide some help for this upgrade.
Do I Need a Guitar Strap to Play?
Is it possible to play a guitar without having a strap available to use?
The answer is yes, but it isn’t very practical to play most guitars without a strap of some kind to use. Classical acoustic guitars are about the one exception to that rule that everyone can agree on today.
When you have an electric guitar, there is more than the instrument weight for you to consider. The electronics must connect to a wired or wireless system, which means the weight can feel unbalanced in your hands.
Some electric-acoustic models have the same issue. The pull from the cord to the amp or the wireless connection can add a lot of unnecessary fatigue to the playing experience.
Although you could get away with not having a strap if you sit to play the guitar, that isn’t always feasible with today’s setups.
If you have a pedal package to use with the instrument, it might be physically impossible to reach everything you need for a song from a seated position.
The type of guitar strap used doesn’t matter as long as it is compatible with your strap button. If you want to use something with frills and embossed leather for heavy metal, go for it! This accessory is a fantastic way to show off your personality a little while performing.
What Is the Best Guitar Strap to Use Today?
If you’re in the market for a new guitar strap, I highly recommend the Shadowlands model from Anthology Gear. It is a handmade piece that uses full-grain leather and industrial-grade thread to create a beautiful work of art. They’ve included padding between the different layers for a more comfortable wearing experience.
The Shadowlands strap offers a three-inch width and an adjustable length between 39 to 54 inches. If you purchase the brand’s jumbo tongue, it adds another nine inches to your length.
You can get the Anthology Gear guitar strap in three different leathers so that you get the color tone and preferences you need.
A Final Thought on Installing a Strap Button
Installing a strap button on a guitar is a straightforward experience when the right tools are available. Use a sharp drill bit to create a pilot hole on the instrument where enough wood is present to support the weight. If enough support isn’t available, the button could pull out and cause damage.
After my starter guitar, the first acoustic I bought for myself was an entry-level Yamaha model. It came with a button on the bottom for a strap, but I didn’t have a spot on the top.
I tried to use those straps that tie underneath the strings, but I could never get it to stay put. It would slide down the neck, bunch up on a fret, or interfere with the strings.
When I had to play a gig for a friend in town, I ended up taking it off because it caused so many issues. Sitting down to play at a children’s birthday party is not the best idea!
That’s when I decided to install my first strap button. I didn’t have a drill bit (and couldn’t afford one at the time), so I used one of my father’s deck screws from the garage. I cranked that sucker by hand into the neck, thinking I was brilliant.
The screw got stuck in the guitar instead. When I used a power drill to try to remove it, the guitar tried to contort itself inside out.
Although using a drill bit takes more time, it’s much easier to manage the installation process that way. If you create a hole that’s too big, you can also try installing a plastic anchor in the opening to support the new strap button before filling and redrilling.
Life is much easier with a guitar strap. In some situations, you can get by without one, but it doesn’t make for a comfortable playing experience.