It may seem pretty unnecessary to consider which guitar strap you’ll be using before you play a gig or start learning guitar; however, the right one can make a huge difference to your playing.
Some guitars, especially Les Paul and Gretsch models are pretty heavy. Therefore a tough, durable support will make your musical life much more comfortable.
In this article, we look at the best guitar strap for both electric and acoustic guitar and give you a considered opinion on which are worth considering.
At a Glance: Our Choice of the Best Guitar Straps on the Market
- Mr. Power With 3 Pick Holders
- Fender Deluxe, 2″ Tweed
- Planet Waves Planet Lock
- Fender Artisan
- DiMarzio Custom Italian
- MONO Betty
- Levy’s Leathers MSS2-4-BLK
- Martin Premium Rolled Leather
- Gibson ‘The Fatboy’
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
Here’s what we cover.
- Types of Guitar Strap
- Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
- Product Round-Up & Reviews – Best Guitar Strap
Types of Guitar Strap
Acoustic vs Electric
Certain strap models generally work better with certain instruments. For example, if you’re going to be playing an electric guitar, you’ll usually need to attach the strap via two buttons on the body. Just be careful, some electric guitars come with built-in strap clips, so you may need to purchase a model that contains the correct counterparts.
If you’re an acoustic guitarist, your instrument will only have one attachment button at the far end of the body. So, you’ll need to secure the other side of the strap to the headstock with a string. If you’re a bassist, you’re going to need something longer, sturdier and probably more expensive, that can support the instrument’s large size and extra weight.
Buyer’s Guide – Key Considerations
The average guitar strap features an adjustable length of 40”-60”, which is a decent enough range to suit most builds of people. However, if you’re a bassist, or like your guitar hanging low like Krist Novoselic from Nirvana, go for something that can reach a length of 70″ or more.
The width of an average guitar strap usually falls between 2″ to 4″. With 2” being very thin and 4” being on the wide side. Thicker ones are generally more supportive and can hold larger instruments but saying that, if you’re a smaller build thinner straps can be more comfortable and not dig into your neck as much.
Most straps come with cut out leather hoops that you can attach to both ends of the instrument, the problem with this is that the guitar isn’t completely secure, and will tend to slip off while you’re playing. This is not ideal, but luckily there is another option – Straplocks! These metal locking devices attach to your instrument and are designed not to slip off – bear in mind that these are usually a bit pricier than standard products, and you’ll have to get the correct mounts added to your guitar to use one.
The material the strap has been fashioned from is by far the most important aspect you should consider before you make a purchase. The most common materials used is nylon, cotton, leather, neoprene and memory foam. Nylon or cotton models are used on budget items, while leather, neoprene, and memory foam are expensive but stronger and more comfortable.
If you’re going to be playing a heavy, solid bodied instrument like a Gibson or a P Bass, you’ll need something that can support it properly. Your best option would, therefore, be spending a bit more cash on a sturdy leather or neoprene strap, with the correct length. If you’re playing a lightweight guitar, you can probably get away with using a thinner variety, made from nylon or cotton.
Product Round-Up & Reviews – Best Guitar Strap
Mr. Power’s Guitar Strap With 3 Pick Holders
If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful, this strap from Mr. Power is by far the most affordable product we talk about today, but what do you get for the money? Well, its made from nylon and can reduce down to 36.6” or extend out to 65”, which is more than enough to fit an adult. It’s width, however, is smaller than normal, measuring just 1.8”, so I’d say this is more suitable for children.
If you play with a pick, you’ll like the three pick holder slots that run along the strap’s body. This is handy and will save you time scrambling around the floor trying to find a plectrum when you accidentally drop one. In terms of aesthetic, it’s pretty neutral being black and grey, so will blend in well with any clothing you’ll be wearing.
Who is this best suited to?
Overall, it’s an excellent option for kids but is probably going to be too small in width for an adult musician. Additionally, the nylon material this product is made out of is not going to hold a larger instrument or withstand too much use.
- Price – This is one of the most affordable products out there, so you get a pretty decent quality product for the money
- Pick Holders – This model features three handy pick holders, so if you drop one you can quickly grab another
- Thin – The nylon strap is thinner than a car’s seat belt, and it’s edges cut into your skin if you’re playing for a fair amount of time.
- Low Quality – The material used here will not stand the test of time, but you get what you pay for.
Fender Deluxe, 2″ Tweed
At only a fraction more in price, this Fender Deluxe has a classy 50’s tweed and suede aesthetic which will suit any acoustic, rockabilly or blues guitarist out there. Another beneficial aspect here is that this guitar strap is 2“ wide and can be adjusted to lengths between 47” and 56” – so is going to fit the average adult guitarist easily enough.
Additionally, it’s leather build is designed to be pretty comfortable on your shoulder, but bear in mind, cheap plastic vinyl dominates this strap so it may not be as strong as some of the full leather options out there.
Who is this for?
Overall, the Fender Deluxe will suit anyone looking for a cool retro aesthetic at a reasonable price. But if you’re looking for premium durability, then perhaps you should consider something a little sturdier.
- Looks Great – The Fender Deluxe has a lovely tweed retro aesthetic, so will suit you if you play in a blues band.
- Price – Pretty cheap considering you get real cowhide leather included in the build.
- Plastic dominated – Most of the material is plastic vinyl, which is nowhere near as durable.
- Not very versatile – There are only three size options to choose from, so you may find the options don’t quite match your height requirements.
Planet Waves Planet Lock
The best thing about this device is its Planet Lock system. This is specially designed to lock the strap into a variety of guitars so that you don’t need to change the counterpart buttons. The system works by securing into your guitar’s existing end buttons until you release the device’s side pin. The locking device itself is also non-scratch so that it won’t damage your instrument.
It’s made from soft black leather and has a suede lining for extra comfort. The length can also be adjusted from 35″ to 59.5″ to suit most adult players, and the overall neutral aesthetic here means it’ll satisfy pretty much any band with ease too.
Who will like this?
Overall, this model suits players looking for something durable, within a lower price range. For the cost, the quality of leather you get here is pretty decent, but of course, not quite as comfortable and sturdy as some of the more expensive options out there.
- Quality Material – The leather used here is pretty decent and provides a good amount of support for your guitar.
- Versatile – Height is adjustable to the exact measurement. you need, so it should always be a comfortable playing height.
- Lacks Padding – You don’t get any extras here, so the leather and suede don’t provide much in the way of comfort, which you may need if your instrument’s heavy.
- Potentially Damaging – The locking mechanism can eventually lead to the screw from the guitar’s body becoming dislodged and falling apart while in use – obviously, this isn’t ideal.
The best aspect of Fender’s Artisan strap is the heavy thread stitching used to avoid splitting, plus three layers of hand-selected leather for durability. The bottom layer consists of aniline leather, for extra grip, and the top layer is finished with wax and oil, for a polished finish.
You can also adjust the length to one of three different settings between 40” and 55”, which should meet the requirements of a small to average sized adult. The strap itself has a width of 2.5” which combined with the suede middle layer, enables a pretty comfortable playing stance.
Overall, Fender’s Artisan design is best suited to players with a mid-range budget, looking for something tough that won’t let them down. For the price, the quality is pretty good value; however, it may not be long enough for taller players or bassists.
- High Quality – The leather used here is very tough but still pliable enough to fold up into your gig bag for portability
- 1 Year Warranty – This is a pretty good sign that Fender are sure the product won’t fall to bits any time soon
- Not so Versatile – Some may find the pre-set length settings either too short or too long, which is kind of annoying and may affect playability
- Plain – If you’re after something with a bit more style, the Fender Artisan is probably not going to be wild enough for you
DiMarzio Custom Italian
The Custom Italian Guitar Strap by DiMarzio is fairly similar to the Fender model we mentioned previously; however, it’s a tad more expensive. So, for the extra money, what do you get?
The best thing about this model has to be its classy Italian leather material. Not only does this look great and fit any style of guitar, but it’s also built to last. The leather itself is tough and durable, yet soft and comfortable enough to wear. It also provides enough flexibility to be conveniently packed away with your other equipment and transported to gigs.
However, in comparison to the Fender strap, DiMarzio’s design is smaller in width, measuring in at 1.6 inches making it more suitable for smaller players. The buckle adjustment system also only has six settings to chose from, all of which are pretty close together. Some taller or shorter guitarists may, therefore, find the length range a little inadequate.
Overall, I’d say DiMarzio’s design is excellent for smaller guitarists, with lighter instruments due to the small width of the supporting leather. Saying that it’s sleek, black style will sort any genre of music and will give you a bit of edge during a performance.
- Well Made – High-quality cowhide, so it’ll likely last you a lifetime and withstand plenty of use.
- Nice aesthetic – Looks very classy, with a cool silver buckle.
- Small – DiMarzio have unfortunately designed this product to have little width, so it’s unlikely going to spread the weight of more massive instruments evenly across your shoulder.
- Not so versatile – The pre-set length options here are not that variable, and you may find they don’t wholly work for your build.
Mono’s Betty is selling at a very similar price to Fender’s Artisan model we mentioned earlier but offers a completely different design for the money.
Thanks to the use of military grade material here, your purchase comes with a whopping 3-year warranty, which is two years more than Fender’s offer. With this in mind, you can be pretty confident the manufacturer’s design will stand the test of time.
This is all excellent news, but the best aspect of Mono’s Betty has to be its memory foam core. This is designed to increase circulation and to reduce fatigue, which is great if you’re usually playing long sets. Its neoprene underbelly is also lightweight and reduces friction, so your shoulder won’t be shredded up after use.
There’s even a handy hideaway pickpocket included, so you can quickly access another if you accidentally drop one while playing – Every guitarist knows this happens more than you think.
So, in summary, Mono’s Betty will suit anyone that needs to play for long periods standing up. For the very reasonable price, you get some pretty high-quality, yet comfortable materials here.
- Comfortable – Memory foam core provides an extra cushion for your shoulder and helps to retain the most functional playing position.
- Price – The item is incredibly affordable, considering you get military grade materials.
- Plain Looking – Unfortunately Mono have chosen to go for function rather than looks, which isn’t always a bad thing. It just looks rather dull, so those of you wanting some style may be left feeling slightly underwhelmed.
- Shabby stitching – Yes most of the materials used in Betty are great, but disappointingly the stitching isn’t and tends to come undone in places straight after use.
Levy’s Leathers MSS2-4-BLK (For Bass Guitar)
For all you bassists out there, Levy’s MSS2 is something you should consider if you need durability and comfort while you play.
For a similar price to Momo’s Betty, you get a lot more material here. The width of the MSS2 is 4 ½”, with a length that’s adjustable between 36” to 52” to suit most builds of guitarist. The best aspect of the MSS2 has to be its comfortable foam padding and quality leather covering. The padding helps support the extra weight of your bass.
It also has a pretty good variety of length settings to choose from, making it versatile enough for both short and tall players. Saying that, if you are incredibly tall, bordering on a giant, there’s even an option to purchase an extra long version, to add 12” to the length!
Overall, the MSS2 suits bassists looking for a versatile, robust and comfortable product that will last for years. For such a reasonable price, you really can’t get much higher quality.
- Versatile – There is plenty of choice when it comes to length here, so no matter whether your tall or short, this item will suit your playing stance.
- Comfortable – The padded inner layer is great for your joints, and the strap’s large width spreads the instruments load evenly across your shoulder.
- Large – The 4 ½” width size may be slightly too big for folks with a petite build, so if that’s you, perhaps a smaller version would be a better option
- Hard to attach – Because the leather here is so thick and tough, it’s pretty hard to get the holes around the connection points
Martin Premium Rolled Leather
Finally, we move on to discuss the best premium options out there, starting with the most expensive option in our round-up, the Martin Premium Rolled Leather strap.
The best aspect of this item has to be its heavy-duty leather and vintage aesthetic. The leather itself is 3″ wide and a rustic brown color. So, it’s a comfortable fit for most body builds and will look cool partnered with an acoustic or classic rock guitar like a Les Paul (an original or copy).
The overall quality is also impressive. Its inside layer is grained and very supple for comfort and grip, whereas it’s exterior is smooth but robust, making it strong enough to hold heavier instruments.
Due to it’s classy, tan, brown leather, Martin’s design is an excellent option for acoustic players and will add style to your look. Saying that it’s tough enough to hold electric guitars too if that’s what you play.
- Stylish – This item looks pretty vintage and will complement an acoustic guitar or old electric nicely
- Quality Leather – Martin have used a durable yet soft cowhide in their design, so it will be comfortable and last a lifetime.
- Not flexible – So thick it might be a pain trying to curl it up and fit it into your gig bag.
- Price – This is on the more expensive side of things, especially compared to the Fender on our list.
Gibson ‘The Fatboy’
Gibson’s Fatboy is sold at a slightly lower price than Martin above, but still has some high-quality features to offer us.
The best thing about the Fatboy is that it’s very well made. It’s super wide, and super thick with extra padding and has a tough leather exterior. This is a beast built for ultimate comfort while playing the heaviest of instruments.
Another great thing here is that the strap is extremely adjustable, so if you’re relatively short or very tall, you won’t be restricted when you play. The attachment holes are also pliable and flexible enough to allow for secure attachment to the buttons on the guitar. Aesthetically, the Fatboy features a professional looking, stylish black design that will ramp up your image no matter what style of music you play.
So, out of everything we’ve looked at so far, this is the most heavy-duty of the bunch, and best suited to musicians needing support for big, weighty instruments.
- Extra strong – This is the sturdiest item we have mentioned and will easily hold a bass or a heavy guitar, without breaking a sweat
- Versatile – The Fatboy’s length can be fined tuned to meet the perfect measurement depending on your height
- Width – Although a wide build is great if you’re a larger person, if you’re petite the edge can dig into your neck a little. It’s worth trying one on for size before buying if you possibly can
- Large button holes – Although this makes it easy to attach your guitar, they are slightly loose, so you may need to purchase some extra strap locks. But considering the price, should you have to?
If you play bass or a weighty guitar, then you can’t go wrong with the Gibson Fatboy or Levy’s MSS2, these two are by far the most robust models we’ve found. On the other hand, if you’re into acoustics, then either the Fender Deluxe or Martin’s strap design will add some style to your image.
If you’d like some extra security while playing, or have an instrument that slips regularly, Planet Wave’s Locking Strap is your best friend. Nothing’s going to escape its grasp! But if comfort is what you’re after, then Momo’s Betty will not disappoint you, this thing comes with a memory foam core for the ultimate good fit. If you’re after a cool looking leather strap on a budget, then DiMarzio’s Italian Leather model or Fender’s Artisan would be a perfect choice.
Ged is Founder and Editor-in-chief at Zing Instruments. He’s a guitarist for London based gypsy jazz band ‘Django Mango’ and a lover of all things music. When he’s not ripping up and down the fretboard, he’s tinkering with his ’79 Campervan.