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Posts Tagged ‘strap locks’

It Only Takes One Time…

…to drop your shiny guitar and you buy strap locks.

As soon as I decided to keep Katie May, my first thought was to get strap locks. I learned my lesson about that years ago when I dropped “Pearl,” my 60th Anniversary Strat, and put a big scratch on the front of her from her falling on a guitar stand. Sucked big time. Now, I either buy a guitar with strap locks on it already, or I go out and get a set.

My personal preference is Schaller strap locks. I’ve tried Dunlop strap locks, and did not like them one bit. Maybe it was how they were installed (not by me), but they kept on coming loose. They were quickly replaced with Schallers.

Whether you’re an active musician or a bedroom player, do yourself a favor and get some strap locks. Peace of mind is a good thing…

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Fooled ya, didn’t I… You probably thought this was going to be about an actual guitar. From the picture, it’s obviously not about a guitar, but it is related. Let’s start out with a story…

Awhile back, my buddy Phil, of Phil ‘N The Blanks, a local classic rock cover band, shared a story with me. He was playing along, rockin’ out when suddenly his a strap loop came off its peg and his guitar ignominiously clattered to the floor, wreaking sonic mayhem in the clube ala Pete Townshend, and seriously banging up his axe. His lead guitarist laughed and said, “Now it’s a workin’ man’s guitar. I warned you a long time ago to get strap locks, and you wouldn’t listen. You learned the lesson the hard way.”

I didn’t have to have what happened to Phil happen before I learned that lesson mainly because I was able to catch my guitar before it hit the ground, so no harm no foul. But once that happened, the next day I was at the music store and bought strap locks for all my guitars. Now I won’t buy a guitar without having strap locks included in my order.

If you’re one who doesn’t mind playing a guitar with dings and scratches, maybe strap locks are low on your list of accessories to get. But you don’t want a workin’ man’s guitar, do yourself a favor: Get strap locks!

But then there’s the type of strap lock to choose as well. I’ve used two types: Schaller and Dunlop. I prefer Schallers because of their “cup” design. I feel it’s more secure, and the screw won’t get torqued. I absolutely hate Dunlops. Yeah, they install pretty easily, but the strap is actually held out away from the body, and I’ve found that with heavier guitars, the screw will get torqued and loosened. When that happens, even though the locking bolt will still go in the hole, the lock will not engage because the screw head keeps the bolt from sliding all the way in. I almost had a $4000+ custom guitar crash to the floor recently because of this very issue. Needless to say, I changed the locks to Schallers.

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Schaller Strap Locks

The title kind of sounds like a spam ad, doesn’t it? But it’s totally serious!

We’ve all heard of or even personally experienced guitars straps coming off their strap buttons, potentially causing serious harm to them. I’ve played for years without mishap without using strap locks. I’ve had some close calls, but no catastrophic accidents. My buddy Phil warned me awhile back that I was just asking for trouble by not having them on my guitars. I just said, “Yeah, I know I should do it, but hey, I’ve been lucky so far…”

Well, my luck almost ran out because I almost had a terrible mishap the other day. If you follow my blog, you know that I’ve just gotten my new Prestige Heritage Elite. I was in my studio jamming, and at the end of the song I was jamming to, I did a harmless thing: I reached over to my amp to turn it down; at which point, my body must’ve been at the right angle, and the strap came off the bottom strap button. My guitar quickly swung toward my amp, aimed straight at the grille cloth! Luckily for me, I was able to catch the guitar and press it against my leg to prevent it from doing any serious damage to either itself or the amp!

Soon after, I put the guitar down, turned off my amp, walked back into the house, told my wife I was going down to the local music store, got in my car and got a set of strap locks. I will NEVER be without strap locks again! Once I got them, it literally took five minutes to install them, and I thought that this would be good forum to share my experience, and to share how I installed them.

Installing the Strap Locks

I got Schaller strap locks because I could also use the locks on my Strat that came stock with Schaller butttons (Fender owns Schaller), so it was a no brainer to decide. So here’s how I did it:

  1. First, remove the original buttons with a screwdriver.
  2. When they come out, you’ll probably notice that the screws are a bit thicker with wider threads than the Schallers. This is not a problem.
  3. To be safe, as opposed to using pure wood filler (I used Plastic Wood because it dries evenly), I happened to have really thin dowel material that I could use as a shim in addition the wood filler. I placed the dowel in the screw hole, and marked where it would be flush with the surface of the guitar, then simply cut that length.
  4. Once the dowel was cut, I put some Plastic Wood into the screw hole, and with a toothpick, spread it up and down the hole. Take your time with this, and be as neat as possible. Then I wiped off the excess from the hole, then inserted my dowel. This made some Plastic Wood ooze a bit, so I cleaned that up as well.
  5. Then with my little power drill, I screwed in the new Schaller button.
  6. Repeat steps 3 – 5 for the next hole.
  7. Let it dry for a couple of days.
  8. Install the locks on your strap. That’s it!

That process took literally ten minutes! My strap ain’t coming off any time soon!

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