Friday, April 23, 2010

Replacing Torn Leather Tabs On Your Guitar Strap

Can this guitar strap be saved? When you have a guitar strap you love, that's the first question-- perhaps the only question-- you have when the dreaded "Rip of Death" happens to your leather button tab. The answer depends on how your guitar strap is constructed. If the pin hole is punched in a solid leather strip that adjusts only at the back, then no, you're out of luck. If, on the other hand, your strap is polypropylene or fabric that is riveted or stitched to the leather button tab, then yes, perhaps your strap can be repaired. It just takes a little creativity and some puzzle-solving skills on the part of the person undertaking the repair.

I recently had a Myspace friend approach me about repairing his 20-year-old guitar strap, affectionately named "Old Blue." Old Blue was in sad shape indeed. Both the front and back leather button tabs were hopelessly stretched and torn and he had tried to repair them using what looked like wood staples. I gave it some thought and decided to put my hand to saving Old Blue.

I started by cutting the back leather piece off the adjustment bar and replacing it with my own particular leather button tab design. This involved cutting a 2-inch leather strip, looping it through the adjustment bar, sealing the two leather layers with commercial strength tanner's glue, and double whip-stitching it with leather sewing thread. That was pretty easy.

Repairing the front tab was going to be more of a challenge. The front tab was riveted through the decorative surface fabric, the polypropylene foundation, and the leather itself, with two rivets so the only way I was going to be able to get the torn tab off was to cut the fabric and the foundation.
One of my worries was that the decorative fabric, once cut, was going to fray and also that, as I cut and repaired, the strap was going to lose length. The way I solved the fraying issue was to seal the fabric threads with a thin layer of tanner's glue.

I looked for a polished metal adjustment bar to use on the front of the strap but what I found had tiny sharp, unfinished spots that I worried would wear on the strap over time. I settled on a two-inch polished steel ring that wouldn't wear on the fabric and would compensate for any lost length when the front tab was cut off. I looped the doubled leather over the ring, folded the sealed fabric and foundation under so there was no exposure to wear, and stitched the fabric and foundation to the ring, preserving the material edges and the strap's length.

When I had finished the repairs, I emailed pictures to my customer and he was thrilled with the results. I was, too, actually, because I had saved a dearly loved guitar strap, it had not cost him a fortune, and it was a new service I was able to provide. So, Old Blue is back in business and I have a new and happy customer. Who could ask for more? Thanks for reading! Terri

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Amazing Beauty and Quality of Strictly 7 Guitars

As a custom guitar strap artisan, I see a lot of guitars and people who love their guitars for all kinds of different reasons. I had one patron whose father had bought an acoustic guitar through a Sears catalog in the 1930's. It turned out to be one of the first Martin guitars issued and while it was valuable in a monetary sense, it was priceless to him because it had been his father's. Others love their guitar because it sounds great or it was their biggest cash outlay or is a top-of-the-line guitar. There are as many reasons to love a guitar as there are guitars.

That said, I came upon a custom guitar maker whose guitars I am convinced you will absolutely love. I stumbled onto Strictly 7 Custom Guitars through their website designer, Doug at These are American made guitars, meticulously assembled and constructed, reasonably priced, and ready to go. They really are absolutely beautiful. So, I wanted to tell you about them and give you a link to visit them:

Here is what they have to say about themselves-- I urge you to visit Strictly 7 Custom Guitars and take a look for yourself at what they have to offer. Thanks for reading!! Terri

Hello and welcome to Strictly 7, showcasing fine American Made six-, seven-, and eight-string guitars. I spent years playing in bands with frustrated seven-string players. From that experience I was inspired to look into what it would take to build an instrument that would meet the requirements of true touring and recording professionals. And I found that we could build them and keep them affordable for recreational players all over the world. Along the road to what you have in your hands I have consulted many great players who all voiced the same aggravations with their guitar choices, specifically buying a guitar that would immediately need pickups, fret work, set-up and intonation right out of the box. Other major concerns were the need to have the nut re-cut to fit their gauge of stings, or--worse yet--finish flaws in a guitar they had waited 16 months to receive!

The endless list of problems players have been forced to live with seemed unreasonable and entirely correctable. Here at Strictly 7 guitars we offer "production" models that make other custom shops weep, and our custom shop guitars can fulfill every players dream. We start with the best components available, pay attention to detail, and maintain unyielding quality control before the instrument leaves our shop. If we wouldn’t play it, we wouldn’t expect a player to buy it. However, we also understand that not every player likes the same body shape, tremolo system, or pickup choice as the other guy, so we offer a full custom shop solution.

The bottom line is we want to build an affordable, truly American- made guitar that we can be proud of, one that will satisfy even the most discerning player, while insuring the options available to each and every player are as limitless as humanly possible. Our favorite answer to guitar players we have met at trade shows and concerts with their questions and problems is, "YES! We can do that."

If you can dream it or think of it, we will build it!

Jim Lewis
CEO Strictly 7 Guitars

What Are The Differences Between Bass, Acoustic, and Electric Guitar Straps?

In a word, none. There are no differences between bass, acoustic, and electric guitar straps. Traditionally, bass players sling their guitar a little lower and may want to have a strap that is long enough to accommodate their playing style. But the actual construction and design of the strap are no different from any other guitar strap. Any guitar strap should be able to accommodate any guitar type.

When I started making custom guitar straps, one of the first things I did was research types of guitars, guitar bodies, strap pins, and comfort and function factors. Because I'm not a musician, I had that question as well... do different guitar types need different kinds of straps in terms of strength, construction, length, width, etc. What I found is that they do not. Commercial strap makers choose a length, width, and construction design that optimizes their costs while meeting the needs of most guitar players. Unusually tall or short players will need a strap that adjusts to an appropriate length but, beyond that, the actual strap construction is no different.

If your guitar is heavy, a wider strap is more comfortable but a conventional 2-inch strap is perfectly serviceable. When I created my own strap design I did consider comfort to be of equal importance to function and structure because, after playing for 2 hours, your shoulder starts to ache from the weight of the guitar. If you play bass guitar, you will want a wider strap for the comfort it affords, but don't go searching for bass guitar straps thinking there is some fundamental difference in design. There isn't.