Friday, October 8, 2010

Stepping Outside the Stage Image Box

I've worked with a lot of guitarists who have a mental picture of what they want to look like onstage and stage image is probably one of the most important things to decide as a performer. They think that since they play a certain "type" of music, they must sport a certain "type" of image right down to their guitar straps. But, when they go through my guitar straps, they'll often say, "Oh, I really like that one but I could never wear it. It's too (insert your own adjective here--pretty, classy, quiet, odd, weird, unusual.")

A very successful musician who had bought a couple of my straps said to me, "I want the girls to like me and the guys to want to be like me. That's why I'm buying your straps. The girls will love it and be confused by it. It makes me dangerous and approachable all at the same time." I can't say I endorse the manipulation but it does seem to work.

So, I'm on a mission to try to get musicians to think outside the image box. One of the fun aspects of my guitar straps is that they're pretty unconventional. Well, actually, they're extremely unconventional. But, that means you're already thinking outside the image box, even considering STEPPING outside the image box, if you're even looking at my guitar straps. And, if you are shooting for a coordinated stage image, you couldn't do better than to think through which of my straps would work best for a particular look. I had one musician who bought 4 different straps, each vastly different from the other, to coordinate with-- of all things-- his shoelaces, which he also coordinated with different leather cuffs he wore onstage.

To me, your guitar strap is a visual accessory, like jewelry. It is best used to highlight certain visual aspects of your performance rather than being used to reinforce your music style. Most of the musicians I know have a stage "wardrobe" and, unless your guitar is especially ornamented-- carved, painted, shaped, that sort of thing-- your guitar strap should carry through your wardrobe theme, whatever that may be, though if you coordinate your wardrobe with your guitar, all the better. While the strap needs to look good on your guitar, it needs to look good on the totally of you as well. So... think outside the stage image box just a bit. Ponder the idea of "confusing the girls" with your combined dangerousness and approachability. Thanks for reading! Terri