Can you put strap locks on an acoustic guitar?
That is an excellent question for two reasons:
- Most acoustic guitars only have one strap button. It’s rare to see Acoustic Guitar Strap Locks on a stock acoustic. (The little thingy you attach your strap to.) The other end of the strap often attaches to the headstock via a leather string.
- Some acoustic guitars utilize that sole strap button as an input jack, meaning you can’t replace it with an acoustic guitar strap locks button without destroying the electric capability.
I ran into these exact obstacles on a friends acoustic guitar. I was sick and tired of watching him struggle and flail about with the silly one strap button setup. It did not look comfortable or practicle for that matter, and so we got him some Schaller strap locks (my favorite), and a beautiful handmade and engraved leather acoustic guitar strap.
Let me walk you through how I overcame these obstacles in one hour with a cordless drill, and a screwdriver.
What Are Guitar Strap Locks?
The Best Guitar Strap Locks are simple but effective pieces of hardware that keep your guitar strap locked onto the guitar…no matter what. As far as I’m concerned, these should be standard stock equipment on every single guitar. They are usually in the form of a small metal button device, and can be installed in less than 15 minutes.
If you’ve ever played your guitar while standing up, you’ve probably had it slip out of the strap a time or two. It’s a scary feeling, watching helplessly, as your beloved guitar neck goes plummeting toward the hard unforgiving floor. It happened to me enough, that I finally said “enough!”. That’s why I’ve put together this guitar strap locks review. Luckily for us, this problem has already been addressed by clever guitar companies like Schaller and Ernie Ball.minutes with simple household tools.
What you should consider before choosing your guitar strap locks.
- Do you want your guitar strap locks permanently attached to your guitar strap?
- Do you like a quickly detachable strap lock.
- Do you like to leave your strap on your guitar when you put it away?
- Are you handy with tools? Can you install the guitar strap locks.
These are important questions to ask yourself before you decide on which model of guitar strap lock is best for your needs/personal preferences. My absolute favorite strap lock brand meets my needs, but I cannot leave my strap on the guitar when I put it away in it’s hardshell case. There just isn’t enough room. I don’t mind it, because the benefits outweigh that one negative.
- Order your materials. You’ll need a new set of guitar strap locks, check out my review of the top 5 guitar strap locks to narrow down your options.
- Find a nice strap with plenty of length to accommodate the depth of your acoustic guitar. It’s important you get the right length, because some straps are shorter and designed for electric guitars which are much smaller.
When you get your strap locks in the mail, take them out of their packing, and pull out the phillips screws that come in the kit. These are the screws that will hold the new strap lock buttons onto your acoustic guitar.
Now, go and find a drill bit just a little bit smaller in diameter than the screws. We’ll need to drill at least two new pilot holes in the guitar where you want your new strap lock buttons to be. One on the rear, adjacent to the existing strap button/input jack, and one on the neck joint. (Where the neck attaches to the body of the acoustic guitar).
It’s very important to drill the pilot holes. Without them it will be difficult to get the screws started in the wood. Plus without pilot holes you will likely splinter the wood and the finish on the guitar. Acoustic wood is light and thin, and prone to cracking under that kind of excessive pressure.
It’s also massively important that the pilot holes not be too large in diameter. Otherwise the screw will be loose in the hole, meaning your new acoustic guitar strap locks will fall right out, defeating their purpose. You just want to remove enough wood to allow for a tight fit that won’t splinter your guitar’s wood.
Mark the location of your new holes with a sharpie or pencil, then drill your holes. It’s always advisable to start with a small drill bit, then work your way up if necessary. Keep the drill centered and parallel to ensure proper fitment.
Install your new strap lock buttons in their pilot holes, and tighten until the buttons have no play. You should not be able to spin them once screwed all the way in. If you can, your pilot holes were too large, and your screw is spinning in the hole.
If this happens, no worries. Just use a toothpick in the hole with some super glue or epoxy to give the screw threads something to bite into. The glue will ensure your long term stability.
Install your strap lock hardware on your new acoustic guitar strap. Schaller strap locks will require tightening to the strap with with a crescent wrench or socket wrench. To ensure they stay tight, I recommend a dab of Permatex thread lock on the threads. It works very very well.
Test out your new strap and strap locks system! You are done, and your acoustic guitar is safe from the threat of strap slippage.
Tips for Schaller Style Strap Locks:
Schaller Security Strap Locks have always been my favorite, because they are easy to install, well built, and can be swapped onto new guitar straps with just a crescent wrench or socket set. There are a few tricks to getting the most out of these, and I’ll tell you exactly what they are.
Schaller have been around a long time, and these are the most likely strap locks you’ll find in any retail guitar store. The only reason I hesitated to give these 5 stars across the board, is the form factor. For transporting your guitar in some hardshell guitar cases, you may not be able to leave the strap on the guitar. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind and security you get from Schaller strap locks.
Schaller Security Strap Locks meet the following standards, and might be perfect for you because:
- These are not permanently attached to your guitar strap.
- They are quick detach.
- They are very small and would fit nicely in a hard shell case with the strap on the guitar.
- Only require a phillips head screwdriver to install.
Ease of Use:
Easy of Installation:
Tips for getting the most out of the Schaller Security Strap Locks:
- Tighten those nuts as hard as you can, and use threadlock to keep the nuts from loosening over time.
- When you install the new screws for the strap buttons, use a little bit of 2 part epoxy, and a toothpick in the screw hole. This will ensure your new screws do not strip out in your guitar body.
*Guitar body wood can be quite soft, and doing this now is going to save a lot of headache later on. Most of my guitars have had the strap button screws strip out and come loose.