Certain gear is easy to fall in love with. From shiny new guitars, to oversized tube amps; some things just press the right buttons. Other, no-less-worthy items can get overlooked, despite their importance. Items like today's focus; the best guitar straps.
Whether you play stood up, sat down or something altogether more acrobatic, a good quality guitar strap is the difference between your prize axe staying snugly in place or flying off into the crowd. So it's fair to say a good strap is an essential bit of kit...
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What’s the best guitar strap?
While it won't win any prizes for outstanding aesthetics, the Fender Broken-In Leather Strap does score highly where it counts. Namely, the materials are well chosen, the buckle-less design gives it one less thing to go wrong, and the finishes are tasteful and give an air of authority and craftsmanship.
Of all the straps on display here, this one you'd call the 'everyman'. It won't offend anyone, yet it'll quietly get on with doing its job, year after year. Pound for pound, this is one of the best guitar straps on the market today.
Best guitar straps: everything you need to know
While it's not the most glamorous of purchases, a guitar strap is arguably one of the most important. As well as giving you the freedom to operate in a number of playing positions, a good guitar strap also provides a level of protection against dropping or damaging your instrument. Even for players who predominantly play sitting down, a guitar strap helps give the instrument balance and keep it steady, leaving you to concentrate on playing.
Modern guitar straps tend to land in a relatively small number of categories. You have the basic, entry-level models; these are typically made from nylon or polyester, and are likely to feature plastic buckles. These straps are great for beginners as they are inexpensive, lightweight and come in a huge range of colors and designs. The payoff, however, is that durability isn't necessarily what they're built for, so we'd hesitate to venture on stage too many times with one. Cheaper straps are also prone to slipping on your shoulder, meaning playing sometimes becomes a secondary concern behind keeping the guitar still...
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At the mid-range, you start to see models made from a wider selection of materials like leather and neoprene. You'll also often see padding included in the shoulder strap, making it more comfortable during longer playing sessions.
Travel to the higher end of the market and you’ll find pre-worn leather, metal buckles and memory foam enter the fray, all making for a much more enjoyable playing experience. Brands like Gibson, Taylor and Levy's some of the best guitar straps, built to last and designed to serve you well your entire playing career.
The best guitar straps you can buy right now
1. Fender Broken-In Leather guitar strap
Understated luxury that will last a lifetime
Launch price: $39.99 | Material: cowhide leather | Width: 2.5” | Adjustability: from 46” to 54.5” length
While for some a guitar strap is another way to express themselves, for others a strap is merely a tool to allow you to concentrate on playing. That's not to say there can't be a quiet elegance to a strap though. That's exactly where the Fender Broken-In Leather guitar strap comes in.
Coming in four tasteful finishes – green, brown, black and tan – this classy strap gives you the confidence that it will last the distance. Its oiled finish gives the cowhide leather a softness, while the generously adjustable length makes it ideal for guitarists of any height. Hands-down the best guitar strap available right now.
2. KLIQ AirCell guitar strap
Where form meets function meets comfort
Launch price: $59 | Material: neoprene | Width: 3” | Adjustability: from 46” to 56” length
It's fair to say nobody would align KLIQ with the bigger names in the guitar world. However, with its AirCell guitar strap, it may well have carved itself a nice little niche in the accessories world.
The AirCell boasts unique technology which packs a host of air-filled cells (you can see where they got the name from) onto its underside making it one of the best guitar straps for comfort. These distribute weight more evenly, aided by the 3” strap width, while also giving a cushion to ensure heavier guitars don't take their toll on the player's neck and shoulders.
As well as comfort, the cells also provide the dual benefit of taking moisture away from the skin or clothing, allowing your shoulder to breathe over long playing sessions.
3. Ernie Ball Neoprene Polylock guitar strap
The best guitar strap for when comfort trumps anything else
Launch price: $49.99 | Material: neoprene | Width: 2” or 3” | Adjustability: from 46” to 54” length
A sad fact of life, for many of us, is that the body starts to give up long before the mind does. So, while in our heads we could play for hours and hours every night of the week, often our neck and shoulders have other ideas. Thankfully, the good folk at Ernie Ball have a solution...
The Ernie Ball Neoprene Polylock Guitar Strap is designed, first and foremost, with comfort in mind. Coming in both 2” and 3” widths, this strap is the equivalent of playing with a pillow tucked under the strap. Not only that, Ernie Ball’s patented Polylock system securely attaches to your strap buttons for a safe connection without the need for modification.
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4. Coffin Case 'The Count' Velvet guitar strap
For when every other guitar strap looks… boring
Launch price: $39.99 | Material: red quilted velvet, seatbelt-quality webbing | Width: 2” | Adjustability: from 40” to 70” length
As far as statement guitar straps go, Coffin Case’s velvet guitar straps take some beating. Clearly modeled on the inside of a rather luxurious casket, what this strap lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in dark, macabre vibe.
While we wouldn't want to typecast, it's easy to see how this strap would appeal to a certain type of player. It could be the colorway, it could be the name, or it could be the fact it's adjustable to a whopping 70”, making it ideal for players whose riffs are low, slow and full of foreboding.
5. Levy's MS17AIF Suede guitar strap
A high-grade guitar strap with a side of flair
Launch price: $224.99 | Material: suede with leather applique | Width: 2.5” | Adjustability: from 41” to 54” length
While it's true a guitar strap is merely a tool, an enabler, there's no harm in adding a bit of cool to the proceedings. Enter the Levy's MS17AIF range. Where the other straps on this list focus heavily on function, comfort and durability, the MS17ASF range has all those things but then isn't shy of incorporating a dash of style too.
While it's not a cheap strap, as such, it is built with the highest quality suede and features a range of glorious leather and embroidered designs. These add a touch of class, meaning you'll look as good as you sound.
6. Fender Monogrammed guitar strap
A total classic and one of the best guitar straps for smaller budgets
Launch price: $19.99 | Material: polyester with leather ends | Width: 2” | Adjustability: from 44” to 52.5” length
Chances are, if you're a guitar player you've either seen or owned one of these babies over the years. The Fender Monogrammed guitar strap has been ubiquitous in guitar stores across the planet for decades now. Because style never goes out of fashion, of course.
Jokes aside, if you're looking at the lower end of the price scale, you can't go far wrong here. Fender doesn't generally put its name on bad gear so, even though this is a shade over ten dollars, it still comes with a certain level of quality, durability and ‘90s charm.
7. Taylor Wings guitar strap
This American-made leather strap oozes class
Launch price: $149.99 | Material: distressed leather | Width: 2.5” or 3” | Adjustability: from 42.5” to 58.5” length
As one of the acoustic world's best-respected names, you can be assured that the accompanying straps offered by Taylor will be of a superior level. The Taylor Wings guitar strap does not disappoint, offering multi-layer distressed leather in a tasteful dark brown finish.
The Wings straps come in either 2.5” or 3” widths, while the embossed logo and wings motif demonstrate a quiet confidence. This one would look rather dashing around the neck of any folk or country player, if we do say so ourselves.
8. Gibson Austin Premium Comfort guitar strap
A big guitar strap from a big name
Launch price: $149.99 | Material: leather, 1/2” memory foam padding | Adjustability: from 48” to 60” length
One look at the Gibson Austin Premium Comfort guitar strap and you know this means business. From the elite choice of leathers, through to the detailed stitching and decorative conches, you know this is a strap for the player who knows excellence when they see it.
But, look a bit closer and you'll see there's more to this strap than fancy looks and sturdy metal buckles. That's because, hidden within the shoulder pad, is a thick padding of memory foam. This means over time the Gibson Austin will become more like a second shoulder, happy to bear the weight of your treasured guitar for decades to come.
9. Levy's Deluxe Amped Grill Cloth guitar strap
The best guitar strap for amp aficionados
Launch price: $99.99 | Material: leather, foam insert | Width: 2.5” | Adjustability: from 43” to 56” length
The eagle-eyed among you will notice something familiar about the Levy's Deluxe Amped Grill Cloth guitar strap. Particularly those of you with a penchant for amps from a certain big brand beginning with F...
The addition of classic silverface-esque cloth within the strap gives it a unique, almost industrial feel, which we're big fans of. The strap itself is well made, featuring a three-piece cut out design and a foam padded back for extra comfort. We could see this style working with other well-known amp brands too...
10. LM Products Odin Viking Series Leather guitar strap
Asgard's mightiest branch out into guitar straps
Launch price: $69.99 | Material: belt-weight leather | Width: 2.5” | Adjustability: from 47” to 61” length
We're big fans of LM Products here at Guitar World. Each strap that comes out of the factory in Anderson, Indiana, is handmade, and the level of passion that goes into each one is apparent immediately. The leather is reassuringly heavy, while the brass detailing complements the simple design brilliantly.
The LM Products Odin guitar strap forms part of a wider range of Norse themed straps, with each boasting subtle design touches which ensure they are worthy of the names they bear. Indeed, it's not hard to imagine the All-father himself attaching one of these to his axe.
About the author
Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Dawsons Music.