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Author Topic: Help! - Guitar Strap?  (Read 4895 times)

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Offline fiddlejen

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Help! - Guitar Strap?
« on: Jan 09, 2006, 01:11:26 AM »
Okay, so I got this nice cheap really cheap guitar (yes it does actually play).  (It's even tunable too!)  I got a really cheapy one because I don't want motivation to get serious about it anytime soon.  (I still have way too much fiddling around to do! ;) )  Right now, my goal is not to really play this thing, but rather to play with it. 

I found a friend, a guitar teacher, willing to give me a one-single-lesson to get started.  He showed me basics like how the notes are arranged on the frets & how to read guitar tab & what to do with the pick.   (I am definitely having trouble adjusting to the pick. ??? Maybe it needs more rosin? ;))

Anyway, he also showed me the proper way to hold the guitar.  Resting on knee, one leg up, strings toward the wall not the ceiling  ::) -- something like that. 

But this isn't working for me.  It keeps going belly-up... strings toward ceiling... creeping leftward & upward...   (Really I'm actually serious this time.  Well, maybe not very far upward , but all the rest is true.)

So I got me a nice cheap strap.  I played a friend's guitar at church today, with a strap, and it stayed put (mostly).  So I bought my strap & brought it home and --- there's only one endpin on the guitar? ??? ?  So I looked in the Guitar for Dummies (guitar dummy, that would be me) book, and all it said was to tie it to the headstock if there's no pin. 

Is that really right?? ???  The strap has a sort of shoelace at one end, which I wrapped around the scroll headstock.  The only place it can go is actually crossing the strings, right above the nut.  Is that right??  Won't it damage the guitar??  Or mess up the strings??  (I know I wouldn't be happy to play my fiddle dangling from a shoelace around the scroll!) 

(Also, the little shoelace-ends look kind of dorky there.  Is there some standard method to tying up one's guitar?  Or, is the dorky-effect just punishment for not spending lots of money?)
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Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 09, 2006, 01:23:06 AM »
Yup. That's right. It should go under the strings, just above the nut.

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Offline ApK

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 09, 2006, 03:03:18 AM »
Yup, tie it neatly right above the nut, or some people tie it above the first set of tuners in order to keep it clear of the strings, but I don't like it there.

If you're adverse to tying it on, though that is perhaps the most 'traditional' arrangement, it's a simple, cheap and common procedure to have another end pin installed.  It would go on the treble side (the side usually toward the floor, despite what your teacher said...) of the heel of the guitar (the large mass of wood where the neck meets the body).


Offline fiddlejen

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 09, 2006, 03:23:43 AM »
Yup. That's right. It should go under the strings, just above the nut.
  Under the strings?
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Offline ApK

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 09, 2006, 03:35:53 AM »
Yes, as if you tied it around the wood without there being any strings.  See the black strap cord here:
http://zeppmusic.com/bplmandpghd.jpg

Offline ApK

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 09, 2006, 03:37:20 AM »
Some people tie it after the first tuner, sort of like this, I guess:
http://www.ukeland.com/~dominator/Images/P6111233.JPG

Offline fiddlejen

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 09, 2006, 03:57:16 AM »
Oh, the pictures help so much.  Under the strings, now I get it.  Thank you!
 
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Offline Yvonne

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 09, 2006, 06:03:34 AM »
Jen,

You can also get a button for your guitar. Cost is negligible (that's a big word!). I mean, a couple of bucks. All it is is a wood screw with a collar and a felt washer. They come in two colors: gold and silver (or brass and chrome). If you want to strap your guitar like the pros, screw the button into the left side of the neck end that meets the top of the guitar's body (or the heel, I think it's called). Don't have a picture of my guitars to show you. But if you go into any guitar store, you can check the guitars there. The guys will show you how. (They might even screw one onto your guitar for you.) If you decide on the button, you can toss the string, as the hole in the large section of your strap (where the string was tied around, right?) attaches to the button. Also, it looks cool to wear your guitar on your back by the strap, like in those pictures of Johnny Cash, head stock down. But if you ever graduate to a nice guitar, don't do that. Most plastic endpins are fitted to be removed (for metal endpins that hook into an amplifier). Gravity will eventually loosen the endpin if a nice guitar is carried in that manner. I've had my Brazilian rosewood Larrivee come close to ruination because of my carrying it that way.

The manner of holding the guitar while seated is important. You need to balance the guitar on the left thigh. So your teacher was right in his/her suggestion. If this wasn't mentioned, you can use a big block of wood, or several big books, even several stacked phonebooks, to rest your left foot on, to help you understand. (Classical guitarists use a foldable metal foot rest.) Or you can do what a lot of guitarists do, and that is raise your left foot up a little while opening your legs and lowering your right leg down some. Or you can cross your left leg over your right and rest your guitar on your left thigh. Whatever position you take up, after a lot of playing you'll know what works best for you.

Offline chad

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 09, 2006, 12:33:16 PM »
Another nice thing about a strap is that it holds the guitar and you don't have to, unlike, say, a violin  ;D...I always install a strap button on the heel of my acoustic guitars (the electrics already have them) because I find the strap gets in the way of first-position chords if I tie it to the headstock. - Welcome to the wonderful world of guitar! And remember:

Q: What's the difference between a guitar player and a savings bond?
A: The savings bond will eventually mature and earn money.

Offline David M.

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 09, 2006, 02:30:52 PM »
Definitely have a luthier install a strap button.  have them install it on the bottom side of the neck heel.  Don't let them put it in the body.  But the heel installation is sometimes tricky because if not done correctly, the heel can crack.

When seated, why use a strap?  Reckon I'm missing something here.  You don't really need a block for your foot.  I've played 30 years w/out a block.

But the strap's a must when standing.  Also, get a good strap.  I just got a strap from Sully (Pat Sullivan at sullysstraps.com) and it's the most well made, most comfortable strap I've ever seen.

Offline Yvonne

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #10 on: Jan 09, 2006, 09:55:24 PM »
I've screwed in three buttons on three different acoustic guitars (Martin, Larrivee and Takamine) and the heel on each guitar never cracked. Maybe I was lucky, I dunno. The screw is about an inch long and, since it easily screws in by hand (with a Phillips head screwdriver), requires little torque. But I suppose, depending on the neck's wood and age, the heel could crack. Apparently what you have to be mindful of, if you decide to install one, and if your nice but cheap guitar has one, is the truss rod and possibly screwing into it.

Offline woodwiz

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #11 on: Jan 09, 2006, 10:29:26 PM »
Simply pilot drilling with a drill bit the same diameter as the root diameter (not the threads) of the screw will avoid cracking.  Still need to watch the location for balance and structural strength, as well as not interfering with the left hand. No big deal if you just give it a little thought.

Offline Yvonne

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #12 on: Jan 09, 2006, 10:55:13 PM »
Just looked a little at my Larrivee, which happens to be on the bench beside me. I tend to be intuitive in dealing with most things. But with the strap button I must have been paying attention. Screw placement on the heel is thus: about a half inch below the lay of the neck's back, left side (i.e., the side of the guitar facing away from you when you're holding her), midway of the heel's slope, and a full inch above the guitar's top left side.

I've a digital camera but since I just signed on as a friend of the forum, I don't think I've picture posting privileges yet.

Offline Rhonwyyn

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #13 on: Jan 09, 2006, 11:12:26 PM »
Yvonne... you can upload your pics to another site, like www.photobucket.com (which is free), then post the link here.

As far as having to hold onto a guitar...  I have a convex body, so I have a hard time holding guitars.  Men with flat chests can't really relate 'cause they don't have anything pushing their guitars away (they can just prop their instruments on their beer bellies!).  I'm also right-handed, so I prop my guitar on my right knee, not my left.  It's just more comfortable that way since it's a rather large instrument... 12-string and all.

Oh, and I absolutely HATE trying to play Ovations, even with straps.  The curved backs just aren't conducive to being held against a curved body, especially when the finish seems to have less friction than wooden backs.

Offline Yvonne

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #14 on: Jan 10, 2006, 12:14:16 AM »
Well, your prompt prompted me into action.

Here's a shot of my Larrivee with her strap button:

If the picture doesn't display, I'll try photobucket.

Offline Yvonne

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #15 on: Jan 10, 2006, 12:23:10 AM »
And don't worry, Jen, if you decide against the button. As this was a useful lesson for me. Got to shoot my Larrivee (and my little cat), try out Adobe's new Lightroom (just debuted today!), and figure out in Photoshop how to whittle a 6.6 MB RAW file down to a 44 KB gif. And in less than 40 minutes!

Ain't digital photography grand?

Still the button's a pretty useful little thingamabob, Jen. Always hated how the darn strap string would interfere with my strings and then would move around. Having the button did away with that.

Offline David M.

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #16 on: Jan 10, 2006, 01:59:56 PM »
All this is the more reason to take up the F-style mandolin -- no need for a strap button -- it's built in  :)

Offline chad

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #17 on: Jan 10, 2006, 05:13:28 PM »
...When seated, why use a strap?  Reckon I'm missing something here.  You don't really need a block for your foot.  I've played 30 years w/out a block...

I use a strap when seated for the same reason, to hold the guitar in place. This frees my hands to play.

Rhonwyn wrote: As far as having to hold onto a guitar...  I have a convex body, so I have a hard time holding guitars.

Ani DeFranco once said, "Note to guitar manufacturers: girls have [breasts]! And if you put a tone control on top of the guitar where a [breast] goes, all sorts of weird things can happen..."

Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #18 on: Jan 10, 2006, 05:20:16 PM »
I know Ani- She really doesn't have any...

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Offline David M.

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #19 on: Jan 10, 2006, 05:22:13 PM »
Quote
I use a strap when seated for the same reason, to hold the guitar in place. This frees my hands to play

That's what my thigh does when the guitar rests on it while seated.  My seated guitar position is about the same as the standing one.  but I play a dred, not a smooth-back one.  

But, I'm gonna hush in this thread 'cause it's clear folks have other ways of doing things and I'll just muddy the H2O w/my input  ;)  I love Ani's comment, though.

It's all good if you can strum it, right?   :)

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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #20 on: Jan 11, 2006, 01:51:29 AM »
Oh, and I absolutely HATE trying to play Ovations, even with straps.  The curved backs just aren't conducive to being held against a curved body, especially when the finish seems to have less friction than wooden backs.
My main problem with Ovations/Kamans/Celebritys is that the bowl is so slick that it slides on my thigh and won't hold on for love or money. Even with a strap, the top wants to rotate so it's pointed at the ceiling.

I think they could take a tip from their old solidbody electric (the oddly-shaped Breadwinner, anyone remember those?) and glue a short length of foam rubber in the curve of the lower bout to keep it from slipping, or incorporate a leg rest like the Steinberger GT "broom" models used have.

I like what SoloEtte and Aria did on their "Sinsonido" SoloEtte copies; the aluminum frames are covered in a squishy foam rubber that grabs your leg like a neglected cat. I like to use one of those folding classical foot rests, too, to get the neck at a good angle without my left hand having to hold it up. And then there is the Martin Backpacker... too neck-heavy to play properly on a strap or otherwise!
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Re: Help! - Guitar Strap?
« Reply #21 on: Jan 19, 2006, 09:30:13 AM »
Playing seated is easier than playing standing. Ive never known anyone use a strap when seated. Posture is fairly important. Resting the guitar on the left knee is the classical approach, but unless you venture into the upper register much, the right knee is nearly always more comfy & will put less strain on the joints. Look at the playing posture of a few folk players for a better idea.

 




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