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Guitar strap length

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Hamish 12 Dec 03 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,T-boy 12 Dec 03 - 07:45 AM
Hamish 12 Dec 03 - 08:00 AM
Singing Referee 12 Dec 03 - 12:02 PM
Grab 12 Dec 03 - 01:26 PM
JWB 12 Dec 03 - 09:05 PM
PapaWhiskey 12 Dec 03 - 09:53 PM
JWB 12 Dec 03 - 10:12 PM
PapaWhiskey 12 Dec 03 - 11:28 PM
JennieG 13 Dec 03 - 02:09 AM
C-flat 13 Dec 03 - 02:30 AM
open mike 13 Dec 03 - 04:24 AM
Hamish 15 Dec 03 - 03:47 AM
PapaWhiskey 16 Dec 03 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,Redhorse at work 16 Dec 03 - 08:34 AM
GLoux 16 Dec 03 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Marlon 16 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM
GUEST 16 Dec 03 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,IClaudius 16 Dec 03 - 10:23 AM
Hamish 17 Dec 03 - 05:58 AM
Pete_Standing 06 Jan 04 - 01:51 PM
Mark Clark 06 Jan 04 - 02:48 PM
Pete_Standing 06 Jan 04 - 05:30 PM
Pete_Standing 06 Jan 04 - 05:39 PM
Pete_Standing 06 Jan 04 - 05:44 PM
Pete_Standing 06 Jan 04 - 06:09 PM
Walking Eagle 06 Jan 04 - 10:26 PM
Hamish 07 Jan 04 - 04:14 AM
Grab 11 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM
Hamish 12 Jan 04 - 05:23 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 12 Jan 04 - 12:34 PM
Grab 12 Jan 04 - 06:26 PM
Mooh 13 Jan 04 - 11:30 AM
Hamish 14 Jan 04 - 02:51 AM
Mooh 15 Jan 04 - 12:04 AM
Hamish 15 Jan 04 - 08:32 AM
Mooh 15 Jan 04 - 08:47 AM
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Subject: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 05:30 AM

I like to play standing up, cos it's better for singing and general presence. And I've always used a kinda long strap, cos I strum a bit, and I get cramp in my right shoulder if I use a shorter strap. However, for some tricky finger style stuff, the left hand just can't do what it has to do. Recently I've shortened my strap and presto! - my left hand's great. Quantum leap. However, the old right shoulder's starting to accumulate a cramp.

Any thoughts/observations/tips greatly received.

(Personally, I blame the basic design flaw of the straight guitar neck. Now if it were to bend a little the left and right hands could both be at an ideal height)


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GUEST,T-boy
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 07:45 AM

Would holding it at an angle help - I suppose you would have tried that?

Left-hand end up, right-hand end down.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 08:00 AM

ah: the Bill Wyman approach, eh? No - that's no good, cos then everything is at the wrong angle.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Singing Referee
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 12:02 PM

Having only fairly recently come back to singing to an audience, I had a similar problem. As I'd never performed in public with the guitar I've been using until recently, I'd been playing strapless, sitting down. To play standing, I fixed a strap button in the neck heel, where most people have them and thought, bingo! But try as I may I could not get to hold the damn thing comfortably and eventualy went back to sitting down. I've recently bought a new guitar, which again only has one strap button. Being determined to get back on my feet, but being reluctant to take a drill to my new 'precious', I went back to the old fashioned method of attaching the top end of the strap via a cord to the top of the neck, and guess what? Every thing feels right. It may not look as tidy, but the guitar feels properly balanced. My hands are now just for playing the guitar, not holding or supporting it, and I seem to be able to move around the guitar, adjusting the hands to suit whatever action or position I need without discomfort. It even feels better with the strap when I'm sitting down to play!

It may not work for everyone, but it may be worth a try.

Ref.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Grab
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 01:26 PM

Ref, I've gone the same way - the guitar seems to hang better like that, so your hands are naturally positioned for picking. With a strap button at either end of the body, your picking hand has to be somewhere around your belly button, and your fingering hand has to be somewhere about 3ft to the left! Hung from the neck and the end strap button, your hand positions are much more natural.

I found though that the strap kept slipping off my left shoulder, especially if I move around while I'm playing. I've worked out a solution (involving a plastic tube and two bootlaces :-) which works well, and as a bonus kicks the face of the guitar out and up slightly which positions it better. I've just acquired a digi-camera, so I'll take some piccies of my setup and see what you make of it.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: JWB
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 09:05 PM

I've seen somewhere a type of strap that goes around your neck like a necklace, hangs down your front between you and the back of the guitar, and then comes up around the waist of the instrument and, with a small vinyl-coated hook, hooks into the sound hole. This must support the guitar and allow it to pivot to the angle that works best for you (however, you can't let the guitar hang in the strap without your hands on it, since it's supported only by the one point).


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 09:53 PM

"I've seen somewhere a type of strap that goes around your neck like a necklace,


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: JWB
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 10:12 PM

Brilliant, Papa Whiskey! That's the set up.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 12 Dec 03 - 11:28 PM

Ol' Willie's rig is pretty memorable. It always looks like his guitar would tumble forward wasn't holding it with his hands, but maybe there is something about the strap that I don't understand.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: JennieG
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 02:09 AM

I have tried this sort of strap and as soon as you let any part of the guitar go, it does swing forward. It actually feels very insecure. So when I play that guitar (nylon-strung classical) I sit down, and when I play my bigger steel-strung guitar I have the strap out at the far end of the neck. It's more comfortable for me being a girl too I think :-) much more relaxed and easy to play.
Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: C-flat
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 02:30 AM

I haven't tried a Y-strap before but I understand that they're good for back pain sufferers.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: open mike
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 04:24 AM

this is not for guitars especailly
but could be i suppose. I have seen
a vest-like harness which some folks
have adapted for use with th nyckelharpa.
it has cross-pieces which go over each shoulder
to distribute the weight . The nyckelharpa
strap usually goes behind the neck and
over both shoulders and i have found at times
the weight of the instrument causes tingling
in the neck and fingers . apparently others
have experienced this too, and have invented
a thing that resembles on of those velcro
lumbar support belts that protect your back
if you are doing heavy lifting. i cannot find
a picture right now, but it is an interesting
way to support and distribute weight. will look
for a foto to describe this..


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 15 Dec 03 - 03:47 AM

Ref: when I bought my guitar Alan Marshall, who built it, recommended securing the strap to the nut as you suggest. And that's what I do. It does balance better than if I'd defaced the body with another strap button. But it doesn't define the overall height at which it hangs. Or the guitar either for that matter ;^)

I've now played a couple of gigs with the shorter strap, and it certainly helps with the tricksy stuff. Hopefully I can learn to relax the right shoulder so that it doesn't become a problem...


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: PapaWhiskey
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 12:24 AM

Another thing you might try is a cheap nylon strap with sliding buckle. With the strap tied at the nut it's not too hard to adjust the strap length between songs.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GUEST,Redhorse at work
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 08:34 AM

I've found the guitar is a lot more stable with the stap fixed to the nut:I no longer use the left hand to support it, just to finger. But I did find the tendency for the strap to slip a problem.
So I got a suede strap.
nick


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GLoux
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 09:22 AM

I used to play a dreadnought-size guitar and could tolerate standing and playing with a strap for a while. Then I happened to try a friend's 12 fret 000-size (triple-oh, with 12 frets clear of the body), and I was amazed at how much more comfortable it was to play standing up, with a strap, especially for my right arm/shoulder. Enough for me to save up and buy one for myself. The size and depth of a dreadnought lower bout is awkward for me when playing with a strap. I still have my dreadnought, but my 000 is my main axe now.

So, not knowing what size guitar you have, I'm suggesting that you might try other, smaller guitars to see if that addresses the comfort/shoulder pain issue. For me, it wasn't strap length...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GUEST,Marlon
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 10:21 AM

i like it nice and long myself - the freedom of expression is important


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 10:22 AM

oooooh leather, feels good against a bare sweaty chest!


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GUEST,IClaudius
Date: 16 Dec 03 - 10:23 AM

i like to feel the guitar (i play a telecaster) against my crotch, so i adjust the strapo length for that...


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 17 Dec 03 - 05:58 AM

GLoux: it's a parlour. Small and light. Good idea, tho'!


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 01:51 PM

Two things I found. First if you find playing seated is comfortable, then adjust the strap so that when you stand the guitar hangs just as if you are sitting down. Second, if you attach a strap at the nut, the guitar will be more prone to going out of tune because the weight of the guitar is transmitted through the neck to the strap likewise stress through moving (unless you play like a statue).


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Mark Clark
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 02:48 PM

It really depends on the age of the musician. A young fellow will want a long strap so he can make huge exagerated motions with his strumming arm while jumping up and down. The long strap also helps with the suggestion that the guitar neck is actually an organ of some type.

An older musician may find he wants the guitar higher up so he can actually play music on it. Of course as many of us age, the guitar naturally moves higher on our bodies even without shortening the strap.

Seriously, though, mizzo has the right idea. You want the strap adjusted so the guitar feels the same sitting or standing. If you are right handed, sit in a straight chair with the waist of the guitar over your left leg and the neck point up somewhat in a comfortable position. Then adjust the strap so the guitar is in the same position when standing.

I like to place a strap button on the treble side of the heel of the neck so the strap must reach around the heel to go over the button. I keep the button away from the binding and away from the body but up in the meaty part of the heel. Then I use a soft leather strap with no metal parts and a length adjustment that's based on a narrower piece of leather snaking through selected slits in the wider part of the strap. The narrow part attaches to the button under the heel.

I don't recommend centering your strap button in the back of the heel because when your guitar neck is raised, the strap is pulling itself off of the button.

And always carefully drill a small guide hole before installing a strap button.

Also, not to cramp anyone's style, but… strumming shouldn't really involve a lot of shoulder motion. Unless you depend on the visual effect, you might want to talk to a teacher about strumming technique.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:30 PM

Thanks Mark, I feel flattered.

I agree about the positioning of the button too. I have two guitars, an acoustic bass and a bouzouki. The bass and one guitar have the button on the back (flat part) of the heel and it doesn't work too well, as you have stated. The bouzouki and the other guitar are similar in set-up to your advice and work much better. I have suffered a couple of times from the strap coming adrift at the body and playing the rest of a song kneeling on the floor. I'll be getting the cigarette lighter fluid out next and singing Purple Haze! One sadly departed colleague suggested a special type of button which has a lock on it - he'd witnessed my embarrassment at the gig. I'm not sure if this works if you use a button with an inbuilt jack plug for a pickup - the button for these are huge and getting the strap on and keeping it there is not easy.

(come out of the monica closet)

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:39 PM

I've seen this too and thought it looked neat, but on second thoughts I'd be worried about causing damage to the sound hole and yes if you take your hands off the guitar, what supports it then?

Regards

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 05:44 PM

Sorry at risk of hogging this thread, I mean the strap that goes under the guitar and slots into the sound hole has the potential to damage the sound hole and the whole front of a guitar.

With respect to a high position being good for picking but not good for strumming, since I got used to the high picking position, my strumming has improved so that I can support a fiddle and accordion player with much more control, when it was lower I tended to thrash.


Now I'll be quiet unless asked to comment again!

Pete


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 06:09 PM

Whoops - one final contribution, I decided I ought to change to larkrise_ranter for my thingy name because I'm known by that elsewhere. Mizzo was a nickname at school because I always looked er miserable!

Now shutup!


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 06 Jan 04 - 10:26 PM

I know these are expensive, but there are guitar stands that can be used in the standing position. One of our classical guitar professors at school uses it all of the time. Course, you can't move around. The stand takes all the pressure and does all of the holding. I've seen a strap that crosses between the shoulder blades on your back. That strap is available through elderly instruments at www.elderly.com. Rick Fielding makes guitar straps. Send him a PM and he might have some suggestions. You may have to wait for an answer though, owing to his illness.

W.E.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 07 Jan 04 - 04:14 AM

Wow! A late flurry! Thanks for theses suggestions...

Yes - I play better sitting down, especially finger style. It's partly down to being better connected to the guitar, but mostly, I suspect, dueto the left hand position being better. The shoulder thing isn't because I move my shoulder - I just seem to hunch it a little. But I have shortened the strap to attain (nearly) the height it sould be if I were sitting, and - spooky this - sticking with it and practicing and trying to keep relaxed seems to be doing the trick.

As to the strumming thing - I have played for, um, over three decades, and have always championed in my small way the "art" of strumming. Just like fingerstyle, there's good and bad strumming: rhythmic/arhythmic; exciting/boring; etc. Just because strumming is where many start out it gives strumming a bad name. I like to vary my sets to include some of each of the few different styles in my repertoire which are presentable.

And the tuning when the strap is attached to the nut issue - I've had guitar's like that! Happily my current two (including a twenty year old workhorse of a Yamaha FG-something-or-other) have a neck which is pretty stable.

Thanks again for late flurry and positive suggestions. An if you're near Reading, Berkshire, England on Sunday, come and hear how I'm getting on. Headline gig at Readifolk. More gigs at my site


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Grab
Date: 11 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM

A late entry on the strap theme... ;-)

A web page for my guitar strap setup is finally complete. See http://gunfire.sourceforge.net/about_guitar_strap.html for full details.

It's a dead simple (and cheap) setup, and the end result is that even with a fairly low-slung guitar, it's almost as stable as playing sitting down, and virtually the same playing position as well.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 05:23 AM

Yarow, Graham! Looks like you're into some serious bondage, there!

Seriously, thanks for contribution and there may be some mileage in it, but it does look a little weird. What is the audience reaction? And how long does it take to set up? I mean if you're doing an impromptu quick song in a crowded pub session...?

Hmmm....


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 12:34 PM

Anyone tried Slider straps? I like 'em because I have a convertable one with thongs and hoops so I can attach either guitar or five-string banjo.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Grab
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 06:26 PM

Audience reaction is OK round here, but they all know me. :-) I've been asked about it a few times in other places, but not that often. Compared to playing the accordian or banjo, attaching a couple of bootlaces to a guitar strap is positively normal! ;-)

As with a normal guitar strap, you'll tweak it a bit at home to find a comfortable position, and the extra adjustment means that it may take longer to find your ideal position. But then you just leave it as-is, same as you leave your normal guitar strap set to the right length. Putting it on is just as quick as putting on a normal strap, you just have to thread the "loop" over your head. If you're thin, you can do it without taking the strap off the guitar; if you're a bit porky, you may need to remove the strap from the end-button, thread the loop over your head and then put the strap back on the end-button. Same as a normal strap really.

If you're after a more comfortable setup and you've got a couple of hours to spare, it's well worth giving this a go. Let's face it, the bits are not exactly expensive (you can even skip the slide toggle and use half a clothes peg instead of a tube for a first quick try), and assembly is easy for anyone with opposable thumbs and more than one finger per hand.

The Slider strap looks a neat idea, but it's got to take some time putting that on. If my bootlace setup is serious bondage, god knows what the Slider is! ;-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 11:30 AM

When standing I like the guitar a bit lower than when sitting up straight, but not much lower. My only complaint about standing other than pure laziness is that it seems to muffle the back of my acoustics more than I like to hear.

I started out wearing my guitar low and cool like Jimmy Page in so many old concert photos, and I still like the look of it for some stupid reason. But I saw Roy Buchanan in 1974 wearing his Telecaster high and comfortable and he was able to switch between various right hand techniques so smoothly it was dumbfounding. He looked so square he was cool. Ever since, I've worn the guitar at a similarly comfortable height, whether it's a Telecaster or an acoustic. No pain, no strain, and maybe someday it'll seem like an extension of the body like Roy's did.

I still love RB's playing. He sounds so hurting and so pristine all at once. Too bad he's gone on to some higher band...

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 02:51 AM

Ah, Nooh: that's a different if linked question which I've pondered (about does standing muffle the sound by increasing body contact with the guitar back?) I bet there's another thread on that somewhere if I could think how to search for it... nope! I've had a look and can't find one... But then again standing raises the body and helps project the sound...?


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 12:04 AM

Well Hamish, the mandolin world has a cool rig which attaches to the back of a mandolin to prevent muffling the sound, called a ToneGuard (spelling?). Hugging the acoustic guitar does muffle the sound.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Hamish
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 08:32 AM

Ah, that'll be "ToneGard"...

...hmmm... ...and Ricky Skaggs uses one... ...thinks...


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Subject: RE: Guitar strap length
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 08:47 AM

Yup, that's the one! A friend has one on his Gibson A and it works exactly as advertised.

(There are lots of gadgets in the music world, eh!)

Peace, Mooh.


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