The humble guitar strap button/pin
The humble guitar strap button / pin
Usually the last things to be fitted on a guitar, are the strap buttons. Small, but not insignificant! They play a vital role in aiding the player to support the guitar in the optimal playing position for comfort and security. The placement of the strap pin is crucial for balance, it can make the guitar neck heavy
which guitarists don’t like it. Although most classical guitarists play sitting down and therefore do not need a strap, the majority of people play standing (sometimes walking around or jumping energetically about on stage!) Doing this for more than a few minutes with a heavy instrument like a Gibson Les Paul or bass guitar, is pretty tiring. So a good, wide padded strap to spread the load over the shoulders, helps enormously.
The position and type of strap buttons varies a lot. Typically one button is fitted at the bottom of the guitar in the middle of the sides. The other is often on the back of the heel on acoustic guitars. However, fixing a strap pin on the side of the heel can weaken the heel (depending on the grain direction).
On electrics and basses they are usually on the edge of the top horn. Strap buttons must be securely fixed to a solid point on the instrument, usually with a wood screw. On electro-acoustic guitars where the jack socket is part of the strap button, one has to take special care when attaching the strap, as they provide a very narrow holding gap. Some straps are too thick, and they can come off very easily. (We have repaired many guitars whose strap came off and got smashed).
Strap buttons come in many shapes, sizes and designs. Most are made of metal, and hold the strap on by pressure or the weight of the guitar, others with a kind of locking mechanism (locking strap pins). The latter give more security, as the strap can’t slip off – good protection for expensive guitars that would be severely damaged if they landed on the stage floor after an excited leap of the star player!