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Installing a strap button


heymisterk

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There are many differing opinions on this subject, and it has been the topic of more than one heated discussion here on the Gibson boards. I think the best thing is to just say "It's a matter of personal preference." There is a great diagram floating around here that someone created that showed many options for the location of the front strap button, try doing a "search" in the archives here.

 

Now that the above disclaimer has been stated, here's where I installed strap buttons on my L-5 and L-7:

 

2840718563_d0a0b662d0.jpg

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There are many differing opinions on this subject, and it has been the topic of more than one heated discussion here on the Gibson boards. I think the best thing is to just say "It's a matter of personal preference." There is a great diagram floating around here that someone created that showed many options for the location of the front strap button, try doing a "search" in the archives here.

 

Now that the above disclaimer has been stated, here's where I installed strap buttons on my L-5 and L-7:

 

2840718563_d0a0b662d0.jpg

 

If you choose that position--and I wouldn't argue against it since it's close to where the strap button is on my ES 335's--I would drill closer to the body edge of the heel, rather than the neck edge, to minimize the risk of grain split out. You also want to make sure the pilot hole is as large as the screw root diameter, net of the threads, for the same reason. Mahogany is a pretty dense wood (as is maple), and you don't want to risk snapping the screw.

 

Likewise, if there is a heel cap, I would favor drilling through that at the full diameter of the screw, including threads. You would drill the smaller full-depth pilot hole first, and then follow with a slightly larger bit just going through the heel cap.

 

A lot of people don't realize that the holding power of a screw is largely a function of the pull-out resistance of the thread area, rather than shaft friction is it is with a nail. It doesn't need to be a fit so tight that you can't readily drive the screw.

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I think there was a very recent previous discussion on this. I prefer to leave the guitar as it was manufactured. The headstock full strap is back in style big time now days; and for good reason. Watch some of the old proven players and see how many have gone back to that style of playing. It does not hurt the neck set and once one gets used to it, the balance is next to none. So, no right or wrong opinion here, but maybe it's worth just a bit of thought before a mod is made to the instrument.

 

Hall

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I think there was a very recent previous discussion on this. I prefer to leave the guitar as it was manufactured. The headstock full strap is back in style big time now days; and for good reason. Watch some of the old proven players and see how many have gone back to that style of playing. It does not hurt the neck set and once one gets used to it, the balance is next to none. So, no right or wrong opinion here, but maybe it's worth just a bit of thought before a mod is made to the instrument.

 

Hall

 

 

I tend to agree. Back in the old days when I stood up to play, it was a leather strap under the strings just behind the nut. It actually worked pretty well. I understand that leather in contact with a nitro finish is not a good thing, however, so you need to take it off in any case when you put the guitar away.

 

My ES 335's are so body-heavy that the strap on the body just behind the neck heel works fine. I would hesitate to actually put a strap pin into the neck of an acoustic I really liked. Sort of like putting a safety pin through your eyebrow or a tattoo on your child (or whatever).

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Here are Frank Ford's words of wisdom and helpful how-to:

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/GenSetup/StrapButton/strapbutton1.html

 

Sticking the strap button on the heel cap just always seemed wrong to me, for a variety of reasons. Among them is the guitar tends to tip forward. another is the guitar never seems to sit right in the case. Playing with a strap is a matter of getting the guitar where it feels balanced. I always strap mine at the heel. For some reason, my Epiphone IB'64 Texan feels better with the strap attached to the peghead, though.

 

The flat part of the heel on a Gibson is perfect for a strap button. As others have mentioned, just drill a pilot hole and you should have no problem doing it yourself. Did I mention that you first have to drill a pilot hole?

 

I checked the website for my local shop, Hoffman Guitars in Minneapolis, and they charge $15 to install a strap button.

 

While I can, to an extent, see the point of view that a guitar should be left pristine and not have anything added to it or holes drilled into it, that is a rather limited view, in my opinion. Guitars are tools, and a strap button is just something that helps us use that tool. It's part of the guitar. That said, there's no reason a strap button can't look nice. In fact, if you check out StewMac's website, you can find a couple of really nice wood strap buttons, such as this snakewood one:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Hardware,_parts/Acoustic_guitar:_Bridge_and_endpins/Acoustic_Guitar_Bridge_Pins,_Endpins_and_Strap_Buttons/Snakewood_Guitar_Strap_Buttons.html

 

One word of advice on these type of pins, though: There's a special drill bit and tap you need for installing them, otherwise you'll twist the screw part out of the button.

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