We know that adding one of the best guitar straps to your rig won’t help you reach tonal nirvana, but it will make the playing experience way more comfortable. The height, width, and material of your strap all have an impact on your playing, particularly from a comfort perspective. Let’s not forget, that your guitar strap choice also makes a visual statement about you as a player and your individual style.
We know that picking the right one for your guitar can be extremely overwhelming, especially with the sheer amount of straps on the market. But worry no more! We’ve done the research for you and rounded up the best guitar strap designs, materials and brands that will really compliment your beloved electric, acoustic, or bass guitar. We believe that every instrument deserves that added personal touch, so sit back as we walk you through our picks for the best guitar straps out there, right now.
Best guitar straps: MusicRadar's Choice
For us, the Levy’s PM32 Garment Leather guitar strap is our top pick. Leather straps are totally timeless and look good on almost every guitar, not to mention that leather ages really nicely. However, to truly make the cut as one of the best guitar straps, it has to offer superior comfort along with its looks. Not all guitars are born equal, some are significantly heavier than others - Gibson Les Paul Customs we’re looking at you. This can have a detrimental effect on your shoulder or back over time, and the PM32 offers great support.
If you don’t like the feel of a leather strap then the Fender Weightless straps are a perfect option for you. The stretchy material takes the weight off your shoulders, meaning you can focus completely on playing.
For the budget-conscious player, Ernie Ball’s Polypro guitar strap is very hard to beat – and although it's fair to say that black works with most guitars, it’s reassuring to know Ernie Ball offers 11 dazzling colour options – including the now-iconic rainbow design similar to ones we’ve seen adorning guitars played by Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page and Tom DeLonge. The 2” wide Polypropylene webbing strap offers plenty of room for adjustment and will suit most players.
Best guitar straps: Product guide
Canadian company Levy’s have a 40-year history crafting guitar straps and this one ticks all the right boxes for a price we’re seeing around from around $50 online – quality leather is used outside and in the lining for comfort, and a 2.5” width makes it able to spread the weight of heavier wood guitars more.
There’s five colours available – with black and white solid colour options, plus brown, dark brown, tan and white with black edging and backing. Usefully, there’s 3” and 3.5” width options available for bassists or those needing more weight relief for their guitars.
It’s hard to go wrong here – a great starter strap in a wide selection of solid colours that’s an ideal entry to Ernie Ball’s ever-expanding range of straps (we love the retro vibes of the company’s Jacquard polypro patterns and the useful Pickholder straps too).
These 2” wide straps are extra long to cater for most player heights and the leather ends will help ensure the Polypro will do you proud as long as you need it. Not to mention it's incredibly affordable, leaving more money for guitar cables, guitar picks or even a new case or gig bag.
The greatest guitar player of all time deserves recognition for his service to popularising woven jacquard straps, Dunlop understand that so they’ve dedicated a whole range to him. And it’s a great balance of style and tribute with a collection that recreates his landmark strap designs – the Fillmore, Shreveport, ITG Studios, Monterey and this Woodstock design.
The latter is our pick of the bunch because the design has serious provenance – it was also used onstage by Elvis (see the 1968 NBC TV ‘Comeback’ Special) and Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison). Unsurprisingly the originals by Ace are collectible on the vintage market.
There is no shortage of weight relief straps on the market, the problem is, most are either bulky leather straps or are incredibly unsightly. The Fender Weighless strap looks exactly like their other tweed strap but is made from a blend of Spandex and polyester, meaning it’s incredibly stretchy, comfortable, and takes the weight off your shoulder.
This innovative strap comes in a variety of colours including grey, white, red, and the classic standard tweed. So if you’re looking for a weight relief strap that actually looks good, then the Fender weightless is the perfect fit for you.
Favoured by Steve Vai and John Petrucci, the ClipLock series is a well-established quick release strap system – the first company to use a heavy duty plastic clip to allow you to switch the strap between guitars quickly. Your other guitars just need to be fitted with a pair of Cliplock fasteners that screw in to replace your strap buttons.
The idea is these ClipLock fasteners (available to buy separately too) stay on your guitars even when you detach the strap. The straps are made from 2” wide car seatbelt material for comfort and strength with a wide range of colours and patterns available from solid black to Vai’s colourful signature series.
If the thought of your strap popping off and your prized possession hurtling towards the ground keeps you up at night, then you need to think about strap locks. Of course, you could purchase these separately, but the clever people over at D’Addario have combined a spring-loaded lock with a comfortable nylon strap.
The innovative automatic locking system was designed in collaboration with the godfather of the headless guitar, Ned Steinberger and fits most guitars and basses. It also comes in a range of colours so you’re sure to find one that compliments your guitar. So, if you want to make sure your guitar is fully secure then the D’Addario Auto Lock strap is a great option.
Relic’d guitars can divide opinion. We understand that, but what about a subtly distressed leather guitar strap? We think the results from Fender are highly persuasive here and continue the high standards of the Road Worn series that’s been such a hit with its guitars.
The soft broken in leather punches above its price point with online prices falling significantly under the RRP, plus it’s available in black as well as the brown shown here.
Whether you’re a fifties vintage devotee or just looking for a lower profile look for your strap, this is a great value option from Fender.
It’s a thinner strap with the practicality of shoulder comfort. The buckle is even a replica of their original design from back in the golden era with the improvement of a thicker shoulder pad this time around.
It’s tempting to go for leather and studs to sell your credentials but the lightning bolt is for the real connoisseur of classic heavy thunder; just ask unashamed metalhead Rivers Cuomo who rocks a similar design with Weezer. Surely a nod to Kiss’s former spaceman Ace Frehley who was one of the first to sport one – we’ve also spotted The Strokes Albert Hammond Jr, Eagles Of Death Metal’s Jessie Hughes and Regina Spector rockin’ the bolt too.
This nylon strap gets you into the select club at an affordable entry fee, and if you’re playing a Gibson guitar too it’s the perfect match.
Best guitar straps: Buying advice
Guitar strap: A brief history
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Let’s quickly go over a little history about the humble guitar strap, before we get into some guidance on choosing the right one for you.
In the early days of guitar playing, it was normal for performers to be seated, and as a result, the instruments of the 19th-century didn’t include endpins. That would all change in the 20th-century. While even the trailblazers of jazz such as Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt in the 1930s were in no hurry to stand up, country and folk musicians in the US had other ideas. Musicians including Woodie Guthrie and Maybelle Carter would often stand in live performance with cloth cord straps fixed to the headstock of their acoustic guitars and archtops (the second strap button would take a while to catch on).
Straps were some way behind guitar technology until the mid-1950s when things got a little more exciting in the width, shoulder comfort, and style departments. And that coincided with the heavier solid-body electric guitar entering with rock ‘n’ roll with a second strap button – and the nature of guitar performance changing to become a true lead instrument.
By the mid-sixties, leather straps with thicker padded shoulder parts were a common sight. Woven jacquard styles sewn to a leather or fabric backing nicknamed ‘hootenanny straps began to surface with a myriad of patterns and colours. With the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash’s adopting this style, it’s no wonder they are still popular today.
Which guitar strap material is right for me?
The first thing to consider is the material the strap is made of. If you have a guitar that likes to slide around when you're playing then think about a good quality leather strap. These tend to adhere to your shoulder better and stop the guitar from moving around.
Perhaps you’re rather animated on stage and like the guitar to move with you, or maybe you just prefer a softer feeling strap. In this case, the webbing or nylon style strap is a better option for you.
What guitar strap width do I need?
Next up is the width of the strap. The general rule of thumb is the wider the strap the more support it offers. So if you have a bulky Les Paul, or weighty bass then opting for as wide a strap as possible will certainly help spread the weight out evenly over your shoulder. Memory foam and highly padded straps are also available if weight is still an issue.
What length of guitar strap is best?
Lastly, we need to mention the length of the strap. Obviously, there are no rules for how long a strap should be, or how low you should wear your guitar. Whether you like it right under your chin, like Tom Morello, or at your knees like Johnny Ramone, whatever is comfortable to you is just fine - just keep it in mind when choosing a strap. Most webbing and nylon straps are highly adjustable, so you shouldn’t have any issues there. Leather straps on the other hand come with pre-set holes and can only be adjusted so far. So check the manufacturer’s website to find out the exact length of each strap.
How we chose the best pedalboards for this guide
Here at MusicRadar, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing, creating and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything music gear related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.
When choosing what we believe to be the best guitar straps available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.
First and foremost, we are musicians, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best guitar straps on the market right now.
Find out more about how we test music gear and services at MusicRadar.