If you’ve ever purchased a guitar or have looked into doing so, you’ll be aware that there are a ton of accessories and other additional purchases that you will need to consider. These range from expensive pieces of gear such as amplifiers and pedals to smaller purchases such as plectrums and strings. However, one of the most overlooked accessories for guitarists is guitar strap locks – no guitar is complete without one of these!
Guitar strap locks are one of those things that are rarely talked about, yet every guitar uses them on a day-to-day basis. It stresses me out knowing that aspiring guitarists aren’t made aware of how important these little bits of kit are – how are they supposed to know which ones are the best?
I’ve decided to write the following ultimate guitar strap locks guide so that I can change this for good – you’ll discover everything you’ll ever need to know about guitar strap locks in the following guide, so read on to find out more!
Bottom Line Up Front: All good guitar strap locks should be made out of thick material, dual design, and quick-release button, qualities that products such as the Dunlop SLS1501N Straplok commonly provide. However, you may wish to spend more cash on fancier models such as the Schaller Strap Locks, but don’t go cheaping out, as strap locks keep your guitar safe from damage.
What Are Strap Locks, and What Are Endpins?
As I mentioned earlier, guitar strap locks are seldom talked about, yet they are essential for every guitarist out there. Due to their lack of discussion, this leads many guitarists to have no idea what a strap lock is, so let’s put a stop to that before we continue.
Before we head to this definition, it’s important to discuss guitar endpins, another accessory that is almost always featured on a guitar. If you own a guitar, I’d be surprised to learn that it doesn’t feature endpins; they are usually preinstalled on any guitar, whether it’s acoustic or electric.
Essentially, they are little knobs about a half-inch in size attached to the bottom right and upper left of your guitar body. Their sole purpose is to attach a guitar strap to either end, allowing you to stand up and play the guitar comfortably without holding it awkwardly.
This is where strap locks come in – while endpins are essential in attaching a guitar strap, they’re far from perfect. Unless the holes of a guitar strap are sized perfectly, the strap can easily slip out of the endpin with a bit of movement, which can be disastrous. However, this problem can be solved by applying strap locks – they are small disks, usually made of metal or plastic, that attach securely to your endpins.
Having a strap lock on your guitar allows you to attach your strap in between the endpin and the strap lock, using the strap lock to provide an additional layer that will prevent any chances of detachment. This makes their ultimate purpose one of keeping your guitar safe.
Why Should You Buy a Guitar Strap Lock?
If you’ve been playing the guitar for a while, there’s a high chance you have been playing without using a strap lock. If that sounds like you, you’re probably wondering whether you need one – after all, you’ve been playing the guitar fine without it, right?
You may think that’s the case, but I bet you any money that you have experienced the stressful period of your guitar strap slipping off of your endpins, immediately stopping your guitar session in its tracks. This may initially seem like a mild inconvenience – you’ve been jamming out in your bedroom or practice room for ten minutes when your strap suddenly slips causing your guitar to fall.
Luckily, you have cat-like reflexes and can grab the guitar before it hits the ground. Still, it’s super frustrating how it interrupts your musical flow.
That’s all very well until your reflexes fail you, at which point the slippy guitar strap is not just an inconvenience but a nightmare. Your guitar could fall on its base and destroy the jack input or the bridge, or it could fall on its neck, resulting in a costly repair job.
Aside from protecting your guitar, strap locks are also essential in guaranteeing flawless live performance. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if your band finally lands its first gig, only for your guitar strap to slip out of its endpins during the first song? It would interrupt the performance, make you look incredibly unprofessional, leave a bad first impression for any music scouts present, and get you kicked out of the band!
If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, then there is the bonus that strap locks provide yet another form of decoration for your guitar. Sure, it’s primarily a safety feature, but there’s no reason why you can’t explore strap locks with aesthetics in mind. I’ve seen people with rainbow designs, gold designs… the world is your oyster.
There’s one thing for sure, though – your guitar will not look very cool when it has a massive dent in it because you didn’t spend a few bucks on a strap lock! Trust me; it’s not worth the risk!
What to Look For in the Best Guitar Strap Locks
Now that we’ve identified what exactly guitar strap locks are and why it’s a brilliant idea to fit one on your guitar. Let’s look at precisely what you should be looking for when buying one. Some people will tell you that any old strap lock will do the job, but I couldn’t disagree more.
Much like any other guitar accessory, there are tons of different producers of strap locks that adhere to varying quality standards. When it comes to the safety of your guitar, you’re only going to want the best of the best. Let’s take a look at what you should be looking for.
The first and arguably most important property to look for in the best guitar strap locks is for them to be made out of sturdy material. Due to stand-up guitar performance, your guitar strap will likely be rubbing back and forth over your strap lock.
If you’ve purchased a strap lock made out of metal, this will not be anything you need to worry about. Most rubber and plastic strap locks will also be fine – it would take forever for a guitar strap to grind away a rubber strap lock that is sufficiently thick.
However, it’s unfortunate that not all guitar accessory producers know what they’re doing or care about their customers’ guitars’ safety. This means some there are some seriously low-quality strap locks are on the market.
You wouldn’t believe some of the products I’ve come across – I once found a pair of rubber strap locks that were as thin as paper, and I think I could have torn them apart with my fingernail if I had tried. Some of these thin strap locks may as well be replaced with an elastic band!
Joking aside, please don’t resort to using an elastic band as a makeshift strap lock. It’s not difficult to find a thick and durable strap lock made out of sturdy material – just look at the reviews online, and you’ll soon wean out the duds!
Comes in Pairs
This next point may seem a bit obvious, but you would be amazed at how stupid some guitar accessory producers can be. As I explained earlier, guitar straps attach to guitars through two guitar endpins – one that can usually be found at the bottom right of the body, and another that can be found at the top left. If you genuinely want to benefit from guitar strap locks, you’ll need two – one for each endpin.
However, many companies produce endpins in single units. In my opinion, that is ridiculous, but there is a reason for this. Some people claim that you only need a strap lock on the top left guitar endpin, as this is the one that the most tension is applied to due to… well, gravity. I think this is a bit of a myth. While the left endpin is more likely to result in a strap slip than the bottom right, I have still seen plenty of guitar drop due to the right endpin.
Furthermore, strap locks can be fiddly little things and sometimes go missing. As a result, companies sell them in single units as replacements. Nobody wants an odd number of strap locks (as we just discussed!) If you’re currently playing the guitar without strap locks, you should buy yourself a pair, or maybe even two! That way, even if you do lose a strap lock, you’ll always be able to ensure that you have both endpins firmly secured to your strap, simple!
I mentioned earlier that strap locks are generally simple in design – they usually consist of a disk made out of metal, plastic, or rubber, and that is all. These are placed over your strap to sandwich it between the endpin, and thus you gain some additional stability. However, these days many different strap locks have been innovated to provide superior strength, and they are well worth checking out.
The most common innovation that I have come across is what is known as a dual design strap lock, coming with not only a strap lock but a button for it too. This button facilitates something known as a quick release. You simply have to click (or sometimes pull) the button to remove the guitar strap.
This feature generally results in strap locks that cost a little more, but I think it’s worth it. Regular strap locks are fine if you always want the same guitar strap on your guitar, but they can be a pain if you’re like me and have a collection of guitar straps that you like to switch between. When in doubt, always go for the dual design!
As you have probably realized by now, the primary function of a guitar strap lock is safety. It ensures that you can use a guitar strap without having to worry about the guitar hitting the ground, and for this reason, it is always important to choose a strap lock that functions properly over one that might look cool.
However, this compromise isn’t always necessary. In fact, I’ve found that some of the most functional strap locks with dual design quick release systems look the coolest. I’ve seen pink ones, gold ones, ones with skulls on them… the list goes on. It’s a great way to enhance the look of your guitar, and I often find these accessories to add some attentive detail that can stand out more than explicit decorations simply because they are so subtle.
Value for Money
The final thing that I think is worth looking into when purchasing guitar strap locks is to ensure that you get your money’s worth. I mentioned earlier that you should always buy strap locks that come in pairs – this represents an absolute foundation for value for money. However, other things contribute to this, such as buying strap locks in bulk, buying strap locks that come in handy boxes, and buying strap locks that look cool and work cool.
Take a quick look at some online marketplaces, and you will notice that strap locks range from around five dollars to fifty. In that high range, you will generally be looking at dual design metal strap locks that come in large quantities, such as in five pairs.
That’s great if you have many guitars, but that would be a pointless purchase if you only have one. On the other hand, five-dollar strap locks are certainly a bit suspicious – they are likely to be made out of flimsy rubber and may not even come in pairs!
As I have mentioned a couple of times already, simply check the reviews, and you can vet each strap lock product for its value for money. As a general rule, I would look at paying between ten and twenty bucks for a single pair of strap locks that are metal, dual design, and have a quick-release feature. After all, you only really need one pair of strap locks, so it’s worth it, in the long run, to spend an extra ten bucks on it.
My Top Recommendations for Guitar Strap Locks
That just about covers everything I have to say about guitar strap locks and endpins! They’re simple little accessories, so it’s surprising how much there is to say about them. Still, the quality is in the minor details, much like anything else.
I will now provide you with my top recommendations for guitar strap locks without further ado. I’ve ensured to choose products that are sturdy, practical, and good value for money, so I’m sure there will be something here that you’ll like!
Would strap locks even be genuine accessories if Fender didn’t produce their version? We’re starting things off here with a huge name, Fender’s Strap Blocks which come in two pairs. As anyone familiar with guitars, you’ll already know that Fender is renowned for producing high-quality products with no compromise. These strap locks, or ‘strap blocks’ as they call them, are no exception.
They come in four different colors, which are unique in terms of customization. The plastic discs are super stable. They have the dual design that I was banging on about earlier. Best of all, they are insanely cheap, yet you get two pairs for your money! An excellent option if you’re on a budget; enough said!
- Fender has an excellent reputation for their high-quality guitar accessories
- Available in black, silver, gold, and red
- Dual design
- Color-coordinated disks
- The product is made out of plastic which can feel a bit tacky, although its representative of the cheap price
My next product recommendation simply has to be the Miwayer Guitar Strap Locks – I own a pair of these, and I do not have a single bad thing to say about them. They feature an excellent metallic dual design complete with a quick-release button, and frankly, they look and feel amazing. They’re easy to attach and come in black, silver, and golden colors, and they are also sold in single and dual pairs.
I purchased them years ago in a single pair, but little did I know that the company heavily discounts them when you buy them in double pairs. I wish I had known this at the time as it’s the only strap lock that I have consistently used… an outstanding product!
- High-quality metal material
- Comes in both pairs and double pairs at a discount
- Available in gold, black, and silver
- Dual design with quick-release button
- Miwayer is not a very well known brand, although from what I have tested, their products are still very high quality
I thought I’d provide some more high-end options for the next few recommendations on this list, starting with the Schaller Strap Locks. Take a quick look at this product online, and you’ll see what I mean – they are certainly quite expensive, but they are stunning. Not only are they produced in nickel, chrome, gold, and black chrome, but they are packaged beautifully.
The quality is insanely good; they work like a dream (according to the 1,280 5/5 Amazon reviews) and supposedly have a silent and smooth functionality. The only real downside here is that they are costly compared to other options that I have recommended. However, if you’re looking to nail the aesthetic while grabbing something that works beautifully and is willing to spend the cash for it, in that case, this is a fantastic product to consider.
- Stunning metal dual designs with silent, quick release functionality
- Comes in four metallic designs – nickel, chrome, gold, and black chrome
- The package it comes in is beautifully designed
- The only real con here is the price, which may be significantly more than you are willing to spend on a pair of strap locks
If that last recommendation made your eyes water a bit, don’t worry. There are more affordable yet high-end options, such as the Dunlop SLS1501N Straplok. This handy strap lock comes with everything you need, from a dual design quick release system, nickel, brass, gold, and black colors, and an easy installation process.
However, my favorite thing about this strap lock is that it often comes bundled with other items, such as the Snark Clip-On Tuner, the Ernie Ball guitar strap, or the MusicNomad F-ONE Oil Cleaner! It’s a fantastic strap lock as it is. Still, these optional bundles make it a great option to fill in any gaps in your guitar accessory inventory!
- Dual design with quick release
- Available in nickel, brass, gold, and black colors
- Comes with optional accessory bundles
- On the pricier side, but I would say it’s worth the extra investment
Ernie Ball Super Locks
The final strap lock recommendation that I would like to provide is that of the Ernie Ball Super Locks. Anyone who has bought products from Ernie Ball will already know that this will be high-quality! This strap lock comes in black, gold, and nickel colors. Still, it is made from solid nickel-plated steel.
Combined with its robust mechanics, it offers durability that I haven’t found in many other strap locks. The product comes bundled with screws and is easy to apply – the only real problem is that there is no quick-release button. Still, the 360-degree connection certainly makes up for this!
- Unique 360-degree connection
- Excellent durability
- Made from nickel-plated steel
- Does not feature a quick-release button, although this is compensated through the device’s 360-degree connection
Before I leave you to go off and do your research on guitar strap locks, I’ve decided to send you off with answers to the most frequently asked questions that I receive about the accessory. If you have any final burning questions, they should hopefully leave you with the information that you need!
Question: What are Guitar Strap Locks Used For?
Answer: Strap locks are small accessories that connect to the endpoints of a guitar to ensure stable attachments of a guitar strap.
Question: When are Guitar Strap Locks Useful?
Answer: Strap locks are useful in any situation when a guitar is going to be used standing up, especially for lively performances.
Question: What Should You Look For in the Best Guitar Strap Locks?
Answer: The best guitar strap locks should always be made out of sturdy plastic, rubber, or material materials, should come in pairs and should have a dual design to facilitate simple and quick strap release.
Question: How Much Should You Spend on Guitar Strap Locks?
Answer: Budget guitar strap locks can be purchased for around five bucks. The higher-end costs up to fifty dollars, but high-quality pairs of strap locks will generally cost between ten and twenty dollars.
Well, that’s just about everything I have to say about guitar strap locks! These little accessories may not initially seem significant. Still, hopefully, you are now aware that they are essential, especially for lively live performances. Grab a high-quality yet affordable product such as the Miwayer Guitar Strap Locks. You’ll never have to worry about damaging your guitar again due to a dodgy guitar strap.
I wish you all the best on your guitar journey, and I hope that this guide has helped you make a purchasing decision. It can be a real maze with so many strap locks out there, but follow my criteria, and I’m sure you will find something that works for you. Good luck!