Did you know the position of the strap pin affects the pitch of your instrument? If your strap pin is in the wrong place then your guitar will go out of tune.
What is a Strap Pin? A “strap pin” is a metal knob attachment that is positioned on the Heel or top horn of a guitar. The “strap pin” works with the “end pin” and it is where the guitar strap clips onto to, so that you can play your guitar standing up.
In this article, I will discuss the strap pin and outline the best positions for this component.
1. What is a Strap Pin?
A strap pin (also known as a strap button) is a wood or artificial handle/ knob that holds the guitar strap on the heel of a guitar. Most are made from metal (such as steel), and securely the strap with a wood screw as well as by the pressure or the weight of the guitar. Sometimes you will also see additional components such as a locking screw that will securely fit the strap even further.
The strap pin is found on the Heel (for acoustic and electric guitars), or the Wing/top-horn (for Bass Guitars). They will usually be held to the instrument with a single wood screw that is threaded.
2. Why is having a Strap Pin Important?
Strap pins play a vital role in aiding the player to support the guitar in the optimal playing position for comfort and security. Having a strap pin is very important as it provides the practicality of you being able to stand up with your guitar, without your guitar altering pitch as you are playing.
This is because the alternative option for having a strap pin it tying the strap onto the headstock. The guitar neck is very evenly balanced and is very sensitive. By having, the strap connected from the headstock to the “Endpin” to the headstock you are altering this distribution.
Overall, it will cause pitch problems because it will constantly pull on the guitar neck as you play.
3. Different Types of Strap Pins
There are many various types of Strap Pins.
Each type of Strap Pin serves a certain function, whether it is for gigging, opposed to playing at home or even for aesthetics.
The types of Strap Pins:
- Gripper – the gripper is an ideal design for gigging as it holds onto the strap very well.
- Traditional – The traditional design is most common and is found on both acoustics and electrics. It holds the guitar quite well, however it you where to gig then you would require a strap lock to ensure it is secure.
- Schaller – the Schaller is very similar to the traditional however it holds the guitar slightly better.
- Snakewood – Snakewood has a minimal design for an aesthetic appeal.
- Straplok – the straplock work as well the Schaller and gripper but have a slightly different appearance about them.
4. Attachments for mounting Strap pins
When attaching a strap pin to your guitar you will need a washer and ensure to use the right drill size.
Strap pin washer
The washer is used to mount between the heel and strap pin. This is essential as it will avoid scratching and leaving permanent blisters showing on your body work finish if you was to ever replace in the future.
Use the right drill size
As you see from the image the screw you use should be slightly larger than the wood screw provided. Make sure the teeth are left wider so that they can bite into the wood. This will make sure the strap pin will hold secure in its hole once fixed in.
4. Bass Guitar Strap Pin
Bass guitar are much bigger and heavier than the stand electric and acoustic. This means when performing stood up there is a heavier load to carry on your shoulders. This can become tiring easily and start to dig into your shoulders. The usual design for bass guitar straps are much wider and padded to spread the load over the shoulders.
This also means that the position and type of strap pins position will be different. For example, on the acoustic and electric guitar the strap pin will be mounted on the Heel. However, on a bass guitar you will see the trap button mounted on the wings/top-horn, as the strap pin will weaken the Heel of a bass guitar.
5. Electric Guitar Strap Pin
Electric guitar strap pins come in many different shapes and sizes being made from metal. An electric guitar will always have the strap pin either on the heel (most commonplace), or it can sometimes be found on the wing/top horn.
6. Strap pin on acoustic guitar
An acoustic guitar does not always have a strap pin. However, when they do there are usually found on the heel just like electric guitars.
Why do Acoustic Guitars only have 1 strap Pin?
Some acoustic guitars will not have a Strap Pin and the guitar strap will attach to the headstock. This is usually done for comfort, making it more comfortable for the guitar player. This means there is no need to have a strap pin as the headstock will bi-pass to use of this device.
Is it a good idea to attach the strap to the headstock?
Even though this will feel most comfortable you do not want to put that amount of strain pulling at the neck as it will mean you will need to frequently adjust the action and intonation.
7. Does the Strap Pin Location matter?
The strap pin location is very important because if your acoustic only has 1 strap button then this means the other end is tied behind the headstock which can put additional strain on the neck and body and make the tuning terrible.
8. Best Location for the Strap Pin
The placement of the strap pin is crucial for balance and there are five known locations to place the strap pin on a guitar. All of which are located around the heel.
Five known locations of the strap pin
The image outlines the five locations where the strap pin is usually found.
- Position #1– This is a common position right next to the heel cap as the guitar will balance out quite naturally. However, the guitar may be more prone to tipping forward.
- Position #2 – It can also be found right on the heel cap itself. Again the Strap pin may be prone to falling forward whilst playing. This location offers another disadvantage as it will rest on this strap pin when in the solid guitar case.
- Position #3 – near the neck heel the guitar will hang quite comfortably, in this position it does not tilt forward, with the strap out of the way of your fretting hand. to make sure you’re not going to hit metal hardware.
- Position #4 – position 4 is positioned right on the heel.
- Position #5 – This is the most popular choice among my customers. With the strap wrapping down under the heel, you’ll like the way it pulls the guitar toward you. Surprisingly enough, it isn’t much in the way of your fretting hand either.
In this article, we discussed all the essential matters when dealing with strap pins.