Whether you have an electric guitar that costs $250 or one that costs $2,500, you likely want to take care to protect it. While guitars can get damaged in a number of ways, few things will cause the need for major repairs as quickly as dropping a guitar. If a guitar is inadvertently dropped with the headstock facing down, the weight of the guitar's body can apply such downward force that the instrument's neck snaps in half. The simplest way to avoid such issues — other than being sure-handed, of course — is through the addition of guitar strap locks. Here's what you need to know.
Why Strap Locks?
Every electric guitar player should invest in a set of strap locks for each of his or her guitars. With a standard strap, the strap's openings fit over the guitar's two strap buttons. Over time, the constant pressure from the strap buttons can increase the risk of the strap's openings until they no longer form a tight seal. The result can be the guitar slipping out of the strap and falling to the ground. Strap locks are available in several styles, but all carry the same purpose — of firmly holding the strap to the strap buttons on the guitar.
A common design for strap locks is as follows. You mount an apparatus through each of the holes in your strap. This setup contains a small metal post or clip, as well as a button to release it. You also remove the standard strap buttons from your guitar and replace them with strap buttons that are designed to connect with the apparatuses you've attached to your strap. The half of the strap lock attached to your strap simply clips onto the strap button and has tiny metal lips that hold on tightly. You cannot release the two halves without pressing the button on the part of the strap lock attached to your strap.
Doing The Work
You don't need to take your instrument to a luthier to have strap locks installed. By using just a Phillips screwdriver, you can do the work yourself. The first step is unscrewing the current strap buttons from your instrument with the screwdriver and discarding this hardware. Then, attach the new strap buttons with the provided screws and be sure to use the same holes. Putting the strap lock/button apparatus on your strap is as simple as following the instructions provided on the package.