Guitar strap locks may seem as if they are there to offer some additional and much-needed support. But in reality they can do more than just keep your guitar in place. They can give you the confidence boost you need to spice up your performance and the freedom to do whatever on stage.
However, as you may have guessed, only the best guitar strap locks can do that for you. Not all of them will be necessarily better than the stock buttons on your guitar. With that in mind, it’s time to find out what are some of your best options in this accessory.
6 Best Guitar Strap Locks and Locking Systems
These strap locks can be used for both guitars and bass guitars. They come with very long screws which are ideal for use with Gibson gear and provide a very solid and reliable fit, as well as good leverage and support.
Schaller made these metal strap locks to ensure that the oft-encountered loosening of the guitar strap during shows is something that can’t happen.
It’s also worth pointing out that this model can be used on acoustic guitars too. So long as you don’t try to screw in the locks into an open frame. Always screw them into the reinforced frame.
The round knob uses a spring release mechanism. This allows two things to happen: it keeps the strap in place during your show and it facilitates a quick release when intentionally pulled.
As Dunlop would call it, this strap retainer system is one of the most efficient designs on the market. Its 360-degrees grove ball design promotes free rotation and eliminates the risk of catching the strap in the process.
One of the reasons I recommend this is because the release mechanism is supposed to withstand to up to 800lbs of force. This is impressive given how simple the mechanism is and how quick it is to install.
Cross brand compatibility is also good, which is why I also recommend this as a backup system and not just a replacement for stock strap buttons.
Not only is the mechanism solid, but the build quality is also impressive. The ruggedness of this strap retainer system is something that should give you peace of mind in the long run.
The Ernie Ball Super Locks come in black, nickel, and gold finishes. As the price differences between the different versions is not significant enough, I personally prefer going with the nickel model.
It can add a bit of flair to any instrument, a spot of color or contrasting hardware that looks good on stage. The screw has a standard length of 1.3”. This should make it compatible with most guitars, with the probable exception of student guitars or smaller guitars meant for kids.
Even with a standard screw length, the Ernie Ball Super Locks still give you good leverage and support. The design also allows for 360-degrees connection which should provide enough security when you’re on stage.
This strap lock system is a very interesting alternative to what comes standard. Due to its unique design, it shouldn’t require any tools for the installation. That alone is a big plus in my book. The standard screw is very strong and should be compatible with almost any electric guitar.
Although it lacks a quick-release mechanism, D’Addario’s universal strap lock system probably provides better security than most other strap locks on the market. The riveted cap offers a good grip and lets you easily adjust the tension.
The design also features a small cushion that prevents your guitar from getting damaged around the strap lock. The weight support is very good which means that you can be as active as you want on stage.
Gold-plated strap locks may not be for everyone. But I do like them on Gibson guitars. It also doesn’t hurt when the mechanism is sound and the build quality is very good.
The GP800G strap locks will look cool on your Gibson guitar. The installation may require some time but it shouldn’t cause damage to your guitar body.
The weight capacity of the GP800G is good. A quick-release mechanism is also available which should make these locks more convenient than stock and many aftermarket options. The locks are interchangeable for the most part, but some guitars like the 2014 Gibson Les Paul may not support them.
These strap locks are made for guitars. They’re not big enough for bass guitars but that doesn’t make them any less durable. The ball and groove design is a classic design that has been proven to work for years.
The release mechanism is a compress and release mechanism which helps you get your strap out of the way at any moment. All without compromising the security of the strap, unless you intend to release it.
Also worth mentioning is the solid brass construction. It offers the ruggedness needed to support a heavy moving guitar. Three finishes are available which are black, chrome, and gold.
Strap Locks vs. Locking Straps
What’s the difference and which is better? For starters, let’s talk differences. Strap locks are small accessories that go over the regular strap button. In some cases, they can even act as complete replacements for your stock buttons.
They provide better security for your guitar or bass strap. They may be essential when you’re performing live and you want to move around the stage, throw some moves, and put on a show for the audience. Most stock strap lock buttons aren’t that good at keeping the strap on.
Locking straps are a different story. With locking straps, the technology needed to keep the strap on is imbedded into the strap instead of added or built into the guitar. Most of the time, locking straps will have some sort of locking cap at the end pieces.
Those caps can go over the strap buttons and lock the strap in place in between them. Which is better? – It depends on what you can afford and how much security and support you need.
Strap locks are usually the way to go but some of them may require hardware modifications, which is not something every guitar player feels comfortable doing.
Strap Lock Designs
Most guitarists will probably opt for one-piece strap locks when they decide to get such an accessory for the first time. I know I did. But while one-piece strap locks don’t require hardware modifications, they’re not always the best choice.
Some may end up not any better than your stock strap buttons, at least when facing a consistent pull force. Multiple-piece strap locks are another story. They usually require installation but they offer better security.
Not to mention that they should also come with quick-release mechanisms that won’t hinder your ability to replace your guitar during a show.
Compatibility with Straps
As you probably know by now, not all straps are built equal. Some will be thicker than others and some will have end pieces that are less flexible and require more work to get the strap button through.
By using guitar strap locks, you can avoid a lot of these issues, at least in theory. However, there may be some incompatibilities that pop up along the way. For example, a particular guitar strap lock isn’t going to work with every strap.
Some end pieces may require wider openings to accommodate the strap locks without having to cut into the material. In some cases, the pressure of the locking mechanism may be too much, the lock could be too tight, and the end piece may succumb to wear and tear faster.
It’s important to check just how good your strap is too, before you go looking for aftermarket strap locks.
Feel Free to Whale Away
Whether you want a quick-release system or something that will keep the strap in place during a nuclear blast, it’s really up to you to decide. Each model on this list is more than capable of doing a good job.
Just remember that each type of mechanism has its pros and cons. And, depending on what you hope to accomplish with your movement on stage, some guitar strap locks may be worth more than others, even if you’re wary of hardware modifications.
This much is true; installing a strap retainer system is easier than changing strings or installing new pickups.