Whether you’re an experienced guitarist or just starting out, you’ve probably noticed that acoustic guitars have something called a strap knob. It helps you easily attach a guitar strap to the instrument, making it easier to hold and play. But you might be wondering why most acoustic guitars only have one strap knob, not two.
The main reason why acoustic guitars only have one strap knob is comfort. Because of the size and shape of the guitar’s body, it’s more comfortable to have one strap knob and tie the other end to the top of its neck.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about guitar strap knobs- how they work, why we need them, and why standard acoustic guitars only have one.
What Is a Strap Knob?
If you look at the bottom of a standard acoustic guitar, you’ll see the strap knob- also known as the strap “button.” This knob provides a place for your guitar strap to go.
Though the design itself is simple, strap buttons are very practical and can make your acoustic guitar-playing endeavors a lot easier.
Without this tiny little device, it would be a lot more challenging to attach a strap to your acoustic.
Why Guitars Only Have One Strap Knob
The main reason why acoustic guitars have one strap knob is their size. Since they’re big, it’s better to wrap the end around the headstock instead of having a second knob at the top.
Though some people add a second strap knob to their instrument, it might not be the best option for you. It can actually make it more awkward to hold your guitar. Most people recommend only using one because it’s the more comfortable option, improving your technique, too.
How To Attach a Guitar Strap to Your Acoustic Guitar
The strap button is located at the bottom of your acoustic guitar. Most acoustic guitars feature only one strap pin located at the lower bout’s heel.
Here are the steps on how to attach a guitar strap to your guitar:
- Loop a lace (usually sold separately) through the pinhole of one end of the strap and tie it around the guitar’s headstock by the nut located under the strings.
- Put the pinhole of the other end of the strap over the guitar’s strap pin.
Can You Add a Second Strap Knob?
You can add a second strap knob to your guitar. A second strap pin can be attached by any qualified guitar technician but it’s not really necessary and it’s more comfortable.
However, is it worth it to do so?
As we talked about earlier, acoustic guitars only have one knob because it’s not necessary to have two. It’s actually more comfortable for most people to use the singular strap button and attach the strap to the neck of the guitar.
Though you can purchase additional strap knobs at an inexpensive cost, installing a second one on your acoustic guitar might not be worth the installation fees or the hassle. Instrument modifications can be pricey, and they can damage your guitar when done incorrectly.
However, if it’s more comfortable for you to have a second strap button, go for it. It’s really all a matter of preference, but most people prefer only to have one.
Do All Acoustic Guitars Have Strap Knobs?
Not all acoustic guitars come equipped with strap knobs even though they’re a common and convenient guitar accessory. This is because classical guitars don’t always need a strap.
Classical acoustics are a lot smaller in size and shaped in a way that’s easy for the player to hold, so it’s possible to play one without a guitar strap attached to the button.
However, you need a guitar strap if you want to play the guitar standing up. The lack of a guitar strap can negatively affect both your comfort and your performance quality.
How To Add a Strap Knob to Your Acoustic Guitar
If your acoustic guitar didn’t come with a strap knob already attached, you can add one. To do so, you need to purchase a strap knob and figure out how to install it.
Purchasing a Guitar Strap Knob
When buying a strap button for your acoustic, consider design and functionality.
Strap knobs come in different materials like metal and plastic. They also come in a variety of colors and finishes. If the look of your guitar is important to you, buy a strap button that will match the finish and hardware of your guitar.
In addition to design, consider functionality. Strap buttons are available in various sizes and shapes, so make sure you pick one that will fit your guitar strap needs. Your strap knob should also be strong enough to support the weight of your guitar.
Installing a Guitar Strap Knob
Here are the two main ways you can add a strap knob to your guitar:
- Install it yourself using a drill
- Have someone else install it for you
When installing the strap button yourself, you need a drill (and a drill bit) as well as some masking tape to protect the finish of your guitar.
It’s important to ensure that the drill bit you choose isn’t too large or too small. This will make it difficult to screw in the strap button.
Just as you would while painting, make sure that you cover areas you want to protect with tape. Once you cover the area that your strap knob will be attached to, make sure to mark the tape so you know exactly where to drill. This will help you be precise with your work so you can prevent potential mistakes that might damage your instrument.
After you know where you want to start drilling, mark the drill bit with a piece of tape so you can give yourself a depth guide. This will ensure that you don’t drill too far and damage the guitar.
Once your guitar and your drill are both prepped, you can drill a pilot hole into the instrument. A pilot hole is meant to mark the correct place for the strap button’s screw to go and guide it into the guitar.
When you’ve successfully drilled a pilot hole into your acoustic, you can now screw in the strap knob.
Benefits of Using a Guitar Strap
Customization is a way to make your instruments more personal and unique to you.
There are many ways to customize your acoustic guitar, but sometimes it can be pricey to make major changes to the instrument. It can also be tricky to customize your guitar in a way that won’t cause permanent damage.
However, guitar straps are a great way to add temporary customization to your instrument. Changing your guitar’s color or finish may not be possible, but you can make a pleasant change by adding a well-paired strap that goes with and accentuates the guitar’s overall look. Make sure the guitar strap is the right material, be it leather or nylon, to match your guitar.
In addition to looks, guitar straps also add an extra level of functionality to your instrument.
A guitar strap holds the instrument in place, so you don’t have to. It can be so beneficial to your playing, whether you’re standing or sitting. When you hold the guitar in place with a strap, your body can also be in ideal playing balance, improving your performance.
When you’re not focusing on holding your guitar (or even struggling to do so), you can direct your attention to your playing and improve your overall skill, comfort, and experience.
Having a guitar strap to evenly distribute the weight of the instrument also allows you to direct your physical strength into playing the guitar, not holding it. Playing any instrument can be physically-demanding, so it’s smart to ease that strain in any way you can. You can achieve a much better sound this way.
Prevent Back Pain
Believe it or not, using a strap while playing an acoustic guitar can actually reduce and even prevent back pain.
When we play the acoustic guitar without a strap, we have a tendency to play hunched over. Playing with a strap can help you sit up straight and promote good posture.
By keeping the guitar away from your body, you’ll raise the chances of hunching your back (Related: How To Keep a Guitar From Slipping Off Your Legs). Using a guitar strap makes it easier to bring the instrument closer to you rather than bringing yourself closer to the guitar by hunching over.
It’s important to avoid slouching because it can lead to digestive issues and a lot of unnecessary pain. But with a guitar strap, you can practice caution and healthy guitar-playing habits.
In addition to affecting your posture, guitar straps and their padded elements also comfortably distribute your guitar’s weight in a way that makes it easier to hold. This way, you’ll lower the chances of hurting yourself while doing something you love.
That’s why it’s so important to use that guitar knob at the bottom of your acoustic and attach a strap to your instrument. Your back will certainly thank you for doing so.
So much thought goes into the design of our instruments. When the people behind the scenes are crafting your acoustic guitar, there’s a reason why they only install one strap button: your comfort.
Though it’s possible to install a second strap knob, it’s not only unnecessary but also a potential cause for discomfort that might counteract the purpose of having a guitar strap at all.