One of the most popular concerns I’ve seen about buying guitars has always been how well a guitar is balanced. Guitar balance is a big deal, but the majority of people asking are just concerned with how much their guitar is going to slide around uncomfortably on their shirt and these people are almost always using slippery nylon straps. A pickup builder, Clint Searcy, was talking about it to me and asked why people don’t just buy a good leather strap and call it good?
That’s a good question. Nylon may be an affordable material, but it’s slick. Leather isn’t nearly as unctuous, but it does come at a price. Namely, its price. Leather straps are often pricey alternatives to five dollar straps that a lot of guitarists don’t see a ton of need for, but experienced guitarists know leather is strong, durable, and stable. It’s an upgrade that is worth pursuing.
And there are certainly guitar straps out there that won’t cost you too much, like the straps from Tempest Leather. Tempest sent me two straps of my choosing to review, and I picked the “I’m in Stitches,” and the “Settle the Score,” straps, both from the Clooney line – which seems to be the traditionally classy side of Tempest’s offerings, though they have more wild designs out there if that’s your preference.
The “I’m in Stitches,” strap was ordered with a 3″ width, rather than your average 2″ width (which is also available if you prefer) with a suede back, adding further to the “stick-to-you” factor. I generally like wider straps because they spread the weight out a bit more and are generally more comfortable. The edges of the Stitches strap are smooth, but not overwhelmingly so, retaining a big “natural,” feeling.
The “Settle the Score,” strap is also from the Clooney line and it features cored leather which are just as much about function as they are about form. By scoring the leather, you increase it’s flexibility, which means it feels nicely worn-in the first time you put it on because it contours itself to your body immediately. It’s a very comfortable strap. The edges are a bit more rough than the Stitches strap, but not distractingly so, and I don’t mind. Leather is, by nature, rough and I never trust leather that is either perfect-looking or ridiculously smooth.
Tempest uses Italian leather on their straps and their straps feature three pin holes (one on one end, two on the other) so you can start to determine your strap’s length. Straps generally come in two sizes, normal (45-56″) and extra long, which adds 5″ to the strap length. The bottom pin hole would probably be where most people play comfortably, but I prefer my straps to be a bit shorter because I like my guitars to be higher on me. Because of this, I prefer to use the pin hole above and still set it to its shortest length and it gets super close to my preferred length.
Overall, the straps are definitely worth considering when you’re ready to upgrade your guitar and your playing experience. Not having your guitar slide around on you all gig long makes it a worthy purchase and the fact that these straps add beauty to the mix with very classy options makes Tempest a very good choice. The “I’m in Stitches,” retails for $53.00 and the “Settle the Score,” retails for $45.00.
For more information, or to purchase your own, click HERE!