The Ultimate Solution to Heavy Guitars

Get Strapped!

By Scott Terry

A recent phenomenon among guitarists is the weighing of guitars. This hypersensitivity likely stems from the fact that many of the guitars that were manufactured during the 1970s are extremely heavy. I have personally examined fourteen pound guitars – unaffectionately referred to as boat anchors – that were built during this era. As the great American guitar companies’ product quality began to slide during that decade, the guitars rolling off the assembly lines were generally heavier than their previous and subsequent counterparts. At the time, the buzz in the guitar industry was that heavier guitars sustained better. This theory has never been proven to any degree of satisfaction for me and it is my hypothesis that it was perpetuated simply as a marketing ploy to appease disgruntled customers. 

But, some heavy guitars do sound good and many of them have indeed become quite collectable in recent years. So, if your favorite axe is causing a high chiropractic bill, what do you do? One of the best investments that a guitarist can make is to get a custom strap. Custom straps can offset several pounds of guitar weight and it will help to protect the instrument itself. After all, why trust the safety of your dad’s 1959 Gretsch 6120 to a $12 strap? 

Action Custom Straps – www.actioncustomstraps.com - (prices vary)

Unsatisfied with the camera straps that were available when he bought his new 35 mm camera in 1978, Terry Misner, set out to make one that would better protect his investment. Utilizing the best cabretta leather available, he carefully cut the pieces and his wife, Dena, sewed them together. As Terry was a guitarist, the product line soon expanded to include guitar straps. Nearly 27 years later, Action Custom Straps can be seen around the shoulders of everybody from Jimmy Buffet to Jewel to Keith Urban.

The beauty of Action Custom Straps is that they combine form and function for a product of unsurpassed quality. These straps still feature the finest leathers available and the stitching is as perfect as any “store-bought” strap I have ever seen. The leather edges are so soft that they won’t dig into your shoulder, adding significantly to the comfort factor. While fully adjustable, Action Custom Straps contain no metal buckles; the adjustment is hidden for a truly custom fitted look. 

Action Custom Straps sent me a total of three samples: a black strap with my initials and flames in hand-painted python underlay, a brown distressed leather strap, and a bone-colored strap with hand-painted python flames. All of the samples were absolutely stunning; I had to pick my jaw up when I first saw these beauties! I received the straps as I was leaving for a gig, so I was able to give them an immediate workout. They looked great and they made holding my ‘51 Telecaster and my ’58 Les Paul much easier, but they didn’t bind my shirt – a problem I’ve found with conventional guitar straps. I’m not sure how Terry Misner is able to produce a strap that balances - yet doesn’t bind - but I hope he keeps doing it for a long time!