Guitar Strap Hunting

Strap Graphics Custom Guitar Straps
After just writing about what might be the ultimate ‘cool’ (visually) guitar straps, Revo’s Wood Guitar Straps, I have now found another interesting and very different option that also provides customization.

The Strap Graphics’ website offers custom 4 color printing on typical 2″ wide plastic guitar straps. Their low-end straps are not very appealing and a little pricey at $54 US.

For anywhere between $64 and $129 depending on options selected, Strap Graphics offers leather straps in 2.5″ and 3.5″ widths that look nicer and should be more comfortable. The 3.5″ strap looks too wide for me to consider, but perhaps it is noticeably more comfortable. The premium suede-backed version of their 2.5″ leather guitar strap would probably be my choice if I try one of these.

Online Guitar Strap Design
Strap Graphics’ interactive site allows you to view a simulation of how your strap may turn out after you design and upload your graphic.

It is definitely an interesting and fun idea. The finish of the straps looks good in the photos, though I’m curious about how durable the final printed result is.

The sample images I viewed in Strap Graphics’ gallery show original website preview files as well as photographs of finished products. In some you can see what appears to be a fair representation of what to expect with especially vivid RGB colors that don’t translate accurately with this printing technique.

I haven’t found a reference to CMYK color submissions for the site. I will write to the company before submitting an order to see if it is possible to achieve a higher degree of color accuracy than their standard web interface seems to support.

From the photos, I think the color results can be good with their method. The color accuracy concern is probably not a critical issue for most customers. Just keep in mind that super bright and neon-like colors are not going to look the same printed on your guitar strap as they do on a computer screen.

Revo vs. Strap Graphics
The Revo wooden guitar straps I’m considering would probably come across visually as a more sophisticated option. If sophistication and elegance is part the desired objective with your visual presentation, Revo’s guitar straps may be the way to go. The wood itself is the main aspect of the design and what creates the strong effect.

Revo offers customization options including etching, inlaid materials, and graphics, but if a bold billboard style presentation on your strap is more appealing, then the customization options of Strap Graphics’ products would be more appropriate.

I am interested in both companies’ products. Comfort would be the issue that would likely determine which one I used primarily. Perhaps Revo’s weight distributing, small wooden pieces could beat a traditional strap in comfort as Revo’s marketing hints at, but I have no experience with either product. I will add comfort notes to the site in the future if I get the chance to use these guitar straps.

I should add that I have come across one comment online mentioning discontent with the ‘less grippy’ nature of the wooden pieces of the Revo guitar straps when on the shoulder. Also, there are some complaints or concerns about the hard wood banging against one’s guitar in a case. Removing and replacing the strap might be a more common part of your routine with a Revo. Generally, the comments I have found have been very positive in support of the Revo products.

Another Consideration
Though I’m not totally against the use of dead animal skin in our day to day lives, I do like that Revo’s straps are made of wood instead of long suffering, grain depleting and atmosphere damaging livestock. However, if we are eating mass produced, assembly line beef anyway, it could be viewed as inappropriate to waste the byproducts. Hopefully Revo’s wood is coming from an easily replenished source, but I don’t know.

I am not sure which of these I will end up trying first, but after finding the Revo and Strap Graphics options, I definitely don’t want a regular cheap plastic guitar strap.

Kin’en

Revo Hardwood Guitar Straps
While browsing for info on guitar straps today, I came across a collection of interesting wooden guitar straps marketed as the Revo Exotic Wood Guitar Straps collection.

At 75 bucks a pop Revo straps are not cheap, but they are visually distinctive and reported by many to be very comfortable. I especially like their designs when finished in black.

revo exotic hardwood guitar straps

A few of Revo’s wooden guitar strap design and color options.

Custom Guitar Straps
For an additional fee, you can have larger wood segments used on part of a Revo strap for custom inlay designs or custom laser etching.

I still haven’t found a Japanese themed guitar strap design to reflect my connection to Kyoto when I’m away. Many of the straps I am continuing to find on the shelves in Japan are American branded guitar straps with low quality designs and made with uncomfortable low quality materials. I’m sure they are much the same as what can be found in most any guitar shop in the US.

I really like the idea of a custom guitar strap with my own design on part of it, but some of the Revo guitar straps look so nice and clean without additional markings or design interruptions, I might prefer no personalization.

My Favorites
If I got a Revo strap now, I would be leaning towards a black Solano strap or the wider Gordo strap, also in black, as my top choices. I think one of the Revo straps might be an especially ideal companion for a limited edition Takamine LTD 2011, if I should ever obtain that guitar.

Revo Links
Here is a link to the main Revo Wood Guitar Strap website if you want to have a look at all their designs and different wood finishes.
Revo Exotic Wood Guitar Straps

This second link is for the Revo Guitar Straps original site, when they were being promoted as Heartwoodes wooden guitar straps.
Heartwoodes Exotic Wood Guitar Straps

If you become serious about placing an order for a Revo Strap, you might like digging around on the old Heartwoodes site where you can view some alternate images of their products to help you with the decision making process.

-Kin’en

planet waves humidipak

Planet Waves Humidipak

I knew there had to be some ‘less fun’ things to learn about regarding my upcoming guitar purchase. A guitar’s need for humidity is one of them.

Apparently a certain amount of humidity is a good thing for preserving guitars and keeping them from cracking and falling apart.

On the other hand, too much moisture in the air can cause the wood in a guitar to expand, which is also not good.

When in the US, I live in a very dry, high alpine environment. I might be someone who really needs a humidifying device for any guitars kept there. However, in Kyoto, the opposite problem exists; Kyoto is known for being very hot and humid during the summer.

planet waves guitar humidifier

Planet Waves Guitar Humidifier

The Planet Waves Humidipak product (above) looks like a great solution at first glance, with its promise to provide long term and nearly carefree optimal moisture levels within a guitar case in ‘too dry’ and ‘too moist’ conditions, but there are a few reports online claiming leakage problems and discoloring issues with Humidipaks.

That same company’s guitar humidifier (right) seems to be a safer solution, at least for the dry climate end of the problem, but there is a constant need to continually replenish the water in the sponge within the humidifier’s plastic case. And we are still left with what to do about the ‘wet air’ in Kyoto.

It seems that owning a guitar may provide more maintenance challenges than simply changing broken strings from time to time.

Japanese Guitar Straps
I’m presently more excited about searching for a guitar strap than I am about researching the topic of guitar humidifying devices. For my first guitar I would like to buy a guitar strap reminiscent of the time I spend living in Kyoto each year. I am not having much luck finding anything reflective of the culture here. Many Japanese guitarists really love things that come from America, and many of the guitar straps here are very ordinary or ‘too weird’ looking American products. It is not so easy to find accessories in a Japanese guitar store that look Japanese or that were made in Japan.

Regarding My Ongoing Guitar Search
From my research so far and from what I am drawn to presently, there is a chance the first guitar I end up buying could end up being a Japanese brand guitar that must be purchased in the US, because…
…after being designed in Japan and apparently built in yet a third country, amusingly, the specific Japanese guitar I am considering now is not offered for sale in Japan.

For Those Keeping Score At Home
Guitar search – Fun,
Guitar strap search – Fun,
Guitar humidity balancing device research – Not Fun.

-Kin’en