Strap locks. Love them or hate them every guitar and bass player I know uses them and pretty much hates them as much as they love them. All strap lock devices perform the same basic function; they keep your strap from popping off and your instrument from crashing on the ground. But one thing they also have in common is that the screws are one size too small and, inevitably, the button (lock and all) pulls right out of the body. Next we’re breaking out the wood glue and toothpicks to make the smaller screw fit. You would think that the manufacturers would have fixed this small, but fatal, flaw. But the design remains the same. Well… that is until now.
Eons ago I proposed a better strap lock solution: a device that slides over your existing strap button that locks your strap in place. Someone must have overheard me in a bar because the fine people at Dunlop and D’Addario/Planet Waves both came up with different takes on my design. (Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’m sure a million other guitar players invented this, too. But this is my blog!) Anyway, I’m not usually one for writing product reviews, but he’s my take on these awesome new products.
Dunlop Ergo Lok and Lok Strap
The Dunlop Ergo Lok and Lok Strap are small, plastic devices that kind of look like washers with a wing nut on top. The Ergo Lok or Strap Lok both work pretty much how I imagined the perfect strap lock would work. You put the strap on the instrument, twist the “wings” to open the lock and place it on your strap button, and twist the wings to close the lock. Simple and done. Unlike the other strap lock systems, these are not married to one instrument. You can pop them off one instrument and on to another one with very little effort. These sell in 2-packs or multi-packs, and I’ve even seem them individually in case you lose one. Compared to other strap lock systems at $15-30 bucks, the price is right starting at $3.
Planet Waves Lock Strap
The Planet Waves Lock Strap has a locking device similar to the Dunlop system, but it is built in to the strap ends: you get a strap and lock in one product. You twist to unlock, place the strap on the guitar and twist to lock it in place. Simple and done. Again, there’s no need to change your guitar’s hardware or mess around with screw and you’re not married to one guitar. Just unlock and put the strap on another guitar. Priced at $20, the Planet Waves Lock Strap costs about the same as a strap without a lock.
The Dunlop and Planet Waves systems both have their plusses, but I think that Dunlop edges out Planet Waves. The Dunlop system can be used with your favorite strap or any strap by any manufacturer. With Planet Waves you are limited by their strap selection. Either way you go you win. They are simple to use and won’t harm your instrument. You be the judge.