* Prices may differ from that shown
Ernie Ball is a company that produces good quality guitar peripherals at reasonable prices. One of their biggest sellers are guitar strings, in fact they introduced "slinkys" into the market place after Fender wouldn't. But I'm going to be reviewing a different piece of kit. One of their entry level guitar straps.
Guitar straps need to be made of tough material. Guitars themselves will vary greatly in weight and shape, but the last thing you want is a strap that may break, resulting in a very expensive accident. Polypropylene is a very durable material, especially when woven in this fashion. At two inches wide, it is comfortable to wear. Furthermore, it takes colours well and will not bleed onto your clothes, even when wet.
The buckle is adjustable. You will generally want your Guitar positioned at a height where you can easily access the fingerboard, but some players prefer a higher or lower position on top of that. I went for a red colour to match the faded red mahogany of my G-400, the only authorised Gibson SG copy. It certainly looks the business. There are a whole host of other colour options available. As the G-400 is relatively light, I've never had the strap come off either button. However, I have had another Ernie Ball Poly strap on my Strat, and it came off a number of times, resulting in a swap to a locking strap.
The one limitation of a poly strap is that it has little resistance and will slide on most materials. This is not a factor with a body heavy guitar like a Stratocaster or telecaster shape, or with a smaller but thicker guitar like a Les Paul, but it is a severe drawback with an SG or any neck heavy guitar, like a flying V.
Why? Because such guitars tend towards neck dive, where the headstock wants to point towards the floor. With a heavy, wider leather strap, such things can be resolved. But with a strap like this one, it is a constant problem, particularly when fretting the lowest strings on the neck.
I only play lead guitar. As a result, I'm unable to advise whether these would safely hold a bass guitar. Even if they would, it could prove uncomfortable on the shoulder as time progresses. A wider strap would probably represent a sound (get it?) investment. Particularly with added internal padding.
In summary, these are good, cheap Guitar straps. But if you gig, even just with friends, or have any Guitar worth more than a couple of hundred, I would strongly recommend looking at the Planet waves series of locking straps. They are over twice as expensive than the six or so quid this costs, but the added security is an absolute must. The finish is also of an even higher quality and the added cost is absolutely negligible.
My first ever guitar strap was actually an Ernie Ball Polypro, for years I didn't tend to use a strap but I caved in and got one eventually.
These are durable straps that will work just fine, I tend to prefer a leather strap these days, but a strap of this kind certainly has it's place. It is made out of Polypropylene which is strong & won't break easily, and you can attach it to your guitar with the strap holders found on most guitars. Note: if you're using an acoustic guitar you may need an attachment to fit it onto the neck end of the instrument.
This strap is available in a range of colours (red is pictured above here), from blue, yellow, grey, white etc.. but I would tend to lean towards black in most cases. I always felt it looked the best while being worn, but each to their own, there's a colour available to suit most tastes.
Like any strap it is adjustable so you can find the right height for you to wear the guitar at (I wear mine around the middle on my body), but you can wear it really high like John Lennon or Tom Morello or really low like Slash if you wish (not recommended for beginners). You lengthen or shorten the strap via a plastic clip on the strap. This is how most guitar straps tend to function in my experience.
In a music shop you would probably pay just under £10 for one of these straps, but I'm sure they are available online for a bit cheaper. Personally I prefer to support music shops where possible (not many left not), but I'm sure you'll find one whether in person or online.
Up until very recently I always sat down when I played any of my guitars. It was more a 'I can't be bothered' thing than 'I haven't bought the product' thing, but nevertheless when I did finally purchase a strap to enable to me to stand when playing I found I really enjoyed it. It is a different kind of experience, one which requires you to alter your playing style ever so slightly - due to the angle at which your wrist comes into contact with the neck of the instrument. When playing certain types of song I prefer it, but on the whole sitting down procures increased comfort and enjoyment.
the guitar strap I gave a go and still use today is 'Ernie Ball Polypro Guitar Strap' which gets its name from the material it is made - Polypropylene. The 2 inch wide strap adopts a Polypropylene webbing which has good strength and will not stretch under usage. Similarly, the colour of the strap (in my case white) will not bleed and will remain clear and vibrant throughout the products long use.
The strap attaches to your guitar via the (usually metal) stumps which extrude from the main body of the instrument at two locations (which can vary per instrument). Wholes in the leather ends of the product lapse over the stumps and stay in place when the strap is placed over your head and around the back of your shoulders/neck. The leather in this product is tough and durable, the strap won't slip from the guitar stumps unless held at an unusual angle (though care has to be taken when putting it on and off).
The strap can be fully adjusted, lengthening or shortening its overall span. this is so that contrasting people of all shapes and sizes can use the same bit of material on a range of guitars. The clip of plastic connected to the Polypropylene works well and can be used easily in the usual way to adapt the product. This is an age old method which is still utilises in every/most guitar straps on the market.
I have found this strap for sale on Amazon.co.uk for £6.15 (well stocked) and it can be bought ina range of colours including red, black, white and purple. All in all this product does its job very well indeed. It doesn't put much strain on your person and connects well to the instrument without slipping under pressure.
I bought the Ernie Ball Polypro strap as a cheap replacement after noticing my leather strap
had started to split at the strap pin hole.The local music shop didn't have much selection of leather
guitar straps so I decided to buy this Ernie Ball strap for now.
The Ernie Ball guitar strap is available in a range of plain colours as well as the bright red strap I
bought which is pictured above there's also the choice of White,Black,Khaki,Purple,Burgundy,
Navy,and Forest Green and there is also a striped Rainbow version if you really want to brighten
things up. The Ernie Ball Logo is stamped on the Leather starp end in Gold lettering and adds a
nice finishing touch to the strap without looking tacky or over branded.
The guitar strap is made from a Polypro webbing material which is designed to be colourfast and will
not stretch under use. After using this strap for around 6 months I've never had any problems with
the colour transferring to my clothes and the strap has never stretched even with my heaviest bass
so for once the manufacturers claims are actually true.The strap is easily adjustable by moving a
sliding black plastic buckle to get it to the length you want. The buckle seems quite strong and I've
never had any problems with it slipping once I've adjusted the strap.
The strap has leather ends with the usual hole with slight split so you can fit it onto the strap pins
on your guitar or bass. The leather ends are really stiff to start with and require a bit of force to
get over the strap pins if you aren't using a straplock system but they do loosen up after a few
weeks use. After around 6 months use the holes on the strap ends have loosened but the strap
still stays in place on the one guitar I own which still has only the standard strap pins instead of
a straplock system.
The strap is 2 inches wide and is comfortable with most guitars although it doesn't distribute
the weight well enough to play longer gigs with my heavier basses. I tend to get slight shoulder
pain after using this for long sessions or gigs which I never found was a problem with my thicker
leather strap..The other downside I've found with this strap is it can slide around on certain
clothing particularly with one of my basses which suffers from slight neck dive which seems to
get exaggerated when used with this strap.
After 6 months regular use the strap still looks like new with no splits or frayed edges or stitching
so it's a well made strap that should last a while. These can be found online for around £4 on Ebay
to £7 from music shops.
~The Ernie Ball Polypro Guitar Strap~
Ernie Ball produce a wide number of guitar related products that include their Polypro Guitar Straps, with them coming in a wide range of colours and having a well finished look and feel that makes them a good budget priced guitar strap that should safely take the weight of all types of guitars with ease. I had one of these in use on an electric guitar that was of a medium weight and found that the strap worked well, fitting onto the fittings on the guitar with ease, having a comfortable feel when in use.
The colours available in this range offer a good deal of choice with there being something to suit most tastes in a single colour finish (except the rainbow option) with black detailing on the fixing points and buckle. The available colour range at the moment begins with an ice white strap, a jet black coloured strap, a very funky purple toned strap, a light grey strap that I feel looks a little boring yet might go well with a silver grey lacquer effect, a deep burgundy strap, an olive green strap that I feel might be an acquired taste, a navy blue coloured strap, a vivid forest green toned strap and a multi coloured rainbow effect strap. The only other variety that is on offer at the moment is the bright post box red strap shown here which is the colour that I picked , which looks very bit as bright and colourful in the flesh as it does here.
~The finish and fit~
The red coloured guitar strap that I picked out from this range was made from a durable and strong polyproplyene webbing type of material that is often used in the make up of guitar straps. The term 'Polypro' that has been used to brand these straps with, is obviously taken from the type of material that makes up the main body of the guitar strap. The width of the strap webbing is around 2 inches across with it being a mid width kind of guitar strap that can be used with all type of guitars. The range of colours that are available should provide something that will either compliment or clash with the lacquer and finish of your guitar allowing you to add some extra individuality to your choice that is easy to change as the mood takes you, as these straps are inexpensive to buy.
I had a pillar box red red Polypro guitar strap fitted on a black bodied guitar with a white pick guard and I thought at the time the effect looked rather good with it looking like a nice colour combination that stood out. Depending on the effect you want you can choose to clash with your guitars colour or pick a guitar strap that has a similar colour, either way with these straps there ought to be an option that will meet your requirements. The ends of the strap are made form well finished neat looking black leather rather than the vinyl used for some budget priced straps, making for a long lasting and durable finish.
The black leather ends have ready punched strap holes through which it is quick and simple enough to fit the strap onto your guitar when needed. The leather parts of the strap are strong yet not too stiff and offer plenty of durability which should ensure that guitar strap works well for a good length of time. The Ernie Ball logo is stamped onto the end in a simple gold metallic colour which gives a neatly branded look that is not too over powering and distracting. I have found that the stitched parts of the guitar strap are well sewn, being of a neat appearance and giving a good degree of strength to the design and stability of the strap when it is in use.
The buckle on this strap is made from a strong black plastic material called 'Delrin' which has been produced to offer maximum strength and fatigue resistance as well as being a low wear substance that will last well even with repeated usage. I have found that it is quick and easy to adjust the length of the guitar strap using the buckle fitting, with very little pressure or force needed to move the buckle along the length of the strap to either shorten or lengthen it. As Delrin is resistant to fading you should find as I have done, that the buckle and fixings on the strap should not fade over time and will remain in the same deep black finish as when new.
Ernie Ball say that all of the stitching on this range of guitar straps is machine/ computer stitched and my feeling is that the small areas on each end of the strap that have any stitching on (which are where the strap meets the black leather ends) has been finished to a durable and well executed standard with the strap I picked having no problems with any fraying at the ends where stitched, or along the length of the webbed material that makes up the main body of the guitar strap. The buckle is easy to use and adjust when required and the texture of the webbed material is not overly rough meaning it gave a comfortable feel when in use.
The length of the guitar strap can be adjusted to suit most guitars and guitarists as it can be set from 39 inches up to 70 inches, making it suitable for those who like that low slung effect or for guitarists who like to sit their guitar a little higher. The bright red colour of the strap I picked has not faded at all and it has not rubbed off onto any clothing or bleed away over time. I have not washed the strap and would suggest that would be a bad idea, although if you do drip anything on it you can sponge that off with a combination of lightly soapy warm water and allow the effected part of the strap to dry naturally.
~Price and rating~
As far as budget priced guitar straps go this range made by Ernie Ball offers a good deal of quality for the money with the ends of the straps being formed from leather rather than cheaper vinyl. Prices for the straps such as these when bought direct from the Ernie Ball site begin at £6.75 for these basic Polypro style straps although prices do differ slightly from other online sellers with them being from £5.75 upwards. As the guitar strap has proven that it lives up to the claims that it will not stretch or bleed its bright colours when in use, I feel it has performed as I hoped and with that in mind I feel it ought to get a 4 star product rating. Whilst this is not a luxury guitar strap by any means it certainly does what it should for a fair price making it a good buy.