Choosing the best bass guitar strap to suit your requirements isn’t just an aesthetic gimmick. Indeed, it can improve the appearance of your bass, but it also enhances playing comfort.
A good quality strap allows you to play for longer, without fatigue becoming an issue. If you like to move around the stage a lot, having a strong, comfortable bass strap is essential.
6 Best Bass Guitar Straps
Even though they have been around for nearly five decades, LM Products haven’t lost touch with their humble basement beginnings. Their straps are still made with the same love and care as they were in the ‘70s.
The X-Clef is a prime example of the high-quality craftsmanship promised by LM Products. It is a wonderfully made, comfortable bass strap.
The strap has a one-inch-thick foam core that sits comfortably on your shoulder. The strap is also long enough to help spread the weight of your bass out more evenly.
I also appreciate that shoulder is attached to the strap. Loose shoulders always slip quite a bit. One moment it is nice and comfortable, and then the next the shoulder has moved down to your back, and you are left with zero support.
The leather tail is secured with metal rings. This makes it much easier to adjust the length of the strap but also locks it in more tightly. I find few things more annoying than feeling your bass slip while playing because the strap is loosening.
The X-Clef luckily doesn’t have that problem. Your bass stays put the entire time and if you want to adjust the strap it’s as simple as pulling on the tail.
The X-Clef features a nice bass clef cutout. I like this detail because it shows the attention to detail at LM Products. It also adds a bit of character so that this isn’t just another boring strap.
I think the only problem someone might have with this strap is its width. At 3.5 inches, it might be a bit too wide forsomeone smaller or with narrower shoulders.
The X-Clef also has a slight chemical smell when you first take it out of its packaging. It isn’t very sharp and disappears after about a day of airing the strap out.
2. Levy’s MSS2
Levy’s, not to be confused with the Levi clothing brand, are makers of excellent instrument straps, bags, and accessories. Their MSS2 bass strap is one of their best products to date.
This is a very well-crafted leather strap with a thick foam core. Unlike other straps with a similar design, the MSS2’s foam core spans almost the entire length of the strap.
Not only does this mean you don’t have to worry about the shoulder moving, but it also provides improved weight distribution. This is a big plus if you have a bass with a bit more heft than usual.
I was a bit concerned that this design might make it a hassle to roll up. While I wouldn’t fold a leatherstrap to avoid creases and cracks, rolling up the MSS2 was actually easy.
Moving on to the strap’s measurements. The strap is a nice three inches wide, so it is wide enough to sit comfortably over your shoulder, while not being too wide for those with narrower shoulders.
The strap also has a rather surprising 37 – 51-inch adjustable length. I tend to hold my instruments up a bit higher, but the MSS2 will work just as well for the punk bassists out there who have their instruments down to their knees.
Adjusting the length is fairly simple as well. The strap has several notches where the tail is threaded through. It isn’t quite as simple as pulling on the tail, but it does lock in nicely to prevent unwanted loosening.
Just make sure you thread the tail through the notch at the tip as well. This is just to make sure you aren’t left with an annoying piece of loose, dangling strap.
As for the look of the strap, it is quite plain, but I think the red logo patch helps to add some color. Overall, a very fantastic bass strap.
The D’Addario Padded Woven is a straight-to-the-point, no thrills strap. And just like their strings, it is a well-made, durable strap.
The Padded Woven strap has a nice and thick foam core that sits quite comfortably on your shoulder. Its three-inch width also means that your bass’ weight is spread evenly so that you can play comfortably for longer.
It has a minimum and maximum length of 43 to 58 inches. This makes it great for both short and tall bassists.
Looking at the strap it is clear that D’Addario just made a simple strap with no other purpose but to hold your bass around your neck. This strap features no extra logos or embroidery or anything.
It is just a simple and straightforward one-color design. While some might not want a flashy strap, I like mine to have at least some personality. They do come in a few different colors, though. So, if you’re like me and you don’t just want a plain black strap, there is some variety.
I am not a very big fan of the plastic loops used on the strap. They don’t feel cheap, but I have had so many plastic loops break before. I am sure they won’t break too easily, but I think it is something to keep in mind when buying this strap.
I do like that it has two points for adjusting the length, one at the front and one at the back. This just helps to keep the foam comfortably on your shoulder when making adjustments.
The nylon of the strap does also scratch my neck a little bit. It isn’t that much of an issue but can become a little annoying after playing for a while.
This strap certainly isn’t much to look at. But if you want something cheap, sturdy, and comfortable, it is a definite winner.
Gruv Gear is known for making high-quality instrument accessories like guitar bags and cases to expertly crafted straps. The SoloStrap Neo is among their best and most beloved straps.
The SoloStrap is actually quite similar to Gruv Gear’s DuoStrap. The obvious difference is that it is only a single strap instead of two.
It does seem like the SoloStrap has a thicker foam core than the DuoStrap. So, you are still getting an extremely comfortable strap without the hassle of using two straps. This is especially great if you play a bass with a little more weight.
The way the strap’s length is adjusted is a bit of a blessing and a curse. Instead of the more traditional loop system where you just pull the strap to adjust it, Gruv Gear uses a sort of locking system.
The strap uses these small screws to hold the tail in place. This means that you have to unscrew the tail every time you want to make any length adjustments.
It isn’t hard but takes much longer than just pulling on the tail. The benefit of this system is that once the tail is screwed in, it isn’t going anywhere. The strap is going to stay at the length you set it no matter what.
The strap also has an adjustable length of 38 to 50 inches. Great for both taller and shorter bassists.
At four inches wide, this strap is really meant for wider shoulders. If you are smaller or have narrower shoulders, you are probably going to have a bad time with the SoloStrap Neo. There is a 2.5-inch version, though, if the four-inch is too wide.
Of course, the greater width of the strap means that it spreads out weight fantastically. If you have a heavy bass, I cannot recommend this strap enough.
Another brand that is more known for its strings, Ernie Ball also makes a variety of guitar and bass accessories. Among those accessories are surprisingly good straps, such as the Ernie Ball Polylock.
The strap has everything you should expect from a sturdy, comfortable bass strap. It has a nice and thick foam core and is a comfortable three inches wide.
The neoprene material of the strap is fairly soft to the touch. You won’t have to worry about the strap cutting into your neck.
Overall, the strap isn’t much to look at. It also only comes in black. If you are looking for a strap with a bit of personality, the Polylock probably won’t be the strap for you.
The standout feature of the Polylock is its locking ends. These are to lock the strap to the strap buttons on your bass.
Having these on the strap itself is great because it means that your strap won’t slip off unexpectedly during a song. This also means you don’t need separate strap locks that can be a hassle to remove.
The Polylock makes it easy to remove your strap. So, if you switch instruments during a gig, you can easily unhook the strap and put it on your second bass. All while knowing that the strap will lock into place.
I have seen some people online claim that the strap locks aren’t compatible with every instrument. I had no issues using it but is something to keep in mind. You should be able to easily find out from the retailer you are buying from if the strap locks will work with your instrument.
The strap locks, as well as the loops, are plastic though. While they do feel solid, I am always wary of plastic over a few years of extensive use.
6. KLIQ AirCell
The KLIQ AirCell is quite the unique strap. It does a few things differently and is quite unlike any other strap on the market.
The first thing I noticed with the AirCell is its shoulder pad. Where other straps use a thick foam core, KLIQ has gone for a different approach.
The AirCell uses KLIQ’s AirCell technology. These look like a series of small knubs on the shoulder pad that rests on your shoulder.
At first, the AirCells do feel a bit awkward on your shoulder. But after about five minutes I stopped noticing them and the strap just sat incredibly comfortable on my shoulder.
Weight is spread out quite nicely and made my rather heavy bass feel much lighter. The AirCells actually spread weight more evenly than just a regular thick foam pad. The shoulder pad is also long enough so that it covers enough of your shoulder and back.
The strap does have a little bit of a stretch to it. On my bass, the strap sat tight, but you might experience a bit of that “bungee” effect on a lighter instrument.
The strap feels high quality, with solid neoprene and stitching. It does have plastic loops, though, but that is fairly common for a strap in this price range.
The AirCell is one of the more customizable straps out there. It comes in a variety of colors if you don’t just want the plain black look.
You can even go further and buy just the shoulder pad of the AirCell. You can then use any strap that isn’t wider than two inches with the shoulder pad.
This opens up the possibilities for customization even more. This also means you can use a strap with metal loops instead of plastic. The shoulder pad comes in both a quick release and a slide version.
The KLIQ AirCell is a very unique and well-made strap. It is definitely one of the best straps around today.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Bass Strap
Although there are certainly more exciting pieces of equipment for bassists than their straps, their importance shouldn't be overlooked. Being comfortable on stage, recording, or rehearsing is essential.
The more comfortable your strap is, the easier it is to undertake long playing sessions. This will directly affect the amount of time you dedicate to practicing bass, due to the improvements in stamina and reduction of fatigue.
Choosing the right bass strap depends on a few factors.
Firstly, you need to establish the ideal length that you like to have your strap set to. This will depend on your height, but also on your preferences.
Having a strap that is set too low or too high will significantly affect both your comfort and your playing ability.
In the past, I’ve picked up a friend’s bass and wondered how on earth they manage to play it with such a long strap. Likewise, I’m sure that they would think my strap was set far too short!
The second thing to consider is strap width. Most bass straps have either a 3 or 4-inch width. A 4-inch width is ideal for heavier bass guitars, as they evenly spread the weight across your shoulder and prevent you from getting tired.
There is a basic principle of physics at play here and that is: Pressure = force / area
In simpler terms, as the force (the weight of your bass in this case) remains constant, the larger the contact area (in this case, the width of the strap) would be, the less pressure you'd feel on your shoulder.
The final consideration when choosing the best bass guitar strap for your requirements is the material that has been used to construct it. Most straps are made from a combination of materials to blend durability with comfort.
Inner cushioned layers are common and are usually made from foam or neoprene. The outer material needs to be more robust to ensure that the strap can handle the tension without breaking or slipping off your shoulder.
Choosing the right bass strap for your personal needs is essential in the long term. You can get away with playing bass using a poorly made strap for a little while, but it is likely to cause issues later down the line.
Hopefully, you've now got a clear idea of the type of bass strap that will provide you with ultimate comfort and stability!