Why no straps?

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
MessyTendon
Amateur luthier
Posts: 1688
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Why no straps?

Post by MessyTendon » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:46 pm

It seems the footstool or suction cup supports are quite favorable. I know some early instruments were used with straps. Why has the strap not been more utilized in classical playing.

Scot Tremblay
Luthier
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Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Why no straps?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:51 pm

There have been some interesting discussions on this over the last year or so. A search might turn up some good answers.

But for a short answer....Almost all Non Spanish guitars until well into the 20th century and many Spanish instruments up to about Torres time (some Torres too) came equipped with buttons in the end block and usually a hole in the head stock (sometimes a second button somewhere) to accommodate straps. This is evidence that many players used them at least occasionally.

As to why they aren't used with classical guitar these days, one word, tradition. I don't think we can underestimate the power that was the early 20th century Spanish guitar invasion, starting with Llobet, Segovia, maybe even Tarrega. For good or bad (and I won't get into this topic, it's been flogged to death), these guys and a few others pretty much set the tone for what was to become the "Classical guitar tradition" as we know it.

I became accustomed to straps when I started playing 19th century guitars many years ago. The little guitars are just too uncomfortable for me to hold with the traditional footstool (it has to be set very high). I found the strap to be very practical and actually much more versatile than footstools or any of the other contraptions on the market for holding the guitar. Many claim that the strap makes the guitar feel unstable...I don't want to rehash what has been said in previous threads on this but...nonsense, I say :sage: Give it a decent try and you will be a convert...especially if you play chamber music. Standing with a strap (and off centre) is actually a good position for the guitar in chamber situations. The guitar voice is separated from the orchestra or other instruments by height also its sound carries better from a higher position and doesn't get lost as easily in the blend.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why no straps?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:51 pm

MessyTendon wrote:It seems the footstool or suction cup supports are quite favorable. I know some early instruments were used with straps. Why has the strap not been more utilized in classical playing.
Thanks for this question!
I play with strap for ages and promoted it here a lot.
I recorded more than hundred albums with guitar on strap.
Therefore from my point of view - strap been utilized a lot (in my work).
Many folks do not use it?
That is their choice.
As Scot wrote - because of "tradition".
I think it is even more than that.
People naturally have "Religious" way of thinking.
Majority like to follow Great Teachers, Prophets and Gurus...
and just a few may question everything and follow their own ways.
Great Teachers of guitar chose not to use strap and to sit in inconvenient ergonomically bad pose.
Everybody follow and will follow.
Because even to question Ways of Great Teachers is a Heresy...
That is why people will continue to sit and will try to remove buttons for strap in case if they were installed in guitars they purchased...
Straps are Taboo...
So as long playing in sitting position will be considered only proper and true way of been classical guitarist people will dismiss straps as signs of belonging to something else, not classical guitar anymore.
So Straps are doomed to be used by few rebels like me... and ...Scot? :)

Scot Tremblay
Luthier
Posts: 4217
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:18 pm
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Why no straps?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:55 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:...So Straps are doomed to be used by few rebels like me... and ...Scot? :)
And revered masters like David Starobin for one... :guitare:
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why no straps?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:00 pm

Scot Tremblay wrote:
AndreiKrylov wrote:...So Straps are doomed to be used by few rebels like me... and ...Scot? :)
And revered masters like David Starobin for one... :guitare:
Oh Thanks Scot!
Good to know that you are not alone... :)

skipintro
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:18 pm
Location: Derbyshire

Re: Why no straps?

Post by skipintro » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:50 pm

I've been asking "why no strap?" for five years now and nobody has given me an answer - beyond that it is a tradition supported by Segovia and others.
In fact they make holding a classical guitar very positive but easy and relaxed. I've got them on all mine - including my Yamaha GC41.
An end to teetering on a little footstool and having to sit up straight, with associated cramps. The guitar is very firm/stable and can be held in the classic position, or easily varied with small changes in angle, or swung away from the body, as required.
The rest of my body is free to move and/or relax as necessary and playing is much easier. I can even stand up and play! OK I look like a mariachi without a sombrero but that's fine by me. And they play some brilliant virtuoso guitar music

SteveL123
Posts: 944
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:05 pm

Re: Why no straps?

Post by SteveL123 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:05 pm

I installed strap buttons on my guitar and I vary my playing positions from straps to sitting with the Kris Barnett support, to standing with my DIY support next to a table. The only position I haven't used is sitting with a foot stool (because I do not own one :mrgreen: ). I have no plans on buying one either. I do want to play in that position sometimes and have plans on making a "foot rest" that attaches to one leg of my wooden stool that is adjustable in height. I'll post pics if it works.

Kurt Penner
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:27 am

Re: Why no straps?

Post by Kurt Penner » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:57 am

I have strap buttons on my 7string McConnell (Romanillos style). When I use the strap, by back is very much more comfortable than when playing seated; I feel like backs need to move to be healthy. Also the guitar naturally falls a bit more to the right of my torso and angles the neck forward. This works well for me.

However, I cannot achieve the necessary right hand precision for fast accurate tremolo or arpeggios. The hand simply can not lock into position as precisely as when I am seated. So I use the strap more for variety. Most of my practice time is seated with a Barnett support.

Kp

hpaulj
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:02 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Why no straps?

Post by hpaulj » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:02 am

Enrica Savigni, a young Italian guitarist, plays a romantic era guitar (smaller body) while standing up, with a strap. In her videos this mode of playing is both effective and fun. Giuliani and Mertz appear to be her favorite composers.

oc chuck
Posts: 456
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: orange county, ca.

Re: Why no straps?

Post by oc chuck » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:21 am

Sometimes, just walking around the house or apartment while
playing just plain feels wonderful.

Sometimes "why" is beside the point....

User avatar
georgemarousi
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:10 am

Re: Why no straps?

Post by georgemarousi » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:32 am

Personally, its 100% a practical matter.

OK, I used strap playing my electroacoustic with the band at old times. But now, I would never put myself in the process to play "Un sueno en la floresta" with a strap! I just need great guitar stability at all directions ( stability for me is to lock in between legs and chest ) to be accurate on that - personally I repeat :)

ps. my teacher uses it a lot in a cheap guitar of his, at home, especially when woriking on PC! very handy ;)
Paulino Bernabe Especial 2009
Ramirez 1A 1980
Pavlos Gypas 1989
Panagi Brothers 1970
Juan Martinez nr 55 2014 (the comeback)
Yamaha cg 110 1988 (the 1st)
--
2014: the comeback

JaWi
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:59 am
Location: HH/germany

Re: Why no straps?

Post by JaWi » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:42 am

Jens Wagner, he was my Professor at Bremen, always plays with straps. He has "invented" a second strap to stabilize the horizontal movement of the guitar. It´s very nice and easy to use. If you are interested you can google him, and i´m sure he will answer your questions.
Jochen Röthel (Zeder/Palisander, 2004) and Gerhard Schnabel (Fichte/Rio, 1984).
You can listen recordings on my website (Koyunbaba, Ponce Sonate III, Catedral and Konfrontation).

Victoria Ferrell
Amateur luthier
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:09 am
Location: Vacaville, California

Re: Why no straps?

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:02 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:51 pm
MessyTendon wrote:It seems the footstool or suction cup supports are quite favorable. I know some early instruments were used with straps. Why has the strap not been more utilized in classical playing.
Thanks for this question!
I play with strap for ages and promoted it here a lot.
I recorded more than hundred albums with guitar on strap.
Therefore from my point of view - strap been utilized a lot (in my work).
Many folks do not use it?
That is their choice.
As Scot wrote - because of "tradition".
I think it is even more than that.
People naturally have "Religious" way of thinking.
Majority like to follow Great Teachers, Prophets and Gurus...
and just a few may question everything and follow their own ways.
Great Teachers of guitar chose not to use strap and to sit in inconvenient ergonomically bad pose.
Everybody follow and will follow.
Because even to question Ways of Great Teachers is a Heresy...
That is why people will continue to sit and will try to remove buttons for strap in case if they were installed in guitars they purchased...
Straps are Taboo...
So as long playing in sitting position will be considered only proper and true way of been classical guitarist people will dismiss straps as signs of belonging to something else, not classical guitar anymore.
So Straps are doomed to be used by few rebels like me... and ...Scot? :)
Andrei,

I have to concur, we humans do have religious thinking. We follow the master to the end. I believe in developing our music...in developing ourselves, we must learn to make our own decisions. If it works for you, do it. If it does not, discard it. AT some point, we have to grow up and learn to make the decision...all decisions...for ourselves. My music is not mine if it is merely an imitation of someone else. I have to have a personal investment in why i choose the pieces I choose, the posture I choose, etc. Ultimately, each choice has to be made because it carries a meaning for me, personally.

I do appreciate that many guitarists before me have learned the best way to hold the hand so we can properly use the fretboard. Things as simple as an angle can completely alter the way you play. Their hard work, trial and error, have reduced some of my own. Together, we can accomplish so much more. :discussion:

Straps feel awkward for me personally but I am developing an idea for a support which allows one to play while standing. I will post pics when it is done. Thank you for your post. I feel you spoke to the heart of the issue.

Victoria
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

AndreiKrylov

Re: Why no straps?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:30 pm

BreathingSince72 wrote:
Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:02 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:51 pm
MessyTendon wrote:It seems the footstool or suction cup supports are quite favorable. I know some early instruments were used with straps. Why has the strap not been more utilized in classical playing.
Thanks for this question!
I play with strap for ages and promoted it here a lot.
I recorded more than hundred albums with guitar on strap.
Therefore from my point of view - strap been utilized a lot (in my work).
Many folks do not use it?
That is their choice.
As Scot wrote - because of "tradition".
I think it is even more than that.
People naturally have "Religious" way of thinking.
Majority like to follow Great Teachers, Prophets and Gurus...
and just a few may question everything and follow their own ways.
Great Teachers of guitar chose not to use strap and to sit in inconvenient ergonomically bad pose.
Everybody follow and will follow.
Because even to question Ways of Great Teachers is a Heresy...
That is why people will continue to sit and will try to remove buttons for strap in case if they were installed in guitars they purchased...
Straps are Taboo...
So as long playing in sitting position will be considered only proper and true way of been classical guitarist people will dismiss straps as signs of belonging to something else, not classical guitar anymore.
So Straps are doomed to be used by few rebels like me... and ...Scot? :)
Andrei,

I have to concur, we humans do have religious thinking. We follow the master to the end. I believe in developing our music...in developing ourselves, we must learn to make our own decisions. If it works for you, do it. If it does not, discard it. AT some point, we have to grow up and learn to make the decision...all decisions...for ourselves. My music is not mine if it is merely an imitation of someone else. I have to have a personal investment in why i choose the pieces I choose, the posture I choose, etc. Ultimately, each choice has to be made because it carries a meaning for me, personally.

I do appreciate that many guitarists before me have learned the best way to hold the hand so we can properly use the fretboard. Things as simple as an angle can completely alter the way you play. Their hard work, trial and error, have reduced some of my own. Together, we can accomplish so much more. :discussion:

Straps feel awkward for me personally but I am developing an idea for a support which allows one to play while standing. I will post pics when it is done. Thank you for your post. I feel you spoke to the heart of the issue.

Victoria
Sure you should do as you like and as you feel the best for you.
Good luck with it, Victoria!
Strap was a feature that helped me to multiply my efforts and achieve completion of amount of work comparable with the same amount which probably few other guitarists will do in their lifetime.
Very simple.
Was it worthwhile? ?
At least many people like music created . It was convenient and only possibility to me.
For others?
well. everyone should do whatever he/she prefer.
But why do we prefer certain things?
it is another matter.
Philosophy and psychology.
Deep and ancient specific traits of us, humans.
Again - I agree with most of your points!
And , Sure you should do as you like and as you feel the best for you.
Good luck with it, Victoria!

Victoria Ferrell
Amateur luthier
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:09 am
Location: Vacaville, California

Re: Why no straps?

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Thu Mar 08, 2018 7:53 pm

I would love to hear you play, Andrei. Are links to your music on your profile?
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

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