Best Guitar Strap Lock System Review – The Top 10 Winners!

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Best guitar strap lock system - A guitar with a pad lock.

This article will help you choose the best guitar strap lock system for your type of guitar and playing style. If you use a guitar strap, protect your instrument from accidentally coming loose and hitting the deck with potentially catastrophic results. I am speaking from experience here, so keep reading to learn why.


Les Paul Guitars And Gin Do Not Mix – It Could Happen To You Too!

A stressed-out man

It was back in 1980 or 1981, and I was standing on stage at the Mississippi Jazz Club in Rome, Italy, playing the last set of the night. I reached down with my left hand to grab the Tanqueray gin and tonic I was nursing from the top of a short table when disaster struck. The guitar strap attached to the front end of my Les Paul let loose!

I watched the guitar neck hit the stage floor and break just behind the headstock, powerless to stop it with my other hand. I was too horrified to be embarrassed. Luckily the guitar was a Japanese Les Paul copy that I had purchased used in Rome for less than 100 US Dollars. A friend, who was also a luthier, repaired the damage, and I still have that guitar today.

Les Paul guitar damage
The point of impact

Since that fateful night, I have used some type of guitar strap lock system to protect my most prized possessions unless I play “couch guitar.” I have tried many types of locking systems over the years. Some are better than others, but they are all better than no protection at all!

You probably think something like that will never happen to you, but then again, you are reading this article, aren’t you? I know at least three other guitar players with a similar experience, one of whose guitar sustained serious injuries. You don’t have to twirl your guitar around your body like Yngwie Malmsteen or spin around on the stage floor like Angus Young to need a strap lock.


Types Of Strap Locking Systems

A photo showing multiple locks

To begin this guitar strap locks review, let’s look at the different locking systems available. There are essentially three types of locking systems, each of which addresses a method of securing the guitar.

Most people choose a lock type based on cost, ease of application, and the number of guitars they will use the same strap on.

Each type has its own pros and cons. You may ultimately need to experiment a little to find the type which works best for your individual situation.

Two-Piece Mechanical Systems

Two-piece mechanical systems use a device that attaches to your strap and the guitar by way of a mechanical linkage. This is a great option if you use one strap for several guitars because this type of locking system connects and disconnects very quickly.

The downside can be the cost, they do not work well on all guitars, and you may have to drill holes in your instrument to mount the hardware.

Rubber Washer Systems

Rubber washer systems use a stiff piece of rubber with a hole in the middle to sit snuggly over the guitar strap by attaching to each of the strap buttons. This is by far the most very cost-effective option, and they fit guitars well where a low-profile locking system is required to make the guitar fit comfortably without sticking into your chest.

For example, it will work well on a Gibson SG guitar because one of the strap buttons is behind the guitar on the neck joint, where a low-profile strap lock is required. Be careful not to “pop” the washer off while you are playing because these guitars are notorious for breaking where the neck is glued into the body!

This system does not typically work well for sharing one strap between several guitars because it can take a while to lock and unlock the washers. The washers may also become loose over time, which can compromise their ability to safely lock the strap into place.

If you have a separate strap for each guitar and never remove the washers, this locking system is an excellent option. Remember to routinely inspect the washers and replace them at the first sign of wear.

Locking Guitar Straps

Locking guitar straps offer an “all-in-one” solution to securing your instrument. They are essentially straps that have a built-in locking mechanism at both ends. There are multiple varieties available that will work with your guitar type.

Some models simply attach like a regular guitar strap but offer a more secure fit on both ends, which allows you to use one strap on multiple guitars. If you require a more secure strap, then choose a model that screws into your guitar in place of the strap buttons.


Two-Piece Systems

Here are the four two-piece locking systems that I recommend you have a look at.

Schaller S Locks

Schaller S Locks Guitar Strap Locks And Buttons

My first set of two-piece strap locks were Schallers, the original ones made in 1981. S Locks is their updated version and the sturdiest of their competitors. They are made from hardened steel with a beefed-up one-piece strap lock button coupled to a self-tapping screw.

They have sturdy lock wheels with a lock screw to keep them in place. These lock wheels replace the washer and hex nut configuration on the older model. The lock thread length has been increased by more than 60% to accommodate thicker guitar straps.

They come in nickel, gold, chrome, black chrome, satin chrome, satin pearl, ruthenium, and vintage copper. I think this is the best two-piece mechanical locking system on the market if you have the extra cash.

Here is a YouTube video from Schaller that summaries their S Lock system.

https://youtu.be/IfabI5K4xN8

Dunlop SLS1031N Straplok Dual Design Strap Retainer System

Dunlop strap locks

Dunlop is a great company that has been around for years. They make products that are well-designed and passed down through generations of guitar players. Their strap lock system has a reputation for being “tried and true” among guitar players.

These locks are quick and easy to install and feature a push-button release design that makes changing guitars during a performance effortless. They are durable, and Dunlop claims their locking system is tested for up to 800 pounds. I have used them in the past with no problems at all.

Be aware that some guitar and strap modifications may be required during installation. During my installation, I had to drill larger holes in my Strat to install the strap button screws and enlarge the holes in my leather strap to make it fit. Thick guitar straps may be difficult to attach properly.

Ernie Ball Super Locks

Ernie Ball Super Locks

Ernie Ball has always been one of my favorite makers of strings and guitar accessories. I have used their strings on most of my guitars. Their locking system is sturdy and well designed with a bold logo on the top, which looks cool from any angle.

The strap lock button mechanism has a four-post design that requires a double push on each side to avoid accidentally releasing the lock. It is available in nickel, gold, and black. Installation is fairly straightforward.

This system might not work well on guitars that require a lower-profile lock design. Separate strap buttons are not available.

Fender Infinity Strap Locks

This is essentially Fender’s version of the Ernie Ball Super Locks product. It uses the same dual “side-pinch” safety release mechanism.

Fender Infinity Locks

They have super-cool eye-catching “f” logos and come in black, gold, chrome, and red. If you are putting these locks on a Fender guitar, I think the fender logo will look much cooler than the one on the Ernie Ball lock. Other than that, the Fender and Ernie Ball locking systems are pretty similar.

As with the Ernie Ball product, this system might not work well on guitars that require a lower-profile design. Separate strap buttons are not available.


Two-Piece System Comparison

Here is a chart that compares the four types of two-piece mechanical locking systems.

Two-Piece Locking SystemProsConsApproximate
Cost
Schaller S LocksSchaller S Locks1. Best in class
2. Low-profile design
3. Accommodates thicker straps
4. Silent design
1. Pricey
2. Separate lock buttons can be difficult to find
3. May require special
tools to install
$30
DunlopSLS1031N
Straplok
Dunlop strap locks
1. Quick & easy installation
2. Convenient push-
button release design
3. Holds up to 800 lbs
1. Strap button drilling may be required
2. Thick straps may not fit well
3. May need to enlarge strap holes
$18
Ernie Ball Super Locks
Ernie Ball Super Locks
1. Well designed
2. Cool bold logo
3. Double unlocking mechanism
1. Bulky large-profile may not fit all guitars
2. Separate strap lock buttons not available
$18
Fender Infinity Strap Locks
Fender Infinity Locks
1. Essentially the same design as Ernie Ball
2. Super-cool “f” logo
3. Double unlocking mechanism
1. Bulky large-profile may not fit all guitars
2. Separate strap lock buttons not available
$15

My Purchase Recommendation

If you have the extra cash, I would definitely go with the Schaller S Locks system. It is the highest quality and most versatile of the group. If you want to spend less, you can’t go wrong with any of the other three products.


Rubber Washer Locking Systems

If you are trying to decide which rubber washers to use then here are four types I recommend.

Fender strap blocks

Fender Strap Blocks

Fender Strap Blocks come in a pack of 4, with 2 black and 2 red. They have “Fender” written on the washers in a circular pattern. They are fairly stiff and are not easy to get on and off for a quick strap change. If you share one strap between multiple guitars, this is not a good locking system to use.

It’s not really that difficult to “pop” the washers off your strap buttons if you handle your guitar aggressively. You need a two-piece locking system or a lock strap that screws directly into the guitar If you like doing “guitar acrobatics”.

Ernie Ball Strap Blocks

Ernie Ball strap blocks

This is Ernie Ball’s answer to strap blocks. They also come in a 4-pack of two black and two red.

They are a little more flexible and, therefore, easier to apply and remove than the Fender Strap blocks. They may be more likely to pop off than the other rubber washers, especially during aggressive play.

I have tried these washers, and they worked ok for me, but I do not typically do much moving around, even when taking a solo.

Brightvision (“Grolsch” Style) Strap Blocks

Brightvision strap locks

These strap locks are often called Grolsch locks because they were named after the rubber sealing washer on a bottle of Grolsch beer. Brightvision claims to be the originator of this type of strap locking system, and they are still made in the USA. They come in a 6 or 8 pack and are available in a mind-boggling number of colors, including “ebony black, “burnt orange,” “daphne blue,” “Cadillac brown,” “translucent pink,” and a multicolor pack.”

They are the oldest brand of rubber washer locks and have been used for decades. Brightvision claims that they can be removed very quickly and used “indefinitely.”

Stew-Mac Strap Stoppers

Stew-Mac Strap Stoppers

Stewart-MacDonald is THE go-to source for tools to build and repair guitars. They make the highest quality products imaginable that are very functional in all respects.

Their Strap Stoppers are no exception. They come in both standard and jumbo sizes (for fluted Fender-style strap buttons).

I have bought their products for over 20 years, and it’s hard to find something on my guitar workbench that doesn’t have their name on it.


Rubber Washer Lock Comparison

When it comes to rubber washer systems there is not much difference between various brands.

Rubber locks are prone to loosen up or break when removed and reapplied repeatedly. Do not use these locks if you like doing “guitar acrobatics, or they will come off!”

They may fit acoustic guitar strap buttons that have built-in guitar cord jacks.

Rubber
Washer
Product
ProsConsApproximate
Cost
Fender Strap Blocks
Fender strap blocks
1. Have a cool “Fender”
trademark around
the washer

Pack of 4 (2
black and 2 red)
1. May be prone to
tearing with
prolonged use
$3 (4 pack)
Ernie Ball Strap Blocks
Ernie Ball strap blocks
1. A little more
flexible than
other rubber
locks
2. Easier to apply
than other lock
types

Pack of 4 (2
black and 2 red)
1. May pop off easier
than other types
of rubber locks
$4 (4 pack)
Brightvision Strap Blocks
Brightvision strap locks
1. Available in the
most colors
2. “Tried & true”
reputation
3. The original strap
blocks
4. May last longer
than other types

Pack of 6 or 8
1. Somewhat stiffer
than most types
$8 (6 pack)
$10 (8 pack)
Stew-Mac Strap Stoppers
Stew-Mac Strap Stoppers
1. Known for their high
quality products
2. Jumbo size for fluted
Fender-style strap
buttons

Pack of 4 (all black
or all red)
1. No free shipping
unless you spend
a minimum amount
$6

My Purchase Recommendation

Since cost is really not an issue here, you can go with any of these high-quality products. I would personally choose Stew-Mac because you can’t really go wrong with anything they sell. If you are looking for crazy color choices, then check out Brightvision.


Locking Guitar Straps

These straps are a great option for players that want the fit and feel of using a regular guitar strap that has more security against strap detachment. They come in two basic configurations.

The first type is straps that normally attach to the strap buttons. The second type is straps that screw into the guitar for maximal security.

D'Addario lock strap

D’Addario Planet Lock Strap

The D’Addario Planet Lock Strap is a wonderful choice for a locking system that attaches securely and is easy to connect and remove. It has a patented “ratcheting” lock system that gripes the original strap button that came preinstalled on your guitar.

Just attach it the way you would put on a regular guitar strap and turn the ratchet on each end until it stops.

You are limited to using a D’Addario strap since it is an “all-in-one” unit. Fortunately, the strap comes in various colors and materials, including polypropylene, tubular nylon, polyester, and leather.

DiMarzio Cliplock Guitar Strap

DiMarzio ClipLock strap

The DiMarzio Cliplock guitar strap is ideal for guitar players who use one strap for each guitar and are willing to leave it permanently attached. This strap replaces both strap buttons, which you remove, and screw the ends of the Dimarzio strap directly into their holes.

The majority of the strap can be easily removed with the two clip locks on either end, while the remainder of the strap stays attached. This allows you to substitute the strap with another color or design and makes the guitar easier to handle during cleaning or when you play sitting down.

The strap comes in a variety of colors, materials, widths, and graphic designs, including nylon, cotton, elastic, and “Italian leather.” The synthetic material straps are very lightweight.

After I broke my guitar neck in Rome (described in “Les Paul Guitars And Gin Do Not Mix”), I used this strap (in black nylon) on my Olympic White 1970 Strat and still have it attached. It might seem a little paranoid, but I wasn’t going to take any more chances!

If you like to like to do on-stage guitar acrobatics (or grab stuff off short tables) then this is by far the safest locking system for you.

I might not screw this strap into a high-priced vintage guitar but I would not hesitate to use it on anything else.


Locking Guitar Strap Comparison

Here are a comparison of the two locking guitar straps that I recommend.

Locking
Guitar
Strap
ProsConsApproximate
Cost
D’Addario Planet
Lock Strap
D'Addario lock strap
1. Fits on most strap
buttons
2. One strap can
be used on multiple
guitars
3. Ratchet locking system holds strap button securely
4. strap available in
multiple materials
1. Doesn’t release as
quickly as a two-piece
locking system
2. Limits you to using
a D’Addario strap
$12 and up

Cost depends on the
strap material
DiMarzio Cliplock Guitar Strap
DiMarzio ClipLock strap
1. The most secure
strap for “guitar
acrobatics”
2. “Cliplock” design
allows removal of most of the strap
3. Comes in many
materials and graphic
designs
4. Very lightweight
1. Strap ends are screwed into the guitar’s strap button
holes
$25 and up

Cost depends on the
strap material

My Purchase Recommendation

I love the D’Addario strap for all-around use because it’s easy to connect and fits guitars that need a low-profile lock, like a Gibson SG. If you want a strap for just one guitar with absolutely wicked graphic choices, then check out the DiMarzio line!


Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts On The Best Guitar Strap Lock System

A guitar strap locking system is something you should seriously consider if you play guitar in a standing position, especially if you play live and like to move around aggressively on-stage.

Two-piece locking systems are ideal for players who use one strap in a live situation for many guitars because they attach and detach quickly and securely.

Rubber washer strap locks are a good low-cost solution for players that keep their strap attached to the same guitar and don’t use stage acrobatics when they play.

Locking guitar straps are a great “all-in-one” choice for players that like to keep it simple or need strap security with some degree of versatility.

There are guitar locking systems for every playing situation and budget. Please don’t wait, like I did, until you have a potentially costly guitar mishap. Get yourself a locking system that will allow you to play with peace of mind and confidence.

Now that you know how to protect your guitar learn all the adjustments you can make to keep it in tune. See How To Keep An Electric Guitar In Tune.


A rock band of figures made from nuts and bolts.

Tell Me What You Think

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts or leave your own personal review. I really want to hear from you about strap locks!

If have any questions about these products I will be happy to help you!

  • Do you currently use a strap locking system? Which one?
  • Do you like the locking system you are currently using? What do you like about it?
  • Would you purchase a strap locking system after reading this article? Which one?
  • Have you had any guitar mishaps when using a non-locking strap? Tell me about it!

About Frank


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4 thoughts on “Best Guitar Strap Lock System Review – The Top 10 Winners!”

  1. Wow, I had no idea there were so many different things out there for keeping your strap on. Must be a common issue–I wouldn’t really know–after all these years I still can’t play standing up, haha. I guess I have never really been required to do it, so never got used to it. It seems to be so natural for others, but for me couldn’t be more awkward…:D 

    Reply
    • Hi, Stragglewise

      I appreciate your comments!

      I play sitting down a lot these days, as well. Your body position can totally change your playing mechanics, which is why it’s important to practice each song standing up if you play live.

      I enjoy playing in the comfort of my home studio or playing a little “couch guitar” while watching my favorite TV show or movie.

      In any event, I’m glad you learned about guitar strap locks. You never know when they might come in handy. 🎸

      Frank

      Reply
  2. As someone that has dropped his bass many times, I’m so glad to finally find one of these for myself! This is the reason I’ve always been afraid to do too many antics on stage out of fear that my strap wouldn’t stay firmly attached. If Ernie Ball is good for my strings then I see no reason to doubt their locks as well. Definitely the choice for me

    Reply
    • Hi, Stevie

      Thank You for your comments!

      I’m with you all the way. I love Ernie Ball and have been using their strings on my guitars for years! Their strap locks are top-notch. Once you properly secure your guitar, then you can have more fun with it.

      Keep on playing!

      Frank

      Reply

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