Consider the humble guitar strap. It has a simple but important job: keeping your axe on your shoulder rather than on the floor. It seems like a fairly straightforward gig, but there are a lot of variables that go into matching the right strap to the right player, like length, width, material, and, of course, the how-cool-do-I-look-with-this-thing-on factor.
One of the coolest strap companies out there right now is Heavy Leather NYC, which markets hand-made straps to the discerning guitar players of the world. It should be obvious, but leather straps are the thing here, and not your garden-variety thin low-grade numbers, either. Heavy Leather straps are heavy duty, made of thick leather that will stand up to decades of gigging, and they are also some of the coolest-looking straps a player could want. Strap guru Rachel Becker combines her attraction to leather and heavy metal music (two sides of the same coin, really) in the designs of her straps and it is obvious that she knows what guitarists want and need.
Becker sent two sample straps to us here at Gear Vault to inspect, rumple, and fetish and they have been quite a hit. One, which is tagged the “Ballroom Blitz” is classic black leather covered in reflective metal squares over its front surface. K.K. Downing of Judas Priest, this one is for you (actually, he already uses one). The Blitz positively oozes rock and roll attitude and is very comfortable to wear at the same time. The other strap is dubbed the “Back In The Saddle” and is made of beautiful tooled brown leather with three of the nicest conchos this reviewer has ever seen on the front and is a perfect choice for all the kick-ass cowboys out there, be they real or pretend.
Both straps are made of two pieces of leather joined together by a large buckle and the buckle also handles their length adjustments. Heavy Leather also does custom work, so if you have something in mind that you can’t find, Rachel will be happy to make you the guitar strap of your dreams. These straps are not cheap, but good things seldom are. The thing of it is, these straps will give their owners 20 years of service easily and will still be rocking the house long after a cheap nylon job will have been tossed in the trash.
Heavy Leather NYC must be doing something right, as a growing number rock stars can be seen wearing Becker’s unique “guitar armor” on stages worldwide in addition to K.K. Downing, including Lemmy, Eric Peterson and Greg Christian of Testament, and Kim Mcauliffe of Girlschool. Heavy Leather makes a premium product, one that deserves be more visible in the marketplace. If all this sounds like something you have to get in on, visit heavyleathernyc.com for all the straight skinny. The straps are also available on eBay, as well as in select retail location in New York City. Go ahead; treat yourself. You deserve it.