If you’re not sure which strap to get for your mando-guitar, this article is for you!
Playing standing up is an important part of playing many musical instruments.
Many love the idea of playing on a stage standing up with your instrument strapped to you in front of a thundering cheering crowd.
And even if that scenario never happens, it’s still nice to be able to play your instrument upright.
Of course, you’ll want an instrument strap if you’re going to play upright.
When it comes to the mando-guitar though, factors like body shape influence which strap will work with the instrument.
Thanks to the influence of the mandolin, the body of the mando-guitar is obviously very different from that of a traditional guitar.
If you check out my piece that outlines mando-guitar bodies, you’ll see there are two major body types for the instrument: F-shape and A-shape.
Like I discussed in my other piece, the main difference is the ornamentation and aesthetics of the instrument.
The F-Body is more more intricately designed than the A-Body.
Furthermore, these body shapes also influence strap choice.
For the purposes of this article, I’ll be discussing the best straps for the F and A-shaped GoldTone Mando-Guitars.
I will discuss straps in the context of Goldtone’s instruments because they are by far the most popular manufacturer of mando-guitars.
However, these strap choices should apply to almost any F or A shape mandolin or mando-guitar.
The Best Mando-Guitar Strap on the GoldTone F-6 (F-Body)
To reiterate from my other article, the F-Body instrument is more ornate in design.
The body is designed with what are called scrolls and points in order to make it more appealing and conducive to wearing a strap.
When you picture a madolin or mando-guitar, you are probably picturing an F shape body style.
The name of the GoldTone instrument simply uses the body type and string number as its name.
The GoldTone F-6 is an F-Body mando-guitar with six strings: F-6.
That said, GoldTone also has an F-12, with twelve strings, which mimic the doubled strings on a traditional mandolin.
When it comes to an F-Body mando-guitar, there is a very specific thing to keep it mind when it comes to considering a strap.
The GoldTone F-6 (and F-12) has a large strap button at the bottom of the instrument, which makes most straps incompatible with this instrument.
In other words, the size of the button on this style of instrument will not work (or at least, won’t work well) with most straps.
Small considerations like button size can have a big impact on your enjoyment of the instrument.
It’s easy to go and buy the instrument thinking it might just work with any strap but it will not.
But there is a very small tool that you can buy that saves this little problem.
It’s called a Strapkeeper.
This tool essentially hooks from a standard or large strap button to a standard strap with a smaller hole for a strap button.
Not only will it manage to fit over the larger button, but it will also keep the strap firmly in place.
Once you have the Strapkeeper, you can use any strap along with it.
I recommend this one.
The Strapkeeper was originally designed to prevent straps from sliding off (as they often do).
However, many instrumentalists have discovered the strapkeeper is also useful for fitting non-conventional button sizes.
Even if you don’t have an instrument with a non-standard strap button size, the strapkeeper is a handy accessory.
I can speak from experience: one time during a gig my strap slipped off my guitar during a guitar solo I was playing.
My guitar slipped right off me and fell flat on its face.
Thankfully, I was playing one of my backup guitars and not my main one, because it did do some (very minor) damage.
And today I can look back and laugh about the experience.
But at the time, it wasn’t very fun.
The Strapkeeper is a great way to ensure that your strap doesn’t slip off while you play.
Speaking of situations like this, here’s a video of it happening to Keith Urban.
He’s playing a great cover of the Beatle’s “Don’t Let Me Down” with John Mayer.
Around the 3:30 minute mark, Keith Urban’s strap slips off his guitar in the middle of a solo.
It was a great solo and the strap slip ruined it! Thankfully Keith made a professional recovery — though he does seem slightly panicked for a second!
Check out the video:
A mando-guitar strap on the GoldTone A-6 (A-Body)
Like with the F-6, the A-6 is named in the same way.
It has an A-Body (tear drop shape) and six strings on it.
As I mentioned in the other article, the A-Body has a simpler, less ornate design.
However, because it lacks a scroll, it doesn’t have a place to put the other end of the strap.
You could use a strap that ties at one end and tie it to the neck of the instrument, but I don’t recommend it.
Tying a strap to the neck of an instrument puts unnecessary strain on the neck.
Keep in mind, even if you do tie a strap to the neck of the A-6 mando-guitar, I still recommend having the Strapkeeper to secure your strap to the enlarged strap button on base of the A-6.
In other words, the A-6 has the same enlarged strap button at its base that the F-6 does, it just lacks the scroll for the other end of the strap.
So what do you do if you don’t want to tie a strap to the A-6’s neck and you don’t want to drill a strap button into the instrument’s body?
Don’t worry, there’s a solution.
You can use a hook strap like this one.
Straps like these use one (or two) hooks that attach to the sound holes of the instrument so you can use a strap without needing strap buttons.
These types of straps are often used with ukuleles, but they can work with A-shaped mando-guitars (and mandolins) too.
I hope this article helps you choose the best strap for your instrument, whether that’s an A or F-shaped mando-guitar.
And of course, if you have further questions or comments, let me know in the comment section below!