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Review: Ernie Ball Polypro strap

Many years ago, one of the music stores in town used to have a rack full of Ernie Ball Polypro straps in every color. Above the rack was a picture of Eric Clapton with his trademark Stratocaster and a Polypro. The caption read: “If it’s good enough for Eric, it’s good enough for you. 59 crowns including tax.” I would tend to agree. On a more philosophical note, it is simple and unadorned enough that it doesn’t distract from the guitar, instead it recedes into the background and keeps your instrument and what your hands are doing with it in the foreground. On a more practical note, it is a guitar strap, period. It does what it should do and does so at a bargain-basement price.

I used Polypros for a couple of years, mostly because they were long enough back when DiMarzio’s straps weren’t. It doesn’t have so much to do with trying to look cool as the simple fact that I am 200 cm (6’7″) tall and straps are made for guitar players of average height. I loved the feel and the simplicity of the design. I still enjoy the straps greatly, but since I got back to the ClipLocks, my Polypros live with my acoustic guitars. For me personally, that just works better. There is nothing wrong the Polypro per se, it was just that I got tired about worrying about them in a live setting. I used those little twisty strap locks, but they started popping off during shows and I had to go hunt for them during the breaks. (I kept forgetting to bring spares.) On a Fender, you get a bit of extra security because of the way the strap wraps around the top horn. On a Les Paul, the tension pulls away from the strap lug, which is a recipe for… unexpected things.

 
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Posted by on 9 November, 2014 in gear, review

 

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Review: DiMarzio ClipLock strap

The tie has always been the standard, classic gift for guys. For guitar players, the equivalent has to be the shoulder strap. It is funny in a way that I am about as uninterested in straps as I am in ties. The difference is that in the latter case, it is something that I do for the hell of it, tolerate a few hours of discomfort to look good at the annual company Christmas party. And in the former, it’s because I know what I like and what works and nothing else has ever worked equally well. So for you people out there, if you want to get me a birthday or Christmas gift, get me something other than a strap, because if it isn’t a DiMarzio ClipLock, I simply will not use it.

I’ve used DiMarzio Cliplock straps almost exclusively since the beginning of the 90s: one white but mostly black. I only stopped using them for a few years because my old one wasn’t long enough to put my Les Paul into a comfortable enough position, and went straight back as soon as DiMarzio started making them longer. In my experience, they take the strap completely out of the equation. You may still worry about breaking strings, frying a tube, having a wild and wooly party-goer bump into your mike stand, giving you a fat lip in the process. But you never have to worry about the strap coming off in the middle of a song. It’s just there, all the time, so you can concentrate on other things. I also particularly like the feel of theĀ seatbelt-type nylon. It is slippery enough that the strap doesn’t get stuck on your shoulder, but not to the degree that it slides all over the place.

I have four complete assemblies, one for each of my electric guitars. I do know that DiMarzio supplies the end pieces separately, so you can save a few bucks by buying one complete assembly and one end piece set for every other guitar, and then switching the strap between the guitars. It wasn’t a huge expense, so I didn’t bother with that solution. I basically have to have four different lengths anyway to keep all my guitars at the same height. The straps live on the guitars constantly, even at home, which has the added advantage that the little end piece doesn’t flop around when I sit down on the couch to practice or record.

The one and only problem I’ve encountered with the Cliplock is affixing it to the guitar in the first place. The screws seem to be a little bigger than the standard strap button screws, which is all and well, but they’re also longer. On one or two of my guitars, the DiMarzio screw hit the bottom of the pre-drilled hole in the guitar, so I had to unscrew the darned thing and add a washer or two between the strap end and the guitar body before retrying.

 
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Posted by on 8 November, 2014 in gear, review

 

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