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Guitar Shop 101: How to Install Standard and Locking Strap Buttons


Fig. 5. Measure drill bit depth, then mark it with a red Sharpie.

Gauging drill bit depth. With the screw inserted into the button, measure the depth needed for the screw and mark your selected drill bit with a red Sharpie (Fig. 5). This way, you’ll know how deep to drill the hole. If you drill too far, you could hit the neck pocket. But if the hole is too shallow, you could crack the heel when you install the screw. Measure carefully and get it right.

Fig. 6. Drilling the hole. Don’t rush—let the tools do the work and keep an eye on that depth mark.

Drilling the hole. This is where all your measurements pay off. Remember, you don’t have to push hard—let the drill and bit do the work. You simply control the process by keeping the bit aligned and watching the depth (Fig. 6).

Fig. 7. Countersinking the hole with a Phillips screwdriver.

Before you insert the screw, use a medium-tip Phillips screwdriver to countersink the hole you just drilled (Fig. 7). This prevents the finish from chipping around the hole when you insert and tighten the strap-button screw. After countersinking the hole, install the strap button with a small felt washer between the wood and metal. The washer prevents the strap button from marring or denting the finish and wood, and it looks nice.

Fig. 8. Place a felt washer between the neck and button, then slowly tighten the screw until
the button is flush to the neck heel.

Voilà—a correctly installed strap button can add utility to a steel-string guitar (Fig. 8).

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