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

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Fig. 9. Each Schaller Security Lock consists of an integrated screw and button, a locking mechanism that attaches to the guitar strap, and a washer and nut used to secure the locking device to the strap.

Strap-locking devices. There are many different types and brands of locking devices on the market, but as I mentioned, my client wanted Schaller Security Locks (Fig. 9) for his SG. Once you’ve selected your locking hardware, it’s crucial you measure the length of the included screws that go into the body and subsequently attach to the locking mechanism. In a moment, we’ll see why.


Fig. 10. Comparing the length of the stock SG screw and button (left) with the Schaller screw.

The work begins. Installing the Schaller button on the SG’s lower bout was easy because it was already pre-drilled for the original strap button I’d removed. Because the Schaller screws with their integrated buttons were longer than the original Gibson hardware (Fig. 10), I redrilled the hole to the proper depth using a 7/64" drill bit. So far, so good.


Fig. 11. The Schaller screw is too long for the SG’s neck joint—it might hit the truss rod.

Ah, but the other strap button was a different story. On SGs, Gibson typically installs a strap button on the back of the guitar, right behind the neck joint. After I removed the stock button and measured the depth of the Schaller screw against the SG’s neck joint (Fig. 11), I realized the screw would penetrate too far and possibly hit the truss rod. Yikes!

This left me with two choices: see if I could use the original hardware, or shorten the supplied Schaller screw and integrated button. Fortunately the Gibson button fit inside the Schaller locking mechanism, so I decided to reuse the original screw and button, rather than shorten and rethread the Schaller screw. Once again, I included a felt washer between the body and button.


Fig. 12. Attaching the Schaller Security Lock to the strap.

Loading the strap. One of the features that makes the Schaller system so secure is that the locking mechanisms attach to your strap. It’s simple: Slip the strap-lock base into the strap’s slit. Place the included washer over the device’s shaft. Using a 9/16" deep-well nutdriver, tighten the nut over the washer (Fig. 12). This makes it nearly impossible for the locking mechanism to slip out of the strap. Rinse and repeat.

To mount the strap to the guitar, simply pull up on each lock’s post, slip the lock onto its respective button, and release the post to lock it to the button.

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