30 minute Rash-Free Belt Mod

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JdoubleH, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    So I had a wedding reception to play last weekend, and had to tuck in my shirt AND wear a belt. I've been trying to find a belt-rash free belt and a stroke of genius or something hit me the morning of the gig.

    Note to mods: I'm placing this here in the Luthier forum, simply because the only other one that came up on this subject when I searched is here- AND it is an idea intended to protect the finish of my instruments.

    In a nutshell, it occurred to me that I could add a tab of something to an existing belt which would cover the buckle pin. I scrounged around and found a shoulder strap off a cheap duffel bag from which I could harvest a scrap of nylon webbing. A hole punched in the tab sewn over the vertical part of the buckle could rotate into place over the pin.

    Here's all the pieces of the puzzle (all but the seam ripper I used to un-stitch the clip from the end of the strap)- and yes, that's 550 cord taped to the lighter with 100mph tape (Army habbits die hard):


    Next, we have the tab prepped. As you can see, I cut maybe two inches off the strap, and decided to keep the folded over end that was wrapped around the nylon clip, and duplicate that on the other end.


    I also rounded the ends a bit so there wouldn't be any sharp or rough corners. The ends will be folded over and stitched so they're hidden. I heated them with the lighter to melt nylon a bit to prevent fraying.

    Next, we have the detail shot of the hole, which I punched with the leather punch. I heated the hole a bit to prevent fraying.


    To locate that hole, I just wrapped the whole thing in place on the belt buckle and guesstimated where the pin would line up.

    The next pic shows everything pinned in place, the stitching begins and thankfully not the sticking. I generally suck at sewing, and it usually involves at least a little blood- usually from my finger tips. Being the morning of a gig, I was very careful to ensure the pins weren't sticking out at all, and used a thimble. It's still a wonder I didn't stab myself anywhere really unfortunate - like under a fingernail...


    All done, ready to give it a try:

    Rotating the tab into place:

    And the final result- works as intended.

    The whole thing took me maybe 20-30 minutes. Super simple. First time goes are always good.

    I used it on the gig Saturday night and have used it a couple of times since. Not a hint of scuffing on any instrument. I was wearing a black dress shirt and slacks, and this just totally disappeared into all that none more blackness. It actually looks like it is meant to be there.

    In retrospect, a tab of black leather would look even a little better and might be even a little gentler on the instrument finish, but this is honestly even more subtle than I imagined it would be. Besides, I have no business trying to stitch leather even if I have a leather stitching awl (It seems to have a hard time discerning between my skin and the leather, and quite frankly scares me). I'm still a little surprised just how easy it was, how simple it is and how well it works. Best part is, if I can do it, just about anyone could. Just mind your fingers while sewing and melting nylon!
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I thought about a DIY solution, but ultimately decided it would be easier to just buy one here. ;)
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Very nicely done I think buckle rash is so unnecessary and that easy fix just proves it nice job.
  4. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    Why don't you just wear your belt with the buckle on the side? Start it on your hip, no buckle by your bass.
    Although your mod has some good ingenuity.
  5. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    Wow, cool thanks for sharing. But sadly even though they're remarkably reasonably priced and substantially prettier than my dealio, I'm far too cheap and impatient for all that!
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I hear you, but mine was a birthday present from my wife! Nice job though, and I probably would've taken a stab at doing that myself had you posted this earlier.
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  8. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Yes, this is what I've always done and have seen pics of famous players doing the same.

    It's funny how the "buckle-less" belts are now marketed to musicians, mechanics and movers (3M's?) - that (nice clean) design has been around a long time! http://www.amazon.com/American-Mecha...mechanics+belt
  9. praisebass


    Aug 20, 2009
    I used to stick a tanned Raccoon skin down the front of my britches and play as 'Raccoon in the Pants Man'. It did the job covering my belt buckle back in the day but as I'm primarily a church musician, my wife tells me that's no longer appropriate.
  10. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Since working over sportscar fenders and motorcycles, I've always worn the buckle one loop to the side, and no 'rash' on any of 'em.
    Drove a truck for awhile and had some 'buckles', too.
    But it seems that many don't really care...
  11. JdoubleH

    JdoubleH Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ellerslie, Georgia
    I guess I just got tired of 1. forgetting to wear my belt dork-ways before going on, putting on the bass, aw crap, taking off the bass, re-positioning my belt... all the while the drummer is rolling his eyes and shaking his head... and 2. having the ladies at the bar tell me between sets that I need to find a good woman to dress me, because I can't figure out how my belt's supposed to go!

    Also, these double d-ring woven cloth type belts sort of work (if they work for you) http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=5135&vid=1&pid=451762022

    As for the mechanics belts, I guess I just like belt buckles.

    As for the question, "what's the best belt buckle for bass belt rash?", this one is certainly in the running:
  12. My belt doesn't hit the back of the bass.

  13. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Mine doesn't either. It's tucked under 6" of gut. ;)
    I DO like that "musician's" belt tho!
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Likewise, turns out that there are a few advantages to being fat
  15. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    I don't worry about 'forgetting'-
    I just wear the buckle over a loop ALL the time.
    Doesn't scratch/gouge the bass, the car, the bike, nor the ladies.
    Don't have to worry about forgetting a 'fix either.
    Over 40 yrs of success for free.
  16. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    Yeah this is what I do. I've been asked a few times why, and soon as I say "I'm a musician" the conversation is all about that and not about "the weird belt buckle thing."
  17. Lovin' that Musicians Belt idea.... I'll see if I can knock one together.

    Also, you don't get that bend in the leather at the previous hole, telling everyone that you're gut has grown bigger. :)

    Flipping your belt backwards also works (but a little uncomfy).
    Or I just tuck my shirt in so it COVERS the whole buckle & back up underneath. Looks just fine and dandy.