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Clever solution to neck/shoulder issues aggravated by bass weight

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by monsterthompson, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    My friend just invented this clever product for guitarists with shoulder/neck/back issues. It is a belt strap, instead of going over the shoulder (though there is a shoulder version too). Two years ago, I broke my neck in a cycling accident, and was fully paralyzed from the neck down. Thanks to good luck, and great doctors, I am back walking again, and playing bass. However, my left shoulder and arm are still very weak, so standing to play has been a challenge because of the strap pressure. I recently played my first live show since my accident, and I had to sit while playing to get through the performance.

    I switched from a Warwick Thumb 5 to a 4 string P and a Dingwall ABZ5 to get lighter instruments. I've also been on a buying rampage of lighter amps/cabs to help with loading in/out. While those changes have been helpful, this has the most powerful direct impact on my ability to play live shows. I just got the hip/belt strap and it feels great to stand and play bass without the instrument weight being a hinderance. I though I would share, since I doubt I'm the first guy to have neck and shoulder issues.



    Slinger Straps "Hip Strap" Guitar Strap - YouTube

    Sorry if this is a bit spammy, and/or in the wrong sub-forum (mods, please redirect to a better place if needed).
  2. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Congrats! Glad you're able to play again and in moderate comfort. From the video, it looks a bit low for me - some bassists play a bit higher up.

    Good luck to you and thanks for sharing.
  3. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    The instrument height issue has been noted and discussed. It seems like the nature of playing in the higher region of the torso makes this product not a viable option for all players.

    Since it is a friend who is making them, I was able to provide some input and get a custom adjustment and fitting. He's taking that feedback into consideration.

    As you might imagine, the shorter strap length (from the belt to the horn) limits the range of adjustment, and the amount of belt adjustment limits the range of waist sizes that can wear it. It is a wide range, but not one-size-fits-all. The belt strap also requires a mount on the lower horn, which is different from bass to bass. That will change the neck angle on the bass too, so picking the right mounting location is key.

    It does also move the pivot point to below the instrument center, so if you let go of the bass, it will try to flip over forward. My P bass "leans" forward, but doesn't flip all the way, since the base of the bass rests against my legs.

    It has some limits, but I think the benefits are there for a large enough group of players that he could do well in the market.
  4. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    Wait, this requires mounting hardware to be installed into the bass?

    Wouldn't that absolutely destroy resale of any bass it's attached to?

    I could benefit tremendously from a gadget similar to this as I have a pinched nerve in my left shoulder which causes my left hand to go numb when the strap is on that spot.

    But there's no possible way id even consider attaching anything to the body of a 62 Fender Jazz Bass.
    Maybe a Squier, nope not even s Squier I can't be sure the person I sell it to will want or need this.

    Or is it something non permanent?
  5. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    You need to drill a hole for a strap mount on the lower horn. Not major surgery, but a mod indeed. I flinched for a second at the thought, but the ability to stand and play was worth more to me. Luckily, I have a Nash aged P, so the finish isn't pristine to begin with :D

    There is also a combo belt/shoulder version that removes some of the pressure, but not all. That version requires no mods and works with existing mounts.

    Strap mounts are just standard mounts (I'm using Dunlop Duals).
  6. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    I guess if it was a must the need to play would become more important than the possibility of a future sale.
    I don't think I could do it though, I'll just have to stick with the oversized comfort straps or resting it over the boney portion of my shoulder.
    That seems to help a lot.
  7. Cool idea. But adding a strap button is not going to happen for me. I wonder if some kind of soft/furry strap-type material could be attached to the Slinger strap, then be run around the lower horn (or something attached to the neck plate for bolt-ons) and back to the top horn strap button, but without interfering with upper neck access. That might solve the extra strap button issue.

    But I'd still have to wear Urkel pants to get it at the right height!
  8. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I've got long term neck and shoulder problems too.
    I've tried similar waistbelt straps of my own manufacture
    but this is the clever device I've settled on to alleviate the problem:
  9. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I just started using a Slinger Hip Strap on two of my basses (Variax 5 string, and MM knockoff) and it's working well. I installed flush mount straplocks for them.

    I used a Fender Go-Around waist belt strap in high school. It worked well, but with the Slinger, no screw eyes in the back of the bass are necessary.
  10. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
  11. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    Slinger also has a strap that incorporates the hip strap AND a shoulder strap. The shoulder strap anchors on the upper horn conventionally, and in the middle of the back on the waist/hip strap. I mounted my hip strap on a new flushmount strap lock socket about 2" below my normal straplock, on the butt end of the bass.

    I have tried using BOTH the Hip Strap and my bass strap, but could loosen the shoulder strap quite a bit, relieving the stress on my shoulder (Neotech 4" strap) and it is quite comfortable. This does make the bass feel more normally hung, but I'm getting used to the hip strap alone.

    Yes, it is a little lower. Yes, I don't have quite the mobility. Yes, it does press against my upper right thigh and the bass tends to want to pitch forward. But there is more possible movement than I originally thought. I've not gigged with it yet, but I have used it at church services and practices. I do like it.

    I did use Fender's "Go-Around Waist Strap" in the late 60's. It mounted on screw eyes installed on the back of the guitar. (Don't ask how the screw eyes chewed up my guitar case.) The Fender strap was leather, and wider in the back. It was more comfortable than the Slinger. The guitar didn't pitch forward, or press on my right leg. It felt quite natural, BUT you had to decide your neck tilt, because once mounted, it stayed in the position you put the screw eyes in. The Slinger allows more movement, and you can adjust the neck tilt by adjusting the longer strap on the butt of the guitar/bass.

    We'll see how the next gigs go (after the 1st of the year.) I do think I'm sold.
  12. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    The added screw is the only downside for the hip strap.
    I'm curious how much of a difference the combination hip/shoulder strap make in weight transfer, or rather perceived weight.
  13. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    I don't have any neck issues, but my back starts to hurt after playing for a length of time. I've thought about a strap that puts the weight on your waist like a hiker's backpack strap, but I don't really want to put another hole in my Alembic. The Sling strap might be the answer. I also wonder how much weight it takes off your back, and would like to be able to adjust the strap length.
  14. Helaskold

    Helaskold 100% Mediocre

    Jul 22, 2012
    Austin, TX

    How about a G-Girdle-uitar?
  15. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    I asked about the Sling Strap, which has a strap that goes around the shoulder and also around the waist. It sounds pretty good. I'm thinking seriously about going for it. Here is Tom's response.:

    The amount of weight that is displaced depends on the model of the bass. I
    found on a J Bass that it put 3-4 pounds on the hip. the strap also helps
    hold the neck still so neck dive is resolved. Regarding adjustments, the
    shoulder strap adjust as well as the Heel Strap to give you options on
  16. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I've been there in person when he does the weight distribution demo. He actually has each end of each strap connected to digital scales so you can see the effect of the strap placement, and so you know the shift he's talking about isn't just a guess estimate.
  17. rapidfirerob

    rapidfirerob Fusion rules!

    Once I find out about guarantee, I'm most likely in on the Sling Strap.
  18. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Two straps , one regular and one connected to upper bout twice under left arm and around your neck.
    adjust accordingly.
  19. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Hey monsterthompson. I am so glad to hear that you have recovered. I didin;t know that about you. After many years of playing organized tacklel football and a couple of auto accidents I too suffer with neck and back issues. After a 4 hour gig I can hardly bend over to load out. I have played gigs with pain patches, muscle relaxers, pain killer and a couple of shots to numb the pain. And sometimes when I play hard all of a sudden my right forearm or left arm and hand will go numb. I have played through it but was scared as hell. I thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke. It's actually nerve pinching and damage. I have cut back on my playing out because of it. This is one of the first times I can rememebr where I'm not gigging for the holidays. It sux.
  20. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Thanks! I get better daily, but my show last night reminded me how far I have to go. I train hard to get better every day.

    Funny thing is that now my band has decided that our stage show looks creepier if I play sitting in a wheelchair. Now that I have a way to stand and play, image has me back in the chair again. Oh, irony. :)

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