Levy's Leathers straps - decline in quality over the years?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by sleeplessknight, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Montana Mountainside
    Hey all, and apologies in advance if this is the wrong forum for this. Some may call me a little OCD, but for all my guitars and basses over the years, there's only ever been one strap for me: the Levy's PM-32 in black. Over the years (starting about 5 years ago, if memory serves) I've noticed that the leather quality has definitely changed, and not for the better. I take a look at the oldest straps I have (about 3 of 'em) and compare them to the newer ones. The older ones are DISTINCTLY softer, shinier to look at, and much more pleasant to handle. The newer ones are stiffer and feel like they're a little on the plasticky side. Only the old ones have "PM-32 Made In Canada" printed directly on them though, the rest had "PM-32" on a white tag that has long ago fallen off.

    My question for the collective is, have any of you noticed a similar change in Levy's straps, and if so does anyone know what happened? I've attached some photos I took of my oldest, most comfortable strap (on the left) next to one of the newer ones (on the right). They look kind of similar, but believe me, the older strap is SIGNIFICANTLY softer and more supple in a way that age and wear n' tear can't really explain.

  2. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Montana Mountainside
  3. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    I haven't noticed anything like that at all (I have 3 MSS2-4 straps as well as a couple gigbags). Maybe it's a different tanning process that goes into their production now? I think the only answer would be from Levy's themselves.
  4. CBRXJ


    Jul 31, 2010
    Apple Valley Ca.
    Could it be that you are comparing a broken in strap to a new strap? Do you remember how soft your other straps were when they were new? I just got my first Levys strap and it seems stiff too but I think it needs to break in.
  5. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Montana Mountainside
    I'm pretty sure it's not a breaking-in issue. The old straps were all pretty soft and supple when new, and I've even had some of the newer straps a long time on basses/guitars I play WAY more often. They're still stiff and plasticky.
  6. Auguste


    Apr 5, 2012
    They have different quality levels

    I find their better ones are as great today as the old one that was given to me by a good friend
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
  8. Stilettoprefer


    Nov 26, 2010
    Leather needs to be broken in to be soft. I make my own straps with stiff belt leather blanks and they loosen up very nicely after a few months of constant use. The one on my guitar is very nice now that it is about a year and a half old, and I'm sure that it'll get better as the years pass.
  9. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I'm going to take some material and some padding to my local cleaners and have them make me a couple of straps. LOL!!!! I'm serious. It will be my own design, thick as I want in the right places and custon fitted. All they have to do is sew it together. Moma San can work some magic.
  10. ProgRocker


    Mar 25, 2011
    Leather does become softer as it breaks in from age and use. A new leather jacket isn't as comfortable as an old one, but it becomes as comfortable in time. If you bought the old straps around the same time, and have just recently bought new straps of the same model, if it isn't a break in period thing (as you claim), perhaps (as others have mentioned) there has been a change in the production of the straps.

    One of my favorite sayings is: "The only constant is change." I believe this to be true.
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I recently have bought two of Levy's high-quality leather straps (like $74 high), and have no issues with the quality - they're just bitchen. They're suitable for use with Foderas.
  12. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I don't use them, but I can see the difference in your photos. The old ones look like leather with heavy duty stitching and the new ones look like imitation with thinner stitching.
  13. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Montana Mountainside
    Don't get me wrong, the 'new' ones are still a very strong, very sturdy strap. They most certainly are not falling apart by any means. It's just the old ones (while still remaining very sturdy) are a lot softer and supple-er in a way that regular wear and tear doesn't seem to explain.
  14. klaus486


    Jun 27, 2009
    portland or
    sales geek Portland Music co.
    I too have an expensive Levy's strap. No problems at all with quality or finish. Very soft and flexible. My problem is that ALL of their straps seem to be made for people WAY taller than me! I had to take mine to a leather seamstress and have it shortened. I guess I'm one of those dorks who holds their bass up high. I told the Levy's rep about it and he seemed genuinely interested in my feedback as a customer.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Mine are not particularly soft and supple - I got the "boot leather" ones. But I like them to be a little stiff.

    I know, I know ...
  16. DingoBlues


    Dec 17, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    Yes! I bought a new M4GF a couple of months ago. My old one from 2007 is way softer and more flexible. It bugged me so much I emailed Levy's.

    I received a reply from Harvey Levy. He said they switched to a firmer backing suede because they were concerned about the integrity of the strap hole.

    The new strap isn't poorly made, it's just too stiff and uncomfortable. I've been trying to break it in faster by flexing and twisting it by hand. It had the Canada tag. Definitely not made overseas.

    I'd still like to try one of their straps that floats on a pad like the pm32 or mss2-4.

Share This Page