My search for comfy straps

Discussion in 'Accessories [BG]' started by JimmyM, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Buying straps was so much easier before the shoulder pain started when I was 40. I literally could use anything short of a chain for a strap and never have pain. When the pain started, I got interested in comfy straps right quick. These and a couple others that got lost over the years are what I've tried.


    Levy's MSS2-4---4 1/2" wide. Overall, the most comfy straps I own. Padded and not grabby, but still stay in place pretty well. They don't feel stiff on the shoulder, but are stiff enough to distribute the weight out across your shoulder without pulling down hard in the middle. Not the lightest straps ever made, but not nearly as heavy as they look. They get a bit sweaty on a hot summer Florida day, but really, they all do. Wish they didn't wrinkle so much, but like the head of Levy's told me when I asked him about it, he wished his face didn't wrinkle :D

    Levy's MSS2---3 1/4" wide. Kind of like the MSS2-4 without looking so orthopedic. Didn't like it at first because it was a lot stiffer than the MSS2-4, but once I broke it in, it got a lot better and isn't bad at all. Can't use it with my heaviest basses for too many days in a row, but I try to because it looks cooler than most.

    Italia 5" wide leather strap---To be fair, I got this one 10 or 11 years ago when Italia was offering them for $25 on Ebay, so I don't know if it's indicative of the quality of all their straps, especially the ones that cost a lot more. But it's heavy, stiff, and hard, and hasn't loosened up much in years of trying to get it to break in. The stiffness doesn't bother me, but the weight and hardness does, especially on the edge nearest my neck. Not the worst strap, but I'd put it 2nd from the bottom.

    Slapring Slapstrap---4" wide, padded. Is not bad at all. A little bit harder feeling on the shoulder than the MSS2-4, but still pretty comfy and stiff enough to distribute some weight off of your shoulder blade. I especially dig how the tail attaches with velcro. Never once had it pull loose. Pretty high price on it these days but I got in while the gettin' was good. Bonus points for looking cool.

    D'addario Padded Bass Strap---3". A real sleeper. Didn't expect much out of it, but it's super light and surprisingly comfy for a strap made with seat belt material. It's a little annoying at times...the padding floats inside a tube of seat belt strap material and doesn't stay put very well, and after a while, the length adjust buckle starts slipping on them. Still, it's way more comfy than I expected, and while not THE most comfy strap ever, it has a high comfort-to-dollar ratio.

    Comfort Strapp---3 3/8" wide. I know a lot of folks love these things but I hated it. The padding may be wide and thick, but the seat belt strap that holds it together is 2", and that foam is so mushy that the seat belt part digs right into the old shoulder blade as much as a plain 2" seat belt strap.

    I've also got an old 3" leather strap that's very broken in that I can't find at the moment, and it's not bad, though it pulls down in the middle more than I'd like. I've also tried a couple neoprene straps whose brand names escape me. Not a fan...too bouncy.

    Anyway, that's how my shoulder reacts to these straps in case anyone cares...YMMV.
    Sands, Andy V., jchrisk1 and 5 others like this.
  2. WillyW

    WillyW l’art pour l’art, fonction de baise Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2019
    I’m told getting old sucks.

    I have a couple of the older italia’s and the newer ones are much softer/better. I think all mine are 2.5”

    Once straps get wider than 2 or 2.5” The width adds a whole new dimension of discomfort for me.

    I have this Uber expensive Gibson strap that I would say I hate, but “hate” is not a strong enough word.

    Most of my basses aren’t super heavy so I have a whole mess of ACE 2” straps that I love.

    My 51 slabside is heavy and I haven’t found the right strap for her yet. But I haven’t searched too hard.

    My 6 string Warwick is so heavy I don’t think anything short of a forklift will allow me to play it standing.

    I really like the adjustment slide type, as I adjust the strap accordion to my mood.

    I have a box full of those weave to adjust leather straps... ahh misspent youth.
    JimmyM likes this.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Wouldn't say getting old sucks, but you do notice things happening that weren't happening before, and things that happened a lot when you were younger tend not to happen quite as much. The turning gray does suck, though. And the losing of hair, but that ship sailed for me by age 22 so screw it :D

    I hear you on the weave-to-adjust. I don't mind it so much anymore, though. I'm pretty set in my ways now.
    Groove Doctor and WillyWonka like this.
  4. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    Ah man I'm glad you mention this, I thought I was the only one who had doubts about these straps - I've used one for years and I've always found it to feel much less comfortable that it appears, I thought I was doing something wrong or not getting it but the shoulder blade thing is a real thing for sure.
    JimmyM and P_Robyn like this.
  5. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Jazz & Cocktails

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    I’ve had good luck with the black leather Franklins - I can usually find them at GC or other stores, I think they’re around $40 and 3” so wide enough for weight but not too wide to scratch my neck (MY neck, not the bass neck).
    musicman556 and JimmyM like this.
  6. Skybone


    Jun 20, 2016
    How about "despise"? That's a good word to use.

    Always used a plain leather 3" wide strap up until relatively recently, sitting at a desk on a computer really doesn't help either. Went for the Mono Betty, very happy with it.
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. I have also used Comfort Strapps (currently still have a couple) but even their XL is somehow just never long enough for me. I have often wished that somebody would make a little extension piece that you could use to make the strap just a tad longer. Then it would be more comfortable on the shoulder, too.
    JimmyM likes this.
  8. jallenbass

    jallenbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Comfort-wise I've had the best luck with the Neotech Mega Bass and Mono Betty. I don't like leather straps because they don't have enough give.
    TNCreature and JimmyM like this.
  9. BLDavis

    BLDavis May the Tort be with you.

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    Those 4.5" Levys are the shizzle. I have two of them and they sure make a three hour gig more bearable. I just Have to remember to get them out of the case when I get home and let 'em dry or things get funky, in a not-too-good way.
    P_Robyn, Jason Hollar and JimmyM like this.
  10. We are all different.

    Wide straps cut into the side of my neck and leaves red marks, even with collared shirts on. If they sit out too wide they press on my AC joint and really aggravate my busted AC ligaments and I can’t hold my arm out. So wide leather straps are completely out for me. That’s my unique anatomy & where straps seem to sit on me.

    Comfort strapps suit my body on lightweight basses, but with basses over 9lbs and that 2” section cuts into my traps.

    I hate neck dive more than I hate the weight of a bass. It drags my shoulder blade forward and causes upper back & neck fatigue/pain. Some people don’t even notice it.

    So for me, lightweight well-balanced basses & a Comfort Strapp and I’m good to go for 4 sets.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
    Corto14, JRA, P_Robyn and 1 other person like this.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    That is the truth! Let 'em dry, Lysol 'em down, ready to soak with sweat another day :D
    BLDavis and Jason Hollar like this.
  12. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Re: the Italia strap, I recently bought a 4 1/2" one from a fellow TB member, and it's super soft and supple. SO comfortable. I suspect it's a much newer one than yours.
    JimmyM likes this.
  13. I've found Mono Betty straps to be very good. Well made and comfortable.
    Clark Westfield likes this.
  14. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central New Jersey
    I agree, all Basses I have rock the Mono Betty.

    P_Robyn and JimmyM like this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Dig. That's a major reason why I can't use the 5" Italia. It will really scratch my neck. But the Levy's straps are nice and padded on the sides so they don't scratch my neck. And my AC joint's still good...just the shoulder blade itself is screwed. I'd go thinner if mine was out to lunch for sure.
  16. Morrighan

    Morrighan la Contessa Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2015
    Isle of Everywhere
    Osteoarthritis and related conditions in my left shoulder lead me down a path to a more comfortable strap before I completed the physical therapy that largely alleviated the pain. So. More straps than basses here, and a couple views that reflect my experience.

    TL;DR the most comfortable straps I've found contour the bones in my shoulder. This


    came new with my Stingray 41 years ago and is comfort zone perfection for me. It doesn't slip, it breathes, it's set and forget. Except it's 41 years older now, and it shows.

    Franklin offered a very similar one with a main body made from a horse's cinch. Snagged one while they were still available and it sees a lot of use. Looks a lot smarter than the manky one above.

    Simple suede straps work well for me too, as they contour better to my shoulder better than the 1evy's style heavy padded straps. The leather straps that work best for me are bespoke straps of a single piece of leather cut to length.
    P_Robyn and JimmyM like this.
  17. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Those are the best for me. Especially with suede backing. Soft and they conform to my body. Just the right amount of grab. I don’t even know if any of my basses have neck dive, they stay where I put them.
    MonetBass, P_Robyn and JimmyM like this.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I'll tell you, the suede backing...not a fan. My Italia has a suede backing and I attacked it with a wire brush and sandpaper till I got it to smooth out enough for me. Sticks to my shirts otherwise. Some people dig the grabbiness...not me.
    fauxtoe and Groove Doctor like this.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    So I found the 3" leather strap that was missing, and boy, that's a really supple piece of leather! It should be as old as it is, too. And all the comments about newer Italia straps being really soft made me jealous. So I found some Murphy's Oil Soap and I've been hitting the strap with it occasionally since last night. I can't say it didn't make a difference, but as much as I've put on it so far, I expected more. And I was really hoping that the edges would become softer, but that doesn't seem to be happening. That's one stubbornly stiff piece of leather...way more work than I expected. That said, it has loosened up a bit. Maybe there's hope.
    Morrighan likes this.
  20. RoketRdr


    Nov 7, 2019
    For the past 2 months I've been playing with the Gruv Gear David Ellefson Recoil strap and absolutely love it. Can play for hours without any pain and the adjustability is second to none. You can get them in 2.5" or 3.5". I use the 3.5 and it works perfectly for me.
    mikewalker and Morrighan like this.