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Strap locks are killing my bass(es)!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Transverz, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Argh, this is the second bass (out of the two) I have that has been defiled by strap locks! What the?!

    Okay, so I use a Levy's leather strap (really comfy, btw) with Dunlop strap locks. They work great...for about a month. Then the button needs to be screwed in once a week. Then once a day. Then it just perpetually will never sit tight anymore. Argh. The absolute worst was when I decided to chance playing it during a show thinking I had it solid, and on the first song BAM! It came off and I luckily had the bass by my left hand instead of taking a major header into the stage. Duct tape saved that show.

    Anyway, point is, should I be looking for an alternative to regular ol' straplocks? I think it's the way the lock attaches to the button and places pressure on the top part of it...rather than say a regular strap that wraps around the button. And I'm rather active on stage (a few jumps here and there never hurt :D ) so I need a pretty secure solution.

    Any ideas? My rhythm guitar guy uses those Dimarzio ClipLok straps (see here) with a Planet Waves "The Squid" shoulder pad (see here). Anyone have experience with the Dimarzio ClipLok for bass? Just worried it might be too lightweight for bass.

    Whatever ideas you got are weclomed...thanks!
  2. Ever try the Schallers? Thats all i used for years...and i never once had a problem with them.
  3. Ralphdaddy

    Ralphdaddy Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Chicago, Illinois
    All you need to do is remove the strap locks, fill the holes with wood filler of some variety, let it dry then redrill the holes using a smaller bit and screw the straplocks back in. Presto, it's all good baby.
  4. tiefling


    Aug 19, 2003
    Washington DC
    I don't think it's a strap lock problem. You'd have the same problem with any strap button or lock. It sounds like the hole is stripped out. There are several ways to fix that....I've never personally done it so I don't have a great suggestion....I'll bet someone here has done it.
  5. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    It's possible that the screws in the straplocks you are using have just been slightly too small for the pre-drilled holes on either bass. I mean, a straplock screw isn't any more likely to pull oot than a standard strap-pin.

    I'd drill oot and dowell the preexisting holes, using a hardwood dowell, then drill a pilot hole that is a little on the snug side, (not too snug though. You don't wanna split your bass open!) After that, you should have some niiiiice tight locks, no matter what brand you choose.
  6. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for the suggestion guys...

    About the brand used, it seems as though the problem is with how the button gets stressed by the pin sitting right on top of it, but hey, I'll give Schallers a try. Or maybe I was thinking it could be that the Levy's leather strap is so rigid that instead of the strap flexing, it's taking it out on the button and the screw? I dunno.

    Regarding the fix, thanks Ralphdady. That's my next plan of action. Though I've gotta ask: Is this just gonna keep happening? Or is a wood filler or glue type fix good for the long haul? I just don't want to deal with that mess anymore.
  7. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    DON'T use woodfiller!

    Woodfiller is not structurally sound AT ALL. It has nowhere near the stregnth that real wood does. It'll strip again in no time, if it dosn't just shatter when you try to drill into it!
  8. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hmm Stevious G, you may be on to something with that "too small of a screw for the hole" thought. Though I re-used the same screw that the original strap buttons used on one my basses and same thing happened. I will check out the dowel method as well.

    And what's all this madness with toothpicks and Elmer's? Sounds scary... :eek:

  9. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Makes me wanna take off my Dunlop locks off my MTD (although I can't seem to remove the damn thing off the strap no matter how hard I yank on that washer thing holding it in)

  10. It works...My Steve Harris sig came to me with stripped buttons...i put toothpicks in and filled the hole with epoxy..let it dry and installed new buttons. Works like a charm and is a pretty solid fix.
  11. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Yep, this is exactly right. The correct method is to drill a larger hole and glue in a wood plug.

    Of course, there is also the toothpick method.

    Lastly, Schaller straplocks are a completely different system than the Dunlops. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Personaly, I prefer the Schaller system myself, but I know that many people are happy with Dunlop straplocks.
  12. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    This will not work, because Schallers use a smaller diameter screw.

    This again has to do with the holes in your bass are too big or when you installed them you over tightened the screws and stripped the holes.
    I have been using Dunlop strap locks for over ten years, and after 4 this started to happen on my main bass, but I caught it before the everyday tightening and put supper glue on the screw threads and in the holes; I have not had a problem sense.
  13. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Schallers on all my instruments. I take the Duncraps right off if the bass comes with them.
  14. kaboom133


    Oct 19, 2001
    Latrobe PA
    Happened to me on a few different basses, the remedy was the same every time and it's held since. I get a toothpick(or toothpicks, depending on how big the hole is) you want the toothpick(s) to be snug in there, so use as many as it takes to fit them in snug. Cut them so that they don't stick out when put in the hole, and put some good wood glue in the hole. Make sure theres enough in there to hold, and it doesn't hurt to coat the toothpicks either. When everything is all glued up, put the toothpick in so that they're snug. Give it a while to dry, a day at the least so that it is fully dry, then re-drill the hole with a bit that is about half of the diameter of the screw. Carefully put the screw back in, tighten it until it is snug, but be carful not to go much farther or it will start to strip the hole again. This has always worked for me, and was how my dad(a carpenteramong other things) taught me to fix stripped holes.
  15. Use Scha's myself, and the screw is smaller than the hole...all i did was throw in a bunch of toothpicks, use CARPENTERS glue and screw the new ones in...good as new. No problems, been over a year now on 2 diff basses.
  16. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    its not the Dunlops, its the oversized hole you may have either drilled into the top horn or enlarged with a wide screw. Not much you can do about that except fill it (toothpick and glue method), drill it out and put in a dowel, or you can get a slightly wider screw (you'll have to grind down the top fo the screw head's width, so it fits into the recess in the dunlop part on your bass. I have had a couple dozen basses with dunlops, and I've never had the problem you have. The shallers are worse, since the female piece (on the strap), grips with friction and sometimes will loosen the part on the bass.

    You stand a MUCH greater chance of damaging your bass if you don't use some type of strap lock than if you do.
  17. I have a pair of .04 cent washers from the local hardware store on every one of my basses instead of expensive straplocks. Just unscrew the post, place the strap between the body and the washer, and screw it back in.

    I've never had any problems, except you can't switch out straps on basses very easily. It works better on thick heavy leather straps than thin...
  18. I vote for Wooden Toothpicks, wood glue and Shaller locks.. never had one problem.
  19. I refuse to use the strap locks that stick out from the end of the strap button. I would never risk the damage to my instrument from having that much torque on the strap button screw. I use ComfortStrapps. They have their own locking mechansim which is basically just an extra hole that you can fold over to hold the main one in place better. Of course, it's a pain to take the straps off so I don't. ComfortStrapps are the best. I have like 6 of them.

    - Dave
  20. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Agreed. I think that's what it is too. The torque of having it placed up high on the button. Plus it's my style of holding my bass and my activity onstage, and probably my strap.

    And yeah, I do have the ComfortStrapp too! Very, very comfy. Two problems though: 1) Not long enough for me (yes, I even have the bass one), and 2) Though the double-strap system indeed works, the holes in the strap got progressively looser, causing me to look to strap locks instead of replacing a strap every other month.

    Seems like everyone is taking the repair and replace strap locks route. No one digs the Dimarzio ClipLok stuff? Looks like a good alternative... :ninja: