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Thread: Straps for A style mandolin

  1. #1

    Question Straps for A style mandolin

    I have a Loar A style mandolin. Currently, I have the strap connected to the single strap peg at the end of the body, and tied underneath the strings on the head above the fret board. This positions the instrument well , but the strap is interfering with my fingering of the strings on the fret board. It would much better if I could attach both ends of the strap on the body, like you can with an F style. Can you add a strap peg without damaging the instrument? If so, where would be the best place to add the peg?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Strap buttons are easily attached to the 'heel', the bit of the neck where it is attached to the body. I would still get a luthier to do it, though.

    In the meantime you could trying tying it diagonally across the headstock, under the strings. If you route it between the two G string posts and diagonally over to between the A and E posts in the middle of the treble side of the headstock, you'll get the strap away from your fingering in first position. I personally prefer a button on the heel.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I have a strap for my Ellis "A" style. It can also be used on an "F" style as well. The one i have is made by 'Pinegrove Leather' in the UK. With the current $/£ ratio,you could do worse that buy one,
    Ivan
    http://www.pinegroveleather.co.uk/Le...p/pg161050.htm Instead of going around an "F" style scroll,the thong goes under the fingerboard extension. Rod Boyes,the maker,has already sold several to US customers.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    That's a beautiful, versatile strap at a great price.

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  7. #5
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Hi Ron, like you I have a The Loar, and like Ivan, I use PGL straps. They're great.

    I attached a strap button to the side of the neck. I like them there, after having tried attaching at the headstock and tying it under the extension. It works for me because it pulls the mando in against your body.

    As it's a very nice but not expensive instrument, I did it myself. I marked where I wanted it with a centerpunch, then covered the spot with a bit of masking tape so as not to shatter the finish when drilling. I then drilled a pilot hole to depth, and followed with the proper diameter.

    If I had Ivan's Ellis, I might have taken it to the luthier!!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I go through the string post to keep my real estate intact.

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    f-d
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    You'll find people who are viciously opposed to fitting strap buttons at the heel and those who are viciously in favour.

    In my mind,straps tied at the head get in the way and straps tied under the fretboard at the heel love look a mess. The neatest solution is a button at the heel although there are people who claim to spend most of the time playing above the twelfth fret and that they still get in the way.

    Some top-end mandolins come with one installed from new, my Kimble A for one, and this ought to tell you something. Unless you have a mint condition, totally original, vintage instrument, I'd find something else to worry about.

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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I had the same question not long ago and installed a strap button on my A style. I had already decided that's what I wanted to do, so this thread was about how to do it: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...=1#post1511593

    I bought a strap button and felt washer from Elderly Instruments for $2 and followed the method above. It was easy, but if you don't feel comfortable drilling into your mandolin, take it to a luthier.

    I don't know why some people are so opposed to this. It does not harm the mandolin in any way, you can't even see it, and it does not hurt the resale value. I added a strap button to my Silverangel and ended up selling it for only $100 less than I bought it. It sold in less than a day so in retrospect I could have gotten the full price. No one asked if there was a strap button on it.

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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I am with fatt-dad, hate it when there is a strap button on the heel. I play up the neck and it is in the way just like tying it by the nut. I have done the headstock method for at least 30 years and it has, and still works well. When I get a mandolin with a button in the heel first thing I do is take it out.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Well it makes a sense if you have an expensive collectible mandolin not to put a strap button into the neck block. That being said getting used to a strap attached by running a strap under the strings at the headstock end while difficult, for me, was not impossible. On a more modern instrument I would attach a strap button because it is what I prefer as I am used to that. I have had no issues playing up the neck with the strap button on my A where it is located in the neck block. This is another one of those to each his own mandolin questions. Like using a capo........ R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    My 90 year old A4, I tie the strap end around the middle of the headstock, so as to not alter the mandolin I simply borrow from the future owner.
    writing about music
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    The OP has already stated that he's wishing to add a strap button. So his questions are whether or not the strap button damages the instrument, and where to install it. Adding a strap button definitely does not damage the instrument. And the pictures above and the pictures in the thread I linked to show where to install it.

    Everything else is personal preference. Different people like to attach the strap in different places. Some people think the strap gets in the way when tied at the headstock and others don't. Some people think the strap button at the base of the neck gets in the way and the others don't.

    Sure, if you have a $100,000 collectible instrument, you may want to think hard about it before adding a strap button. But I'm assuming the OP is talking about a "The Loar" mandolin and not a 1920s Loyd Loar Gibson.

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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Let me clarify my previous post. You definitely could damage your instrument if you try to install a strap button at the base of the neck and you do it wrong. For example, you can slip with the drill bit and mar the finish, you could fail to pre-drill a pilot hole and split the wood, you could put it in the wrong spot or at the wrong angle and screw into the truss rod, etc.

    So you need to be careful, and when it doubt take it to a luthier, but when done correctly it does not damage the instrument.

  18. #14
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I saw in the Stew Mac site, what is is essentially a threading tap to cut the threads into the wood,

    So the actual screw, that holds the button on , does not wedge into the wood
    with any spreading force..

    the hole being prepared in advance , and so makes splitting the wood more Unlikely.

    (looked around, just now, they don't seem to show it any more )


    Tool Making...
    take a wood screw just like you will use to secure the button, and with your dremel tool grind a slot lengthwise
    in such a manner that there is a cutting edge to the threads ..


    when cutting metal there is a process of cut, back out the tap , clear chips ,
    then cut a little more . 1/2 step forward 2 steps back..

    It may also be a way to approach wood threading..


    My A with a strap button is Carbon, Mr Mix put the button on. ,

    For the button on the heel of my Guild Guitar I gave the job to a technician..



    ...







    ...
    Last edited by mandroid; Jan-26-2017 at 3:07pm.
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    Got Buckstrips? Jerry Byers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I found this strap awhile ago and it works great. The loop is small enough to fit under the strings, just above the nut. It has never impeded with my playing.

    Pete Schmidt Handcrafted Fabric Mandolin Strap

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    2015 Collings MT2V "Grace"

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  20. #16

    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I had this dilemma with my Silverangel. It had a nice turned wood endpin. I wanted a heel strap button that wasn't metal. A wood with pearl inlay dot strap button set me back $30. Then I ordered a Bailey strap. Not a cheap solution, but looks and works great.

    Bailey straps are great.
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  21. #17
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    From bbcee - "If I had Ivan's Ellis, I might have taken it to the luthier !!''. I you had my Ellis & valued it as much as i do,you'd never have had a strap pin screwed into the neck. My Ellis was 'used' when i bought it & had a bass guitar strap pin screwed into the neck. The head of it is 3/8" in dia. It was in my way & i removed it. I'd have removed it anyway.
    Using a strap fitted under the f/board extension is so easy & leaves the mandolin ''as new''. Not all future owners appreciate holes drilled into their instruments by others.

    From Stevo75 - "The OP has already stated that he's wishing to add a strap button." . Maybe because like me at one time,i knew of no other way until i saw a pic. of a ''strap-under'' fitting = enlightenment !!,
    Ivan
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  22. #18
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Yep for an A style I'm a strap button guy. It just sits right for me. Never in the way. Holds the mando in a better place with my physique than those coursed through the headstock or those looped under the fretboard extension. And bbcee showed it right in post 5. Put it on the bottom (eside or treble side) of the heel and before placing hold the mando as you would play it and place the button where it wont interfere.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  23. #19
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Stew Mac has prettier ones.. http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_...ap_Button.html

    the past they had some with a blind hole and a screw that did not go all the way through, so on my guitar,
    the wood color of the button matches the finish color, close enough to blend in..

    but the new ones with a head to the screw undoubtedly are easier to install.

    Seen on the website there is a conic to flat spacer washer, and the button is counter bored..

    so the force is just holding it on , not also spreading it out, like a countersunk screw might do..
    with a conic edged hole in the button.
    (which works fine with metal buttons)




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  24. #20
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Those ones from Stew Mac are definitely nicer than the one I got from Elderly. And not much more expensive.

  25. #21
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    For a short (yet too long a time), I had a mandola that needed its crudely installed metal strap button - quite possibly from a bass - replaced.

    I found a super nice one Made in USA from ebony (they have cocobolo too) on Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/Iluak-Ivory-I...ap+button+wood

    BTW I just bought a new Ellis A5 Special and I'd just as soon put a strap button in my own neck...

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  27. #22

    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    I prefer the heel-button method for an A. it provides better balance to the instrument, since the center of gravity is close to the attachment. As well, it positions the mandolin to promote low tension playing, and good posture.

  28. #23
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    For a mandolin with a strap pin on the underside of the neck,try this :- Place the mandolin on it's side on a flat surface,with the strap underneath just as it would be if you were playing it,& pull on the strap. The mandolin will rotate forward & fall on it's face (top). It has to, as you're trying to pull the pin at the front towards the back - the only way it can do that is to 'rotate'.
    If i do that with my 'strap under' config.,the mandolin lifts straight up.

    From dschonbrun - "..the center of gravity is close to the attachment...". The centre of gravity is nowhere near the strap button. The C of G lies within the mass of the body/neck combo. above the strap pin. A ''centre of gravity'' is defined as ''the point around which the mass of a body will rotate, & around which the mass of the body is equally distributed = NOT the strap pin.
    The only reason that the mandolin doesn't fall forward when you're playing it is that your body prevents it from doing so.

    Establishing C of G's & moments of inertia in moving bodies (aircraft),working in the Aerodynamics dept., was my job for 15 years. Plenty of examples on YouTube,
    Ivan
    Last edited by Ivan Kelsall; Jan-28-2017 at 3:07am.
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  29. #24
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    My Rigel A came with a strap button attached to the heel. I find the Long Hollow strap perfect for both the instrument and me.
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  30. #25
    Registered User Al Trujillo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Straps for A style mandolin

    Regarding the straps from Pinegrove: Does he have a dealer in the US that carries them?

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