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Thread: No strap button, no problem

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    A year or so ago I asked how to install a strap on an A style mandolin that didn't have a strap button on the tailpiece. I got several responses and I've used most of them. Here are two examples of how I installed straps that might help people still asking the question.

    The first is the "Frank Ford" method of adding a strap button to the third screw on the Waverly style clam shell tailpieces. It would work with any of the clam shell types. Being a bit sticky about these things I searched until I found the right buttons. All Parts sells a Nickel plated "Gibson" style button. I bought a set. The screw was a Phillips head and too long so I went on a search to find oval head nickel or stainless screws with a slot head to better match the age of the instrument. I found a chrome plated slot head screw and that was acceptable. You won't find them at your Home Depot, check a large older Ace Hardware store. Here's the button mounted on the tailpiece.



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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Here's how I mounted the other end of the strap on a mandolin with an elevated fingerboard.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    If you don't want to install a strap button you can use a method like or similar to this:
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    If you don't have an elevated fingerboard you can attach it like this:
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-07-2019 at 11:13am. Reason: Error discovered after 12 years or so
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  9. #5

    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    Now I can see the usefulness of the scroll on F-style mandolin (I have one).

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    I have a late 1960s Martin & Co. Mandolin with a two piece cloud tail piece and no strap button. There seems to be one screw attaching the tailpiece and I wanted to know if I, a novice knowing nothing about the construction/assembly on instruments, can get a screw-in strap button and replace the original screw without damaging the instrument or decreasing the value. If so, is it as simple as taking out one screw and putting in the other?Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm a good musician but know very little about vintage instruments. I'm a violinist, but recently decided to branch out into mandolins and after shopping around a bunch of music stores, I found this one at a pawn shop. The pick guard was peeling up away from the body so I had that replaced (but kept the original one in case it has some value.) I'd be happy to hear any useful information you guys may have about it such as value, if parts look original or not, etc.Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    The pickguard on old Martin mandolins will always shrink at a different rate than the wood. It usually cracks the instrument on older models where they actually inlaid the pickguard into the top. Be happy it just pulled up. They should be replaced. The old one isn't going to add any value. That is the standard Waverly cloud tailpiece that came on that mandolin.

    There are actually three screws attaching that tailpiece. You can see the top two peeking out from behind the strings. That's the same tailpiece on the two examples I listed above. I use this nickel plated Gibson style strap button when I add them to these but I get a shorter slot head screw so it looks right.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    Here is an updated link to the strap button I use. Make sure you use a smaller screw than the one supplied.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    If you don't have an elevated fingerboard you can attach it like this:

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    I've never cared for this approach. It looks haphazard, disorganized, and just plain not neat. I always put my loop just above the nut. If the strap or loop is thin enough it won't get in the way when in first position. And it just looks neat.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

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    This is what I do. I have posted this before, but here you go. I find, for me tying at the nut gets in my way. I do like the balance of a strap on the neck over the body. I have mandolins with a strap button on the heel but I take them off. My attachment has no knots, and can be moved to any tuner, doesn't even have to go around the back, for slight adjustments. I think it looks neat too.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    I think any strap attached to the headstock looks haphazard, disorganized, and just plain not neat. This was an example for people that needed to know there was an alternative and I'm sure they could figure out they could put it anyplace else in that area. I found that next to the nut it got in my way. Personally, I'd loop around the body for an elevated fretboard extension or add the strap button to the heel but that's not what this thread was about.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
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    This is what I do. I have posted this before, but here you go. I find, for me tying at the nut gets in my way. I do like the balance of a strap on the neck over the body. I have mandolins with a strap button on the heel but I take them off. My attachment has no knots, and can be moved to any tuner, doesn't even have to go around the back, for slight adjustments. I think it looks neat too.
    If I put a strap on this is similar to what I do.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    ... but that's not what this thread was about.
    Indubitably, incontrovertibly, indisputably. Well played, sir.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: No strap button, no problem

    [QUOTE=MikeEdgerton;1835868 but that's not what this thread was about.[/QUOTE]

    I agree the first post was about not having a button on the tail of the mandolin. Your second post was how to tie it on the body of an elevated fingerboard. Where as someone posted a headstock attachment, whereas someone else commented they didn't like the looks of the headstock attachment. I posted an alternative headstock attachment method. I personally don't like how tying around the body supports the mandolin, nor do I like the way a loop under the fingerboard looks, nor do I like a strap button on the heel. To each his own, but you were first to post the fingerboard attachment so I disagree this post, as started by you, showed both. A couple of us added alternative methods, well within the confines of this post I believe.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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