Product Review Slider Dualstrap Dual Shoulder Guitar Strap
I have a fairly heavy electric bass guitar (Lado custom 5 string from the mid-90s), and I recently purchased a Slider Dual-Strap to help me bear its weight (bought off Thomann). I was ultimately convinced by the Internet adds, which explained that Slider Dual-Straps evenly "distributes the weight of a musical instrument evenly across the back and shoulders while providing optimum balance and support". A very good idea, indeed, if executed properly. In this review, I'd like to share my personal experience with the Slider Dual-Strap. Of course, this article only reflects my own personal point of view, and does not in anyway aim to manipulate consumers into buying or not buying a Slider Dual-Strap.
Slider Straps are known for their ergonomic music instrument straps. They produce equipment adapted for various instruments (ex: guitar/bass, percussion and even wind instruments). Ingeniously, they have conceived a strap system -- now patented -- which allows the X-shaped strap to move freely with the player, in order to give the best support with "as little restriction as possible" (see image below).
A truly brilliant idea. And Slider Straps were very clever in patenting it. But does it work?
Unfortunately for me, this is where the dream ends and troubles begin. In fact, my bass guitar turned out to be so heavy, its weight twists the strap and the loop, potentially wearing out the leather binding. After minutes I become afraid the strain will either rip the fabric or the leather, or snap the plastic loop. Here are two photos describing this incident. The first one shows how the strap should ideally fit into place. The second shows what happens when I put the strap on (note the red markers):
After careful observation, I concluded that the strap was designed for guitars or basses which have their strap button on the back of the body instead of on the tip of the cutaway, despite the statement of universality on the Slider Straps website. Hence, the strap has to rotate 90° in order to attach to the strap button, but that deforms the leather tip. The player would need a jointed or rotating element for it to attach to the instrument correctly, as is the case for the Slider Dual-Straps for percussion, banjo and wind-instruments. Unfortunately, the latter have plastic joints which would never be strong enough to support the weight of a solid wood guitar.
Hence, I was out of luck, and resolved to find other solutions (such as purchasing/making a Y-shaped strap which would finally be more ergonomic or simply using a comfort strap). I thought of handing my Slider-Dual strap to a friend who has a Gibson B.B. King Lucille guitar which, incidentally, has its neck-side strap button on the back of the body. While the strap did connect perfectly to the guitar, it tended to push the instrument into an uncomfortable and unnatural position as it tried to centre it according to both strap buttons. My friend did not like this one bit, and while I believe he could have gotten used to playing in this position, I was ultimately unable to convince him to keep using this accessory. We tried turning the X-shaped strap into a Y-shaped one, but the famous Slider Strap patented sliding device kept getting in the way, bringing the centre of gravity way up, near the bottom of the neck (not a good thing).
Despite its ingenuity, we finally resolved to abandon the Dual-Strap. This is very unfortunate, because this accessory could really be great, if only Slider Straps had done a bit more research to get rid of these technical issues. I would like to stress that this experience has taught me, if anything, that Slider Dual-Straps are either excellent or completely useless, depending on the player's physical anatomy, his playing style, as well as the shape of the instrument and especially the location of both strap buttons. Hence, the bottom line (and factoid) is: Dual-Straps are not that great, but who know, it might work for you? Are you willing to spend 35 bucks to find out if this device can keep you on stage for an extra ten years?