The best guitar strap to use with a Gibson ES-335, based on the guitar’s weight, is 2.5” wide and made from leather or suede. In this article we’ll dive into some other strap options, and discuss which strap locks are the best choice for the 335.
While most strap selections should be left up to personal choice, I believe that a guitar’s weight should influence the width of the strap. From there, the look and feel is up to personal preference and the aesthetics of each unique guitar.
Best Guitar Strap for the Gibson ES-335
I have used guitar straps of all sizes and types on a ton of different guitars, and this is the strap I’ve found works the best for the Gibson ES-335. The Perri’s Suede Leather strap is 2.5” wide and adjustable in length from 41” to 52.5”. I keep it on the shortest setting as I like my 335 to sit pretty high.
Perri’s Suede Premium Strap
Best Strap for a Gibson 335
High quality strap that I’ve used for nearly a decade. It’s one of the best straps for the price
As of this writing (July 2020), Perris offers this strap in 3 different colors of suede and also offers an XXL strap which is adjustable from 44.5” to 67” long. The standard strap will work just fine for almost every guitar and every player.
If you are a large person who might need the extra length, use a soft measuring tape to measure what your desired strap length is.
The material of this strap (which I’ll discuss below) is a high quality suede that will last for many years. The stitching is all high quality, and after close to 10 years using this strap it basically looks new. Most straps of this quality are well over $50, so I’d say this one is a great deal.
Considering Guitar Weight
Guitar weight affects the width of the strap that you should consider. I typically run 2” straps on any guitar less than 8 lbs and 2.5” straps on guitars more than that. This is only a guideline however and there is no reason you can’t use a 2.5” or even 3” strap on a lighter guitar.
|Guitar Type||Guitar Weight (lbs)||Guitar Weight (kg)||Recommended Strap Width|
The wider the strap, the more surface area there is to distribute the weight of the guitar to your shoulder. Just by going from a 2” to a 2.5” strap there is a noticeable difference in overall perceived weight of the instrument and therefore increased comfort.
Using a flexible cloth tape measure, I was able to measure the amount of guitar strap that made solid contact with my body when the guitar sat with all of its weight on the strap. This came out to be 13.5”. A 2” wide strap with a contact length of 13.5” equals 27 square inches of total surface area. A 2.5” wide strap with a contact length of 13.5” equals 33.75 square inches of total surface area. My Gibson ES-335 weighs 123 oz (3.49 kg) so the thinner 2” strap has a lbs/sq in. of .2847 (4.56 oz / sq. in. & 20.02 g / sq. cm). The 2.5” strap lightens the load to .2278 lbs/sq in. or 16.014 g/sq. cm. I like the metric numbers because they’re much easier to conceptualize.
We can see that the wider 2.5” strap provides a 25% increase in surface area ((33.75-27) / 27 = .25) and a 20% decrease in weight per surface area unit.
This is a considerable difference, and one you can notice right away when putting the guitar on. Not to mention after playing it for a 2 hour gig. The 2.5” strap can make a massive difference in overall comfort and ability to play for longer periods of time.
However, because guitars under 7-8 lbs don’t feel that heavy with a 2” strap I opt for that size because of the decrease in bulk. It’s partly personal preference, but I have found that this guideline works great for me and the guitars I play on a daily basis.
You’ll notice that my ES-335 is actually lighter than my Strat on which I use a 2″ strap. This 7.5 to 8 lb range I find to work well with both 2″ and 2.5″ straps. I opt for the 2.5″ because of the material which I discuss next.
Best Guitar Strap Material
There are a few standard materials that guitar straps are typically made from. These are: leather, suede leather, nylon, and other cotton products.
Nylon is the cheapest material and straps made out of nylon can be found easily for under $10. I have a handful of these straps which are great for backups and cheap alternatives to nicer material straps.
One of the properties of nylon is that it is a smooth fiber material. What this means is that when it is used for a guitar strap it doesn’t have much friction against the clothes it’s coming in contact with. If you are a player who likes to move the neck of the guitar up and down, or doesn’t want the strap to grab your clothes, you’ll want to use a nylon guitar strap.
For neck heavy guitars like the Gibson ES-335, or the Gibson SG a suede leather strap that provides some friction is the optimal choice. A strap like this will keep the guitar’s neck from falling every time you let it go.
While some may prefer the range of motion a nylon strap allows, I gravitate towards the straps that provide some friction on my clothes and keep the guitar in the position I leave it for ease of playing.
After having used every different type of strap from every type of material, I believe that a 2.5” wide suede strap is the best choice for the ES-335.
A leather strap can achieve a similar result, however the suede (which is just the inside part of the hide) provides a bit more friction than a smooth leather strap will. In terms of friction, a nylon strap will provide the least, a suede strap will provide the most, and the other styles fall in between on a spectrum.
There are other types of material that work well. Here is a 2” strap with a soft cotton back I use on my Strat. Mostly I love the look of this strap, but the material also provides a good amount of friction that makes this strap comfortable and keeps the guitar where I want it.
Best Looking Strap for a Gibson ES-335
The best looking strap for the Gibson ES-335 is a darker toned suede strap which contrasts the body nicely, doesn’t distract from the finish, and has a timeless characteristic.
Of course this is extremely subjective and based entirely off of personal preference. I personally think that straps should be subtle in order to highlight the guitar, but then again I have a loud 70s style, Hendrixy strap on my Strat that is anything but subtle.
Do what you want and make your guitar look awesome. I’m not here to tell you how to do that. I can tell you though that I use this Perri’s strap with my Martin D18, Gibson ES-137, and Gibson ES-335 and it looks great on all of those guitars. Sometimes subtle is also the most economical.
Best Strap Length for a Gibson ES-335
The standard strap from Perri’s that is featured above will fit most guitars and most people. I personally like my guitar to sit pretty high, and therefore have the strap set to the shortest configuration. If you are a larger person or would like your guitar to hang super low, they also have a XXL long version that can extend an additional 14.5”.
How to Put a Strap on a Gibson ES-335
Putting the strap on an ES-335, or any guitar with the forward strap button placed directly on the back of the neck block (like a Gibson SG), may not be obvious at first.
To put the strap on properly:
- Place the back of the strap on the lower bout strap button in the same way you would with any other strap with the side of the strap to be shown on the outside.
- Place the front of the strap with the outside (side to be shown) towards the guitar on the front strap button.
This creates a half turn in the strap that fits perfectly on the shoulder when the guitar is worn. See the picture below for what this looks like.
Best Strap Locks for a Gibson ES-335
I don’t use strap locks on my Gibson ES-335 because I don’t like the increased bulk of strap locks, and the Perri’s strap I use is made of quality material that keeps a strong grip on the guitar strap buttons.
First, try this strap on your ES-335 and see if this works for you. If you absolutely must have strap locks, I would recommend the D’addario Universal Strap Lock System. These strap locks look, and work great. The biggest reason I like these is because they have a low profile and don’t increase the pivot arm length of the, sometimes awkwardly placed, front ES-335 strap button.
D’Addario Strap Lock System
Great, Low-Profile Strap Locks for ES-335
These work great for guitars that need a low profile strap lock. Use for Gibson ES-335, SG, and similar guitars.
When putting a guitar on, always double check the bottom (lower bout) strap where it’s attached to the button. It can be incredibly easy for it to flip over and then come undone when the weight of the guitar is put on it. Double check to make sure this is correct each and every time you put the guitar on and you’ll never drop your baby.
I believe that a 2.5” suede leather strap is the best option for the Gibson ES-335. The width allows for plenty of surface area for proper weight distribution. The dark color looks great against the finish of the guitar no matter if your 335 is sunburst, cherry, or natural. And finally, the material itself offers just the right amount of friction for a neck heavy guitar so that the headstock doesn’t take a dangerous swan dive every time you let go of the neck.
I have personally had this Perri’s strap for about 8 years and have used it extensively on many guitars. I cannot recommend it enough as it has worked tremendously well and won’t break the bank. While the quality of this strap is incredible and hasn’t shown any sign of wear, I will be buying another one of these straps for future guitars.