Archive for April, 2010

18
Apr
10

Another great product discontinued: Kepur guitar straps

Kepur, a brand of Core One Creative, made a type of guitar strap that I happen to love. They’re now discontinued and soon-to-be extremely hard to find. Musician’s Friend are selling out their last bit of inventory as we speak.
What’s so great about them? They are built to withstand nuclear attack. They will never ever EVER come off the strap knobs. I’m a fairly enthusiastic player, and one of the things I like the least about being an enthusiastic player is having my guitar come off the end of the strap and hit the floor while I’m playing it. All it takes for this to happen is a 180 degree twist of the strap and a little push. Guitar players have tried various methods for overcoming this common hazard.

The most expensive and complicated method involves various brands of strap-locks. These are basically special knobs you install in place of your existing strap knobs, and mated clips that you install on your strap. They click together, and you’re all set and secure. I tried a set of these once. As it turns out, they’re made of shit metal. (I’m pretty sure that’s not the official metallurgical name.) I had a strap-lock knob strip its way right out of the socket and the guitar fell to the ground. I was super pissed. I said to the strap lock, “You have one F@!*ING job and you FAILED!!!” Needless to say I’m not on speaking terms with strap locks any more.

A less elegant but 100% effective solution is to unscrew your strap knob, place a large flat washer over the inside of the strap knob, then the end of your strap, and then re-screw the strap knob to the guitar. The washer keeps the strap from ever coming off. Ever. Not even when you want it off, unless you go get the screwdriver again.

A third and very common solution, though probably the worst, is the Shitloads of Duct Tape™ method that has been popularized by every punk rock musician everywhere. You just put the strap over the knob and wrap it in shitloads of duct tape. This gives you a temporary solution that is extremely high in street cred.

OR, you buy a Kepur strap. You modify nothing. Just put it on your guitar. It’s kind of a bitch to get it over the strap knob the first time, and honestly kind of a bitch to take it off, but you could if you wanted to – without tools. It doesn’t really twist, and the ends are so indestructibly built that I can’t see any possible way that a guitar could come unfastened without deliberate intent. Even frenetic musical gyrations are not gonna do it. No sir.

One night, while I was wailing particularly hard on my guitar (punching it like it owed me money) I noticed that the end of the strap had managed to turn around and flip over into the dreaded just-about-to-fall-off configuration. [See graphic] I watched to see if the strap knob was going to come back through the hole, but I kept wailing and it held on just fine.  Mission accomplished.

The Kepur straps were pretty inexpensive, as musical equipment goes. The 2″ wide model was about $22. They had custom versions with little rockabilly style graphics on them for slightly more. I have a plain one and one with a cow skull graphic. I guess the reason that they weren’t successful is that they just don’t look like they’d be comfortable. And they’re not terribly sexy. They look like rubber. They’re actually a kind of bomb-proof heat-extruded polymer over some sort of webbing. You can tow a truck with them, literally. Fortunately, they don’t feel like rubber. They’re smooth, matte, dry-feeling, not sticky. They slide over sweaty cotton t-shirts as well as any other guitar strap material, and they’re pretty comfortable as well. Because they’re so restistant to distortion of their shape, they actually feel more like a padded strap than a 2″ wide nylon strap. The weight stays evenly distributed. I can speak authoritatively on this because I play HEAVY guitars made from blocks of solid aluminum. My back goes out well before my shoulder starts hurting.

Anyway, they were really cool. Now they’re (almost) gone. Too bad they didn’t catch on. Maybe they should have added some optional duct tape for the ends, so you wouldn’t have to sacrifice your punk aesthetic. But hey, what do I know. The people have spoken, and these great straps obviously suck.

Update:  Please see the comment below from Kepur! They’re alive and well! Buy them!

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