Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Aug 13, 2020 - 8:47:09 PM
like this
35 posts since 7/20/2020


Being new to the banjo means there are a lot of new experiences. Some of those are good and others… not so good. This one I have to chalk up to “I learned something new today”


We all have a “favorite” for many things we do with our banjos and straps are no different for me. My go to company produces quality leather guitar straps in the price range of $30-$40 up to $100 and I have never had a need or a “want” for anything better than they produce in the $30-$40 range


I have two very nice leather guitar straps I converted to banjo straps using; d-ring lobster clasps, “guitar strap buttons” and some fancy (but cheap) concho screws (basically a fancy Chicago screw). These are great when I am standing, but they are stiff when I sit down for practices. I can tolerate them for a short period, but I wanted a soft leather cradle strap for everyday wear and sit down practices. For those of you who can see what’s coming, don’t ruin it for the rest of us noobs J


I usually research the heck out of everything before I make a decision, but I figured a banjo strap is a banjo strap and my “favorite” manufacturer has never let me down. So, I pulled the plug on a soft padded suede leather banjo strap for $30 and eagerly waited for delivery. When it arrived I went straight to my task to set it up and… uh oh.


I didn’t think about the differences in tone rings and the height of j-hooks. The cradle strap is 1” and the clearance from the tone ring is only 3/4"


For some, this would likely turn into a scenario of returning the strap as unusable and searching for one that works even if it’s not what you like. But, with some simple tools and hardware I have in my garage tools and screw storage boxes, it doesn’t have to be like that


I say this in order to let other noobs (like me) know that you don’t have to settle, if you have just a few cheap items to work with. You can adapt any strap to fit your needs. In this case, my list goes like this (everything easily found at your hardware store);


1. 1”-1 1/2" i.d. d-ring lobster clasps (2)

2. Your favorite screw back Conchos

NOTE: A concho is just fancy Chicago screw. If you want to use a standard 1/4 – 1/2 inch Chicago screw. It’s the same thing without the “bling”

3. A Leather hole punch (my Conchos are slightly larger than the standard 1/4 inch o.d. and I have the thing laying around, so it makes it easier than muscling the darn thing into the hole) – Not needed if you use the Chicago screws, but a decent amateur punch is less than $15 and my belts look nicer when I lose weight


After a few quick measurement placings, I simply punch a larger hole in the concho side of the strap, add the lobster clasp and screw it together.


I have included some pictures of the finished 15 minute project and 1 photo of what it looks like with Chicago screws only


But, if you are sure you don’t want to make the modifications, be sure to measure the space you have available for a cradle strap to fit and then ask the questions you know you need to ask


Special note: Cradle straps usually come with 2 laces. If you want to really go economical, use the laces to close the strap around your lobster clasps


I hope this post will help another new player enjoy their banjo just a little bit more than they did before



JFLicks (Jim)

P.S. I like the straps from Walker & Williams

Edited by - JustForLicks on 08/13/2020 21:00:46

Aug 13, 2020 - 8:50:51 PM
likes this

35 posts since 7/20/2020

More images and 1 with just Chicago screws

Aug 14, 2020 - 7:13:35 AM

22 posts since 9/9/2017

Dont look now,but I think you've got a critter stuck inside your banjo!?? Lol. I may have to try this on my strap.

Aug 14, 2020 - 7:50:43 AM

35 posts since 7/20/2020

That's just Pepe' My banjo's name is Mon Cherie ;-)
Originally posted by 1950truck

Dont look now,but I think you've got a critter stuck inside your banjo!?? Lol. I may have to try this on my strap.

Aug 14, 2020 - 8:23:11 AM
like this

5514 posts since 9/21/2007

Those snap hooks look brutal! Okay for a bottlecap, I would not put metal hooks or conchs against any of my instruments.

Aug 14, 2020 - 9:22:56 AM
like this

24 posts since 7/23/2016

What Joel said, there is not a chance I’d put that heavy hard snap hook on a nice banjo.

Aug 14, 2020 - 12:25:31 PM

35 posts since 7/20/2020

That's always an available prerogative. I have no problems with it at all. The hooks don't rattle around when I have the banjo strapped to me, and they don't bang around on anything that would be ruined.
I don't coddle my banjo, but I don't toss it around without a care either. To me, it's a "machine" that delivers the power when I ask for it. Because it's a "machine" there are parts that can be exchanged, upgraded or even after market options added along with standard maintenance. Many professional players have conch's all over their straps. So, it's okay to have a differing opinion
The conch's never touch the banjo and they don't scrape anything or ruin anything. Willie Nelson has had the same guitar his entire professional career. It has "history" marks and holes in it, but it continues to deliver the power when he asks for it
To each his own.
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Those snap hooks look brutal! Okay for a bottlecap, I would not put metal hooks or conchs against any of my instruments.

Aug 16, 2020 - 3:09:11 PM
likes this



7 posts since 3/11/2006

That's a nice looking setup you have there! I have the same problem and never thought about working it as you have. After my back surgery and all the screw-ups that went with it, I think I need to try your modification! It's all about comfort these days for old farts like ne :)

Aug 17, 2020 - 6:43:05 AM
likes this

4889 posts since 5/14/2007

To address the issue of stiff straps, I like

I have several.

Aug 17, 2020 - 6:47:09 AM
like this

2076 posts since 2/10/2013

A little drift from the original past. I play sitting down. Unless a person is performing and feels they must stand up, whenever possible they should play sitting down. Some players who play standing up often encounter physical problems as they get older. This problem has caused some famous banjo players to stop performing. We often think we are immune to problems, but realize too late that is not always true.

Aug 17, 2020 - 8:31:44 AM

430 posts since 2/15/2015

Years ago I got a cradle strap that was a little wide to fit around the rim and through the hooks. I ended up cutting about an eighth of an inch off of east side of the strap portion that went through the hooks.

It looks okay, is functional but it ain't perfect, however who is going to see it ...

Aug 17, 2020 - 8:47:13 AM
likes this

430 posts since 2/15/2015

Originally posted by Richard Hauser

...Some players who play standing up often encounter physical problems as they get older.

A holdover from my youthful classical guitar lesson days... is that you must pay attention to the straightness of your wrists on both hands.

Another thing about banjos which causes me to wear a strap even when seated is to get that proper wrist angle. For me, strapping up while seated helps keep the banjo in proper position because there are no bouts on a banjo,  the round resonator slips  and strap helps prevent slipping which  facilitates keeping the wrists straight. Open backs don't have that problem as the hooks tend to dig into the legs and keep it in the proper position... Which can become painful.

But I have to agree that keeping a banjo or any weighty  instrument off of your shoulder is healthier. Play a good  1 hour set and a couple of more sets beyond that and strain on the trapezius muscle at the top of your shoulders is taxing.

Aug 17, 2020 - 5:31:59 PM

2260 posts since 4/5/2006

The first cradle strap I ever saw was not attached to the banjo at all. The player had it laced together the length he wanted. He simply put it around his neck & over the shoulder, guitar style, & let the banjo rest in the resulting cradle. A couple hours later, when fished playing, he put the banjo in the case, rolled up the strap & put it under the neck.

Aug 17, 2020 - 5:35:22 PM
Players Union Member



100059 posts since 11/7/2007

Another vote for Lakota Leather’s wonderful straps.

I wouldn’t want metal snap shackles on my tension hooks either.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories