‘Forgotten’ Add-on Sales? The Guitar & Bass Strap Market in 2019

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • March 2019
  • Survey
• Created: March 14, 2019

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With nearly 90 percent (86.3) of participants in this month’s retailer survey claiming that sales of bass and guitar straps are either up or level when compared to 2018, it seems safe to assert that this is one market segment that is thriving – growing, even.

The particulars of the overall trend do seem to be dependent on region, though. For every dealer saying that the days of vinyl/fabric straps are waning in favor of higher quality leather straps, there was always another dealer (at least) saying that poly straps continue to rule. Regardless, there’s no argument that virtually all axe-slingers need at least one strap, which means it should be an easy add-on sale for any dealer.

“It’s like pairing a fine wine with a delicious meal,” says Ted Parrish of Parrish Music in Viroqua, Wisconsin (check out the store profile on page 50 of this issue). “Help your customer find the perfect match. Unless they just want a cheap $10 black strap, of course.”

Another point made consistently throughout this monthly poll is the value of the dealer/vendor partnership for mutually beneficial results. “Last year we had a rep call on us a few times a year,” says Main Street Music, Inc’s (Tracy, California) Ken Cefalo. “He was good about telling us what was hot. He also helped with display suggestions and sales ideas. It made a difference.”

It couldn’t be put any more simply or more effectively: this is a symbiotic relationship we’re examining within the pages of this magazine. MI retailers need to adopt best practices and adapt to changing realities, but suppliers bear responsibility to actively satisfy their role in the partnership, as well. Read on to learn of what brands of guitar and bass straps are selling the most, what trends are driving these purchases, and what the future may hold…

Have you been noticing any significant trends when it comes to guitar & bass straps – either on the supplier or consumer side (materials/techniques being embraced by manufacturers, buying habits or preferences, et cetera)?

“While nylon remains our bread and butter seller, we do pretty well with leather as well. A heathy percentage of those sales appear to go to the fashion conscious, discerning customer, where looks and feel trump the price-point. We also offer straps hand crafted by local leather artisans, and they bring good performance, too, especially over the holiday period.”

Jerry Veseley

Veseley Music

Parowan, Utah

 

“Too often a high quality strap is completely forgotten as an add-on sale. We regularly sell straps in the $100-plus range when selling a high-end instrument. Remember… you’re a salesperson – if you don’t ask, you’ll never have a chance to make that sale!”

Tim Bascom

Morgan Music

Lebanon, Missouri

 

“Prices [are] trending downward with more quality strap vendors emerging on the market.”

Mike Guillot

Mississippi Music, Inc.

Flowood, Mississippi

 

“Customers are starting to invest in a good quality, ‘lifetime’ strap after an initial cheap strap purchase.”

Dan Patterson

Roger’s Music

Fort Payne, Alabama

 

“Specifically-decorated ones going best (seen as unique to area/ shop, e.g. Welsh flag). Leather [is] out of favor – vegan movement, possibly?”

Joanne Julier

Cerdd Ystwyth Music

Aberystwyth, United Kingdom

 

“Faux leather that looks just like the real thing and is only $19.95 MAP is by far the quickest selling strap.”

Ed Intagliata

Cassell’s Music

San Fernando, California

 

“Retro stuff [is] coming back and you have to stock heavy.”

Carlos Garcia

Ingram’s Music

Merced, California

 

“Niche straps from Hal Leonard. The MLB (Cubs). NFL (Bears), NHL (Blackhawks), AND NBA (Bulls) all sell well in our market in [the] Chicago Area. We heavily promote them and display in our showroom. It is a great $30 gift or add-on item for guitarists.”

Tim Paul

Piano Trends Music & Band Company

Crystal Lake, Illinois

 

“Black Sabbath Straps with the specific cross-shape, leather straps and black leather straps.”

Randy Young

Galaxy Guitar Products USA

Las Vegas, Nevada

 

“The day of the venerable, two-inch poly strap is waning, and the day of the wider, leather or woven strap is dawning.”

Allen McBroom

Backstage Music

Starkville, Missouri

 

“There is no limit to how many straps the average customer will buy. Every guitar needs a strap, and every musician needs a different strap for different occasions.”

Anthony Mantova

Mantova’s Two Street Music

Eureka, California

 

“Cooler patterns copying Original Fuzz straps. Most straps are ugly, but companies seem to be fixing that issue [with] less expensive leathers that look nice and aren’t tacky.”

Justin Sims

Sims Music, Inc.

Columbia, South Carolina

 

“Smaller manufacturers such as Hang Over do really well here. The Stagg brand has some nice affordable straps available. Both do well here.”

Paul Tobias

Tobias Music

Downer’s Grove, Illinois

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