CUSTOM GUITAR STRAPS: ON THE SHOULDERS OF COUNTRY’S GIANTS

CUSTOM GUITAR STRAPS: ON THE SHOULDERS OF COUNTRY’S GIANTS

In the Feb/March 2014 issue of CMA Close Up, three top designers of guitar straps shared the secrets of their work for Country Music artists. Here’s a little background on how they got into the business – plus a display of their beautiful work.

Jeri Hart, jeri designs (www.jeridesigns.com)

Jeri Hart launched her business with belts, a pursuit she developed after seeing a “fabulous” women’s belt online. The $250 was too expensive for her pocketbook, so she decided to make her own. Other belts followed. When a musician friend suggesting making guitar straps, Hart thought that sounded like fun. So she did – and she loved it. “It was like making a belt,” she said. “But the canvas is so much bigger.”

Jodi Head (www.JodiHead.com)

Before getting into guitar straps design, Jodi Head built a reputation in New York City’s East Village for her bustiers. Her high-end custom beaded bras, hot in the late 1980s and early ’90s, sold in Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel, among other upscale retailers. They were also featured in Vogue and other fashion magazines and made their way into movies. But that trendy niche didn’t last, so when a guitarist friend asked her to make him a beaded strap, “it was kind of a natural profession,” she said. “I could hand-bead. It was just figuring out how to make that product become a guitar strap and what to do with it at that point.”

Terry Misner, Action Guitar Straps (www.ActionCustomStraps.com)

Misner, working out of a mom-and-pop space in Indianapolis, also worked his way into the guitar strap business. First, he and his wife Dena focused on camera straps, after they’d made a soft cabretta leather strap for his own camera. People began noticing it, so in the 1980s the Misners founded Action Custom Straps. They suspended the business in 1986 but decided to restart it in 1999. Their guitar-collecting son Levi, dissatisfied with the straps he was finding, helped nudge them toward that new endeavor.

Steve Azar courtesy Jeri Hart

Steve Azar tears it up with a custom strap from jeri designs. Photo: courtesy of Jeri Hart

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Hank Williams Jr. and his jeri designs strap rock a “Monday Night Football” opening night. Photo: courtesy of Webster PR/Hank Jr. Enterprises

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A cavalcade of custom straps from Jodi Head. Photos: courtesy of Jodi Head

JeriHartStraps

Custom straps created by jeri designs. Photos: courtesy of Jeri Hart

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Action Guitar Straps created for Country clientele, Jimmy Buffet. Photos: courtesy of Action Guitar Straps

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Action Guitar Straps created for Country clientele, Mac McAnally. Photos: courtesy of Action Guitar Straps

 

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Action Guitar Straps created for Country clientele, Pistol Annies. Photos: courtesy of Action Guitar Straps

 

Action Guitar Straps created for Country clientele, Miranda Lambert and her band. Photos: courtesy of Action Guitar Straps

Action Guitar Straps created for Country clientele, Miranda Lambert and her band. Photos: courtesy of Action Guitar Straps

 

Miranda Nashville Star

Miranda Lambert sports an Action Guitar Strap as a contestant on “Nashville Star.”