When it comes to choosing Straps for our instruments, we players tend to be opinionated. I’ve always found it difficult to make recommendations to other players, knowing that what I like might not apply to someone else. However, I can say with confidence that readers should check out Gruv Gear’s David Ellefson Signature Strap, a new design based on Gruv Gear’s popular SoloStrap Neo.
For almost 30 years, I’ve used simple, nondescript, 2" black leather straps on all my basses. Yup, the same strap on every bass. I’ve also never played in a metal band. So, when Gruv Gear sent me a 3.5", neoprene/faux leather strap designed with, and for, a metal icon—complete with rivets sporting the radioactivity symbol—I suspected I would find it worthy of someone’s purchase, but probably not mine. I was wrong. I’ve been using this strap for over a month, and it’s worth everyone checking out, especially if you own a particularly heavy axe, play long gigs, or like to run and jump around onstage. Wait, did I just describe almost every bass guitarist, ever?
At first, I tried out the strap on my Xotic XJPro-1 5-string, which is fairly light (nine pounds), and it felt pretty good. About two weeks in, however, I had a rehearsal that required me to play my Spector EuroLX 6-string (12 pounds) for a couple of hours. About four songs into the rehearsal, I started complaining about its weight and happened to look over and see the Gruv Gear strap sitting on the Xotic. I switched out straps and immediately felt significant relief in my back and shoulders. It was as if the heavier bass brought the Gruv Gear strap to life. I played the rest of the rehearsal comfortably, hardly thinking about the instrument’s weight.
Fueling that comfort factor is a simple-yet-profound adjustment system: You can change the strap’s length via separate front and back adjustments. I see two obvious benefits from this. First, you can customize the way the strap lies across your shoulder. Bass player, author, and Chicago-area chiropractor Randall Kertz, who was closely involved in the design, confirms that purpose: “The dual adjustment ensures that a player can adjust the way the bass fits ‘on the fly,’ so if a player senses discomfort, or the instrument doesn’t feel as if it is sitting right, it can easily be taken care of with minimal effort, front or back, which is important for the upper back, chest, and shoulder areas.” Second, you can run your bass low. Way low. I ain’t gonna lie: With the bass down around my knees, I found myself with the sudden urge to play “Symphony of Destruction” and “Psychotron.” It has that effect. You would be hard pressed to find a strap with this much adjustment versatility.
While the Gruv Gear strap’s design aesthetic is clearly situated in the world of heavy metal, its superior comfort and subtle aesthetics invite appreciation by players of all styles. It’s not easy to design signature gear of any kind that appeals to a wide audience, but with this strap, David Ellefson, Dr. Kertz, and Gruv Gear have done it.
David Ellefson Signature Strap
Pros Highly comfortable fit, subtle-yet-stylish looks, front and back strap adjustments
Bottom Line A thoughtfully designed, versatile, kickass strap
Materials Vegan neoprene, faux leather, steel rivets
Made in China