How to Install Dunlap Strap Locks

Written by matt mckay
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Installing Dunlop strap locks is a quick and easy task and helps prevent guitar damage from the common problem of strap slippage. Jim Dunlop Original, Traditional, Dual-Design, and Flush-Mount strap locks are made of case hardened steel, come in several finish choices and are all installed in the same manner. No permanent modification to the guitar is necessary, and only a screwdriver and needle-nose pliers is needed to install the strap locks. If you want to use the strap on other guitars, you must install Dunlop strap lock buttons on them as well. Additional buttons are sold separately.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Guitar
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Guitar strap

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  1. 1

    Remove the strap buttons from the guitar by unscrewing the retaining screw counter-clockwise with a Phillips screwdriver. Retain the strap buttons and screws in case you wish to sell the instrument without the strap locks, or choose to discontinue strap lock use.

  2. 2

    Install the Dunlop strap button by inserting the screw provided with the kit into the button, and screwing it into the guitar clockwise with the screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Disassemble the strap lock by removing the retaining clip with needle-nose pliers. You will now have four pieces: Retaining clip, flat washer, strap lock post mechanism and recessed washer.

  4. 4

    Insert the recessed washer onto the strap lock post mechanism. The post will only fit into the recessed area in one direction. The post's release button will now be seated in the recessed cavity.

  5. 5

    Insert the strap lock post into the buttonhole of the guitar strap, until it fully seated. Be certain that you insert the post so the release button is facing the outside of the strap.

  6. 6

    Insert the flat washer over the post on the underside of the strap. Hold the washer against the side of the strap, fully inserted on the post.

  7. 7

    Insert the retaining clip with needle-nose pliers in the slot cut into the upper post near the washer. The clip will hold all the components together, with the strap sandwiched between the recessed and flat washers.

  8. 8

    Insert the strap lock into the strap button, where it will be held in place by spring-loaded ball bearings on the post, seated in slots cut into the interior of the button. The strap lock is released by pressing the button located inside the recessed washer.

Tips and warnings

  • Compare the Dunlop screw with the guitar's original strap button screw. If the original screw is much longer or wider, the hole in the guitar can be filled with a toothpick coated with wood glue before installing the new screw. If the original screw is much shorter or thinner, the hole in the guitar should be drilled larger by a repair shop or experienced woodworker to avoid wood damage.
  • Inspect the strap buttons periodically and check for looseness. If the button can be turned, or is visibly loose, tighten with a screwdriver.
  • Avoid over-tightening the screw into the wood to avoid stripping the hole. Stripped holes can be filled with a toothpick coated with wood glue before reinstalling the strap button.
  • Use care when working around guitars with metal tools. A simple slip of a screwdriver can easily damage delicate guitar finishes.

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