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Thread: Adding strap buttons

  1. #1

    Default Adding strap buttons

    Hey guys. I got an APC zouk, which is really nice. but one thing I didn't realize when I got it, it has no strap buttons. At the very least, I'd like to add one at the bottom. A few questions.
    Is it safe to drill in and add one? I can see there is a wood piece at the bottom center like most guitars have.
    Secondly, does it matter how far I drill in? I'm assuming this wood piece isn't very thick. Is it bad if the screw sticks through into the inside?

    My goal is to not ruin my instrument haha. I can pay the local luthier but hes not cheap so I'm trying to see if its worth doing myself and don't want to screw anything up. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Adding strap buttons

    Drilling a hole for the tiny screw that a strap button requires is a safe thing to do - and it can easily be fixed/closed later. Just make sure that you find a spot of solid wood. I added a button to my eastman octave mandolin. Not at the bottom of the neck joint but a litte to the side of it. Then I realized that this point is not well balanced. The mandolin rolls over. This is because this octave has a rather heavy neck in comparison to its small body. Now I use a ribbon that I bind arround the head underneath the strings. Maybe tape or bind the strap to the instrument to check the perfectly balanced spot before drilling.

  3. #3
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Washington State

    Default Re: Adding strap buttons

    Adding a strap button at the tail block is straight forward. The tail block is usually at least 1/2" thick. If you drill in the middle of the block area top to bottom on the centerline of the lower bout you'll be fine. Since most of our mando family instruments have a floating bridge and tailpiece, and the tailpiece typically has a larger hole in it for a button, I drill in the center of the tailpiece hole. If you want your button below the tailpiece, make sure to drill so the button doesn't come in contact with or overlap the tailpiece.

    Choose a bit that is smaller than the OD of the screw threads but at least as big as the OD of the screw shaft. Typically this is done by choosing a bit that is two sizes smaller than the OD of the screw threads. Gently rotate the head of the bit by hand at the desired mounting location to make sure it has a starter point so it won't wander when you chuck it up in your drill.

    Use a brad point bit to minimize splitting the wood where the bit exits the block inside the instrument. I usually drill all the way through the block. Lubricate the button screw with paraffin before screwing it in, and always use a felt washer between the button and the wood.

    I like Stew-Mac's Waverly strap buttons. I'm also a big fan of Lakota Leathers straps.

    On guitars and larger bodied mandolin family instruments (if they don't have a scroll to hang the strap on) I also add a strap button on the treble side of the neck heel.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Adding strap buttons

    Mission accomplished. Got tail strap lock on, no issues. I just got the fender strap locks because they work with the Schaller's I have on my acoustic. It was so close to not drilling all the way through but the screw was a tad too long. Not a big deal tho. Didnt want to drill into the neck though, so I'm just tying the trap to the headstock. I feel like that looks cooler anyway.

    While I was at it I filed the nut for unison low G strings, APC come set up with octave. Not the cleanest filing but hey I didn't have to shell out $100 for a luthier to do it haha.

    Thanks for the info guys.

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