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American Guitar Strap

American Guitar Strap

Description:  The American Guitar Strap is similar to the strap Willie Nelson uses when he performs music.  It features a serpentine stitch made with Half Hitches. 

For those who live outside the USA, you can switch to your own country's colors to make this unique strap design. 

The small strap in front passes around the sound box of the guitar, then up to the hole in front.  A hook is then attached to the small ring on the end in order to secure it in the correct position.   The hook is not shown in the images.

The clasp at the neck is a simple clip, but that can be changed to a sliding clasp if you want it to be adjustable. 

The straps are approximately 2 inches wide.

This Macrame pattern is rated Easy, but is very time consuming. 

Supplies Needed:
  • 2 mm size material in red/white/blue colors (25 yards of each)
  • 1-inch Ring
  • 2-inch Ring
  • Hook for sound box hole
  • 2-part clasp
  • Measuring Tape
  • Project Board and Pins
  • Fabric glue

Knots Used in Pattern:


Attachment Band

Step 1: Hold the guitar in your lap at the position you ordinarily prefer it to rest.  Measure from your waist under the side of the sound box and up to the hole in the front. 

The finished length of the attachment band on the American Guitar Strap is the size you measured, which includes the ring and hook. 

So when making your calculations, subtract 1-inch for the ring, and whatever length your hook happens to be.  The result will be the length of the knotted portion you will make next.

Cut one cord of each color, 8 x the finished length.  Prepare the tips to prevent unraveling.

Larks Head knot

Step 2: Fold the blue cord in half and attach it to the 1-inch ring with a Larks Head knot.

The red and white cords should be placed on either side of the blue one.  Make one half of these cords longer by folding the cord off center.  The longest portion needs to be on the outside (see information below).

Designer's Tip:  The off-center mounting for the American Guitar Strap is easier if you actually measure the cord:

Add 12 inches to the finished length of the band (step 1).  Measure that distance from one end of the cord, then fold it at that position.  

Mount it to the ring loosely.  Gradually tighten the knot, holding both halves together so you don't pull one more than the other. 

Step 1

Step 3:  Mentally number the cords 1 - 6.  The long portions should be in positions 1 and 6, since they are used to tie the Square Knots (working cords).

Move working cord 1 to the right, passing over the fillers (cords 2 - 5) and under cord 6.

Step 2

Move working cord 6 to the left, passing under the fillers and over cord 1 where it bends.

Tighten the knot firmly, so it rests close to the Larks Head knots.

The working cords have now switched places.

Step 3
  To make the second half of the Square Knot, move working cord 1 to the left, passing over the fillers and under cord 6.

Step 4

Move working cord 6 to the right, passing under the fillers and over cord 1 where it bends.

Step 4:  Repeat step 3 several times to create the attachment band for the American Guitar Strap. 

Stop when the band is the finished length you need.

Important: Attach the hook and re-measure to make sure the entire strap is the finished size you were aiming for. 


Step 5:  Place the 2-inch ring on top of the strap near the last SK tied.

Pass the working cords (1 and 6) over the ring and the rest under it as shown.

First Half

Step 6:  Tie the first half of a Square Knot with the working cords around all 4 fillers. 

Tighten it firmly so it rests against the outside of the ring.

Change Cords

Step 7:  Move the blue cords to the outside and use them as the new working cords for the next knot.

Square Knot

Tie a tight SK with the blue cords around the other four, applying glue before tightening.

Step 8:  There are two finishing options for the attachment band of the American Guitar Strap:

Option A:  You can trim the cords to 2 inches and leave them as a fringe. Melt the tips if using NYLON cord to prevent unraveling.

Option B: Work the ends under one of the knots in the back of the strap.  This will anchor them in place.  Apply glue under them and use a clip to help adhere them to the back of the strap. 

When the glue is dry, trim off the excess material. Melt the tips with a flame if using nylon.


Wide Bands - Serpentine Stitch

Step 9:  Locate the area on your waist where you measured for the attachment band.  That's where the 2-inch ring will rest.

Measure from that spot up to the back of your neck.  That is the finished length of each wide band for the American Guitar Strap, which includes the SK Sennits and clasp (see next image below). 

Multiply that length by 9, and cut four cords of each color (6 for each strap).  Prepare the tips to prevent unraveling.

SK Sennits

The wide band with the serpentine design will stop at the top of your shoulder.   It's best to try it on as you progress, and stop when you like the fit.

You will then be tying short sennits of Square knots, which will run to the back of your neck.  At your spine will be the clasp.


Step 10:  Mount two cords of each color onto the right side of the ring with Larks Head knots. 

The colors can be arranged any way you wish, but the best arrangement is shown in this image (white in center).

Repeat this on the left side with the remaining six cords, which will be for the second strap. 

Step 11:  Turn the ring and arrange it so one group of cords are vertical.

Roll each cord and secure it with a rubber band to keep them organized.

Mentally number the cords 1 - 12.  The cord holding the knots is #1.  You will tie the Double Half Hitches (DHH) with cords 2 - 11 (working cords).



On holding cord 1, measure from the ring to 1/2-inch and secure it to your board at that point.  That portion remains vertical or diagonal.

Arrange the rest of the cord horizontally. The American Guitar Strap will be neater if this portion of the holding cord is straight and has tension.

Half Hitch

Starting with cord 2, tie Double Half Hitches with each working cord onto holding cord 1.  The first one should rest next to the pin used to secure the holding cord.

Since you are moving left to right, the loops are tied counter-clockwise.  Tighten them firmly so they are neat.


Step 12:  Secure the last knot tied (cord 12).  Move the holding cord to a vertical position.

Move working cord 12 under it, heading right.  It will be used to tie the Half Hitches at the corner. 

Important: Read the information below.


As you are tying the Half Hitches with cord 12 in the next step, pull firmly on the holding cord. The previous knots tied with cord 12 should curve.

When you tie the new knots, they should rest as close to the others as possible.  This will make the corner more rounded, and will hide the holding cord.

Cord 12

Step 13:  Tie FOUR clockwise Half Hitches with cord 12 onto the holding cord. These need to be tightened as much as possible to form the corner.

The American Guitar Strap features ROUNDED corners, so pull and manipulate the knots as needed.


Important Tip: 

When tying more than two Half Hitches, a ridge will form.


Push it to the back of the strap to hide it, rotating the knots as needed.

The best time to do this is after tying the 4th knot.


Step 14:  Change the angle of the holding cord so it's diagonal and heading left.

Attach cord 11 to it with TRIPLE (3) Half Hitches. 

Attach cords 10 and 9 with DOUBLE (2) Half Hitches.


Step 15:  Change the angle of the holding cord so it's horizontal and heading left.

Attach cords 8 - 2 to it with Double Half Hitches.

Keep the working cords between the two rows as straight as possible so they have tension.


Step 16:  Repeat steps 12 - 13, beginning at the corner on the left side of the American Guitar Strap.

The loops should be tied counter-clockwise, since you are moving left to right. 

The first cord you attach is cord 2, and you tie FOUR (4) Half Hitches.  The holding cord should be vertical.


Step 17:  Repeat steps 14 - 15.  Tie a TRIPLE (3) Half Hitch with cord 3, and DOUBLE (2) Half Hitches for the remainder. 

The holding cord is diagonal for cords 3 and 4, and horizontal for 5 - 12.

Step 18:  Repeat steps 12 - 17 as many times as needed, until the wide band is close to the finished length you were aiming for.

Put on the first half of the American Guitar Strap and make sure it reaches the top of the shoulder. 

Designer's Tip:  Try to finish with the holding cord next to the working cords with the same colors, so they are in matched groups of four (see image for step 20).

This is optional if the size doesn't allow you to do this.

Second Strap

Step 19:  Repeat steps 11 - 18 to make the second strap. 

Use cord 12 to hold the knots, and start at the right for the first row (cord 11). 

The direction you progress should be the opposite of the first strap. 


Neck Design, Finishing, and Clasp

Neck Design

Step 20: At the end of one strap tie at least 5 Square Knots with each set of four cords.

You can measure from your shoulder to your spine, or just try the strap on to get the right length for this area.  Take into account the size of the clasp.

Finishing Knot

Step 21:  Turn the American Guitar Strap upside down so you are working in the back.

Use the two working cords from the previous step to tie a tight Overhand knot.  Do this with each sennit.

Apply glue, and use a clip to hold the knot on the glue while it dries.

Step 21, continued:  When the glue is dry, cut off the extra material from the two working cords only.  You need the fillers for the next step.

You can melt the tips of the cords with a flame if using NYLON, to discourage the knot from loosening.

Four Fillers

Step 22:  Mentally number the remaining 6 cords after you turn the American Guitar Strap over so you are working in the front again.

Use cords 1 and 6 to tie a tight SK around the other four cords.

You can tie more than one SK if necessary to reach the back of the neck where the clasp will rest.


Step 23:  Turn the strap upside down again, and tie off the two working cords with a Barrel Knot.  Apply glue under it and use a clip to hold the knot on the glue while it dries.

Cut off the two working cords only, leaving the four fillers for the clasp.

Follow steps 24 and 25 to use a 2-part clip style clasp for your American Guitar Strap.

Another option is to make a Sliding Clasp.  Click on the link to get the instructions.

A third option is to pass the ends through a bead in opposite directions, to make a simple bead clasp.  Try to use a small barrel or oval shaped bead rather than a round one.


Step 24: Slide the four cords through the opening in one part of the clasp from top to bottom.

Arrange them neatly side-by-side.


Step 25:  Turn the strap upside down so you are working in the back.   Pass each cord through a space in the back of one of the Square Knots.  Add glue under the area to secure the cords. 

Use clips to hold them against the glue to adhere them to the back of the strap.  Cut off the excess when it's dry.


Step 26:  Repeat steps 20 - 25 to complete the second strap.

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