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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.  In the example shown, Amy Braid nylon cord was used, which is available in the store (Acajou Crafts).

The small strap in front passes across the sound box of the guitar, and up to the hole.  A hook is attached to the small ring on the end in order to secure it in this position.   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 width of the main area is approximately 2 inches.

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


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


Knots Used:



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Attachment Band

 
 
Step 1: Hold the guitar in your lap at the position you ordinarily prefer it to rest.  Measure from your chest/abdomen 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, plus the ring and hook. 

So when making your calculations, subtract 1-inch for the ring, and whatever length your hook happens to be.  This will be the length of the strap you will create. 

Cut one cord of each color, 8 times the finished length of the band.  Prepare the ends 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).



Design 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, and then fold it at that position.  

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



Step 1

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

To begin the Square Knot, move working cord 1 to the right, over the fillers (cords 2 - 5) and under cord 6.



Step 2

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

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

The working cords have now switched places.



Step 3
 Repeat the same steps, but change the direction, to make the second half of the SK:

Cord 1 moves right to left.

Cord 6 moves left to right.
Step 4



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

The knots do not need to be pushed close to one another, since you want a little of the blue to show through.  You can see this in the next image.

Stop when the band is the finished length you need (step 1). 

Important: Make sure the total length you measure includes the ring and hook.



Ring

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. 

It should rest below the ring.  Tighten it firmly.



Change Cords
Step 7:  Move the blue cords to the outside, to be the new working cords for the next knot.

 Tie a tight SK with them around the other 4, adding glue while tightening. >>>
New Knot



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.  Make sure you heat the ends 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. 

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



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Serpentine Stitch -- First Strap


Step 9:  Locate the area on your chest/abdomen 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 the entire 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 (total of 6 for each strap).  Prepare the ends to prevent unraveling. 



SK Sennits

The main area 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.



Mount

Step 10:  Mount two cords of each color to the ring with Larks Head knots.  The colors can be arranged any way you wish, but the best arrangement is shown in this image.

Repeat this with the remaining 6 cords, for the second strap. 



Step 11:  Arrange one group of cords so they are in front of you and vertical.

You can 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 cord 1.  You will tie the Double Half Hitches (DHH) with cords 2 - 11 (working cords).

 


Horizontal


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

Arrange the rest of the cord horizontally. The American Guitar Strap will be neater if 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.



Vertical

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

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

Before doing so, read the information below:



Curve

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

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



Cord 12

Step 13:  Tie FOUR (4) 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 cords as needed.

Read the important tips below:



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

You need to push it to the back of the strap in order to hide it, rotating the knots slightly.

Do this after tying knot 4. >
Hide



Diagonal

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

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

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



Horizontal

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

Attach cords 8 - 2 to it with Double Half Hitches. Keep the portion of the cords between the two rows as straight as possible.



Vertical

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

The only change is that the loops are tied counter-clockwise, since you are moving left to right.  The first cord you work with is cord 2, and you tie FOUR (4) Half Hitches.



Diagonal


Step 17:  Repeat steps 14 - 15.  Tie a TRIPLE (3) Half Hitch with cord 3, and then 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 to get the strap length you want. 

Try on the American Guitar Strap while you progress, and stop when it reaches the top of the shoulder.

Make sure you finish with the holding cord on the side with the same colors, in this case red. 



Second Strap

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

The holding cord is 12, and you start at the right for the first row. 

So the direction you progress is the opposite of the first strap. 




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Neck Design, Finishing, and Clasp



Neck Design

Step 20: At the end of one strap tie at least 5 Square Knots (as in step 3), 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 over the American Guitar Strap 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 over the American Guitar Strap to the front.

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.



Back

Step 23:  Turn over the strap to the back, 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 or the images below 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.



Wrapped Knot Clasp
For a Sliding Clasp, I recommend you use the:

 Wrapped Knot Clasp
 or the
Square Knot Clasp
Square Knot Clasp


 
Clasp

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

Arrange them neatly side-by-side.



Back

Step 25:  Turn the strap over so you are working in the back.   Use fine tip pliers or tweezers to pass each end through the back of one of the Square Knots.  Add glue under the area where the cords will lie. 

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 at the end of the second strap.





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