I am lucky enough to have a quality little guitar shop nearby that a lot of other instrument retailers could learn a lot from. Remade Guitars in Abingdon offers a small stock of guitars, basses, accessories and even authentic handwired analogue effect pedals made right there in the shop!
More importantly than that though it is a welcoming place and encourages you to browse, try things out and ask questions – none of the stuffy attitude or elitism that you can find in some shops. The owner Robin really knows his stuff as well, he recently gave my fave bass guitar an MOT and afterwards it felt like a new guitar! It just played that little bit nicer and was well worth the £45, especially when you consider that includes a fresh set of D’Addario strings.
It was during a recent visit that I spotted an interesting looking range of straps for guitar/bass and couldn’t resist picking one up as my regular strap was getting a bit tatty and to be honest, was black and boring. As well as looking cool the other thing that appealed to me about the Couch Straps was the ethical thinking behind them. The straps are made from recycled car seat belts and vinyl upholstery with no leather involved and not made in a sweatshop – everyone is a winner!
I went for the Racer-X style made from vintage vinyl car upholstery in a fetching cream with red stripe and having used it during a few rehearsal sessions am very pleased with how it performed. The strap feels tough and durable, has enough padding to feel comfortable and being vinyl allowed for easy movement in comparison with a cloth strap that can offer resistance against clothing. The end tabs are made up from 3 layers of car, couch and marine upholstery vinyl and the inside piece is made with a super- strong, fiberglass reinforced, vegan power pad material that lets you rock cruelty free. The strap fastens securely without being too fussy to attach and gives confidence that nothing will come off mid gig.
You can check out the Couch Straps website for more details but even better pop down to Remade Guitars, try one before you buy and check out this gem of a guitar shop!