By Nathan Bell
In 1987 I walked on stage in front of 3,000 people, and before I could plug the 1/4-inch jack into the strap-button input on my Mossman Flint Hills dreadnought, the strap slipped off, causing the guitar to fall straight to the stage with a sickening crunch. The audience assumed this was part of the act and applauded appreciatively, while I was left to circumspectly examine the damage—all the while launching into my band’s 120-MPH opener.
If the Music Nomad Acousti-Lok had been available at the time, my Mossman could have avoided the sad fate of a shattered lower bout. This clever device replaces the endpin jack on a standard acoustic-electric guitar, so that you have both the usual 1/4-inch input and a separate button that accepts a locking strap.
The Acousti-Lok is made of brass and has an attractive polished finish that will complement any guitar. It fits a wide range of systems, including Martins with Fishman electronics, pre-2002 Taylors, Switchcraft output jacks, and K&K pickups. There are three different versions available, so it is critical that you find the correct Acousti-Lok for your instrument.
Installation is simple—you just remove your existing strap button (which should easily unscrew from the input jack, leaving the bare thread) and attach the Acousti-Lok. If everything goes as planned, you won’t have to adjust the input jack itself.
Occasionally you might run into a couple of problems. Sometimes the jack itself will need to be adjusted to ensure the threads line up. More often, especially on an older guitar, the strap button itself won’t unscrew. In both cases, you might want to have a qualified technician do the installation, unless you are used to working on your own guitar.
I have an Alvarez ABT610E baritone acoustic with a strap button located on the neck heel, making for a less secure attachment point. The guitar is always trying to tip forward off of the strap, making it the perfect instrument for a real-world test. I equipped one of my Gecko Leatherwork straps with a basic locking strap system, the LM Products SureLock.
Once secured, it was immediately obvious that the guitar wasn’t going anywhere by accident. Although I don’t leap around the stage, I am a fairly active performer, and it was reassuring to have the heavier, less well-balanced baritone secured properly. For $19.99, Music Nomad’s Acousti-Lok is a good and inexpensive way to protect the guitars you love.