I do come across a lot of ukulele products writing this blog, so when I was offered (yet another) ukulele strap to review, I must admit I was thinking, 'isn't a strap just a strap'? I was wrong. Say hello to the Neotech Ukulele Strap.
|Neotech ukulele strap|
This strap is made in the USA and comes with a promise of a 'weight reduction system' (more on that later!). It's also actually billed as a mandolin strap - similar sized instrument I suppose.
In essence though it is a pretty standard strap that comes with some nifty features. First of all is the shoulder strap element. I am not a fan of large wide guitar style straps on an instrument as small as a ukulele, so tend to go for narrow bands. That also helps when playing as you don't have a fat wide band getting in the way of your fretting hand. The downside to those I find is that after an extended playing session, they can dig in to the shoulder a little. Neotech therefore decided to keep most of the strap narrow, yet fitted a central part which is made of wide spongy neoprene to aid comfort.
Adjustment of the strap to get that pad in the right place is achieved by some sliding buckles on the thin webbing either side of the neoprene part to allow you to get it in the right position. If you are a larger person and find that the uke is riding too high, it helpfully comes with two five inch extension pieces that can lengthen both ends of the strap. These attach with nifty little click buckles. I found I needed to experiment with a few types of extension to get the strap just where I needed it, but the variety of buckles really does give you a lot of options.
|Strap button connector|
For connecting to the instrument itself, it comes with two leather tab connectors for strap buttons, and another piece with a loop of cord for attaching around the headstock. Again all options covered and that loop would work very well around a scroll on a mandolin. Quite a nice little package really. But how does it feel?
Well, I've delayed writing this review (sorry Neotech) as I really wanted to give it a good run out in the field as it were. I've since used this strap at three N'Ukes gigs, each one in the height of summer, hot, sweaty affairs. As such comfort is essential when you are playing a two hour set. And I can say it performed extremely well. The comfort on the shoulder really did make it feel like there was nothing there. As for that 'weight reduction system' - the neoprene has a spongy slightly stretchy quality to it, and that means the strap has a bit of give in it. As such it kind of feels like the uke is floating in front of you. So that's a real world test for you!
One other element I was worried about was damage to the uke from rubbing, but the leather tabs are super soft, and the position of the buckles meant that nothing rubbed on the ukulele. That's pretty important to me when standing playing a £500 high gloss Pono on stage!
So, yes, a strap is a strap, but I am very impressed with this one. It looks great, feels great on the shoulder and is also extremely well made. I'd recommend you check it out.
The Neotech Ukulele strap has an RRP of $29.25 and can be found at http://neotechstraps.com as well as other musical instrument dealers.