The best part about writing for Guitar-Muse.com is finding great new people that produce quality guitar products, so I was very excited to stumble on Heavy Leather NYC Guitar Straps.
After a look at the website and the quality work, I picked my jaw up off the floor and contacted Rachael to ask a few questions about how she creates her incredible products.
These things are really killer, guys – I chose some of the more tame ones for the pic at the left, known as the “Rebel” Series.
Let’s face it – if it weren’t for folks like Rachael and others who pour themselves into creating custom stuff for our guitars, being a guitar player wouldn’t be as cool – and it would be alot harder to establish your own identity unless you happened to be a skilled craftsman yourself.
Rachael has done work for Lemmy of Motorhead, Slash, Testament, Judas Priest, and a slew of other artists you’re sure to recognize.
Whether its a custom strap or one of her many pre-made choices, you cant go wrong with Heavy Leather.
We asked Rachael a few questions about her products, and how she puts it all together, and after the questions and answers, we’ll post some links so you can get your hands on your own Heavy Leather Strap!
Q&A With Rachael
GM: How did you get started building the straps?
I love working with leather, previously making clothing and accessories. I used to design clothing for a living but really had no interest in the industry and I’ve always wanted to work with music but again, not in the industry. By making guitar straps I get to design and craft leather while working directly with musicians.
GM: Tell us what makes them great!
Ha, a picture is worth a thousand words but the leather speaks for itself! My straps are hand crafted using really amazing American and Italian leather. I consider myself a leathersmith before a business owner and I take great care to send out the best product. The straps can be customized to any width or length, the ornamentation possibilities are endless. I work directly with a lot of musicians and pay careful attention to their feedback. And the styling rocks!
GM: Do you work alone, or do you have any help?
I’ve worked alone until recently, just got my first part time assistant. I used to do all of the graphics, PR, design and production work. I now have a little bit of help but I still do the majority of production and all custom work.
GM: Any interesting stories about any of your customers? (odd requests,cool people, etc)
I have a few customers that are really amazing, private people that request very high end custom work. I’ve gotten quite a few orders from musicians in countries I’ve barely heard of that ended up being big stars- and this is always killer news, I love learning of new bands. It’s great to know that my straps styles are universally liked across different music genres. I’ve made straps for some big stars in Rock ‘n’ Roll too- Lemmy from Motorhead wears my straps. In 2008 he wore one of my straps on stage while playing a sold out show in New York City and dedicated Iron Fist to me, thanking me for my work. That was the most high fives I’ve ever gotten in one minute! His shout out was caught on film- check it out, it is the 6th square of press on my site: http://heavyleathernyc.com/presspage
GM: On average, how long does it take to make one strap?
It takes a couple hours but I am always working on more than one at a time. Unless it is custom work which can take a day or more.
GM: If the opportunity presented itself, would you ever consider mass producing your designs?
I would like to do a less expensive line for larger chain stores, but always keeping my custom work- again, I love working with the leather hands-on and would never want to step away from that. It is what drives my creativity, what I’m passionate about.
We’d like to thank Rachael for her time, and insight into her world crafting great quality and beautiful guitar straps.
If you are interested in her work (if your not – check your pulse) head on over to her site, where you can find all the different styles she offers, as well as contact information and information if you want to order a custom piece.