Belt Buckle Blues


Severe belt buckle rash on the back of a Precision Bass. Unless you like this sort of thing, it’s easily and inexpensively preventable.

There are two kinds of musicians in this world—those who don’t care if their belt buckle scratches up the back of their guitar and those who do.

If you’re the former, no need to read on. You just keep right on scratching up the back of your guitar (a customizing technique that we call “relic-ing” around here). Go in peace, and have no thought of resale value.

If you’re the latter, however, keep reading, because your belt buckle really can do a serious number on the back of your guitar. You’d rather not unintentionally damage an instrument that you care about and spent a lot on, and you’d rather not see a tiny latticework of scratches on the back of your guitar gradually morph into the sort of wholesale paint removal and wood gouging seen, for example, on the mid-’80s Precision Bass® guitar seen in the photo at right (that was all done with a belt buckle in only a few years). Guitarists sometimes refer to this specific kind of damage as “belt buckle rash.”

What to do? How do you keep your belt on without damaging your guitar?

Short of un-tucking your shirt, wearing tighter pants or switching to suspenders, Tech Talk suggests that you consider investing in a guitar scratch protector. Several inexpensive makes ($20 or less) are on the market and are readily available online and at many music retailers. They attach neatly to the back of your guitar without any sort of adhesive, so they won’t mess with the finish in that way, either, and they come off easily without leaving any marks. Google “guitar scratch protector” and you’ll find several.




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