About Us

Inspiration

Excuse me a moment while I pop in some Coltrane.

There. Much better. It’s nearly impossible to write about the inspiration behind our designs without some auditory stimulation. And with good reason.

Because we place such a high value on the process of great design, we don’t just spend time working on what a guitar strap or gig bag will look like. We spend time thinking. We process our visual and musical influences and experiences.

Influences come from a multitude of directions, from fine art to architecture, from concept auto design to ancient weapons of warfare, from urban graffiti to high tech architecture, and everything in between. Influences also come from a variety of musical experiences, from jazz clubs to bluegrass festivals or big stadium rock shows. Specific artists representing a wide range of styles are a big influence as well. Even a memory can be the driver behind a design.

Our Shadowlands Two-Tone guitar strap is a great example of this phenomenon. As I was contemplating the direction for a new design, a memory of an experience I had as a younger man kept playing in my head.

On the surface, it was just another cold winter night. The massive crowd gathering outside was warming up with the standard pre-concert stimulations. But on this night, there was more than anticipation pulsing through the restless crowd. There was a palpable tension. Sirens pierced the dark night on the left and right. Fights broke out. Preachers walked through the increasingly agitated crowd, telling of God’s love. It’s as if there was a war between darkness and light breaking out just beyond the visible spectrum and the entire crowd could feel it.

Inside the venue, people fought for position on the floor or settled in to their seats. There was something about this stage that was different. It was eerily quiet. Hovering around the guitars, stacks, and risers on that stage was a presence.

I think we in the audience all knew something was up the moment the house lights went down, darkness consuming the auditorium. Before any light returned, a single guitar would not only shake the earth with unthinkable volume, but would make a serious attempt to penetrate our souls with a cage.

This was Sabbath.

Now, memories can be a strange thing, of course. What floats in the brain is a blurry picture, a texture, a vibe. How did this concert memory influence the Shadowlands design exactly? That’s hard for me to say. The design process takes you on a journey of discovery. All I really need to know as a designer is that point in the process when the road has lead me to something worth sharing and my work is done.

Anthology Leather Guitar Strap

Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon this site searching for something different or unique, possibly even something rare and extraordinary that reflects a deep-seated existential yearning to connect your music to the universe.

Or maybe you’re just looking for cool leather guitar straps.

Either way, welcome to Anthology Gear Wear. You’ve come to the right place.

Why Anthology? In a word, value. Given this age of strip malls and mega-chains, the term is too frequently misused to mean a bargain, a promotional sticker slapped on something cheap. Anthology I built over on the other end of the spectrum, where “value” is still rooted in what’s “valuable” — meaningful, exceptional, personal, meant to endure; like music that touches your soul. Anthology guitar straps and gig bags are all about my desire to create functional, lasting works of art.

Initially, I was just looking for a custom guitar strap. After shopping around, however, I realized it was the inspired craftsmanship and singular, expressive character one finds in classic guitars that I was really after in a strap. A visionary curator working with quality construction and commensurately high-level design skills would trump customization.

Then, as tends to happen in music, what I started out looking for became what I needed to create. As a result, a piece by Anthology is much more than just another disposable, cookie-cutter assembly line slab of cowhide. Our leather matures and beautifies with use so that, over time, each guitar strap and gig bag melds to the musician using it. Call it fine custom aging: the piece takes on a personality through the individual characteristics unique to you and the road you take it on. By the time you’re ready to hand an Anthology guitar strap down to your junior rockers, that heirloom will possess a richness and distinction that can neither be replicated nor exceeded.

And that’s the whole point. Anthology isn’t “what you see is what you get.” Anthology is “what you’ll see is where you’ve been and what you’ve given.” Our value exists to tell a meaningful story about you. To get there, I’ve poured my heart and soul into the design of each guitar strap and gig bag, burning the midnight oil in my design studio, away from the wife and kids, to create a collection of precious canvases for you to paint your story onto.

Hope you sign on for the ride.

Brian Griffith

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Understanding The Guitar Strap

Having read the title of this section you are perhaps saying to yourself, “Dude, it’s a guitar strap. It holds up a guitar. It’s not a quantum mechanical, micro-fabricated, molecularly self-assembled nanotechnological biopeptid*.”

And while I have no idea what you just said, point taken. But hear me out on this a bit, because the purpose of a guitar strap, I believe, goes beyond its basic function.

At a minimum, I know musicians. And I don’t think any musician goes into a store and grabs a guitar strap without looking at it, feeling it, and really considering it closely. They might say: “I like black.” Or: “I like simple.” Even: “I like lighting bolts and fake fur.” (Never particularly understood that fetish myself.) But no question about it, appearance is part of the equation. The audience can hear your amp, pedal board, and guitar, but what they see is basically you, your guitar, and your guitar strap. And if you’re like most guitar players, you pick a guitar strap based on how it represents you visually.

Much of that stylistic consideration, however, is a matter of attitude. How do you approach songwriting or improvisation? How do you attack your instrument? On stage, are you laid back or in the audience’s face? Do you stand still and get lost in the music or are you raging full-throttle with veins popping? Some people look for a strap in terms of their preferred musical genre. “No Quarter”, one of our most popular guitar straps, for instance, definitely has a hard rock quality in the eyes of most. But I also know jazz and country music guys who snapped it up. Why? Attitude transcends genre: despite musical differences, they happen to share a certain take-no-prisoners approach to their playing and they found that spirit reflected in the strap.

Also, beyond aesthetics, there’s the physical connection to consider. No one wants to be two hours into a gig, just hitting their stride, only to feel their Les Paul pressuring their back muscles into a mutiny and generally dragging them out the zone with guilty urges to take a break from the set. Popping pain killers is surely not a promising path, and unless you’ve got the budget to hire a full-time personal masseuse for the road, much better to let an Anthology guitar strap help take some of the load off. To provide maximum comfort and support, all Anthology guitar straps are made with premium padding at the shoulder as well as the highest grade full-grain leathers — which more efficiently distribute the guitar’s weight for a better playing experience. Anything less is going to give you just that: less.

*Special thanks to Wikipedia for providing this impressive yet entirely random collection of words. (You’re welcome, Scrabble players.)

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Want A Custom Guitar Strap?

If so, here’s where I make the case for why you should think again.

I wanted a custom guitar strap. Or at least so I thought. Way back before Anthology was even conceived as an idea, I went off searching for a custom guitar strap that would be uniquely “me”.

I came up empty.

Not for lack of trying, believe me. I searched online. I scoured every guitar store I could get into, pestered every staffer behind every counter. All I found was the same old tired stuff. So many of the so-called custom guitar straps were basically nothing more than initials hammered into leather. Most of those straps were also, to be blunt, flat-out ugly.

I wanted a strap that reflected my style, my taste as a musician; a strap that satisfied my admittedly exacting standards for quality. Suddenly, I started to realize that “custom” wasn’t really the essential criteria. “Custom” was more a sensibility — and that sensibility would actually be better served by a visionary curator working with quality construction and commensurately high-level design skills rather than customization per se. To find straps that possessed the inspired craftsmanship and expressive character present in classic guitars I loved, well… I would have to go make them myself.

Luckily, this struck me as an appealing idea. Inspiration took hold and this lifelong musician, professional graphic designer, and self-proclaimed perfectionist embarked on a journey to create the absolute finest designer guitar straps and gig bags the world has ever seen. (Or, at least for now, the finest I have ever seen.)

If this sounds like a simple task, let me assure you: designing and producing a really great guitar strap is not easy by any means. Sure, one could go to a leather store, buy some stock off the rack, start cutting, slap on some conchos, stitch it all together and declare it good, but that’s been done. Given I was after something exceptional, just considering different materials and construction methods took me a year. I needed to find leather produced at the absolute highest possible standards that would burnish and beautify with age to truly reflect the journey of the musician. As a designer, I needed to throw down and produce pieces that captured my love of detail and subtlety.

And so Anthology Gear Wear evolved from search to solution. Along the way, every design, every cut, every stitch, and every rivet has been worked and reworked exhaustively until I felt it was precisely right. I’ve spent days sorting through rivets, traveled for weeks to visit tanneries discussing leather, revised designs for months, and all-in spent years to make sure I’m providing fellow musicians with products they will be as proud to own as I was determined to get right.

Now that this mission had connected us, definitely feel free to let me know what you think.

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Guitar Gear

Let’s be honest. When most guitar players think gear, they don’t think guitar straps.

They don’t think gig bags and other such accessories either. They think amps. They think pedals. They think FX processors, compressors, gates, limiters, EQ, gain stages, tone woods, pickups, and head/cab combos — even all the way down to specific tubes and circuits.

By contrast, the guitar strap is a mere afterthought, the bastard stepchild of the gear world. Why such disregard? Well, most guitar players are fixated on tone, as they should be, and the common assumption is that a guitar strap has about as little to do with your tone as the color of paint on the ceiling.

Allow me to begin dismantling that common assumption by noting that no one on this big rock orbiting the sun is more of an obsessive hardcore gear-head tone junkie than yours truly. After twenty relentless years of searching — through incalculable combinations of guitars, amps, pedals, etc. — I can honestly say I’ve locked down the tone of my dreams. Now I couldn’t possibly love my rig more. It fits me flawlessly, allowing me to play unselfconsciously, completely free from ever having to overcompensate for weak tonal areas. It’s my sound sanded down to perfection, responsive beyond belief. The absolute control and comfort there — whether laying back to get super subtle or hitting the gas to attack hard and tear it up — is just sublime. It’s Christmas ever time I plug in.

Now, I say this not to brag but for context. People who aren’t tone freaks simply don’t get it. They don’t understand the all-consuming preoccupation and intoxicating rewards of finally reaching your personal tone Valhalla. For one thing, they simply can’t hear the difference between one setup and another. Lacking a basic critical apparatus for appraising all the distinctions — which, in all fairness, can be incredibly subtle and nuanced — they will never know that driving hunger to finally get through your amp what you’ve heard in your head for so long. However, for those who do understand, here’s why I think you need to reconsider the guitar strap as part of your gear chain rather than an accessory outside it.

Especially on your feet, playing live, the functional fact of the matter is that the strap is what literally connects your body to your instrument. Invoking a design term, it’s the principle of Gestalt: the unified whole is more than the sum of its parts and so each part, no matter how minor, becomes essential. And to realize the strap is an element relevant to a player’s attack and tonal fingerprints, one need only consider Jimmy Page, with his Les Paul often hung so low it was all but grazing his ankles, allowing him to lurch forward and threw his weight into those colossal riffs. Page illustrates how, like your amp, your strap has to be there for you. Overall, you have to trust — to feel as well as know— that it’s going to hold when you push it hard. And as an Anthology Gear War strap ages, it’s full-grain leather molds to your body and stance, fortifying and customizing that feel significantly.

So is the strap worthy of being viewed as gear? Absolutely, for the simple fact that tactile integrity is so critical: to play at your best, everything needs to feel at its best. Investing in a strap built to last that reliably enhances the comfort and control of your physical connection to your guitar can only impact your tone for the better. Your strap can and should be a supportive extensive of your unique posture, and therefore your sound

This belief is why I have made it my mission to elevate guitar straps to the level of “gear” and invest in them the attention to quality and detail that all you fellow tone junkies out there deserve in your noble search for sonic perfection.

This concludes deep guitar strap thoughts with Brian Griffith.

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