One look at the company’s marketing materials tells you that Moody Leather is no ordinary strap company. I don’t want to spoil the surprise (or the outrage), so let’s just say that the images are very provocative. Oh, hell—I’ll just let Moody Leather founder/designer Allison Suter give you the scoop: “The feel of our leather straps is yummy and sensual, so the hint of erotica is enticing and appropriate. And while our ads are edgy, sex and rock and roll have always gone well together.”
Suter first taught herself to work with leather by making a deerskin jacket for her father—who was an F-15 fighter pilot and designer of the Air Force’s Red Flag Air Warfare Center, and is the namesake of Moody Leather (the company logo is his actual signature). From there, Suter started making handbags, but as she was a ballet dancer, it wasn’t long before music intersected with her business strategy.
“It seemed to me that straps were an afterthought for many musicians,” she explains. “And if you wanted a premium strap, it was usually a gaudy design that
didn’t incorporate really good-quality leather. I started talking to players to see what they wanted, and that led to a lot of research.”
Suter’s impromptu surveys revealed that most players simply wanted a strap that melted into their shoulders and didn’t slide around. They also didn’t appreciate beads, buckles, and other accoutrements that might scratch their instrument. The primary solution, according to Suter, was to manufacture her straps only with exquisite Italian leather that provided a buttery feel and delivered maximum comfort.
“I could use lower-quality suede and leather for the inside layers of my straps, but I don’t,” she says. “No one sees those layers, but they feel them.”
Moody Leather—which is based in Monterey, California—makes every strap by hand, and offers guitar models starting at $76, and bass models starting at $87 (all prices are direct through moodyleather.com). Custom straps, such as the Flame ($135), Dirnt Standard (Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt’s signature model, $125), and Nikita($135) are also available.
“I could never understand why a musician would hang their beloved guitar or bass on an inexpensive strap,” says Suter. “Music is all about feel and sensation, and, you know, I couldn’t imagine cuddling up in bed with a $15 strap. And to any musician who doesn’t even think about his or her strap, I can only ask them to consider this: It’s what holds the instrument that makes the music.”