Get to know Lior Koren of LK Straps…
I am always on the hunt for new and interesting pedals, amps, books, and accessories. Recently I saw a picture of a spray-painted bass strap that looked fantastic and I wanted to find out more about it.
The straps are created, one of a kind, in Brooklyn, and I tracked down the owner of LK Straps, Lior Koren, and asked him if he would send me a strap to review. I received it and was very impressed! It was both easy on the eyes and easy on the back. Created with repurposed leather, it is soft and durable.
I sat down with the owner and here is a brief interview of that meeting.
What got you interested in creating straps?
When I was 17 years old, I bought a 1979 Fender Precision bass that weighed almost 13 lbs. It sounded incredible but was way too heavy for me to play with on stage. My grandfather used to work in leather so having a few old leather scraps laying around wasn’t uncommon.
I took two pieces and glued them together the best I could to create a makeshift strap. The second I wore it with my bass I was shocked to see how it completely took the weight out of my bass, allowing me to play the instrument comfortably.
A few days later at a local rehearsal studio, I ran into a bass player friend of mine and he saw the strap I made and said to me, “Cool strap! where did you get it”? I replied that I actually made it myself, so he asked me to make him one and that’s how it all began.
What is repurposed leather and where do you find it?
To repurpose something is to take material from an item and reuse it to create something new. I get my leather only from secondhand goods, such as old couches, chairs, and vintage clothing. My leather is never sourced directly from tanneries or other leather manufacturers.
Do you have different widths and lengths?
Yes absolutely. LK Straps is a 100% custom made leather strap company. Every customer has absolute freedom to customize their strap to match their instrument, choosing the length, width, color of the thread, and color of the LK logo, thus giving every strap a complete one-of-a-kind look; If you can imagine it, I can make it happen.
You have an interesting roster of artists endorsing your straps… what do you attribute it to?
I am truly grateful for every single person that decides to be part of our beautiful and growing LK Straps family. I’d like to believe that the wide variety of artists who endorse LK Straps do so because of my unique ability to provide such an individualized product that feels like an extension of their instrument and self, which creates room for every artist to truly feel connected to the brand.
Each strap is 100% custom-made and personalized, and I work with every musician to design exactly what they’re looking for in a strap, both aesthetically and in feel. Additionally, building a personal relationship with each person I make a strap for is a top priority. I feel that the warm, considerate, and welcoming treatment given to every person upon beginning their ordering process to receiving their strap is definitely something that draws so many different kinds of people to LK Straps.
You have a variety of designs… could you tell us about them and how you do them?
I have a variety of designs but I feel my two signature looks are the Distressed series and the Spray Paint series. As an artist, I’m intrigued and fascinated by color combinations, different textures, and I am always looking for ways to improve and stretch the limits of creation. To me, making a strap is making art. Every strap is completely hand-made and customized for every artist, so naturally, each strap is unique and different, from the type of leather and color combination to the size, shape, and feel.
Finding the perfect match for each customer’s instrument is truly a privilege. Some artists have really unique instruments and creating a strap for them always keeps me on my toes. What really makes things interesting is that you can mix and blend between different designs, which unleashes endless possibilities for strap designs.
When you go to my website, you’ll find a few different categories:
- Solid Colors
- Solid colors with paint splatter
- Distressed series
- Spray Paint series
- Artist models
- Quarantine series
- Limited Edition series
The Solid Colors Series offers a wide variety of solid color options from the more traditional colors like black, brown and white, to more popping colors like green, blue, orange, red, teal, yellow, silver and many more.
The Solid colors with paint splatter offer a solid color of your choosing topped with a beautiful and soft color splatter. I find that this series works best for artists who want a little “pop” to their strap. It’s amazing what a difference a few splashes of paint can make!
The Distressed series is one of the most desired models I offer. Like I said before, all the leather I use is repurposed leather, which mainly comes from 30+ year old couches. It’s truly fascinating to strip a couch and see how every piece of leather looks and feels different from the other. The back part of the couch is almost always in perfect condition, with no wear, scratches, or dents on it. The sides usually have some light signs of use, and depending on the age and use of the couch itself, the cushions (where people sit and lay down) have the most distressed look. A couch can tell a lot about its owner.
The Spray Paint series is where things get real crazy! Talk about unique – the options are absolutely limitless. In this series, you can choose any color combination you dream of and I will make it fit your instrument like nothing you’ve ever seen. I usually ask the artist to send me a picture of their instrument and a picture of them playing live. Working with paint is very personal and I feel that because of that, every strap contains the energy and vibe of its owner. Mixing colors and seeing how every strap comes out slightly different from the next never stops to amaze me. One artist can ask for a blue, yellow, gold and black color combination and the other blue, yellow, gold, black and pink and those straps won’t even be close to looking alike.
Finding the perfect strap can be difficult sometimes and is always a dialogue between the artist and myself. It’s a beautiful process, where we inspire each other to create the vision we both see.
The Artist models: Endorsed artists, that usually own a number of straps, have the option of creating their own Artist Model, Like Michael League from Snarky Puppy, Tim Lefebvre, Eric Fortaleza, Richard Bona, Felix Pastorius and many more.
Quarantine series: This series was my wife’s brilliant idea. Leah has a beautiful and unique perspective into the world of colors, which is extremely useful. Like most artists, sometimes I get stuck with a vision I’m trying to translate into a strap design, and in those moments, having another set of eyes can really be helpful. We came up with the names with her siblings and started to work.
The beautiful thing about this series is the unique names of the straps like “Orange You Glad I washed My Hands?” and ” Not Just The Flu Blue”, as well as the more affordable price tag on these straps during the pandemic. We’re hoping this has brought a little laughter and financial ease to our dear customers.
The Limited Edition series: Most of the leather colors I get are traditional like black, and all shades of brown, but every now and then I run across unique leather colors and textures that usually were created by many years of use, a thing that you simply cannot replicate by any means. This is where the Limited Edition comes in, getting a truly one of a kind strap with texture and color you will never see anywhere else.
What makes these LK Straps so comfortable?
There are many things that make my straps comfortable the way they are, but I think the main thing is the quality and accurate combination of the leather I’m using.
I’ve been working for a long time to find the perfect formula that delivers a slick and unique look that feels sturdy but also soft as butter on your shoulders. Unfortunately, I find that most artists really underestimate the importance and essence of having a good solid strap. I’ve talked to the biggest bass players in the world that perform every single night and when asking them, “So how do you like your strap? Is it comfortable?”, most of them answer that they either hate their strap and that it gives them a terrible backache or sometimes they just admit to never really caring about it and that’s absurd to me.
People invest a lot of money in expensive instruments and when it comes to a strap, some of them are oblivious to the fact that their nylon strap causes them damage every time they wear it. After trying my straps, the most common reaction is the disbelief of how light-weight their instrument feels now. Having the right balance is essential and critical for every musician of every age.
When you get a leather strap, it usually feels stiff and it takes a few years of sweat and frequently performing with it, bending, molding and shaping it to fit you perfectly, My straps give you the “broken in” feeling the second you wear them. Once you try LK Straps, you simply can’t wear anything else.
On your website, you say that you have played all over the world. Can you share some of your credits?
I’ve been a professional bass player for about 15 years. and am originally from Israel, which is where my music career started. I’ve been living in the US for the past 8 years touring with various groups around the country.
Some well-known Israeli artists who I’ve played with include Dudu Tassa, A-WA, Shiri Maimon, Mosh Ben-Ari and many others. I also write and perform my original music under my stage name, LyO. Currently, I am mixing my second EP called “Terms Of Conditions”, stay tuned for the release date.
I am thrilled with LK Straps and can recommend them highly to anyone interested in a custom, one of a kind strap.
Two things… you can go to the website and pick out any of the straps that Lior has available or you can have him make one to your exact specifications and colors.
One of my basses has DR Pink Neon strings on it and I want a spray-painted strap with a neon pink format. I will be interested in seeing what Lior comes up with.
Visit online at lkstraps.com