Fixing a Stripped-Out Strap Pin with a Toothpick

Got a loose strap pin? Does it wobble when your strap is on? Does it sit and spin? Do you just trust your strap far enough to throw it? Enter the toothpick fix. It’s an oldie, but a goodie!

Essentially what you have is a hole that’s just a bit too large for your strap pin screw, we need to button that down (puns always intended). The easiest way to fix this is to introduce more wood into the opening, causing the screw to bit into the wood and provide a good hold (man, there were a lot of jokes in there). Ideally, the holes should be filled entirely with like wood, but this is a little overkill. Instead we’ll fill it almost perfectly with a toothpick.

A breakdown of steps:

  1. Remove the strap pin & screw.
  2. Grab a toothpick and break off the tapered tip. This is entirely optional, however I like to provide a full piece of wood into the opening since the screw hole isn’t tapered nearly as much as a toothpick is.
  3. Get yourself some good wood glue. You can’t go wrong with Gorilla Glue. That stuff really holds.
  4. Coat the toothpick about an inch up with the wood glue and insert it into the screw hole.
  5. Break off the end of the toothpick still sticking out. The hole usually provides a good clean.
  6. Grab your strap pin screw and start to thread it into the small remaining hole the new void provides. If you want to be extra careful, you can wait for the glue to dry, or you can let the glue aid in the hold a little by threading it in wet. In a pinch, the extra resistance from the toothpick usually provides enough bite for the screw to work perfectly, but I like my fixes to be permanent. I’ve definitely used it in the past without any glue though and had successful results.
  7. Screw it all the way back in and you’re back in business.


Keep in mind that strap pin screws aren’t standardized and depending on what you use, especially if you upgrade to locking strap pins, the screw since will be larger and/or longer. This is another way to fix the problem since the screw is biting into virgin wood, however if you’re doubting any part of this connection, make sure to take appropriate action; you don’t want your strap/strap pin falling off and having your guitar take a tumble.

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