Trivium’s Matt Heafy Reveals Why He Uses an Unconventional Guitar Strap, Explains What Makes His Signature Les Paul So Special

Over the last few years or so, Trivium frontman Matt Heafy might have gotten some weird looks over his unusual guitar strap. However, even though it may not be as “metal” as people would expect, Matt says it makes his life easier. In an interview with PMTVUK, the musician reflected on the matter, explaining that it’s the asymmetrical weight distribution (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“My signature Richter guitar strap would be the innovative dual strap. People are like ‘Why the dual?’ And to that, I say ‘Why do we wear 100 percent of the weight on one shoulder?'”

Matt Heafy's 2023 Trivium UK Tour Guitar Rig Rundown! - Stunning 7 String Epiphones!

Of course, we all know that carrying a guitar with a strap for hours every night, even if it’s not the heaviest one, comes with potential pains and even longterm injuries. When the interview reminded him of the guitar that he’s holding and that it’s somewhat heavy, Matt replied:

“Yes, and I use it even on a guitar that was half the weight of this [his 7-string signature Epiphone Les Paul]. So even on my lighter guitars at home, I use the dual strap.”

“I love it. It’s more of, let’s say, like a 70:30 or 60:40 compensation, depending on how you have it.”

RICHTER® Matt Heafy Double Guitar Strap Instruction

Matt also pointed out that a lot of active performing musicians are dealing with physical issues due to the nature of the business, so this kind of strap can be a lifesaver:

“I recommend it to anyone with… You know, most musicians have back, shoulder, leg problems, neck problems. This will help.”

During the same chat, Heafy was also reminded of his signature 7-string Epiphone Les Paul Custom that he was holding in his hands the whole time (well, on his unconventional strap, to be exact). Asked about this instrument and share some details on how it came to be, the Trivium frontman replied:

“I joke often that I’m the discount Kiss. I truly am, there are so many things.”

Matt Heafy's Signature Epiphone Les Paul Customs & Dunlop Jazz III Picks

“So, the first step is the Gibson MKH Les Paul Custom Origin. This is the second signature [model] with Gibson. Technically, we did the ‘SnØfall’ and the original, black and white, 6 and 7 [strings] for both.”

Further on, Matt explained that there’s a total of eight versions of his signature guitar:

“So there’s black, white, six, seven — left and right [handed]. Because the lefties were like ‘Where are our guitars?’ I was like ‘You better buy them if we do this.’ But they have been.”

Matt Heafy Demos His Epiphone Les Paul Custom Origins Signature Model

“It’s basically set up to look like the original Les Paul Custom that first came out that the people first saw me with, like the ‘Pull Harder [on the Strings of Your Martyr]’ video and for the ‘[A] Gunshot [to the Head of Trepidation]’ video. For the ‘Gunshot’ video, it is actually a Les Paul Supreme but I was like ‘Let’s settle my OCD and make it a Les Paul Custom.'”

Recalling how some people told him that “it doesn’t look right if you’re not playing a Les Paul,” he then continued:

“That’s what I love about the Les Paul. It’s like, you picture many different iconic players — I still think of Zakk Wylde for Les Paul Custom…”

Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom Origin Demo - 6 String vs 7 String

However, Matt’s signature model is a bit different compared to your usual LP Custom — it’s a bit lighter. Matt explained that and some other details on what sets it apart from the usual Custom:

“I actually made this slightly lighter, slightly more ergonomic with the new neck heel that they do. We used to have the full-on access heel. But I prefer this one because it’s kind of a mix of that plus the traditional. I like the traditional heel a lot more but I don’t like to change too much.”

“I had people ask me ‘Why not 24 frets?’ I feel like if you need 24 frets, maybe this isn’t a guitar for you. I think Les Pauls look weird with 24 frets.”

Trivium - Live at Summer Breeze 2023

And, obviously, we have the 7-string version which actually comes with a longer scale length than what’s usual for Epiphones and Gibsons. Going into it, Matt explained:

“So the 7-string… I actually did increase the scale subtly, you almost can’t tell but it’s 25.5 [inches] instead of the 24.75, the traditional. The 6-string is still 24.75, this is 25.5 just to get that extra resonance in the low string.”

For some time now, there have been talks about how weird Matt Heafy’s signature strap looks. However, he’s always stuck to his thing, explaining that it’s more than a useful tool. In an interview from 2020, Matt commented:

“I love this thing. So many musicians were pissed about this; they’re like, ‘What is that thing? Why would anybody ever do that?’ But my thing is like, ‘Why kill your left shoulder even more?'”

@trivium - LIVE IN RIVERSIDE, CA - 6/11/23 - FULL SET

“I think it looks pretty sweet. In some of the early models that we did with Richter, I looked like the bass player of Rammstein [Oliver Riedel] on the ‘Live Aus Berlin’ [1998].

“And I was like, ‘That’s not gonna work, dude, this is too much.’ It was like a wearable, but this is great.”

When prompted to comment about some fans saying that it’s the “uncoolest thing” for a metal musician to have, he replied:

“I’ve never seen so many salty comments about a strap that helps your shoulder. People must hate their left shoulder. What did your shoulder ever do to you?”

Trivium - The UEA, Norwich 24/08/2023

Photo: Selbymay (Hellfest2019Trivium 02)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.