Guitar Hero: Earl Slick

A famed rocker produces a new line of custom-made guitar accessories

Photograph by Michael Polito

Even if you can’t play guitar like a rock star, now you can at least look the part.

Guitarist and Pine Bush resident Earl Slick — who’s played on David Bowie’s Young Americans, Station to Station, and Reality albums — is producing his own line of customized guitar straps, called Slick Straps, to give your axe that “I just rocked a world tour” look.

These vintage-style straps are made of distressed leather emblazoned with a variety of hand-painted rock ’n roll graphics, including skull-and-crossbones, stars, crosses, and Japanese kanji writing. As of this fall they can be purchased exclusively through, a one-stop guitar customizing shop. “They’re unique — there’s nothing else like these out there,” Slick proclaims. “And I’m not just saying that. We did a lot of research and looked at all the trade shows to see what styles are coming out — these are going to be way different.” For all those collectors out there, Slick plans to produce about a dozen special edition autographed straps each month that come with a certificate of authenticity.

So what made this rocker pick up a paintbrush in the first place? “It came about pretty naturally,” Slick says. “After the last Bowie tour I was looking through my stuff and found this bag of unused, plain leather straps. I didn’t know what else to do with them, so I decided to paint them. The people I showed them to liked them, so I started making some for friends,” he says. Slick knew a guy at Guitar Fetish who took note of the wearable art and offered him an outlet to sell them.

» See photos of Slick and other Hudson Valley Musicians in our feature, “Forever Young

If you want to take your fan-devotion a step further, you can slide your Slick Strap onto the Framus guitar brand’s new Earl Slick signature model. German company Framus is known for their classic-style six strings with bluesy-rock tones, and this guitar embodies the craftmanship and sound that Slick prefers for himself. “I designed the aesthetics to be reminiscent of a late 1950s- early ’60s Gibson Melody Maker,” he says. “I wanted it to have that vintage feel in both appearance and sound.” The new guitar is expected to be available for sale in autumn.

Find Slick Straps this fall at; for more information on Framus guitars, visit

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