Nobody would buy a cheap belt to hold up the pants of an Armani suit. So why, Allison Suter wondered, do so many guitarists support pricey instruments with a 20-dollar strips of leather?

The Monterey artist/leatherworker responded by developing a cottage industry with high-end guitar straps.

Suter’s straps, made from the finest Italian leather and suede, are already worn and endorsed by musicians like Mike Dirnt of Green Day and Steve Vai’s bassist Billy Sheehan, but Moody Leather is poised to go even bigger, thanks to an exclusive deal with market giant Peavey.

Moody Leather’s story begins 13 years ago, when Suter was a grad of Arizona State’s dance department. Her father, Moody, needed Suter to come home and take care of him. Looking for something to keep her distracted while she nursed him, Suter learned to work with deerskin.

“I made this jacket for my father,” Suter says, “and when he saw it he told me, ‘Dance is great, don’t let it go, but this is what you’re going to do.’ He died three days later.”

In the following years, Suter continued to hone her craft.

Then, five years ago, she set her sights solely on finely crafted handbags and named her young company in honor of her dad. She quickly gained a reputation for beautiful work and black-and-white ads in which she posed nude with a handbag.

Then, two years ago, a client asked her to make a guitar strap with the same care and materials.

“I’d been catering to all these women with high needs and put that kind of attention into his strap,” she says. “He was totally blown away,”

Moody Leather Straps was born.

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While her marketing was once confined to the Internet, Suter has begun attending guitar shows, and the straps “started selling themselves.”

But her biggest break came from Peavey, which will include a Moody strap with every custom guitar sold.

For Suter, Peavy and guitarists everywhere, that simply rocks.

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