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January 31, 2021
Sweaty palms or sweaty hands are one of the most common issues guitar players suffer from.
Playing with wet hands makes it difficult to play and some techniques like bends and slides can get a bit tricky.
Not only will your playing be affected by sweat, but also your guitar: the salts contained in the sweat will erode your strings and can even damage the neck of your guitar.
If you experience this problem often, you will know the feeling of reduced grip, imprecise movements, and lack of control when playing guitar. This can lead to frustrating moments and, in the worst case, to stop playing the guitar forever.
Nevertheless, we have two good news for you:
You are not alone: sweaty hands is a problem that affects almost 10% of guitarists.
Sweaty hands won’t prevent you from becoming an excellent guitarist. There are many solutions.
We have done our job and talked to many experts to summarize the top 10 ways to avoid sweaty hands when playing guitar.
The most common reason for sweating while playing guitar is being too nervous. Especially in live performances or during studio recording sessions.
At home, you are in a controlled environment and you can reduce the tension of your body more easily, you can take your time and start again from the beginning when making errors.
Some guitar students have reported having sweaty hands only during their guitar lessons or rehearsals.
If this is your case, take a couple of deep breaths and warm up before you play guitar. Try to learn how to control this situation and understand that it is only mental. Good luck with it!
In combination with the first tip, washing your hands with cold water and soap before playing guitar can work very well.
Soap removes dead skin cells and carries away oils and dirt so you will be protecting your guitar from dirt, especially your guitar strings.
Even in the warmest months, looking for a dry place to play guitar can help a lot when it comes to sweat.
One way to reduce the humidity of the air is by using air conditioning. Other alternative ways to keep a room dry is growing plants that absorb humidity or using a dehumidifier.
Using a fan that points to your guitar will help evaporate your sweat and keep your hands cooler, making them sweat less.
The biggest downside of this solution is the noise created by the fan. Especially if you are playing at home and want to relax, the noise of a fan can be annoying even when playing electric guitar.
The same way you tune your guitar between songs, you should dry your hands as well and wipe the strings down after every song and after playing.
Sweat is a guitar string killer, and some people have very acidic sweat that will damage the guitar and strings even faster.
Keep a towel on your guitar case, and after a couple of sessions you won’t even notice you are drying your hands.
Baby powder, also known as talcum powder, is a great home remedy for sweaty hands when playing guitar. It’s simple, fast, and effective.
Many great guitarists have used this method over decades and even carried a small bottle of talcum powder for every gig.
To be confident in your guitar playing, you need to be sure that your sweaty hands are perfectly taken care of and stay dry.
If the talcum powder did not work you might consider looking for professional climbing chalk.
Staying hydrated not only will help you manage your body temperature and make you sweat less, but also have a healthier sweat. What do I mean by this?
When your body is dehydrated, there will be an increase in the concentration of sodium in sweat which is indicated by a higher pH value.
Acidic sweat is very sticky and uncomfortable to play with, and it will damage your guitar and corrode your strings even faster.
Guitar necks are made out of many different wood types and wood finishes, for example varnished or bare wood.
Bring your guitar to a luthier and talk about the problem with your hands. He will recommend the best finish for your type of skin and playing style and you will increase the chance of finding a practical solution.
Everybody’s hands sweat. If you have tested many methods to reduce sweat while playing guitar and this is taking away your enjoyment or affecting your technique, you should visit a dermatologist and check if you suffer from hyperhidrosis, a medical condition that affects 2.8% of the global population.
They work every day with such problems and will know what to do so you can play guitar again without any worries.
You are not alone. Talk to other guitarists, share your solutions with them and help each other. The guitarist’s learning path is a path full of obstacles and sweaty hands is just one of them.
Talk to your guitar teacher and let him or her know about your problem. Likely, we will also have had some other students with the same problem.
Please let us know if you have found an even better method to prevent your hands from sweating when playing guitar, so we can include it in this article. Thanks!
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