Being a musician requires so much effort and energy and the more electrifying your performance will be, the more bodily fluids will be endangering your instrument. Because of this, it is very important for musicians to learn how to protect their guitar from sweat, to avoid further issues that could stem from the moisture and acidity that will be left behind after a scorching gig.
Touring musicians and professionals aren’t the only ones experiencing problems with too much sweat. Even young beginners studying the instrument inside the comfort of their own homes, will be inconvenienced by their sweaty palms.
Sometimes the troubles of a guitar player, along with the damages that the instrument can sustain can get quite disheartening. But worry not because there are many ways to combat excessive sweating, you just have to find the one that works best for you.
How do I stop sweating when playing guitar?
If you are a performing musician who has either toured arenas or crowded small bars, you are well aware of the amount of sweat that these passionate affairs can bring. Aside from musicians, athletes also know that perspiration and inspiration comes hand in hand in achieving the greatest things in life.
However, when it comes to a condition known as hyperhidrosis, things can get more difficult since sweating can come any time of the day and under any circumstances. Activities such as reading a book in a library can produce just as much palm sweat as a relaxing morning run or a nerve-wracking dinner date.
Instead of worrying about how to protect your guitar from your sweat, here are some effective ways you can try to reduce the dripping:
Relax your body and mind
Stress and anxiety can affect your entire well-being in a number of ways. Meditate or take deep breaths before shows or jam sessions. You may also do some stretching to relax your body and mind. While this is not guaranteed to entirely stop your sweating especially if you are suffering from hyperhidrosis, it will calm your nerves, minimizing your body’s nervous reactions, including profuse sweating.
If your sweating is not as immoderate, an over-the-counter version will do. But if your case is already severe, then prescription-strength antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate can be prescribed by your doctor.
Improve personal hygiene
Bacteria can exacerbate a person’s sweating so make sure that you wash your hands regularly, plus it will protect you from a plethora of diseases.
Wear absorbent garments and accessories
Sweat coming from all over your body will end up one way or another on your guitar. Wearing absorbent clothing as well as sports wristbands and armbands, can significantly reduce the amount of fluids dripping into your instrument’s parts.
Drink less fluids before a gig
Drinking less before a performance may seem to be the most obvious way to reduce sweating as well as preventing the discomfort caused by a full bladder. But musicians should be careful in depriving themselves of the needed bloody fluids and keep in mind that moderation is the key.
The stage can get fiery at times with all that energetic action. Mix in some blazing hot spotlight and the last thing you want is to get dehydrated.
Always keep a rag ready
Wipe your hands as often as possible with a clean, absorbent cloth. Be ready with a spare one, which you will use to occasionally wipe your guitar and strings in between songs.
Can you still play guitar if you have hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis, or abnormally excessive sweating, is a condition that afflicts a lot of tactile musicians, often disrupting their guitar work. Much like normal sweating from strenuous physical activities, hyperhidrosis can also cause a host of problems on an instrument, forcing players to do whatever they can to protect their guitar from sweat.
However, the troubles that can be brought about by excessive sweating goes beyond a person’s musical ventures. Daily activities such as driving, writing and cooking can be difficult for a person experiencing this anomaly.
Although there is no clear-cut answer on how to get rid of hyperhidrosis, a musician shouldn’t be discouraged and put his guitar dreams on hold. There are ways to address this disorder and you may combine multiple solutions to come up with good results.
Remedies, procedures and cure for hyperhidrosis
There are several ways to address hyperhidrosis, but be careful and do not attempt to try out any substance or procedure without seeking the help of a medical professional, as some can have adverse effects on you.
- Prescription strength antiperspirants
- Specialized guitar gloves
- Iontophoresis (involves the use of gentle electrical currents)
- Surgery (nerve surgery, sweat gland removal etc.)
- Microwave energy (miraDry)
- Laser treatments
- Botox (Botulinum toxin A )
- Oral Medications (anticholinergic drugs such as glycopyrrolate)
How do you clean sweaty guitars?
The best time to clean a guitar is right after using it as this will give the acids, oils and dust the least chance to penetrate the crevices. Allow sweat on your instrument for too long and it will make the metal parts rust faster than normal.
The solution is to give your instrument a complete wipe down immediately after the gig and prioritize the strings since they are the most prone to corrosion. A microfiber cloth is highly recommended because it will not leave some lint on the grooves of the strings and it absorbs fluid more efficiently. Always keep a spare one within arms reach and use it to protect your guitar from your own sweat.
Using the microfiber cloth, you will have to wipe the top area first before proceeding to individually remove buildup from all sides of the strings. Then insert a small portion of the cloth beneath each string. Do it one at a time and slowly drag the cloth across the fretboard to the bridge to catch the grime before they seep in and harden inside the grooves.
Once the gunk accumulates on your strings, they will be difficult to remove and soon, your sound will get muddy and dead.
Back in the 90s, when Jason Newsted was still holding down the low-end for heavy metal juggernauts Metallica, he would wreck the electronics of his bass guitars. He totaled a lot of durable Sadowsky bass pickups and preamps every night due to his tremendous amount of perspiration. You don’t wanna be like Jason so make sure that the pickups are given special attention in the drying process.
Frets can become a cesspool of dirt and other nasty things that are difficult to remove the longer they stay. Put a little portion of the rag over your fingers and meticulously wipe every fret, including every wire on the entire fretboard.
Body, neck and headstock
Although the finish of an instrument protects the paint and the wood, body acids and oils can make it age faster and yellow the lacquer. Give your guitar some good lovin’ and clean it with a soft, absorbent cloth until the fingerprints, dust and sweat are all gone. Protect your guitar from sweat and clean it as often as you practice or gig, in order to prolong its fresh, brand new look.