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Thread: Schweaty Hands

  1. #1
    Michael Grady MSGrady20's Avatar
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    Question Schweaty Hands

    So, when I play my hands/fingers tend to get overly sweaty, making me feel that I have to change my strings out more often than most people. I was wondering what strings some of you players, that have similar issues, use in order to keep from having to change your strings out all the time. Thank you!
    Kentucky KM-150
    Collings MT

  2. #2
    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    My dad corrodes strings quickly. He wipes them down thoroughly when he's done, and just switched to coated D'Addario EXP strings.
    "There ain't too many folks, who can play too many notes... on the mandolin"

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Not much to do for an alternative to the steel part , Nickel wont corrode like Bronze..

    Consider more frequent hand washing ..

    (bring your Pick, wash It at the same time as You Use soap and water on your Hands )

    < I do this for my Oily skin >

    Being Sweaty, and where you live, seem an un curable combination.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    You also might try cleaning the strings after you play with FastFret.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Seems like it's been awhile since this common topic has been brought up.
    By "sweaty", one assumes you mean corrosive; that is, you are pretty quickly observing the string color become dark or dirty looking, and the steel strings start to feel rough?

    There are several things I do that help/slow this effect, but do not completely prevent it.
    The first is washing my hands, before and maybe once or twice during a long jam or day at a festival. I often carry a small damp hand towel to periodically clean my hands if it is warm.

    Frequent wiping/cleaning strings can also help slow the string wear, and is important to slow corrosion (or literal rusting) in the case. But it does not reverse the corrosion or darkening that has already occurred while you are playing.

    A string-coating product, if reapplied frequently, also can help (eg, StringLife).

    I don't like or use coated strings; I think newer strings sound better than older strings, whether coated or not. If you are playing a lot or a fair amount, putting on fresh strings more frequently is a pretty effective way to get better feel and better tone.
    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

  6. #6
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Cleaning after playing is the key. You can't do much while playing, but you can prevent corrosion from going on afterwards in the much longer periods of not playing.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    I do what others here have recommended. I always wash my hands before I play, and I regularly wipe my hands between tunes. I apply FastFret before, during, and after playing (after I've thoroughly wiped the strings down, including the undersides). And I do use D'Addario EXP strings for additional corrosion protection.

    Living with chronic sweaty hands sucks. There's no other way to say it. I've heard people say that there are pills a doctor can give me to stop it, but I ain't one for taking pills. There's also surgery that can be done where they cut a nerve that controls the sweat glands. That doesn't sound pleasing either. I just live with it. But it does require constant maintenance, not only on the strings but the frets and board too.

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    Michael Grady MSGrady20's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Thanks for the info folks, some good stuff on here. I read that rubbing unscented deodorant on your hands helps with sweaty hands. Your thoughts? I would be afraid to have the stuff on my hands while playing my Collings to be honest.
    Kentucky KM-150
    Collings MT

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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    You might want to try Elixir nano coated strings.

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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Yeah, wouldn't risk the finish on your Collings. I fortunately don't have very "corrosive" skin, but still use EXP or Elixir, just cuz I don't like changing strings...can easily go 4-6 months, but I also have multiple instruments, so that's not necessarily with daily play.
    Chuck

  11. #11
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Good advice above. I would not bother with hand deodorants, surgery (aagh!), or even careful washing. Just play! Instead,

    1) Use coated strings, like D'Addario EXP, or Elixir nanoweb, or similar.

    2) Always wipe down your strings after playing.

    3) Consider applying a product FastFret. This is simply mineral oil soaked into a tightly rolled cotton-cloth applicator, and it's the very same thing as Tibetan Almond stick from Zenith, but re-marketed to musicians instead of furniture people! However, it costs $6 to buy FastFret, which is a lot, when you consider how little you get. You get a lot more value for your money with Tibetan Almond stick, which comes with a roughly 4-times bigger applicator. By the way, there are no almonds in this product, and it has nothing to do with Tibet! Ah, marketing...

    If you really want to save $$, you can also purchase food-grade mineral oil ($10 or less will get you a LIFETIME supply!) and apply this in a very light coat using a cotton rag, wiping away all excess. Or, if you don't mind the odor, you can even use Johnson's baby oil, which, as it happens, is nothing more than mineral oil with a light perfume.

    Just be careful to apply the mineral oil directly to the strings, and not the instrument.

  12. #12
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    I sweat like workhorse !. The mere thought of moving around quickly makes me sweat. However,my hands don't sweat (much) ,only the usual body areas. My fingers can get a bit tacky at times,so i wipe the strings down with a cotton cloth with a small amount of Servisol 'switch cleaner' sprayed onto it. Servisol has a corrosion cleaner & anti-corrosion substance in it as well as a switch lubricating oil. It's perfectly safe to use on strings. I've used it for 20+ years on my banjo & use it on my mandolin strings -if i need to. Wipe on / wipe off - 10 seconds & it's done !,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    I think DR Dragonskin strings also have the coating on the non-wound strings. I really dislike Elixirs and EXP's, but the DR's feel very normal to me.
    Mitch Russell

  15. #14
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Maybe keep a cloth in your case and wipe your hands frequently while playing?

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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Talcum powder ... not baby powder ie. corn starch on your hands before you start playing. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  17. #16

    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    Talcum powder ... not baby powder ie. corn starch on your hands before you start playing. R/
    Not sure which you are suggesting, as "Baby Powder" comes in both talc and cornstarch varieties. I have used cornstarch on my left hand for years. Talc has some carcinogenic properties.

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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    Not sure which you are suggesting, as "Baby Powder" comes in both talc and cornstarch varieties. I have used cornstarch on my left hand for years. Talc has some carcinogenic properties.
    Talc has on been possibly connected with ovarian cancer.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Mentioned on TV by law firms that get a healthy % Of claims from Civil suit settlements .

    so consider the Source... [read medical journals for less self interested discussions?]
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  20. #19
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    Talc has on been possibly connected with ovarian cancer.
    Oh dear, I'll never get pregnant now.
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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Quote Originally Posted by MSGrady20 View Post
    Thanks for the info folks, some good stuff on here. I read that rubbing unscented deodorant on your hands helps with sweaty hands. Your thoughts? I would be afraid to have the stuff on my hands while playing my Collings to be honest.
    An OTC antiperspirant containing Aluminum Chloride or Chlorhydrate can be a big help. Regular deodorant which does not say antiperspirant won't help. I say this as a former podiatrist who had many patients over the years that used these products with much success. Certain Dri is one good one (no commercial interest) and the roll-on version would be the most convenient. At first, apply it each night. Wash your hands in the morning as usual.After a week or so you can try to reduce to every other night or less as these products have a residual effect.
    Note--former worries about topical aluminum compounds and Alzheimers have pretty much been disproved so don't worry about that.
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  22. #21
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schweaty Hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
    worries about topical aluminum compounds and Alzheimers have pretty much been disproved so don't worry about that.
    Errrhh - what is that again I shouldn't worry about? Never mind.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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