Fix for sweaty palms?

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JohnyZuper
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Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Sun May 07, 2017 7:52 am

In the last two performances that I did (which were also the first two that I did publicly) I have been troubled by the palms of my hands getting sweaty. This is especially problematic in the left hand.
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:12 pm
To relieve that, put talcum powder in a cloth, place it in your pocket, and when your hands get sweaty put you hands in your pocket and dry them off. Or use talcum powder before you play.
Are there any other solutions that talcum powder?
Would deodorant work?
―Michaël Samyn.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun May 07, 2017 9:09 am

Treat the cause not the symptoms; and the cause is fear, in this case performances anxiety, of which topic there have been many threads.
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JohnyZuper
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Sun May 07, 2017 9:14 am

From what I have read about the subject (sadly not supported by much experience yet) it doesn't seem possible, or necessary or even wise to remove the nervousness before a performance. I just want to remove the sweat in my palms, not get more nervous because it's there.
―Michaël Samyn.

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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by simonm » Sun May 07, 2017 9:38 am

Did you dress differently for your public performances? The combination of some nerves (maybe a good thing) plus unfamiliar clothes which are likely too warm plus an environment that is different to where you practice could all contribute. For example, it is still common for men to wear a necktie when performing although the never wear one at other times. If I wear a tie I sweat profusely - I am just so unused to it now although in years gone by I wore one regularly. Bring a discreet little towel for drying off when playing - I always have one if I am in an unfamiliar environment. Curiously sweating may also mean that you haven't drunk enough water - or at least it does in my case. Bring a bottle of water too.

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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun May 07, 2017 10:51 am

JohnyZuper wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 9:14 am
From what I have read about the subject (sadly not supported by much experience yet) it doesn't seem possible, or necessary or even wise to remove the nervousness before a performance. I just want to remove the sweat in my palms, not get more nervous because it's there.
OK, so perhaps we need to distinguish between nervousness, and what I was thinking of as fear in the sense that, being expressed as sweaty palms (and no I don't like getting that at all!) is an involuntary response of the body in a flight-or-fight kind of way.

In one sense you have put your finger right on in that not having much performing experience is probably the no. 1 reason for this happening. As other threads will expound more effectively no doubt, simply getting used to the situation will for most people help sort this out.

As for a degree of nervousness being desirable, that's a bit problematic because for probably almost all players, nervousness causes a reduction in capacity (relative to their private on-their-own practice) and really they would be better off without it. Only if a player ended up so blasé that they can't be bothered to engage with what they are performing and ended up boring everybody or making unforced errors all over the place, would I think see lack of nervousness be a problem.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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JohnyZuper
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Sun May 07, 2017 11:54 am

simonm wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 9:38 am
Did you dress differently for your public performances?
No. I wore the same clothes as I wear for class, where I haven't noticed sweaty palms so far.
simonm wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 9:38 am
Curiously sweating may also mean that you haven't drunk enough water - or at least it does in my case. Bring a bottle of water too.
Interesting. Could be problematic given my nerves-fueled desire for bathroom use. :shock:
―Michaël Samyn.

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JohnyZuper
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Sun May 07, 2017 12:03 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 10:51 am
In one sense you have put your finger right on in that not having much performing experience is probably the no. 1 reason for this happening.
You're probably right. I hope!
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 10:51 am
As for a degree of nervousness being desirable, that's a bit problematic because for probably almost all players, nervousness causes a reduction in capacity (relative to their private on-their-own practice) and really they would be better off without it.
Feeling I have to rid myself of nerves just makes me more nervous. :? It's more productive for me to think of nerves as a form of energy that I should try to channel into my playing. But I'll need more experience to learn if that actually works. Maybe if and when it does, my palms won't get sweaty anymore.
―Michaël Samyn.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sun May 07, 2017 12:08 pm

JohnyZuper wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 12:03 pm
....
Feeling I have to rid myself of nerves just makes me more nervous. :? ...
Yes that's like trying to go to sleep! Its all about allowing rather than making happen.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by pogmoor » Sun May 07, 2017 3:16 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 10:51 am
As for a degree of nervousness being desirable, that's a bit problematic because for probably almost all players, nervousness causes a reduction in capacity (relative to their private on-their-own practice) and really they would be better off without it. Only if a player ended up so blasé that they can't be bothered to engage with what they are performing and ended up boring everybody or making unforced errors all over the place, would I think see lack of nervousness be a problem.
Possibly a more useful way of putting this is expressed by the observation, well-known to anyone who has studied any psychology, known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law**. This suggests that, in carrying out a complex task, there is a bell-shaped relationship between level of arousal (aka anxiety) and performance. This means that for any such task (such as playing the guitar) performance improves with level of arousal up to a maximum and then begins to decline. Performance anxiety - shakiness, sweatiness, panic, etc is a manifestation a level of arousal beyond the optimum. Clearly what a guitarist needs to be able to aim at is just the right level of anxiety to produce his/her best performance. And, as can be seen from reading any of the several old threads on performance anxiety there is nothing like exposure (i.e. playing in front of an audience as much as possible) for overcoming the problem - though it has to be said that expert performers in many fields may say they never completely overcome the problem. The other think that helps is developing the ability to focus on the 'now' of the task. If you are able to fully focus on what you are playing right now and what is immediately to follow it takes your focus off the way you are feeling.

**Whether the John Dodson who was one of the originators of this principle was any relation to our esteemed psychologist member Pat D I do not know!
Eric from GuitarLoot
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JohnyZuper
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Sun May 07, 2017 4:35 pm

I am annoyed by the mistakes I make when performing, and by the memory lapses. But I can handle the level of nervousness I feel. Especially thanks to recommendations like the ones on this forum. Focussing on the now helps indeed. And it will take some practice to do it well.

But I would also like my hands to be dry. Please recommend chemicals or other practical solutions.
―Michaël Samyn.

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pogmoor
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by pogmoor » Sun May 07, 2017 8:54 pm

JohnyZuper wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 4:35 pm
But I would also like my hands to be dry. Please recommend chemicals or other practical solutions.
A very simple practical solution is to spread a little talcum powder on your hands just before you play.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008) and Paul Fischer (1995)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014)

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JohnyZuper
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Sun May 07, 2017 9:19 pm

pogmoor wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 8:54 pm
JohnyZuper wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 4:35 pm
But I would also like my hands to be dry. Please recommend chemicals or other practical solutions.
A very simple practical solution is to spread a little talcum powder on your hands just before you play.
I will definitely try that next time!
(should probably practice with it a few times too so I know what it feels like)
―Michaël Samyn.

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Sun May 07, 2017 10:14 pm

I know a guitarist who keeps a small, sports towel on his knee during performances. He uses it every time between pieces.
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Tomzooki
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by Tomzooki » Sun May 07, 2017 11:23 pm

I don't know if you can get this stuff where you live, but Drysol does marvel on sweaty hands, or feet or armpits of course. I use it on my hands in summer because I sweat a lot and I kill my strings within 3 days... Main side effect is the skin becomes dry, but use a 20% urea cream at night and it regains its supple texture
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JohnyZuper
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Re: Fix for sweaty palms?

Post by JohnyZuper » Tue May 09, 2017 5:27 pm

Thanks for the tip!
I have found a few other products (available in Belgium). Some are available as towels (Soummé). That sounds practical.
―Michaël Samyn.

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