How to deal with sweat on left hand

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Annalu Braga
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How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Annalu Braga » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:35 am

The anxiety and tension make me sweat on my hands, specially on the left hand on recitals, so it´s very hard to play. I use a powder on it but it´s not suficient. Do you have any other tip for this problem?

Sean Eric Howard

Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Sean Eric Howard » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 am

I have an old sock stuck in a Ziploc bag. I poured quite a bit of talcum powder into the sock and tied the open end off. When I perform, I lay the sock out on top of the bag on the floor near me and simply squeeze the sock. It's worked wonders for me, but be careful if wearing black clothes.

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segobreawill
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by segobreawill » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:25 am

Perhaps you could try to steady your breathing beforehand through some sort of exercises designed exactly for that purpose. The "anxiety and tension", as you mentioned, will have to be dealt with on a mental level first and foremost. Otherwise, your heart rate and thoughts will be running the show, and not your musical ability.

It's the "devil" that EVERY performer has to face.

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Annalu Braga
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Annalu Braga » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:08 pm

Sean Eric Howard wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 am
I have an old sock stuck in a Ziploc bag. I poured quite a bit of talcum powder into the sock and tied the open end off. When I perform, I lay the sock out on top of the bag on the floor near me and simply squeeze the sock. It's worked wonders for me, but be careful if wearing black clothes.
I always use black clothes. The sock is in the ziploc or not?

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Annalu Braga
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Annalu Braga » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:09 pm

segobreawill wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:25 am
Perhaps you could try to steady your breathing beforehand through some sort of exercises designed exactly for that purpose. The "anxiety and tension", as you mentioned, will have to be dealt with on a mental level first and foremost. Otherwise, your heart rate and thoughts will be running the show, and not your musical ability.

It's the "devil" that EVERY performer has to face.
Can you detais what are these exercises?

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segobreawill
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by segobreawill » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:27 pm

Give this article a look (points #4 & #5 are reminiscent of Yogic breathing techniques):
https://www.thoughtco.com/inhalation-ex ... rs-2994177

Another thing you can do is take up some form of meditation. Zen is very good at keeping your attention on the breath and the hara - the center of one's being.

But, there's plenty of other breathing-related techniques you could try out. You can search them out if you so wish. Remember one thing though: You have to stick with it and give it a chance to work. Just like our guitar practice, it requires that mother-of-all-virtues - 'patience.'

Dirck Nagy
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Dirck Nagy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:21 pm

Ha! I'm an expert in this area! My hands sweat more than any other human being on the planet!

They always have, even when i was a little kid. There doesnt seem to be any reason why they do this, but tension can, of course, trigger it.

Sometimes, it will run down my arm and drip off my elbow. The most annoying feature is that if i am not careful, i get a very loud, high-pitched squeak from the nylon strings when i shift.

I played a masterclass for Lily Afshar 30 years ago and she said "Gee, your hands sweat a lot! They really sweat. Wow, your hands sweat a lot." Yeah, thanks, Lily! Like I don't know that already, right?!? I was young and very embarrassed then.

This came up at another masterclass, with Kevin Gallagher this time. He mentioned my string noise and this time i was able to make a joke about it. I demonstrated it for him (and the audience) and told them I was writing a piece that featured the "sweat-squeek" portamento. Kevin thought it was funny and said "Hmm... I can't do that technique!"

Believe me, I have tried all the tricks short of surgery, from powder to chemical antiperspirants to acupuncture. (Acupuncture actually worked, but only for a couple hours at a time. Oh, If i were only rich and famous enough to hire an acupuncturist as part of my entourage!) Breathing and meditative techniques to control tension help too, but I haven't had the energy to really put in some serious work on this.

One BIG thing that helps is to be very prepared for the performance! This should be obvious, but sometimes i forget. If I know the material and am comfortable with my technique, I dont worry as much, hence, less sweating. Usually.

Playing to "Express" myself rather than to "Impress" the audience helps to reduce tension too.

Rubbing my forehead to get "People Grease" on my LH before beginning won't stop the sweat, but it helps the squeaking.

I also sometimes carry a small black towel onstage and unobtrusively wipe my hands on it.

The good thing is that usually once i get started playing, it becomes less of a problem.

I still haven't finished composing my "sweat-squeek portamento" etude, but I will let you know when I do!

cheers!
dirck
2015 John H. Dick
1994 Larry Breslin ("Deerhead")
1952 Vincente Tatay

Sean Eric Howard

Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Sean Eric Howard » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:24 pm

Annalu Braga wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:08 pm
Sean Eric Howard wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 am
I have an old sock stuck in a Ziploc bag. I poured quite a bit of talcum powder into the sock and tied the open end off. When I perform, I lay the sock out on top of the bag on the floor near me and simply squeeze the sock. It's worked wonders for me, but be careful if wearing black clothes.
I always use black clothes. The sock is in the ziploc or not?
On stage, out and on the bag. You won't get a huge dust cloud of talc flying around, just enough to take the clammy dampness off the hands. At least that's my experience. I always wear purple.

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Annalu Braga
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Annalu Braga » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:17 pm

Sean Eric Howard wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:24 pm
Annalu Braga wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:08 pm
Sean Eric Howard wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:11 am
I have an old sock stuck in a Ziploc bag. I poured quite a bit of talcum powder into the sock and tied the open end off. When I perform, I lay the sock out on top of the bag on the floor near me and simply squeeze the sock. It's worked wonders for me, but be careful if wearing black clothes.
I always use black clothes. The sock is in the ziploc or not?
On stage, out and on the bag. You won't get a huge dust cloud of talc flying around, just enough to take the clammy dampness off the hands. At least that's my experience. I always wear purple.
Have you tried a plastic glove (for dyeing hair) full of talcum?
Last edited by Annalu Braga on Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jeffrey Armbruster

Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:19 pm

I bought a tube of anti-perspirent hand creme on the big river site that works really well. Sorry, I'm at work so I forget the name of it. You might try looking for that.

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Tomzooki
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Tomzooki » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:54 pm

Jeffrey Armbruster wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:19 pm
I bought a tube of anti-perspirent hand creme on the big river site that works really well. Sorry, I'm at work so I forget the name of it. You might try looking for that.
That’s what I would suggest to try. Here in Canada we have Drysol, which is a 20% aluminium chloride solution. It is very effective.
Miodrag Zerdoner 8 string Stauffer-Legnani
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW

Sean Eric Howard

Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Sean Eric Howard » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:36 pm

Annalu Braga wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:17 pm
Sean Eric Howard wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:24 pm
Annalu Braga wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:08 pm


I always use black clothes. The sock is in the ziploc or not?
On stage, out and on the bag. You won't get a huge dust cloud of talc flying around, just enough to take the clammy dampness off the hands. At least that's my experience. I always wear purple.
Have you tried a plastic glove (for tining hair) full of talcum?
Nope. No point. The sock works very well.

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Jules Catbird
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Re: How to deal with sweat on left hand

Post by Jules Catbird » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:05 am

HI<

not sure if this is helpful, but you could try strings that are not round wound.
I like the D'addario J45 LP; lightly polished - they are not true flat wounds, but do reduce string squeak - especially useful for recording.

There are flat wound strings out there, LaBella makes some and they have less squeak, but less bright and resonant.

Julian C
(and hi Sean EH)

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