What's your secret for ...

oneforsorrow

Country Gent
May 15, 2020
1,160
Iowa
playing in the heat and humidity?

We just had a couple of outdoor shows and we both hit a bit of a wall with the humidity. For me it's the gummed up strings and neck that get me stuck trying to navigate the fretboard but my wife had that on top of a fiddle bow that couldn't be tightened any further and was too flabby to get a grip on the strings as well as her fingers slipping off the keys of her piano (she plays all three in a typical concert).

I've tried baby powder, coated strings (not for me), fresh strings, Dr. Stringfellow, and trying to wipe my hands off constantly. The thing that works best is fresh strings but I much prefer them to be broken in a bit for all other reasons.

What works for you?
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
18,807
lafayette in
I've got COPD. I don't go out of the house if it's hot and humid.
I've had heat stress issues before and am unwilling to risk my health.
I've built stages and ran sound in hot and humid weather. It's not fun.
That's one of the main reasons I retired.
I can always find a way to get warm in the winter---build a fire, wear extra layers, and so on.
They don't make portable AC.
When it's hot you can only take so many clothes off.
Then, you're in jail and even more uncomfortable, or in the hospital.
No gig is worth my health.
 

Cryin_Caleb_Aaron

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
7,669
Auburn, Maine
Outdoor shows in the summer are the worst. I usually refuse to play them because I hate the day time, the sun is poison, and the heat is the biggest drag of all. It’s not conducive to a vampire lifestyle.

Basically, when I have had to play a show like that (which I did a few weeks ago, 90°!) I just suffer thru it. Retune between songs and know that NO one is enjoying it, not the band and not the audience. It’s folly.
 

oneforsorrow

Country Gent
May 15, 2020
1,160
Iowa
Outdoor shows in the summer are the worst. I usually refuse to play them because I hate the day time, the sun is poison, and the heat is the biggest drag of all. It’s not conducive to a vampire lifestyle.

Basically, when I have had to play a show like that (which I did a few weeks ago, 90°!) I just suffer thru it. Retune between songs and know that NO one is enjoying it, not the band and not the audience. It’s folly.
It is folly. And we tune throughout the whole show (I married a classically trained violinist -- intonation is a non-negotiable 😐). We've actually not been performing hardly at all but we needed the work and booked 4 outdoor shows this month. We've got 2 left and so I thought I'd pose the question in case a magic remedy appears here.
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
18,807
lafayette in
Purdue has an outdoor bandshell that can fit 30K people. We'd do the 4th of July thing there with the 1812 (with howitzers!) and fireworks after. Full orchestra and choir. Massive setup.
Uni bands would do a number of gigs there thru out the year, especially around football season. Invariably, being Indiana, we'd get rain.
"Do you think it'll rain?" they'd ask me.
"Weatherman says so, and those black clouds to the west are ominous."
"We'll do the show anyhow."

Not that many years ago a massive thunderstorm hit the Indiana State Fair during a show. Nine died, many were injured. You can find it on Youtube. I knew guys operating the follow spots up in the rigging. They didn't survive, even tho they begged to come down. State police and fire marshals didn't press the issue, but Sugarland's manager decided the show will go on. 75 MPH winds tore the entire rig down, and they blamed the staging company for it all. Anyone who's lived in Indiana for ten years or more knows what a thunderstorm can do. You could see the wall of clouds coming. Anyone with a brain ran for cover. The real criminals got away with murder.
 
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Cryin_Caleb_Aaron

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 15, 2018
7,669
Auburn, Maine
It is folly. And we tune throughout the whole show (I married a classically trained violinist -- intonation is a non-negotiable 😐). We've actually not been performing hardly at all but we needed the work and booked 4 outdoor shows this month. We've got 2 left and so I thought I'd pose the question in case a magic remedy appears here.
I hear ya, gotta do whatcha gotta do.
I’ve heard it said that lighter colored guitars do better in the sun, so there’s that.
Kinda just gotta power thru it, I guess. I’m sure you guys will sound great regardless of the tribulations.
 

oneforsorrow

Country Gent
May 15, 2020
1,160
Iowa
Hose down the neck and fretboard constantly with that finger-ease spray, it works. Billy Zoom blasts his neck with it live always lol. In my experience it doesn’t leave residue and doesn’t smell too bad either 👍🏼
Thanks! That was on my radar and I was hoping someone would pipe in with some input about it.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,218
Petaluma
Outdoor shows in the summer are the worst. I usually refuse to play them because I hate the day time, the sun is poison, and the heat is the biggest drag of all. It’s not conducive to a vampire lifestyle.

Basically, when I have had to play a show like that (which I did a few weeks ago, 90°!) I just suffer thru it. Retune between songs and know that NO one is enjoying it, not the band and not the audience. It’s folly.
For me sun + alcohol = instant headache as well.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,218
Petaluma
If you suffer from sticky hands, I suggest matting the guitar neck. Did it to my gretsch jet recently and it has been a revelation. Will do the same with all my other glossy neck guitars.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
22,739
Monkey Island
Maybe use some Micro Mesh(Nasa sandpaper) on the back of the neck?

Your wife would probably benefit from using a carbon fiber bow?
 

Pops

Gretschie
May 23, 2022
447
SC Midlands
I don’t think a CF bow would help with the bow hair. I’ve seen mine look like loose spaghetti if the conditions are just right. And that’s indoors!
 

LesB3

Gretschie
Silver Member
Aug 17, 2021
370
Philadelphia, PA
Can't help you with your instruments, but these stupid things really do work:



...or at least make me think they are working. They can be hidden with a collar, or laid flat under a tee.
 

Berington

Gretschie
Jan 6, 2014
125
Los Angeles
playing in the heat and humidity?

We just had a couple of outdoor shows and we both hit a bit of a wall with the humidity. For me it's the gummed up strings and neck that get me stuck trying to navigate the fretboard but my wife had that on top of a fiddle bow that couldn't be tightened any further and was too flabby to get a grip on the strings as well as her fingers slipping off the keys of her piano (she plays all three in a typical concert).

I've tried baby powder, coated strings (not for me), fresh strings, Dr. Stringfellow, and trying to wipe my hands off constantly. The thing that works best is fresh strings but I much prefer them to be broken in a bit for all other reasons.

What works for you?
Firstly, ALWAYS have a fan with you. ALWAYS. The little round $15 Turbo fans are AMAZING, and with one somewhere a few feet in front of you, you won't know how you ever did without one. They're ubiquitous on stages... if you don't have one yet, go to Target TODAY and get one, for EACH of your performers. Best investment in comfort, ever.

And as commented before by a couple of people: yes, FINGER-EASE! Another true gig-saver. I just sprang for a 5-pack from Sweetwater for $20, & it'll last a lonnnng time. Lightly spray your strings, the back of the neck, and wipe it all down with a soft cloth. It'll instantly feel slippery, Use the cloth to continue wiping up the strings, all the way to the bridge. It'll feel like a new guitar and play like the wind! It should last for your gig, but there've been humid outdoor shows when I've have to respray. No biggie. Along with the fan, it's a life-saver!

Don't turn down gigs 'cause it's hot or muggy. Just bring the tools for the job! And have great shows! I wish I had something for your wife's violin bow and the piano. The Finger-Ease may WELL work on piano keys! Never tried it, but no reason why not. It does NO harm to wood finishes at all. Give it a try! (Maybe at home first!) And the FAN!! EVERY musician needs fans, right? Cheers!
 

hogrider16

Gretschie
Oct 18, 2017
407
charles town wv
A fan, wet rags and dry towels. Use the wet towel on your hands, then dry your hands with the dry towel, then wipe your fretboard and guitar neck. IMHO, spraying more gunk on the fingerboard is counter productive. Whatever you do, don’t wipe your brow with your hands, then you have to start all over.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,697
Tucson
Some things are pretty hard to overcome and humidity is definitely one of them.

A few years back, I recorded an entire album of demos, for a friend who was recording an album of covers. The demos were for the arrangements, so the session musicians would know just what was wanted. The songs were familiar, and we knocked most of them out, first take, but by the end of every song, the guitar was way out of tune. This was a stable guitar, with fresh strings, but the humidity made everything bad.

During our monsoon season, I have been known to choose a guitar to play by virtue of which guitar was the most playable, on a given day. The next day, it might change, so Tuesday's winner was hopeless, but the gutiar that was hopeless on Tuesday might be in fine fettle, come Wednesday.
 

Lee Brown

Pro- line
Nov 6, 2015
16
UK
playing in the heat and humidity?

We just had a couple of outdoor shows and we both hit a bit of a wall with the humidity. For me it's the gummed up strings and neck that get me stuck trying to navigate the fretboard but my wife had that on top of a fiddle bow that couldn't be tightened any further and was too flabby to get a grip on the strings as well as her fingers slipping off the keys of her piano (she plays all three in a typical concert).

I've tried baby powder, coated strings (not for me), fresh strings, Dr. Stringfellow, and trying to wipe my hands off constantly. The thing that works best is fresh strings but I much prefer them to be broken in a bit for all other reasons.

What works for you?
I use Driclor antiperspirant ( I’m in UK) on my hands. In uk only available from chemist.
 


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