Have you been experiencing the frustration of sweaty hands when playing the guitar?

Good thing is, you are not alone. Many guitarists, even famous guitarists like Rory Gallagher have a tale of sweaty hands during guitar playing.

Sweaty hands can be quite annoying as they make it difficult to hold the guitar properly. Fingers slip on the strings, and the grip is not sufficient.

In addition to hindering guitar playability, there is also the stress of wondering whether sweat can cause damage to the guitar.

In this article, we have answers, tips, and solutions to sweaty hands when playing guitar. Read on to be enlightened.

Will Sweaty Hands Ruin Guitar? (Read this first)

Sweaty hands make it difficult to play, and it can cause damage to guitar parts like the strings, neck, and guitar body. Sweat contains salt and acid, which erodes the metallic guitar parts, and shortens its lifespan. If your guitar is not cleaned properly, the moisture from sweat can damage the guitar.

How Do Sweaty Hands Damage Guitar?

Playing guitar with sweaty hands is a problem that many players encounter. This is how sweaty hands can potentially damage your guitar:


Sweaty hands leave stains on the guitar’s finish. Guitar finishing such as nitrocellulose lacquer is especially prone to sweat stains. These stains are stressful to remove and can make the guitar look bad. The sweat stain also digs into the guitar maintenance budget as they sometimes require professional cleaning.


Your guitar strings probably do not last long because of corrosion from playing with sweaty hands. Sweat contains salts and acids that corrode the metal parts of your guitar. Sweat can damage the guitar strings, tuning parts, and frets, especially if the guitar is not properly cleaned.

Corrosion leads to the deterioration of the guitar parts, which results in issues such as tuning issues, sore fingers after playing and buzzing.


Sweaty hands can lead to warping on the guitar’s neck and body. Once the wood on the guitar’s neck or body gets warped, it leads to intonation issues. Also, a guitar with warped wood is not a pleasant sight.

Can You Play Guitar With Sweaty Hands?

You can play guitar with sweaty hands, but it is not fun. Sweat makes the guitar strings and fretboard annoyingly slippery, which affects the grip and accuracy. In addition, the slipperiness makes it hard to play chords and guitar techniques such as bends.

Sweaty hands also reduce the friction of your finger and the chords, which makes it hard to stay on the fret and string.

How To Avoid Sweaty Hands When Playing Guitar

Sweaty hands do not benefit guitar players. If anything, they ruin the fun and cause damage to the guitar. Therefore, one can apply the following tips to avoid sweaty hands when playing guitar:

Humidity Regulation

If you use a humidifier when playing guitar, you should regulate the temperature to ensure that it is not too hot. It is better to play in a cool room for those who have issues with sweaty hands. High temperatures and humidity will only make you sweat more.

Use Cold Water and Soap

Before grabbing the guitar for your next session, your hands should be washed. Cold water and soap are recommended to wash off oil, dirt, and dead skin that makes sweating worse. Cold water is good for keeping your hands cool and clean when playing.

Have a Towel Nearby

It is difficult to keep washing your hands in between guitar sessions. However, you can use an absorbent towel, preferably cotton to dry your hands in between sessions. Wiping your hands while playing is a great way to control sweaty palms and improve your grip.


There are situations where it might be difficult to control sweaty hands using a towel, such as live stage performances. In this case, you can buy a dermatologist-recommended hand antiperspirant to use before playing the guitar or in between sessions.

Control Anxiety

If you are a beginner and still have anxiety when playing, your hands tend to be sweaty. Anxiety during the performance makes sweating worse. Use techniques to calm down before playing guitar. Taking deep breaths, doing adequate practice before performances, and exercising helps with stage anxiety.

Use Baby Powder

Baby powder is good for controlling sweaty hands. You can also carry the powder with you to regulate sweaty hands. The powder is also effective in enhancing the grip when playing guitar.

Guitar Materials

It is essential to experiment with different guitar materials to identify the most suitable one for you. Some guitar strings make sweaty hands worse than others. Also, be careful with the guitar finishing, and always opt for top quality.


Is It Okay to Play with Sweaty Hands?

You can play with sweaty hands but it only makes playing difficult and damages the guitar. If possible, ensure your hands are dry when playing.

Which Famous Guitarist Had Sweaty Hands?

Rory Gallagher had sweaty hands and his guitar strings were prone to corrosion.

Does Hydration Reduce Sweaty Hands?

Staying hydrated is one way to regulate your body temperature, which significantly reduces the rate of sweaty hands.

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