Humidity and outdoor gigs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by franvarin, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    Like many, I find in the Summer months here in the Northeast we play a lot of outdoor gigs. This past Saturday we played a festival and it was in the 90's and very humid. I've always been aware of the issues with strings and the back of the neck under these conditions but, this particular event was the worst I recall. I found I was fighting the neck and strings more than usual.

    So, I got to thinking about this to try and come up with a solution. I thought something like Fast Fret or similar product might work for the strings. But, was wondering about the back of the neck. My first thought was light powder in the palm of my hand.

    I'd love to hear what has worked for others along this line. I'm convinced I have not thought of all the solutions.

  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Many of us sand the finish off the back of the neck...
    Bodeanly likes this.
  3. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I've sanded the shiny and beautiful finish off of a number of necks, but if your weather is anything like that of the Midwest, you'll need to seal it back up with something.
  4. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    Yes, have a guild pilot I bought new in the 80's and I sanded the neck. I was hoping to not have to do that again
  5. Aberdumbie


    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    Can't bring myself to sand the finish off one of my necks. It would be easier for me to bang my fingers with a hammer..... South Carolina summers are pretty humid. I always kept a generous supply of those microfiber towels in my back pockets, hanging on guitar stands, etc. I would constantly be wiping my neck and drying my hands..... Not a perfect solution but it worked for me. I never stood still on stage and sweat pretty heavily.
    pcake and franvarin like this.
  6. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    Thanks for the comment! I'm thinking of bringing some talcum powder for the palm of my hand. I also picked up some fast fret today at the local GC, paid through the nose for it but, it was worht no having to wait for. The microfiber towel is a good thought, I'll have to keep some handy and give it a try. I tend to have dry hands so, it must be the reaction of the finish to the humidity that makes the neck like the business end of a roll of tape... lol.
    Aberdumbie likes this.
  7. There was a guitar player here in my area years ago that carried a bottle of baby powder with him. I dont know if his hands would sweat real bad or what, but right before a set and sometimes during, he would grab the bottle and shake a bunch out and rub it all over the guitar neck. The stuff would be all over the stage and he would have a light dusting on his clothes. I thought it was crazy.

    The problem I have with humidity is that my callouses will get soft if it is really humid, and they start to peel. I have had to resort to the superglue trick.

    franvarin likes this.
  8. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    i would put the fast fret stuff on the back of the neck also. never had anything bad happen as a result (yet).

    microfibers have a bad reputation for negative environmental impact. some folks care, some folks don't care, and some folks are unaware.
    bbsquared and franvarin like this.
  9. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    I hear you about the calluses. Last Saturday was so bad I actually got a friction burn on my fretting hand index finger. ...Not cool.
  10. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I learned back in the early 90s when I was playing in a band touring Mexico and the Caribbean that an all-graphite Steinberger is your friend in those high heat/humidity situations.

    Actually, I really learned back in the early 70s how detrimental high heat/humidity situations can be: My band was playing an outdoor school fair on a 90+°F day and the neck of my Carlo Robelli guitar went from normal to absolutely unplayable within three songs. Warped like a vinyl record that had been left in the back seat of a car; you could almost see the neck melting, like watching bamboo grow. I've always been extra-cautious about outdoor gigs in summer ever since.

    ...hence the Steinberger years later.
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  11. franvarin likes this.
  12. Corn starch baby powder always did the trick for me. Can get a bit messy but playing is a breeze. Corn starch isn't as fine as talc so it doesn't gunk up the strings as much and since I play flats , it isn't even noticeable. If you get a song where you stop playing for a few seconds and clap your hands , you get a free smoke show. What's not to like?:thumbsup:
    franvarin likes this.
  13. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    I ended up picking up some fast fret. That helped a lot with the strings. The Baby powder idea ( or corn starch) is something I'm going to try for the back of the neck. I figure a little will go a long way in this case. Thoughts?

  14. I keep a small plastic thingy of baby powder in my case. Been using the same one for a few years so yes , a little does go long way. I use it on the back of the neck , the front of the neck , the sides of the neck and just generally make a total mess of the neck and both hands. As I said , I play with flats but I would do the same even if I was using rounds. It works too well not to.
    franvarin likes this.