Biggest problem I have playing

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by dickey, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. dickey

    dickey Friend of Leo's

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    OK; this has been an ongoing issue of mine for over 25 years, and I'm only writing about it now, because in the last few months it has gotten WAY worse. Wonder if y'all have had this issue & what you have done to fix it, if it CAN be fixed.

    When I get onstage to play, from the very first song, it feels like my fingers have glue on them & stick to the strings..IOW I get no slippage. Up until a few months ago, I was able to override this with fresh new strings every couple gigs,and touching a piece of tissue in a medicine bottle soaked with olive oil but now even new strings don't help & it's destroying my speed & hybrid picking, and has become very frustrating.
    Here's what I have tried:

    Finger Ease & Fast Fret. Works for about 1/2 a song, then it's worse.
    Washing my hands right before I go onstage. No luck
    Cleaning my strings each break, with just about every chemical known to man...DW-40,alcohol,Blitz cloth. No luck
    Baby powder...no luck; just a mess.
    New strings...used to work; not anymore
    Rubbing my fingers across my forehead...works for 1/2 song, then just as bad.
    Eating potato chips before & during the set...again 1/2 a song
    Eating pepperoni before I go onstage...this works about the best; good for 1 song, maybe 2.
    Doesn't matter which guitar I use...Fender,Gibson,Mosrite...all the same.

    And here's the rub...this DOES NOT happen when I play at home, only onstage. Outdoor gigs are worse, especially if they're on the beach.

    I used .010-.038 strings; very low action, & zero relief on my neck. All my guitars have standard frets, except my '72 Strat has medium jumbos.

    Hope someone here has a solution; this has become very frustrating & actually caused me to think of just playing steel & giving up guitar.
     
  2. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Holic

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    Have you tried using coated strings?
     
  3. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    If this only happens to you when you're gigging, it has to be stress related.

    You do not specify if your hands become sweaty: if so, you could try anti-perspirant products. Not very healthy, but efficient.

    Beta blockers can be very efficient, but again they are not to be taken lightly.

    Maybe you grip too hard on the neck when showing up on stage. In which case relaxation exercises before the gig could help.

    Good luck with that, it's a pain to see your playing degrading on stage.
     
  4. GreatDaneRock

    GreatDaneRock Tele-Holic

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    No idea how to help, never heard of this situation or condition of yours. Sounds stress related more than anything else, to be honest.

    When I play live gigs my hands get sweaty and they over slide over the neck. I cannot seem to understand how they will get glued to the strings.

    By the way, by putting anything on the strings, specifically talking about the wound ones, you're killing the tone and resonance in them.
     
  5. Jazzerclean

    Jazzerclean Tele-Meister

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    It is stress, stage fright, I used to get it but lots time of on stage in front of people eased it and then stopped it for me.
    Clearly your not getting it at home so its physiological. Its like having musicians block, where you practice a song and can play it perfectly at home, in time with no mistakes, but can't petform it in a live situation.
    Keep going,
     
  6. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Justin Sandercoe, an Aussie guitarist/teacher, has a Youtube channel you may want to check out on strengthening fingers. I found it a simple and useful set of exercises. BTW he has a Brit accent as he's been a resident there a long time. He also has many good lessons. Hope this helps.
     
  7. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Try using your feet instead.
     
  8. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    Looks like some psychosomatic thing... A friend of mine had something like that... really, smoking weed helped a lot
     
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  9. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    I have always struggled with lacquer-finished necks or fretboards on humid outdoor gigs.
    4 things I have discovered
    Bare rosewood or satin poly necks are less problematic than gloss poly, lacquer or composite (Modulus Graphite)
    Cleaning the neck and board with water prevents sweat residue from depositing a sticky film on instrument
    Occasional use of string cleaner (dunlop 65) seems to form a protective layer, making the wipe down easy
    Sticking can be minimized with a lighter touch on fretting hand
     
  10. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Sorry to hear you are going through this. I personally am ruling out anxiety and finger strength and feel it is a physical reaction that is in play here.

    I don't have any answers - other than this - try playing outside but when you are at home. Simulate the outdoor gig outside your home as much as possible when it comes to your equipment. I realize you are in FL but the outside air could be playing tricks with your physiology. Obviously it is winter and the air will be drier, but perhaps something in your local area has a high concentration of pollen, sand, etc. in the air that is interfering with your playing? That's why I suggest playing outside your house for 20 minutes or so.

    Could you be developing a nickel allergy? [but why would this not occur while playing in your house?] Do you have a guitar with stainless steel frets that you can test with? Any nickel allergy folks care to opine? Perhaps the nickel allergy issue only flares up when in the outdoor sunshine?

    Lastly, from a nutritional perspective - try a tablespoon of pure olive oil in the morning and before lunch. Not only is it amazing for joint pain and lowering blood pressure but it is a natural lubricant for your skin. Or, similarly, try CBD oil, for the same physical advantages, but also in the chance that it is related to anxiety.

    Good luck to you.
     
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  11. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe try some rock-climbing chalk on your fretting hand
     
  12. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    stage fright=anxiety....nerves....fear etc.

    extreme anxiety that inhibits performance....

    practicing in front of an audience is the only way to overcome the fear...
     
  13. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Does the situation improve as the gig moves along? I usually struggle playing outside, humidity makes everything feel rather sticky. I find it best to keep everything as dry as possible, wiping off my hands and the guitar as much as needed. You might even try sanitizer, the alcohol will evaporate quickly. If it is truly nerve related possibly change your set up to start with some super comfortable tunes to get your gig started on the right foot. Best of luck!
     
  14. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^^THIS^^
     
  15. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    10 bucks says the OP get really defensive over the stage fright suggestions.
     
  16. Pualee

    Pualee Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like stress, which gets worse the more you think about it.

    All the wrong muscles are tense, making you grip too tight.

    You could try a couple things such as getting an adrenaline dump over with (look out over the crowd and pause while the anxiety comes and releases). Play a couple exercises without volume before the gig starts (warm up, loosen up). Hard exercise such as strength training just before the gig (muscles will be tired and relax). Start the gig with really easy songs that don't require much dexterity, allowing you to warm up while on stage.
     
  17. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    instead of looking at the audience[spasmodically].......look at the far wall instead.....eradicate being in the 'spotlight'.=no eyes watching every move etc etc...a fleeting glance is enough.
     
  18. dickey

    dickey Friend of Leo's

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    haha!
    No; definitely not stage fright; that hasn't happened in over 40 years. Happens with a full house or playing to 1 person.
    Not the finish on the neck; I don't stick there, only the strings.
    I never sweat when I play (In Florida, everything is air conditioned 90% of the year) On the rare occasions when I DO sweat, I have no issues; plenty of slippage.
    It is just as bad on the first song as the last. It's also starting when I do a bass gig.
    I have never tried coated strings except on my acoustic; that may be my last resort, although the problem is worse on the unwound strings & I don't think they come coated.

    I've tried the Dunlop 65...same deal...1/2 song. Same with Blitz cloth.

    The part I find strange is that it only happens on the gig, not at home. I'm wondering if it has something to do with the A/C on the gig, as I keep the temperature in my house on the warm side (80 degrees in summer). Outside it might be the sticky humidity on the beach, which is where all our outdoor gigs are.

    I am gonna try the coated strings, and maybe some pool chalk. Also, higher action with lighter strings. Thanks for all your suggestions; I will get back to y'all & let you know if I am successful.
     
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  19. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Vaseline?...;)
     
  20. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Try temporarily making your house the same chilly temp as the venue and see how it affects your playing.

    If that doesn't shed any light then try the coated strings next. And then if that doesn't shed any light then try the chalk.

    I would definitely do a process of elimination rather than apply 3 things at the same time.

    I meant to ask in my last post - I wonder if the angle of your wrist, for whatever reason, is different for you at the venues versus at home. I know it sounds silly. But there may be some unperceived stiffness in your wrist that is the culprit.

    Good luck to you.
     
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