Why Do Guitarists Wear Wristbands: Reasons To Wear Wristbands At Your Next Guitar Session

why do guitarists wear wristbands

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Have you noticed guitarists wearing wristbands, and it made you wonder why do guitarists wear wristbands? If so, then you’re not alone. This is a common question.

Guitarists wear wristbands for a plethora of reasons, with the most important being that it helps with the form. Moreover, wristbands also help guitarists deal with sweat and keep friction away.

In this article, you’ll get to know all about why do guitarists wear wristbands, who are some of the most popular names to use wristbands, should you be using wristbands, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers you are looking for.

Wristbands – An underappreciated accessory for guitarists

Your wrists take in a lot of strain when playing any musical instrument, especially guitar and drums. This strain can end up leading to painful side effects and even affect your performance. This is where a wristband comes in to save the day.

Believe it or not, many guitarists consider a wristband as important as a pick. Wristbands serve a lot of purposes. For starters, they prevent sweat from running down your arms and to your hands. Sweat, if not controlled, can affect your performance negatively. Moreover, wristbands also help your picking hand play repeated notes comparatively faster. Some players even use wristbands exclusively for their looks. There are many reasons that can convince a beginner to get a pair of quality wristbands.

Top reasons why do guitarists wear wristbands when playing the guitar?

While almost every musician will struggle to achieve the skill level of the likes of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, it’s still possible to play great-sounding guitar tunes. Wearing a wristband will be of great help in your journey to achieve a great guitar sound. 

Wristbands are commonly used for sporting events, but not many people realize how great a wristband can be for guitarists. These wristbands will help you prevent sweat from negatively affecting your guitar-playing ability. Moreover, they’re incredibly comfortable to wear and stylish to look at. If you’re a guitarist, you would have noticed experienced professionals wearing wristbands when they’re playing. There are numerous reasons why you should be wearing wristbands when playing the guitar. Here are some of the most influential reasons –

Wristbands help in dealing with sweat

Yes, seasoned professionals make playing the guitar look very easy. However, it isn’t as easy as some may think, especially if you sweat a lot. Singing, playing the guitar, and performing on stage can be extremely stressful and hot work. During your performances, know that you’ll produce a lot of sweat. Sweat normally plays an important role in keeping your body cool.

However, sweating excessively can end up being a major problem. Sweat running down your arms can easily make your grip on the pick slippery. Moreover, sweat running into your eyes will sting while also distracting you from playing freely on the stage. Wearing wristbands will greatly help keep your hands dry, while also keeping your eyes sweat-free and pain-free.

man with guitar wearing wristband

Keeping sweat away is among the most common reasons why guitarists choose to wear wristbands. High-quality wristbands will easily absorb sweat from your forehead and face, preventing it from running into your eyes and stinging. Even if you feel that you don’t sweat a lot, you’ll be amazed at how much sweat accumulates on your forehead when you’re performing under stress. This will be further amplified if you’re performing in a humid environment or on a stage.

Once the lights are turned on and your performance begins, sweat will be an important aspect to consider. Most seasoned professionals know how much sweat can affect their performance. This is why they ensure to wear wristbands and keep their faces dry when performing.

Keeping your arms dry when playing the guitar will be another use of wristbands. This is important as sweat on your hands will make them slip on the strings or the fretboard. It’ll lead to missed notes or chords, something that no guitarist wants when they’re performing on the stage. Moreover, it’ll be harder to hold the pick if your hands are full of sweat. Wristbands will help keep sweat off your arms while giving you enough time to wipe them off.

Top of Form

Concentrate on playing and not on the picks

It would be great if you were able to focus on playing the guitar and performing, wouldn’t you? The fact is, there are numerous things that cross your mind when you’re performing, and it can get quite overwhelming. Your hands and wrists might get tired. You might have put your pick somewhere, and now you cannot find it. Even if everything is going all right, it only takes a second to throw your concentration out the window. Things like losing the pick can end up wearing you down and ruining the performance.

On many models of the guitar, the edge of the neck could be a little sharp. It may not be a problem initially, but sliding your wrist back and forth could cause issues. It’ll be extremely problematic if you have to play for an hour on end. Wearing wristbands will cushion you from the edges while also helping you play for longer.

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Have you ever lost your pick and needed another pick in a hurry? If so, you’ll know how it feels to search for a replacement pick frantically without letting it affect your performance. This may sound strange, but wristbands work amazingly well as pick holders. It is common to add pick holders to a microphone stand, guitar, or bass stand.

However, it wouldn’t be a silly idea to hide them in your wristbands. Many wristbands come with small, zippered pockets that are perfect to hold small items like guitar picks. After all, they’re more reachable than microphone stands or in your tight pockets.

Protects your guitar from getting affected by sweat

Sweat does a lot more damage than just causing pain in your eyes or making gripping your pick difficult. If you don’t control your sweat and it comes in contact with the guitar, it can easily eat through the finish of the guitar. Over time, the salts present in your sweat can end up eating through the wood. Sometimes, it’ll even eat up the metal parts of the guitar. Think of how the salt used on roads can end up eating through the undercarriage of cars and other vehicles.

In the same way, sweat will eat away at your precious guitar unless you control the sweat. Using wristbands will help you control your sweating and keep it from reaching the finish of the guitar.

Wristbands will help you maintain the correct form

Wristbands are underrated when you consider how great they are at helping you maintain the correct form. Constantly down picking can be quite tiresome for your wrist. This might not be an issue if you play occasionally or once in a while. However, professional guitarists who play gig after gig will need some rest in between. A high-quality wristband will help you maintain your arm in form.

Moreover, it’ll also make it significantly easier for your plucking hand to move. The way you’re feeling will greatly affect the way you’re playing. Having a painful wrist will definitely distract you and you won’t be able to play the guitar properly.

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Wristbands will give you flamboyance and style points

The best guitarists didn’t just achieve international fame and recognition for their guitar ability alone. Their sense of style, fashion, and flamboyance helped them become massive stars. A flair for playing the crowd will be as important as your guitar-playing skills. Whether you’re performing for a crowd of one or to a packed audience, you’ll want all eyes on you. You’ll want to wow the crowd, and holding their attention will be a key part of your performance.

For many players, wearing wristbands aren’t just a matter of utility but also about how they look. Wearing wristbands will give you the style points while also ensuring that you grab the attention of the audience. It may show off a particular color, or you can wear fluorescent shades to grab their attention. Regardless of the statement you want to make, looking stylish when performing would always be a good plan.

Clean your guitar with the wristband

Have you ever played the guitar live? If so, then you must have noticed how the stage can turn into a heating furnace when performing. The longer you perform, the more heated things will get in the middle. More often than not, you will be prone to sweating in the middle of the performance. However, the real problem will arrive once the sweat starts running down your arms and reaches the guitar. Sweaty hands are detrimental to your performance, as sweat could reach the strings and make your fingers wet and sloppy. Wristbands will function as a barrier against sweat. They’ll stop unwanted sweat from reaching the guitar.

However, if it manages to sneak onto the guitar, wristbands will come in handy as well. You’ll be able to clean your guitar quickly by rubbing your wristbands on the affected area. While you can use a dry cloth or a towel, a wristband will be a better option. You won’t have to look for a wristband as it’ll already be in your hand. Simply take your hand near the guitar and rub off the sweat.

Wristbands reduce friction against the guitar’s body

Another great benefit of using wristbands is that they’ll prevent your wrist from sticking against the finish of your guitar. You’ll want this issue to be solved, as constant contact could deteriorate the guitar’s finish in the long run. Moreover, sweat will ruin the paint job of your guitar. Having your wrist sticky will not only damage nitro, but it’ll also prevent you from freely moving your hands.

Wristbands will allow your picking hands to slide, leading to an easier and more comfortable way to pick consecutive notes. This will let your hand loose and allow you to move the place where you will be picking the notes and getting different tones. Lastly, a wristband will help you mute open notes. Of course, you’ll be able to do it with your hands as well. If you’re wearing wristbands, then why not use them anyway?

Mainstream guitarists who wear wristbands when performing

There are many famous guitarists who are known for wearing wristbands during performances for a wide variety of reasons. Some wear them because of comfort, some wear them for fashion and flamboyance, or some wear them as towel replacements. 

female guitarist wearing wrisband performing on stage

The common reason why they wear wristbands is to stop sweat from affecting their performance. Regardless of the reason, you’ll find that it isn’t unconventional to wear wristbands when performing on the stage. Here are some of the guitarists known for wearing wristbands –

  • James Hetfield of Metallica
  • Dave Mustaine of Megadeth
  • Johnny Ramone of The Ramones
  • Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters
  • Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
  • Adrian Smith for Iron Maiden
  • K.K. Downing of Judas Priest

Should beginner guitarists wear wristbands when playing the guitar?

There are many reasons why you should wear wristbands whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newbie learning their trade. All the reasons why you should be using wristbands are mentioned above. The only potential reason not to wear wristbands when you’re playing the guitar is if you don’t want to. Wristbands are incredibly helpful, and they can make a big difference to your performance. Such differences can only be noticed by you. It’s no use to wear wristbands if you don’t feel the difference. Moreover, if you do not feel comfortable performing with wristbands, then you shouldn’t wear them.

If you’re having any doubts, you should give wristbands a try. These are definitely helpful and will help you avoid any sweat and wrist pain issues. Wristbands are helpful tools, but they aren’t a necessity. You shouldn’t force yourself to wear them because someone is asking you to. The final decision will rest in your hands.


Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about wearing wristbands when playing the guitar, why do guitarists wear wristbands, some of the mainstream stars who wear wristbands when playing, should you be wearing wristbands, and more. There are numerous reasons why you should wear wristbands when playing a guitar. You must find out what is the most important reason for you – 

  • Do you want to avoid sweat from dripping down your arms and affecting your performance?
  • Do you want them to be an addition to your flashy outfit?
  • Do you want better control over your guitar?
  • Is it because you feel comfortable wearing wristbands?

The final choice will be yours because not everyone will find it comfortable playing the guitar while wearing wristbands.

Photo of author
Rick is the founder of All Stringed. He started playing with a classical guitar when he was 10, but changed soon to electric guitar and later also to an acoustic. You can find more about him here.