OK, so I recently installed a new lamp in my bathroom, and the lamp has a chrome finish, so in the box was a pair of (cheap) white, rather thin cotton gloves to be used during the installation. As I had seen people play bass with one or two gloves, I thought “why not give it a try” on my bass since I had these gloves lying around now.
So, why would one play with either one or two gloves? And I mean that seriously, even though I realize how “silly” it looks… makes you feel like Mickey Mouse playing bass… but, let’s just try and look past the silliness for a moment.
I had seen a guy on YouTube playing with a glove on his fretting hand (and occasionally also on his picking hand), and it turns out he does it because he suffers from focal dystonia, which basically is a neurological issue that makes your muscles twitch involuntarily. His fingers do that, but they “calm down” when something touches them. So, here the glove tricks his brain into keeping his fingers from twitching. He says, using a glove on his fretting hand doesn’t affect his sound.
I also saw that Etienne Mbappe always plays with gloves (on both hands). He says, it gives him the sound he wants, so it seems purely a choice to produce a certain sound.
And added benefit of wearing gloves might be to reduce how sweat and “gunk” slowly degrade the quality and sound of the strings (and we had a recent discussion on what to do about that (or not) in another thread in here).
Now, what I found after a little bit of experimentation on my own, and with gloves that didn’t even fit very well, is that I noticed two interesting “improvements” - only using a glove on my fretting hand:
a) there was way less scraping sounds from the strings without otherwise affecting the overall sound (i.e., I couldn’t discern any muffling or similar effect)
b) I could move around the neck a good deal more fluidly; when I took the glove off again, it felt a bit like I had maple syrup on my fingers (which I didn’t ). It really required more effort to move up and down the board with my bare fingers…
Sooo, has anyone done similar experiments? What would be the downside of playing with gloves (not developing callouses, perhaps)? Anyone knows of any type of gloves best suited for playing bass? I am inclined to dive a bit more into this, fully realizing that you look a bit like a poser when you step onto a stage wearing white gloves, and that you then better have your act very well together indeed…
Thanks for any input/comments!