Playing with a glove (or two gloves)!?!

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 :wink:). 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!


Sounds like an interesting idea to investigate, @joergkutter . . . :slight_smile:

I haven’t tried wearing gloves (and I think I know who you were referring to), but I could see how it would keep your strings cleaner and make it feel a bit more fluid as you move up and down the neck . . .

Downsides? . . . I don’t know, maybe less tactile feel for hammer-ons and pull-offs?

All best and good luck with your experimentation, Joe


I haven’t really tried it, except for for on very cold gigs… you’ve got me curious!


If you dye them black instead and maybe glue little spikes to them, they can be your Metal Gauntlets, and everyone will respect that (or else). Problem solved.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but the bass player you mention (with the neurological condition) often cuts the fingertips off of his gloves (or maybe they have worn through?) Not sure how that affects your plan. I actually think the idea is awesome from the “less friction” standpoint that you mentioned.


Good advice, @howard - now all I got to do is get cracking down on those metal songs :grin:

But, yeah, that the friction thing is exactly what intrigued me the most on my first experimentations… will need to explore further, also with respect to materials (how long they last, how they might affect sound, how little friction they give, etc.)

Love me a little science project :rofl:


Brilliant idea, @howard ! . . . :laughing:

Why didn’t I think of that? . . . :slight_smile:


After watching the aforementioned bassist on YouTube, I gave the idea a try and played with a glove on my fretting hand. It was a total disaster!
Maybe I’ll give it another try. Perhaps it was because I was using a baseball glove.



LOL @PamPurrs


All right, I guess I asked for it… (given the somewhat silly topic of this thread) :grin:

Thanks for helping out to narrow down the possible choices for gloves… I guess this means we can rule out icehockey gloves and all kinds of mittens as well!?

I will now retreat to my dungeon and continue my experiments, and perhaps report back my findings in a few week’s time. :wink:


No, wait . . . don’t laugh too hard . . . :thinking:

I just tried wearing my bicycle gloves when I practiced. They have open ends for the finger tips, have padded suede palms, and were comfortable to wear while playing.

You’d still get calluses and finger gunk of course, but the palm does slide pretty well. No advantage to wearing on the plucking hand, but they DO look kinda cool . . .:sunglasses:

Hmmm . . .


Oh my god… what have I started??? :scream:


You guys are killing me…:sweat_smile:


Plus that way if you have an unexpected crash while playing, you don’t tear up your palms while you’re skidding through the dirt. :mountain_biking_man:


I heard a rumor that as a young boy Chuck Norris played bass…


And apparently they now make gloves for playing in the shower!



Looks as if this thread is going viral . . . :slight_smile:



I am throwing down the gauntlet now… as it were…


Good one @joergkutter!

I hope you understand that I’m just having fun and not making fun of your post.

In fact, last night, I got my wife’s yellow rubber cleaning gloves from under the sink and tried playing bass with them. And you know what? It really worked better than I thought it would, I mustard mitt.


Ditto that, @Korrigan and @joergkutter . . . :slight_smile: