Why Do Guitarists Wear Wristbands?

Wristbands are resourceful garments. 

While they look aesthetically beautiful, they serve more than one purpose. 

Believe it or not, for some guitarists, one wristband is as important as a pick. 

But why? What’s the reason some guitarists wear wristbands? 

Wristbands serve plenty of purposes. Mainly, they prevent sweat from running down from the arms to the hands, which overall affects the performance. What is more, they can help the picking hand play repeated notes faster due to reduced friction. Many players, however, use them just for their looks.

Sure enough, there are more motives that convince guitarists to get a pair of wristbands. 

If you want to know them, you will find all the information below! 

Wristbands help control sweat

Have you ever played live? 

If you have, then you might have discovered how the stage turns into a huge oven the more you keep on playing. 

More often than not, musicians are prone to sweating in the middle of a performance. 

Wristbands can help swipe away the sweat from your forehead and eyes

Now, truth is, sweat can be bearable.  

However, the real problem is when sweat runs down from your arms to your hands. 

Sweaty hands do no good to your performance because it reaches the strings and makes your fingers all wet and your playing sloppy. 

Sweat too can cause you to drop your pick.  

In this case, wristbands function as a barrier. They stop sweating on their way to the guitar. 

Last but not least, wristbands can also clean the guitar really quickly. 

While you could use a towel or a dry cloth, a wristband does the same job, and you carry it with you throughout the whole concert. 

Wristbands can help you maintain a correct form

Wristbands provide control. 

Constantly down picking is tiresome for your wrist. 

This is not a problem if you play once in a while, but professional musicians who play gig after gig need to rest. 

A tight wristband maintains your arm in form and makes it easier for the plucking hand to move.  

I’m aware this is a detail that for some may pass unnoticed. 

Still, the way you feel affects the way you play. 

A painful wrist definitely distracts you from doing your job right.  

You can hold picks on your wristband

This might seem strange, but wristbands can be used as pick holders. 

The norm is to add pick holders to a guitar, bass, or microphone stand. 

However, it is not a silly idea to hide picks within your wristbands. 

After all, they are more reachable on your wrists than deep down your tight pockets. 

A wristband can reduce friction against the body of the guitar

What’s great about wristbands is that they prevent the wrist from sticking against the finish of your guitar. 

You want this problem to be solved, because constant contact may deteriorate the finish in the long run. 

That is to say, that sweat ruins the paint of a guitar. 

What is more, having your wrist stick not only damages nitro but also prevents you from moving your hand freely. 

Wristbands allow picking hands to slide, which leads to an easier and more comfortable way of picking consecutive notes. 

This too lets your hand lose, allowing you to move the place where you’re picking the notes and getting different tones. 

Lastly, a wristband also helps to mute open notes. 

Of course, you can do it with your hands. 

But if you are already wearing wristbands, why not use them anyway?    

Some players just like wristband as a fashion accessory

If you think wearing wristbands for the sake of wearing them is wrong… then you are wrong! 

Musicians are artists, and every artist enjoys expressing themselves beyond music. 

The clothes and costumes they decide to wear are part of their personality as well. 

Something as simple and tiny as a wristband can become a trademark. 

Wear them long enough and you’ll notice the day you take them out. 

Don’t forget that live performances involve more than music. 

The whole setting can flood us with emotions. 

Wristbands too are part of such a setting. 

With all that said, there’s a big number of guitarists who just like how they look wearing wristbands. 

No big deal. Just an arm ornament, but a cool one indeed. 

If you enjoy wearing them only for fashionable reasons, then do it. 

Players that wear wristbands

Some famous guitarists wear (or wore) wristbands for the reasons mentioned above. 

Either because of fashion, comfort, or towel replacement, you’ll more often than not see them covering their wrists. 

Here’s the list: 

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

Should you use a wristband when playing guitar?

There’s a good amount of reasons why you ought to wear wristbands. 

All of them were already mentioned above. 

However, there’s one reason NOT to wear or use a wristband while playing guitar. 

The reason is, you simply don’t want to. 

See, wristbands are helpful. 

They could make a difference in your performance, but such difference will be noticed only by you. 

In other words, it is not a relevant feature unless you actually feel the difference. 

As usual, when having doubts, simply give it a try. It could help with sweat and wrist-sticking issues, for example. 

Now, if you feel wearing them won’t change a thing at all, then you are right. 

You shouldn’t force yourself to alternate the way you play because someone else is asking for it.  

Wristbands are nothing but a cool tool, but not necessarily relevant. 

The final decision is yours, and no one else’s. 


We have seen and analyzed all the functions deeply.

Now, let’s summarize the main features of wristbands:

  • Anti-sweat barriers – they prevent sweat from reaching your hands
  • Sweat cleaner – towel or cloth replacement
  • Pick holder
  • Wrist tighter – gives more control
  • Friction reducer – leads to freer hand and arm movement
  • Palm mutter function  
  • Fashionably accessory

Next time you see a guitarist wearing sweatbands, remember that it could be more than just a decorative outfit.