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Help! I'm allergic to my guitars

GimmeGibson

Active member
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
111
Right, so...a strange heading but true.

Sometime after getting back into playing guitars I started to notice my right wrist, the inner side, is very itchy. I asked my doctor and he said its contact dermatitis. Pointing to the beaded bracelets on my wrist which have one metal bead on each one, he said its probably the metal. Specially if its nickel. Many people are allergic to nickel, he tells me. "Stop wearing them for a while and see what happens", he suggested.
Having worn them for many years and not having an issue I was skeptical but thought I would give it a try. He said two to three weeks should do it.

Well it has not gone away. In fact it gets worse the more I play my guitars. I realized that the itchy spot is directly where my inner wrist comes in contact with the nickel plated bridge on all of my Gibsons!! It may have even gotten worse after buying my new ES 335.

So I am sure its the nickel, but I wonder if the bridge on the ES 335 has a higher content of nickel seeing as the itchiness has worsened.

Has anyone else ever experienced this and what did you do about it?
 

Gridlock

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
286
Never, if this proves true, try swapping out the bridge with aluminum or?
 

Bob Womack

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
2,186
My son has a nickel allergy. I suggest you get a guitar sleeve. On Amazon, HERE.

91OerZSLmLL._AC_SL1500_.jpg


Joe Walsh wears 'em all the time, though I am not sure why.
joe-walsh-4682b1a247a7441ca2a10a653fe05e2b.jpg


Bob
 

GimmeGibson

Active member
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
111
Never, if this proves true, try swapping out the bridge with aluminum or?
I thought of that, yes.

My son has a nickel allergy. I suggest you get a guitar sleeve. On Amazon, HERE.

91OerZSLmLL._AC_SL1500_.jpg


Joe Walsh wears 'em all the time, though I am not sure why.
joe-walsh-4682b1a247a7441ca2a10a653fe05e2b.jpg


Bob
Actually I am wearing the biking sleeve I have now. I would almost bet thats why he is wearing it. I also recall seeing Mark Knopfler wearing wrist bands and wondering why. I think I know now.
 

somebodyelseuk

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
451
Right, so...a strange heading but true.

Sometime after getting back into playing guitars I started to notice my right wrist, the inner side, is very itchy. I asked my doctor and he said its contact dermatitis. Pointing to the beaded bracelets on my wrist which have one metal bead on each one, he said its probably the metal. Specially if its nickel. Many people are allergic to nickel, he tells me. "Stop wearing them for a while and see what happens", he suggested.
Having worn them for many years and not having an issue I was skeptical but thought I would give it a try. He said two to three weeks should do it.

Well it has not gone away. In fact it gets worse the more I play my guitars. I realized that the itchy spot is directly where my inner wrist comes in contact with the nickel plated bridge on all of my Gibsons!! It may have even gotten worse after buying my new ES 335.

So I am sure its the nickel, but I wonder if the bridge on the ES 335 has a higher content of nickel seeing as the itchiness has worsened.

Has anyone else ever experienced this and what did you do about it?

The parts are nickel plated. It's the plating that's the issue. You could swap the parts for chrome or gold plated parts, or get the originals chromed - spoiler alert chrome & gold plating is done on top of nickel plating, not instead of.

I used to be a chemist for 'a chemical supplier to the plating industry'. I worked with people who had nickel allergy, believe it or not. For some it just disappeared, some wore PPE - ie latex gloves. You could possibly get by, by just wearing long sleeve shirts. Some people are so sensitive they can't even use nickel plated strings.

Something that may work, but would probably need redoing from time to time is to spray some clear lacquer over the bridge and tailpiece - off the guitar, obviously - and see whether that helps.

Another thing to try, if possible, play something else for a couple of weeks to see if it goes away. If you've not always played Gibsons and not had the problem before, there's an outside chance that something in the nitro is causing the problem.
 
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GimmeGibson

Active member
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
111
The parts are nickel plated. It's the plating that's the issue. You could swap the parts for chrome or gold plated parts, or get the originals chromed - spoiler alert chrome & gold plating is done on top of nickel plating, not instead of.

I used to be a chemist for 'a chemical supplier to the plating industry'. I worked with people who had nickel allergy, believe it or not. For some it just disappeared, some wore PPE - ie latex gloves. You could possibly get by, by just wearing long sleeve shirts. Some people are so sensitive they can't even use nickel plated strings.

Something that may work, but would probably need redoing from time to time is to spray some clear lacquer over the bridge and tailpiece - off the guitar, obviously - and see whether that helps.

Another thing to try, if possible, play something else for a couple of weeks to see if it goes away. If you've not always played Gibsons and not had the problem before, there's an outside chance that something in the nitro is causing the problem.
I’m using my cool weather biking sleeve now. I pull it down enough that it covers my wrist. It’s nice because it also protects the nitro finish from my arm.
I am sure the nitro is not causing any problems because then I would see it on my left palm, and my arm. For sure it’s the nickel. I hope I build up a resistance to it.

I do wonder if it’s worse right now because it’s a brand new ES 335? Is it possible that the nickel wears in somehow over time?
My Les Pauls aren’t doing it, at least not now. Maybe they did a bit when they were new. But it seemed to lessen in time. All I know is that it was immediately pronounced when I got the ES 335.
 
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