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Jun 20, 2024 - 6:45:19 AM
12 posts since 4/1/2019

Greetings fellow Banjo Pickers!

I have a show tomorrow in 90+ degree weather. Is it OK to take my 1960s Baldwin Ode? Can it handle the heat?



Jun 20, 2024 - 7:04:43 AM
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5847 posts since 5/29/2011

As long as you don't leave it in a hot car you should be OK. Hot weather won't have a long-lasting effect on a banjo while it is being played.
One thing you might think about is to put something between your forearm and the armrest. I used to use a white sweatband over my arm.

Jun 20, 2024 - 7:36:04 AM
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Players Union Member



484 posts since 5/16/2017

It's not so much the heat you need to worry about but the humidity. Moisture will effect a banjo more than heat (as long as your banjo isn't too hot to hold :).

Jun 20, 2024 - 7:43:37 AM
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15751 posts since 10/30/2008

The banjo will be fine. You however will sweat which could temporarily stain the metal and the finish on the resonator and neck. I can't tell you how many times I've seen good finish take on sweat and humidity outdoors. Wipe it down when you're done (obviously don't let it get gross if you need to wipe it down more often), keep it in the case when not in use and eventually even the white cloudy finish spots will air themselves out when you get into dry air again. If you sweat through your shirt onto the resonator, take care every now and then to dry the resonator off so the weave in your shirt doesn't grab onto the banjo finish and leave a pattern.

I've seen panic over Lloyd Loar mandolins that developed white opaque finish where arms and hands touched them being playing outdoors in heat and humidity. They always healed themselves quickly.

Unless you have a hide head on your banjo,humidity won't hurt it. Heat/humidity does however affect your HEARING, so your banjo may very well sound different to you.

Personally I've never had a permanent mar on any of my banjos from heat/humidity.

Jun 20, 2024 - 8:02:13 AM
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3560 posts since 4/7/2010

If your banjo is in an air conditioned room and then taken out in the 90º weather, it is likely there will be significant condensation on the metal parts. Best to keep the instrument in a place where it will not get cold before the gig.

Bob Smakula

Edited by - Bob Smakula on 06/20/2024 08:03:35

Jun 20, 2024 - 8:13:51 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


30321 posts since 8/3/2003

I watched a guy come out of an air conditioned building into the hot sun and you could actually hear the banjo detuning itself. No harm to the banjo, but the guy had to retune before he could go on stage.

If you can, get the banjo out of the cool and let it sit in the shade for a few minutes to acclamate so retuning won't be so severe as that guy had to fix.

I've done that many times when we were in the cool motorhome and went out into the sun. Tried to find a shady spot for a few minutes before going on stage. Usually worked pretty well.

Jun 20, 2024 - 8:21:33 AM
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4859 posts since 10/13/2005

How about a rule if it is too hot for you it is too hot for the banjo? Ditto cool/cold? Looks like humidity, wipe away! banjered

Jun 20, 2024 - 9:22:11 AM

15437 posts since 6/2/2008

Will you be under cover or otherwise in shade? Staying out of the sun is probably more important than staying out of the heat.

Also drink lots of water. I often fail to do that when playing outside, then my hands cramp mid-song from dehyrdation. It's happened to me on bass gigs. I never learn.

Jun 20, 2024 - 11:33:31 AM
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619 posts since 7/28/2016

I saw the Kruger Brothers play in a heavy rain. There was a roof over a somewhat small stage and there is no way they weren't getting wet. I was really angry that the show wasn't postponed. I couldn't stand it after about half an hour and left. Luckily I had seen them at Merle fest a couple of years before.

Jun 20, 2024 - 3:49:21 PM
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1429 posts since 1/26/2011

If you don’t have one get a battery powered contractor fan like the one below. It will really help you stay cooler.  And it's really quiet.

The banjo will be fine from the heat. But if you don’t stay hydrated you might break the neck if you fall down. Water and a fan will keep that from happening.


Jun 20, 2024 - 9:39:24 PM
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1015 posts since 6/29/2007

I don't mind playing outside, but I tell people right up front that we don't play in the sun. We're too old for that anymore. The banjo can take a lot more heat than I can. Also you will be constantly retuning if you are in direct sun.

Jun 20, 2024 - 9:52:21 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


28088 posts since 6/25/2005


Do not leave your banjo in a car trunk in hot, or even warm, weather. Trunk heat has warped many banjo necks  

Jun 21, 2024 - 4:43:29 AM

5470 posts since 11/20/2004

You will likely hear a little mellowing of the tone if in direct sun. The heat seems to soften the plastic head in my experience.

Jun 21, 2024 - 8:39:38 AM

12 posts since 4/1/2019

Thanks for all the great advice!

I will be in the shade and the banjo will have a half hour to acclimate before I play. Also, I will have a sweat rag handy to wipe down arm rest after each time I play it.

I guess it should be ok!

Thanks again,

Jun 21, 2024 - 11:40:18 AM

4249 posts since 7/12/2006

You better worry about yourself too. Ive known guys to pass out right on stage from the heat. Ive been a victim more than once of heat exhaustion and let me tell you. You dont want to go there. You feel like your dying.

Jun 21, 2024 - 2:26:12 PM

6946 posts since 10/13/2007

This past week I saw Derek Dillman playing in 90 degrees at Bean Blossom. He was wiping down the back of the neck vigorously every few songs.

Jun 23, 2024 - 4:05:28 PM
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2315 posts since 4/18/2006

I have a policy that I don’t bring my favorite instruments to gigs where I don’t know what the weather or situation is going to be. Heat can be okay, but heat and direct sunlight can be really brutal. I once played Grey Fox in the direct sunlight in the middle of the afternoon (before they had the big tent for daytime performances) and by mid set the pot assembly of my Deering was so hot I couldn’t put my arm on the armrest! I also played an hour and a half long set at a festival in North Carolina in the direct sunlight with my prewar gibson -3, and that was brutal too. Both times the banjos survived, but it still made me nervous.

I think a lot of venues and promoters who don’t perform themselves think that putting musicians in the direct sunlight looks good, when in reality it makes it more difficult to perform.

Jun 24, 2024 - 3:11:06 AM

4819 posts since 2/24/2004

May be too hot for you & also an outdoor audience.  Have them put your band and the audience indoors in the ac.   Its really hot outside !

Best banjo wishes,

Mary Z. Cox


Jun 26, 2024 - 3:06:13 PM


New Zealand

12088 posts since 6/29/2003

I remember some years ago here in NZ that the temperatures soared well above 30C/90F. I saw a most unusual sight... I saw a dog chasing a cat! What is unusual about that you may say?

Well, it was so hot they were both walking!

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