A month or so ago I received a pair of medium sized Deluxe Leather Bottle Cap Washboard Gloves, the leather equivalent of the air mesh Bottle Cap Washboard Gloves that I reviewed last year.
Unfortunately every time I tried them my finger tips would go numb after 15 or so minutes of playing; the medium size was simply too small for my hands. I stress this point because "medium" is the size I usually use and would still choose if I where to order another pair of the air mesh bottle cap gloves...
On both types of gloves the attached bottle caps shorten the length of the fingers, which isn't much of an issue with the air mesh gloves because the elasticity of the material absorbs the finger tip to wrist "glove tension". However the sturdy thick leather of the Deluxe gloves has none of that elasticity and my fingers where really pushed up against the bottle caps. This would normally be a good thing for washboard playing but in this case caused me way too much pressure for comfort.
So although both pairs of gloves are the same size (I checked), the leather ones don't fit your hands in the same way as the air mesh gloves and in that sense are smaller.
Having informed Scott of this matter he was quick to send me a pair of Large sized gloves which I have been using for a couple of weeks; and I am quite pleased with them.
These new gloves are made with a thick black leather that really seems heavy duty and is thicker than the drummer gloves I've tried. They are comfortable, and even with the larger size my fingers are snug in the bottle caps. This is possibly due to the fact that the finger tips are reinforced and remain tight even though the rest of the L size glove is looser than the M's, as you would expect.
I was able to use them during the last warm weather I'll probably see this year and didn't find them all that cool, but now that winter is beginning they're perfectly fine (I've worn them for a couple of hours pretty much every day of the last two weeks).
The leather also definitively removed the "snagging on old dry washboard wood" problem I have with the air mesh type gloves.
I ended up using pliers to remove the bottle caps from the thumb and little finger of both hands to suit my playing style - which sometimes involves playing the washboard and drums at the same time (and yes it is possible to put them back on with the help of pliers and a small hammer too, but be warned that you greatly risk loosing the evenness of the bottle cap's edge). A shame, but I need a free thumb to hold a drumstick. It worked ok although thimbles do get less in the way than bottle caps and remain preferred, so I'm not totally sure it was worth it yet.
IMO, these glove are a big improvement over the air mesh gloves if like me you use old dried up washboards and tend to brush the washboard's side with your palm, as well as also making it a lot easier to hold drumsticks and brushes if you need to.
However, if you have long fingers or a hand size that is in-between Medium and Large (mine are 9-1/2 on the glove size gauge), you may be better off with the Large size gloves. The Mediums were much too tight for me in any case, although (and I tested this) without the bottle caps they fit perfectly.
Bottle caps do sound more mellow than thimbles, so one doesn't really replace the other, and the comments for the air mesh gloves about the weaker tone you get hitting bells with them stand here as well. However, with practice one does find ways to overcome most of the limitations, and having less volume can have its advantage. In smaller non amplified venues and even larger ones with very reflective walls, the washboard can easily become a bit overbearing so toning it down a bit can't hurt. I plan to use these gloves the next time I get to play with an acoustic band. The sound they give should fit right in.
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