Transporting my bass on its back?
I drive a mini van and I've just been folding the back seat backs forward and resting my bass on them on it's back. Since it's at an angle the scroll is up in the air not even close to hitting the ground. Is this acceptable? I don't want to put it on its side and risk it falling over. Any other tips for bass transportation? This certainly isn't a very hot topic on the web.
I've been playing since middle school and now that I'm in college and have a job I just bought my first own bass. It's an Eastman 305 and the thing is so beautiful compared to what they have at school. In high school I played an Eastman VB80 and liked it enough that I decided I wanted the same one only nicer and that's what I have.
It sounds as though you've got the bass in a good position in the van. The string tension will support the scroll.
As long as there is something keeping the bass from sliding forward if you have to jump on the brakes, you should be fine.
If I am picturing this correctly, you have the back seats down, with the body of the bass across it, and then the neck is up between the middle seats? If I am correct in how you have it positioned, the shoulders should be up against the middle seats protecting it from moving forward. This is great in a jumping on the breaks situation, but if you swerve or have to turn suddenly, I would be worried about the bass sliding around.
I had a minivan in high school, and drove the bass around like that for a while. The big problem was seeing out the back of the van. I ended up folding down the middle passenger side seat and the rear seat behind that, and resting the bass on the middle seat with the neck pointing towards the back of the van. the scroll extended past the back seat so the bass wasn't resting on it, the endpin/lower bout was against the front passenger seat to prevent any damage in a "jump on the breaks" situation, and I could see out all of my windows. It would make more sense to have it behind the driver from a visual point of view, but I don't think my van was long enough to let me do that and have the driver's seat where I wanted it.
Regardless to how you do it, I would encourage a tie down strap. Think of it as a seat-belt for your bass. each vehicle is going to be a little different, but there is likely something you can attach a strap to. It takes a couple extra seconds, but could prevent a lot of heart ache if the unexpected happens.
I'm glad I was right in my thinking, I know you don't lay them flat on their back but I wasn't sure if this was because of pressure on the scroll, or pressure on the back of the actual body. I kind of like the idea of using straps, I'll look into it. Thanks.
There is some good general information there, but the picture is worth a thousand words. Basically, if you lie the bass down flat (if you were to remove all of the seats and have it on the floor) the scroll would be lifting the body off the ground because it is lower than the back of the bass. Every little bump in the road bumps the scroll, and that puts stress on the neck joint. This is why it's encouraged to either have the scroll "hanging" off a seat, a pillow or foam wedge under the upper bout raising the scroll off the ground, or transport the bass on its side, tied down to prevent it from falling over.
As for straps, I went to Canadian Tire and got a few tie down straps for my bass and my 410 amp cabinet. They were in the auto section(?) where you would find bungee cords and things to tie down tarps and other stuff on open trailers. Obviously you don't need a crazy weight rating like the straps they sell for tying down ATV's. I spent around $10 for the strap I use for my bass, and a little more for the two I use on my cabinet. Although I haven't gone off-roading in my station wagon, I have had to jump on the breaks and swerve to avoid deer and things a few times with the bass in the back, and I feel a lot safer having everything tied down.
We use a bungee cord attached to a handle on the bag and the hanger hook in the van to keep the bass from falling over in transit
Mine travels in the back of my pickup, with the neck resting a pillow or small cardboard box placed just behind the heel of the neck - keeps the scroll elevated and the bass doesn't bounce around.
I have a fiat cinquecento and this is how I do it.
Lower the back of the front seat.
Put the bass body, bridge side down to the back of the car.
The neck, fingerboard, scroll are now facing the footwell, and the bridge area will be resting on the front seat.
Use a small cushion to prevent rocking from side to side.
Secure the bass in place with the seatbelt, with the top part of the belt through the c-bout part, and the lower part near the neck/top of body.
This way will prevent further tension to the neck, as tension is being put through the strings instead. Don't worry about the bridge collapsing, as under full tension you'd have to hit it with a hammer to move it.
This I believe is the safest, and probably most legal way of travelling with such a large object in your car. Plus you've still got room for another musician on the back seat!
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