Safe temperature for my instrument any advice ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by mellen, Feb 8, 2014.


  1. mellen

    mellen

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    We are the lucky ones to reside in northeast US. Phila area. The most recent ice storm knocked out power for the last 4 days. The house temp started 4 days ago at 59 degrees F. The house is now 38 degrees. And we are not expected to get power for another 24 hours. While we are camped with in laws, My basses are still at the house. I put both in cases but have a feeling the house temp will drop again tonight due to the sub freezing temps outside. Any advice on how low is Critical? I have a plywood/spruce hybrid. & a pre ww2 juzek
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    59 degrees is not harmful ... but low humidity is.

    Get a humidifier. 35% is optimal for musical instruments.
  3. mellen

    mellen

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Thanks. Since the heat is not on the humidifier is not working My concern now is if the house temp drops below 32f. Tonight would it be dangerous for the inst.
  4. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    If you are at the inlaws, the basses should Be too. There are threads about this on here but i believe the guys from Winnipeg don't think its as big a deal and leave their basses in the car overnight during winters. I would go digging though. Cold is safer than Heat.
  5. mellen

    mellen

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Not much room to bring two basses. Checked on the house last evening. Temperature did not drop and the humidity was 40 pct. hope to get power tonight.
  6. kookykrispy

    kookykrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Years ago, I experienced a crack in the wood one time in my acoustic bass from it being in the cold. I will never do that again. My instrument comes inside with me. Always. If you leave it in the cold, you are risking permanent damage to the wood. I hope your bass is OK.

    The fender literature that came with my 09 American P simply states to never leave the instrument in temperatures where you yourself would not be comfortable!
  7. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I laugh whenever I see threads discussing temperature. Doesn't anyone realize that instruments are shipped all over the world, in extreme hot and cold temperatures all the time. The trucks which deliver these instruments are not climate controlled. Many instruments sit in trucks or in warehouses for weeks at a time. I honestly don't think there is anything to worry about.
  8. SeaMist_au

    SeaMist_au

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    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    Ooooo, warehouses full of double basses......I'd love to see that!
  9. Vigilantelove

    Vigilantelove

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Location:
    NJ
    Yes, instruments are sitting in warehouses for weeks. But have you ever actually bought a brand new instrument straight from a warehouse without getting it setup? Even the best instruments will feel awful when they've been sitting in a warehouse that isn't climate controlled.

    Even before I got wise and started taking better care of my own instruments, I found myself playing through some rough feeling setups just because I didn't bother monitoring my home environment. Case in point, temperature and humidity matters. At the least, you'll need to fiddle with your setup to make the bass feel as good as it did before the drastic change. At worst you're risking cracks, seam splits, neck separations or major warping.

    Don't learn from bad experiences, it's not worth the money or the risk. If you're in emergency situations obviously you do the best you can and hope for the least possible impact on the instrument. But under normal circumstances, why risk it? Especially with how much an upright costs to buy and/or repair?
  10. bassist1962

    bassist1962

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    This instrument has been around for centuries. What did players do before climate control?
  11. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Your basses will be fine at those temperatures but you'll need to warm them up slowly. If you crank up the heat when the power comes back on, they wood will struggle to keep up with the rate of expansion and you might get an open seam or crack.

    I would be more concerned about the plumbing! Did you turn off the water to the house? Or leave it running?
  12. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    How many old basses have you seen without cracks? ;)
  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I think this isn't true for fine instruments. I don't think they are routinely shipped all over the world such that they experience extremes for extended periods. In fact, there are stories of the damage that instruments have suffered by being in warehouses for extended periods that have not had temperature and humidity controlled.

    By the way, your profile suggests that you don't own a DB. Did you know that those are what are being discussed?
  14. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    When the house finally warms it will be gradual, so the basses will also warm up gradually which shouldn't do any harm. Some things can't be helped.
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Madison WI
    Disclosures:
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    If there's no heat in the house, then the relative humidity will be the same as outdoors. That could actually be a reasonably safe situation.
  16. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Agreed. When I bought my first carved bass I lived in a little house with an unfinished basement, which is where my luthier suggested I keep the bass during the heating season.

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