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Bass left in freezing car

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Denver Max, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. So, I just found out my guitar player broke down last night and had to abandon his car on the interstate in Atlanta because of the gridlock and the ice. Well, he happened to be transporting my bass from our old practice space in ATL back to our suburban town to our new space. The bass and his guitar were left in the car overnight in 10 degree weather. Couldn't really be avoided, as he walked a mile to sleep in a Wal Mart that had a shelter set up. I haven't gotten to my bass yet, as I was snowed in all day, but is there any potential damage this could have done? He said they both look fine and that my bass was still almost perfectly in tune, haha. But I'm still worried about my baby.
  2. soulman969


    Oct 6, 2011
    It'll be just fine. Many moons ago I traveled all over the upper Midwest where in the winter we'd see nights where it was -20 below or more. The gear traveled in a trailer and stayed in the trailer overnight. Just let 'er warm to room temps when you get it back to knock the frost of it's bones. LOL
  3. Gremson


    Mar 22, 2012
    North-Leftern USA
    I think it should be fine. Just do your best to acclimate it slowly to room temperature before pulling it out of its case.
  4. southshoreconor


    Oct 30, 2007
    The Road
    Endorsing Artist: Fender Musical Instruments, SIT strings
    +1 for slowly. but certainly it will be fine.

    bring the case inside, wait a while. open the case, wait a while. take the bass out, wait a while. then wait a while, then :bassist::bassist::bassist:
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The thing to remember is that instruments get shipped all across the country, and often the world, in UPS trucks and shipping containers that are not climate-controlled in any way. It already sat in freezing cold and burning heat plenty of times before it got to your door. If that didn't wreck it, sitting overnight in your guitarist's car won't either.
  6. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    Think of the bright side.... If it is damaged.....

  7. should be right

    be careful bringing back to temperature because of frost and wood
    condensation and stuff
    may not like it.
  8. johnson79


    Jan 8, 2010
    Lancaster, PA
    It'll be fine. It was just one night. And 10 isn't really that cold:) It was 0 in PA this morning. Just follow the advice of letting it warm up in the case and you'll be good.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    As everyone else has said, it's a good idea to leave it in its closed case for awhile after bringing it inside to let it warm up to room temperature slowly, rather than opening the case as soon as you get it indoors. It sounds like your guitar player already opened the case to check on it: Do you know if did that?
  10. vbchaos


    Sep 5, 2011
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    Uncompensated endorsing user: fEARful
    My luthier keeps telling me that:
    "Never leave your instrument anywhere where you don't want to stay either"!!!
    He told me so many times that I become paranoid everytime I have my bass with me. but it helps, I never forgot my bass ever since somewhere (car, rehearsal room etc).

    Warm your bass up slowly - it should be fine. Do not do it too often, the wood does not like things like this
  11. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    I will go ahead and disagree with the general consensus here and caution you that the finish could develop cracks due to the extreme temperature changes that will occur when you get the bass indoors. Extreme cold will cause the finish to contract and become brittle and warming it up will cause expansion. Hope it doesn't happen.
  12. loend68

    loend68 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses, T.C. Electronics
    I agree with most, bring it inside and let it stay in the case as long as possible, then open the case maybe an inch and leave it like that as long as you can before playing it. The finish cracks mentioned can happen from extreme temperature changes. Like bringing it in from sub zero temps and opening the case immediately in a 70 degree room. Even then it depends on the finish.
    My bass road in the truck in -10 degree weather last weekend. I followed the above steps and had no issues.
  13. I think the answer to your question in this case is "It Depends".

    I've left a bass in the car in extremely cold weather like that, but not overnight. It was for about 4 hours. Had no trouble at all. I also left a bass in the trunk of my car on a very hot and humid day. I had to tweak the truss rod a few weeks later to get the neck back in shape and it was fine. I would think repeating that mistake many times would be bad for a bass. Once in awhile? Probably not a big deal.

    Also, I agree with LowEnd68's recommendation to let it warm back up slowly if possible.
  14. Neener

    Neener Grumpy Old Dog

    Feb 25, 2007
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    The wood will not explode, the pickups will not burst into flames, the strings will not turn to barbed wire, but the finish may crack if warmed too quickly.
  15. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Cryogenic Bass Transport. A better marketing mind than mine could make a fortune with this!

    Heavy finishes can crack, as others mentioned, but your bass will probably be fine. In fact, it will be better than fine now that it's been Cryogenically Optimized (TM)!
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    You didn't disagree ... most warned the OP to let it warm up gradually in the case. There shouldn't be any problem if he listens to the advice. Actually, it's usually the nitrocellulose finishes that are so sensitive. Other finishes like polyurethane or the UV cured finishes are less susceptible to such crazing.
  17. mattattack187

    mattattack187 Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Bangor, ME
    Next time you get a little snow down south, give me a shout and let a Mainer that knows how to drive in the snow give you a hand!
  18. Burwabit

    Burwabit Likes guitars that tune good and firm feelin women Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    Lubbock, TX
    some people pay big money for this and you could get it for free :bag:
  19. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

    Aug 6, 2013
    Columbia, MO

    Snow and ice are no joke, and yes, they're pretty amd wonderous...but if you aren't prepared, you wind up like your guitar player, trudging through mile(s) of snow to sleep in a Wal-Mart shelter...when he could've just stayed where the hell he was to begin with. I saw that stuff down south, people trying to drive and sliding all over the road, and I'm just like, 'well, DUH. STAY HOME.'
  20. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Mont Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    You will be fine - follow the advice about letting her warm up slowly and you won't even look back.

    Even if you do it quickly - the absolute worst you will have is some finish checking. And most of us think that looks cool anyway.