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Bass Storage

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Truktek2, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Truktek2


    Sep 5, 2008
    Queens, NY
    If you plan on storing a bass for extended periods of time, what steps should you take to ensure that it doesn't get damaged. Do you leave the strings tuned normally? Less tension, or remove them completely? Temperatures? Humidity? Or should I just remove the battery and put it up on 4 jack-stands:)
  2. All I can offer in evidence is my '63 P that was put into its case and stored for about 25 years with the strings at normal tension. Pulled it out, tuned it, and the action is lovely.
  3. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    How long are we talking about?

    I'd prefer to leave it with a studio owner-friend, etc, someone with stability and a secure place to keep it, who will pull it out from time to time, tune it up, play it for a minute, to make sure it has no issues, or if it does develop a problem, get it looked at sooner rather than later. If it's not a mint-condition collectable, I wouldn't mind it being used (carefully) for a session or two in exchange.

    My grandfather had a 1972 Martin classical guitar that was untouched for 30 years in the original hardshell case. It was terribly out of tune (original strings! He didn't play guitar and received it as a gift) when I got it, and had some problems because there wasn't enough tension on the neck during that time, and some finish checking/cracking, but an excellent luthier was able to fix it up without a lot of trouble or expense. I wouldn't recommend this approach if you can help it... All it would have taken was someone to tune it and polish it once a year and this would not have happened. It's fine now, though.
  4. biohazed


    Aug 31, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    woud definatly store them in a hard case with adequate suppot for the body and neck alos keep them stored in a low humidity room so ensure no to minimal warpage and if they are active pickups take the batteries out of them just to make sure they don't explode or something like that happens
  5. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Yep, safest thing to do. :smug:

    Actually, I'd agree with everyone else here. Store the bass somewhere that the temperature and humidity will be relatively constant, and make sure there will be someone around who can make sure the strings stay tuned to pitch every one to three months or so.

    It's probably a bad idea to loosen tension on either the strings or the truss rod. Loosen just one and the other will bend the neck in one direction for a long time.

    Loosen both, and the neck could possibly bend in some odd direction that the truss rod and/or strings' tension won't be able to correct. The equilibrium tension between the strings and truss rod is a good thing to maintain.
  6. +1 low humidity and leaving the strings tight to pitch. Get some dessicants (the little bags of 'rat poison') and stuff them in there - you can get those from camera shops (or www.bhphotovideo.com) amongst other places. I left an old Hoffner solid body in the downstairs closet of my parent's house for almost 25 years without even looking at it - it was "ok," but not optimal. Then again, it wasn't optimal to start with..
  7. Sandu


    Oct 23, 2007
    Bucharest, Romania
    The finish is also important. My oil finish bass reacts quite promptly to environment changes, and it hasn't seen its first winter yet. The maple swells up, feeling rougher, while the bubinga and wenge hardly do anything. I was replacing the pups the other day and they wouldn't come out, the body had swollen up that much. Bear in mind that the pups were anything but a tight fit initially, and now you could see the marks the lower edge of the pups had left in the wood.

    On the other hand, I've never had any problems with the durable finishes (polyester, polyurethane etc). They stay in tune and with the action I set them up with for years. For long term storage, I'd keep the strings on. If the neck doesn't warp, break or double as a reflex bow after a while in storage, it never will. It's a sort of test, IMO.
  8. Any advice for folks in earthquake zones on earthquake-safe storage? The local stores hang their guitars and basses to protect them during tremors -- they sway in time with the tremor, and short of the entire building collapsing, come through just fine. Would it make any sense to reproduce this at home, or would that lead to other long-term damage?
  9. selfblessed


    Dec 29, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    I would like to see them sway in time.

    In a hard shell case...laying down...or standing up?
  10. D M C

    D M C Oh good god, this again? Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    North America, Earth
    On the threshold of a verge on the brink.
    Bumping. Want to see if anyone's opinion has changed or any other thoughts on long term storage.

    AND, storage in HS case flat, on edge or standing? Thx.
  11. Storage in case - I suggest standing or on one edge, not flat. My P-bass was stored for 23 years (checked dates after my earlier post) and it was either standing or on the feet of the back edge.

    And BTW - when you (or your kids) finally take the bass back out of the case, if it has flatwounds, they will be perfect. Don't change them.
  12. D M C

    D M C Oh good god, this again? Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    North America, Earth
    On the threshold of a verge on the brink.
    I realize that others may be reading this thread for the useful information contained therein, but I am compelled to assert that not changing out flats will never be a problem for me. In fact, my only two requirements in a bass guitar is maple fretboard and flat wound strings. Everything else is open to negotiation.
  13. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Everything I have that isn't out on a stand and ready to grab, is stored upright in it's case, and strung to pitch. The temperature and humidity is pretty constant here, so nothing on the instruments changes much. But, nothing I have is in what you'd call "long term" storage. Even the instruments I play the least (the banjo, the mandolin, and a couple guitars), still get played at least one month out of the year. But, I doubt that not coming out for that month would hurt them, anyway; although I have heard sad stories about lacquer finishes being damaged by off-gassing, after spending lots of time being shut up in new cases... :wideyed:
    As for earthquakes? My kneejerk answer would be "don't live in places where they have earthquakes", but we can't all do that - or don't want to. And a "no earthquake" place in the US is pretty hard to find, actually. We have them here, in fact; not real often, and not real strong - but, you can feel 'em when they happen... I guess hanging your basses up might be a good solution, if you just have to live on the San Andreas Faultline... Personally, I stick to the status quo, storage wise, and don't worry about it. If we ever have an earthquake strong enough to damage my basses, they will be the least of my problems....:whistle:
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  14. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    The key is to maintain equilibrium. That means keeping an even temperature and humidity (i.e. don't store it in the attic) and keep the strings to pitch with the trussed properly adjusted, or slacken BOTH the strings and the truss rod. No real reason to slacken the strings and truss rod though other than it makes YOU feel more comfortable. As long as it is in balance it's good.
    sissy kathy and 202dy like this.

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