Cold Weather, Dry Air and Neck's

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FirewalZ, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    All, with the bitter cold many of us are facing, my furnace has been working overtime and as a result the air is even dryer than usual. As a result Im having to adjust my bass necks to compensate, i only ever to small tweaks but there is still a bit more bow than i want, but im afraid to keep adjusting them. Is it a good idea to put a small humidifier in my jam room? Or would this simply cause more hassles when I take them out to play at a club with equally dry air?
  2. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
  3. kinopah


    Oct 19, 2014
    Definitely a good idea to use a humidifier this time of year (or any time) in order to keep a nice consistent ~40% humidity. That dry air bugs the crap out of me, even more with my acoustic. A lot of people swear by keeping their instruments in cases with small humidifiers too, which is a less expensive alternative. :)
    Mowbro, Frampton and FirewalZ like this.
  4. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    I usually keep 1 or 2 basses out on stands in my office/jam room so its easier to pick up and play/practice whenever the mood hits me. This season more than most, i've had the necks back bowed, with the heater running more, its even drier than usual.....however I assume most other places will be as well. My concern is that if i humidify my room and adjust the necks back to "normal", will they simply bow when im out in the dry air again...vs just adjusting for the season and leaving it.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I finished my Ric clone build fretwork back in the hot, steamy summer, everything buttery smooth. Now that it’s cold and dry, it has developed a minor fret sprout, just enough to be annoying. In theory, if I fix it now while it’s dry, it won’t come back, but still a PITA.
  6. kinopah


    Oct 19, 2014
    In my experience it takes some time for the wood to adjust to the change. Unless you are playing out in a frigid desert, I wouldn’t worry about it. Personally we have an electric humidifier in the music room and I’ve got a little “to go” humidifier which sits in my case (which I don’t regularly use, but it’s rarely as dry as it’s been in nc the past few weeks). Consider buying a little $5 humidifier to take to the gig and it def won’t be an issue for the amount of time you’re playing it!

    (I should note I also tend to adjust necks in the early winter when the heater gets into heavy use and again in the spring)
  7. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan office/Jam room is usually closed up...due to the cats:sour:....its pretty small, i suspect I would only need a small desktop type of vaporizer. I don't have a way to measure the humidity and keep it at a constant level however
  8. kinopah


    Oct 19, 2014
    Hahaha cats!!! We’re living parallel lives, dude. :roflmao:
    Big10FanGoBlue likes this.
  9. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    LOL....are you also 40 in "IT"...and have a few kids and associated pets:)
    If so...we definitely are living parallel lives:)
  10. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    Found you...your world class Yo-Yo-er..?
  11. kinopah


    Oct 19, 2014
    Ok, so maybe not “parallel” exactly. ;)
    Gotta have a hobby!
  12. Frampton

    Frampton Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2010
    Mowbro likes this.
  13. spvmhc


    Apr 14, 2011
    You may consider getting a whole house humidifier. They're not that expensive initially and pay for themselves in that you can lower the thermostat a few degrees and maintain comfort levels. Right now the outside temperature is 2. The relative humidity in my home is 35%. I'd prefer it to be in the low 40's, but the humidifier is keeping up with this weather pretty well.
  14. micgtr71


    Dec 4, 2012
    I’m filling my humidifier daily here in NY. Today the high will be -1. Helps save fret end issues as well cracking in my acoustic. It’s a pain to not have it sitting out by the couch but worth it in the long run.
  15. I've two large console type humidifiers going at all times during the winter. They're set at 50% and maintain that throughout the house even though the furnace (forced hot air) is running a lot lately. The OAT has been around -10C most days, and -15c most nights.
    My guitars like the moisture content at 45-50%.
    Truth be does my skin, nasal passages, throat, and other moisture sensitive objects in our household.
  16. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    You can get a decent humidifier for a hundred bucks which will keep your whole house around 45-50%, which benefits your guitars and your general health. That's what I did not too long ago, and it has been a wonderful thing.
    You can spend a ton and have one hooked into your plumbing, making it unnecessary to fill the tank, but that's a whole other type of project.
    Winter is hard on basses, people and pets. Their skin gets dry just like ours does, and they need higher humidity just like we do.
  17. Get a humidifier. Ebony can crack if the humidity gets too low and it throws your setups out of whack.
  18. James Collins

    James Collins Guest

    Mar 25, 2017
    You can't really break your guitar or bass with a truss rod. I have literally tried this, and nothing happened. Also, waiting 24 hours makes no difference. The change happens close to instantly.

    Also as a piece of advice with setups in general: once you have your guitar setup how you like, the only thing you should ever adjust is the truss rod. The bridge saddles should just be left alone.

    If you get a humidifier, you can also get an inexpensive electronic hygrometer to know the actual humidity in your room.
    Dave Neal likes this.
  19. HeadWind

    HeadWind Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2016
    Western New York
    It's zero out today here in Buffalo. Yesterday, the top piece of my guitarist's acoustic split in two :(. Probably due to low humidity with the furnace running full time these days. I don't have a humidifier, but perhaps should consider one.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  20. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    North-central Ohio; currently -3 degrees outside. My house has a whole-home humidifier, but I also keep a small humidifier in my guitar room. Even with those, I've been struggling to keep humidity levels above 20%. My basses haven't needed more than a 1/4 turn of the truss rod and I haven't seen any wood damage due to dryness.
    Dave Neal likes this.