Cool tips to keep the life-span of your bass as long as possible...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RumbleMan3, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. RumbleMan3


    Apr 14, 2018
    C’mon, we all have that ONE bass, that we just cannot bare to part with!
    Sadly, we know that one day, that bass is not going to be the same bass you originally fell in love with. :crying:

    Stuff happens! :facepalm:

    Parts may need replacing, or just slowly wear out over time...

    However, with good care, your guitar or bass could last for years and years!

    There are many original vintage fender instruments out there, all original electronics and necks, that still sound and perform amazing! Some may argue that stuff isn’t built to the same standard as they once were, but that doesn’t mean that your beloved bass couldn’t last for a few good decades, as long as it is well taken care of. :hyper:

    So, my question to the TalkBass community is...

    What are some cool tips/tricks/hacks that YOU use to ensure your beloved bass stays the best for the longest?

    This could include regular maintenance, or ways of storing your bass away. Anything really, that you do to take care of your bass and keep it running strong.

    It doesn’t matter how “out there”, or obsessive it may appear, feel free to share! :D:thumbsup:
    laughing house and Ellery like this.
  2. RumbleMan3


    Apr 14, 2018
    Ill get this started off.

    I normally try and store my bass in it’s case, whenever I’m not using it. (I know this is pretty normal) Even though I play it a bit every day, or at least every two days. When I’m done, straight back in the case!

    I also try and clean it regularly. At least once a month, sometimes even twice a month. It’s not really a big clean, just wipe down the neck, strings, and around the hardware with a dry microfibre cloth. I always keep the strings on though.

    One thing I should probably do more often though, is store my cables away. I often leave them just lying around, all the time. They’ll probably last me much much longer if I store them away in the case too or something.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008

    Around the house, I store my '83 Ibanez Musician PJ in the case, always. Looks pretty much brand new. At rehearsal, I use a carefully placed stand.

    It gets wiped down after a long rehearsal, especially the metal parts. Other times, once in awhile.
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  4. RumbleMan3


    Apr 14, 2018
    Another thing I recently learned is that you should NEVER leave the silica packets in your gig bag/case!

    Just like too much moisture/humidity affects your bass, the opposite also applies. The Silica packets will dry out the necessary moisture. It could warp, flake or put waves in the paint, and do other nasty stuff. :rollno:

    I never knew this, and I had just left mine in from when it came with the case. Lucky my bass had no damage done. Probably didn’t have it in long enough.
    Geena, roccobass and knumbskull like this.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Think. And don't do dumb stuff with your bass. Many accidents aren't.

    Significant wear or damage is not inevitable.
    MCF, Kickdrum, gebass6 and 3 others like this.
  6. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    I think the main thing besides avoiding physical damage (like, don’t leave the bass out on a stand with a cable plugged into it where somebody could come by and trip on the cable) is controlling the humidity. Unfortunately, humidity control is a bit of a struggle where I live :(

    For acoustics, don’t leave the strings tuned to standard pitch all the time, especially if combined with low humidity (don’t ask me how I know). But, I usually do leave everything tuned to standard pitch except for my older acoustics when not playing (they get left tuned down a half or whole step, depending on condition).

    Anyway, I just leave most of my instruments in their cases or gig bags when not playing, and I wipe an instrument down after playing. The wiping down is mostly for the strings (I’ve found wiping the strings down after playing makes them last a lot longer, and I hate changing strings!), but I usually hit the back of the neck with the polishing cloth (so it won’t be sticky next time I pick it up) and where my sweaty forearm rests, too. My less expensive regular players I just leave out on a stand or even just laying on the bed in my crash pad by work so that they’re ready at a moment’s inspiration.

    My only instruments that were ever ruined were a clarinet that was dropped, bongos I foolishly loaned to some animals and an acoustic guitar that I gave/loaned to my mother-in-law (”Oh, you’re interested in guitar? I’ll just leave this one here for you") that came apart in her dry home one winter (she likes to keep her place roasty-toasty warm and doesn’t use a humidifier). Other than that, the oldest ones have lasted two decades or more and don’t look like they’re particularly ready to fall apart any time soon
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
    Whippet and RumbleMan3 like this.
  7. Whippet


    Aug 30, 2014
    1. Dont drink and play.
    2. Dont do drugs and play.

    Last but not least,
    3. Dont let your cat piss on your instrument or your case.

    That, my friend just increased the longevity by about 245873.5894578%
    Rilence, MCF, seansbrew and 7 others like this.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I used the same bass regularly for over 20 years. It still looked pretty good when I turned it in, unless you got close. I always tried to wipe it down with a shoe mitt after I played, but I almost never polished or cleaned it. So the hardware was slightly pitted/checked and the finger board was gunked up, stained and marred. The frets were actually still pretty decent and the finish looked pretty good with some minor rash on the back from contact with the metal buttons on my uniforms.

    The wear on the hardware was primarily due to the bass being put up wet at occasional outdoor road gigs that got rained out. When the inside of the case gets wet and your touring, there's not really much you can do. The damage to the fretboard was mostly cosmetic, but resulted because I almost never changed the strings, and when I did it was usually an emergency. I doubt I replaced the strings more than three or four times in 20 years and I probably put between 2,500 and 3,000 gigs on the bass.

    Replaced parts included one pickup, a toggle switch, and I had to get a new nut cut.

    IMHO, if I would have made a bigger effort to dry the bass out and cleaned the fret board more often, it would have been in very good condition versus, good. When I turned it in, I was still 100% gig worthy and another bass player checked it out.

    I don't feel too bad about it. The bass was bought for someone else, I used it longer than most people stay in military bands, and I never had an electric bass bought for me for my entire career. I did have them buy me a nice NS Design electric upright which I played for over 15 years and miss greatly.
    Whippet, bfields, ELynx and 1 other person like this.
  9. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Don't allow others to play it.

    My '85 Ibanez Roadstar II was purchased new, and still looks amazing for its age. Nonetheless, it has two dings – neither of which were installed by me.

    I once loaned a Dean Razor to a guy with a very different body chemistry than mine. He played it at a gig for maybe an hour. When the bass was returned, the strings and the frets were corroded.
    pjcarman, thabassmon, Not yet and 8 others like this.
  10. nozkcb

    nozkcb Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Keep it clean. Keep it protected, keep the heat and humidity, especially the humidity within a reasonable range.

    Extreme temperature and humidity changes can destroy an instrument made mostly out of wood
  11. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    I often allow others to play my instruments, but there was this one guy whose body chemistry and I guess mine or my instrument had a major issue with. After he’d play my Les Paul, the strings would get all corroded! Weird, that never happened with anybody else. In this band we were in, for some songs, I was borrowing his bass and he’d borrow my guitar to switch over to guitar. After a few band practices, I told the band leader, please talk to him. I’ll bring my own bass, but he has just got to get his own guitar! Sensitive subject, but we all survived, lol
    Whippet, Dbass35, davidprice and 2 others like this.
  12. dmt,
    The guitarist in our band must have acidic fingers as well. His strings don't last long on his guitar. I must have taken a bit of time once setting up so he was kind enough to tune my basses and I noticed the machine heads, on those basses, then had a different feel to them and no longer shined.
    dmt likes this.
  13. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I’ve kept basses for many years, but currently, I have one bass that’s 9 years old, one that’s 18 months, and a 4-year-old fretless. I treat all the same. Wipe them down after playing, don’t leave them anywhere I’m uncomfortable (environment-wise), polish occasionally, no silica gel. The fretless, with dark fingerboard, gets a linseed oil rundown once a year. I’m different with the cases. I leave mine out on a guitar or bass, rather) boat in my office/studio. I don’t like the idea of them stuck away in the dark inside their cases. And they ride in my truck with me. Never in the trailer.
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  14. bordinco90


    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    I usually give my bass a look over once or twice a week (OCD I know). I never store mine in a case. Both of my basses stay on a stand. I have never had a problem doing it that way.
  15. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Buy good basses. My two main basses have been played regularly for 35 and 16 years, never an issue with either.

    But treat them like expensive, important things. Wipe them down with a soft clean cloth after playing and put them somewhere safe. When you are playing, take care with cymbals and other things in the area.
  16. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Along with what others mentioned, little simple things like merely washing your hands before you play make a difference.
    srayb, JoshS, bassliner50 and 12 others like this.
  17. Don’t loan your bass to Pete Townsend or Paul Simenon.
  18. ElectricBass72


    Aug 6, 2019
    Good tips here. I'm guilty of keeping silica packs in my cases... but never had any issues with necks warping, etc.

    Due to space issues, I keep most of my basses and guitars on a "tree" stand that holds 6. My hardshell cases are stored in a storage building. My house has a heat pump, so the temperature is always at 68°F in all seasons. It's not humid or dry here... average.
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  19. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i learned to play faster. :D
    Kaplan, Border and Wisebass like this.
  20. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space

    There is no better way of storing your bass away!



    In a museum it will be safe! :laugh:


    Whippet, DJ Bebop, cataract and 2 others like this.

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