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Effect of flying on setup

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by dwpeate, Oct 12, 2016.


  1. dwpeate

    dwpeate

    Mar 24, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Hi guys,
    Just wondering... I'm flying to China from the UK in a few weeks, my bass is going in the hold. I was just wondering (I'll slacken the strings off) but if I get it set up before I go, is it going to screw my set up over when I get to the other end?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Probably not, but I would not recommend slacking the strings off.
     
    dwpeate likes this.
  3. dwpeate

    dwpeate

    Mar 24, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Really? I've heard that if you don't then the tension of the strings will pull the bridge off/bend the neck more... It's going to be in the air for about 30 hours that week so don't want to take any chances. Whats the reason behind that?
     
  4. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    No, the neck is expecting a certain level of tension. Yes, being in the air at low temperatures will cause the metal of the strings to contract and therefore increase the tension, but not enough to do any damage. Leaving no tension on the neck would be more detrimental. The bass should be in a good case in the cargo hold if you aren't allowed to carry it in the cabin.
     
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    It's not necessary but if you do feel the need to slack the strings a half step is adequate. Leaving tension on keeps the neck stable.
     
  6. dwpeate

    dwpeate

    Mar 24, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Interesting okay, every person I have spoken to has said to slack them off a bit and not had any trouble.
     
  7. dwpeate

    dwpeate

    Mar 24, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Appreciate you taking the time to post guys thanks.
     
  8. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    A lot of people think that the hold is unpressurized and super cold. Not true. Probably very dry in there, but between your trunk and your case, the humidity of your bass isn't likely to be affected much. Yes, detuning a half step might add some safety, but I don't think it really makes a difference. By "slacking the strings off" were you talking about taking down the tension completely? That would also be an option, but can you set a soundpost?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
    Jeff Bonny likes this.
  9. For safety, I would tune the strings down by a semitone or maybe rather a wholetone if they are steel to synthetic cores (except Dominants, since they don't like that). With gut strings I would tune down a minor to a major third to be safe.

    But this is what I would do, not that it is absolutely needed.
     
  10. dwpeate

    dwpeate

    Mar 24, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I wasn't going to take them completely slack, probably just wind them down a little bit.
    Thanks for all your replies guys!
     
  11. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    There is a LOT of tension in a tuned-up bass. Depends a bit on the packaging, but if the box it is in suffers a fall or sudden shock, I believe a strung-up bass is much more likely to suffer serious damage than an un-strung one. A direct hit to a bridge under tension will at best knock it sideways, or over with a bang, and at worst, cause a nasty belly crack. A jarring shock in a vertical direction can at the least, pop some seams, and at worst, shear the side of the scroll off. And we all know how the baggage handlers treat large heavy boxes.

    For this reason I personally would recommend slacking the strings right off and taking the bridge down too. But that means you would need to learn how to reset your soundpost, or get a local luthier to do it for you. Shouldn't cost much at all, and might be worth the inconvenience.
     
    Jeff Bonny and Ortsom like this.
  12. dwpeate

    dwpeate

    Mar 24, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks... as it happens I might not be flying with one anymore as the one in question got stolen over the weekend... but useful all the same!
     

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