1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

FedEx shipping woes - is my bass OK in the cold?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by friskinator, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Today was supposed to be NBD for me (a US Lakland Glaub, my dream bass), but the FedEx delivery was marked as "customer not available or business closed" when I checked the tracking around 5:30. Me and my wife were both home all day, and we never saw any attempt of delivery. No notification was left on the door.

    As most of you would agree, I don't want it sitting in a FedEx truck overnight in my city's current temperatures. If the driver had actually done their job correctly, the delivery would be in my hands right now instead of possibly spending the night inside a freezing-cold truck where it's at risk of being damaged.

    I talked to customer service on the phone twice, and neither representative could tell me if the package would be safe inside a warehouse or sitting in the freezing cold all night. Their calls to the warehouse went unanswered.

    Am I worrying too much about damage from the cold, or should I just relax? I really don't want this one damaged, and the thought of having to file a claim with FedEx makes me stressed.

    Anyone have any experience with this?
  2. I can understand. The place I just ordered my Ric. from said we can't ship the next few days because the freezing cold could crack the finish.
  3. wvbass


    Mar 1, 2004
    I would be exactly like you, but... It is silly to worry about this. The situation is beyond your control. Most likely, your bass will be fine.
  4. vernhillbass


    May 11, 2012
    Relax, trees grow in the cold. When you get it allow it to slowly acclimate to indoor temps. Open the packaging and let her breath. You should be OK. Best of luck, my friend!
  5. If the bass is in a case, let the bass get to room temperature before opening the case. If it is just in a box, let the box get to room temp.
  6. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I've gone through exactly the same thing and I understand your concern. But I don't think you need to worry. First, the FedEx warehouses, from what I was told (by FedEx) aren't heated so it wouldn't be any better off at the warehouse. But regardless, basses routinely get shipped in really cold weather. That's not generally a problem. What can be a problem is if a bass isn't given the opportunity to acclimatize before the box is opened. When you get your bass, leave it in the box for two-to-three hours before opening the box and everything should be fine. I've gone through this a few times in weather much colder than what you get in Atlanta and have yet to have any issues with damage.
  7. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    If manufacturers waited for perfect weather to ship merchandise nothing would ever get sold. I wouldn't worry about it.
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Bring the box inside. Wait about 24 hours to open.
  9. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    You definitely don't have to wait that long but if it makes you feel more secure...
  10. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Thanks for the advice, and I'll try to relax. Normally I'd agree about the Atlanta temps, but the high never cracked the 20s today. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, but I'll let the box acclimate for a few hours before opening.
  11. I always try to think of how things are when they're manufactured or stored. Let's face it, the basses and the individual parts before assembly were probably exposed to freezing and extremely hot conditions multiple times before the product gets to you. This is just one example where the product is close, something you've been waiting on, and the elements are a bigger factor. I'm no expert, but like everyone said, let it sit a little while and warm up and take it from there.
  12. xed


    Dec 8, 2007
    Coastal NC, USA
    Here's what i would do.

    I've got my house toasty warm (70 degrees). If i had a bass coming in from the cold (currently in the teens) i would take my house down to low 60's before it got there. Then bring the box in and let it sit for around 12 hours to make sure it had reached room temp and only then open it.

    I personally watched a guy bring his prized acoustic into a toasty warm basement from the cold trunk of his car. He set the case down and popped the latch and "bang". Both of us looked at each other thinking "that sure was a loud latch pop". Nope, top of the acoustic with a crack run all the way down it.

    Basses aren't acoustic guitars with thin tops but i wouldn't take any chances. Wood responds to temperature and humidity and normally those things change slowly which allows the instrument to naturally aclimate. Any time you have a situation where there could be a really quick change i would just play it safe. It would be interesting to hear what people like big tour guitar techs do since they would face that problem all the time.
  13. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Good Advice all around. I left a bass in my kids car once by mistake and it sat for a week at around zero. Nothing happened. Like others have said keep it in the box and let it warm up for a few hours.

    Basses are pretty stout that way.
  14. I'm kind of a worrier who babies his gear. But I never got too anxious about guitars shipping in the cold. Yeah, they're gonna get cold in that case for a day or two. Give it 24 hours to aclimate slowly to normal indoor temps before opening the box, it should be fine. I would only be concerned if it is something that happened with a high degree of regularity, as I am lead to believe it's a pattern of expansion/contraction that can lead to some stress issues with fit and finish. But once in a blue moon? Probably not.
  15. +1.

    Had a similar experience a few years ago. My only concern was the finish would crack. I just let it worm up gradually and it was fine
  16. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Some one on another forum had this same concern this morning, so I'll (more or less) repeat what I posted there:
    -Yes, sudden temperature changes can be a bad thing, especially for acoustics/hollowbodys (witness XED's experience), or instruments with nitro finishes (crack city). Solid bodys, and poly finishes? Not so much, but still not a good idea.
    -The "Proper" procedure is; let it warm up on it's own, in the box; then, remove the box, and let it warm up in the case; finally, open the case, prop it open, and let it warm up some more.
    -How long should this take? Personally, I use my hands to decide. If the box feels like it's at room temperature, then I take the box off. When the case feels warm enough, I open it and prop it open. When the bass feels right, out it comes. How much time this takes depends on how warm you keep your house.
    -Or, you could do like someone suggested on the other forum; "Wait 'till March!" :D
  17. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If the bass has a nitro finish, bring the case inside and crack it open, do not open it! Once it is room temp, open it up and let it warm some more. If it is REALLY cold you could wait a little before cracking it but I wouldn't wait too long, maybe 10-15 minutes.

    If the bass has a poly finish, relax, it's fine. It just has to adjust to your climate, so let it warm up.

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Acclimate,acclimate,acclimate. Good advise to follow.

    What bothers me a bit? You were home and the carrier claims they attempted delivery. I was waiting for a bass once and when I checked the UPS website it said they tried to deliver and I was not home. Well I was home. I complained and got them to contact the driver. Turned out they tried delivering to a home with the same house number as mine on an adjacent street! So if someone was home UPS would have left it at the wrong house if someone signed for it. The driver tried to deliver to that house again when he realized he was at the wrong house.

    Beware of delivery blunders!
  19. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef Formerly "thebrian" Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    I've had both Fedex and UPS (several times) say they attempted delivery and no one was home, and I was. I've come to the conclusion, especially when it's towards the end of the day, that some drivers just get lazy and don't want to work late so they put that in the system and BAM they're off work!
  20. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I'm going through the same thing my precious Martin is sitting in some frigid temps since last week it was supposed to be here yesterday but we are still on level 3 maybe today? temps are around -19 here in Ohio. I planned on letting it sit for at least twenty-six hours before even opening the box then another two hours just sitting in the case I'm even going to take a picture of a current newspaper right next to my sealed box to back up any claims this stress is making me crazy.