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How much can temperature damage a bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by hoodrow, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. hoodrow


    Mar 7, 2009
    I just bought my first "decent" bass and am being a dweeb about storing/using it properly. Basically I am curious if leaving it in a regular (ie exposed) stand in a room that can have temperature shifts of 5-10 degrees on a regular basis will harm it, and if so how much. It will get daily play so I'd like to leave it near the rest of my stuff, but don't want to see my investment get ruined over something I can easily avoid.

    The real reason I'm worried about this is that I've noticed the bass goes out of tune pretty quickly, though part of that could just be a crappy tuner. If anyone can lend me some insight I would really appreciate it. :)
  2. I am not sure about a 5-10 degree difference, probably not much, unless the temperatures are low to begin with. Most basses are okay if in a place where the great majority of time it is at consistent room temperature without wild fluctuations. Just remember to keep it in a case or bag and not left out in the open. Inside a closet or under the bed are usually good places for this. Although many will leave it out in the open on a stand without problems, I still think it is better staying in a case. Dust is not a friend of electronics.
    Also, keep an eye on the humidity levels. If you live in an area where there are consistently dry low levels of humidity, invest in a guitar humidifier to keep in the case and check it often.
  3. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I have my three main basses on stands in my music room which has shifts in temperature of about 10 degrees or so. I have no problems because of it, other than having to tune the Fender more often than the others. I make sure I don't let direct sunlight hit the basses for any length of time because that can cause some localized heat swings of way more than 10 degrees, and the UV exposure is hard on most finishes.

    Here in southwestern Ontario the biggest problem is the dramatic swing in humidity between summer and winter. Not much I can do about it in my case as I don't have room in the music room for a dehumidifier in summer or a humidifier in winter, when the inside humidity is around 30% or less. The air conditioner can only do so much in summer to keep the humidity lower.

    However, I'm not having any problems with my basses because of this other than dealing with "fret sprout" because of the fingerboards drying out in winter. With weather extremes like we have here (and many areas of the USA have the same extremes) you just learn to deal with it.
  4. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Seasonal changes in relative humidity due to heating and air conditioning can cause changes in the neck (relief and frets) but these are easily dealt with.

    When traveling, you can't always control the conditions your instrument will encounter (in the luggage hold of a plane, for example), but once at a destination, whether in or out of a case, I never leave any of my electric basses in conditions that would make me uncomfortable, this includes temperature, humidity, direct sunlight, dust, sweat, pollen, pests, fumes, chemicals, vibration, crooks, etc.

    Also, as much as I love kids, pets, students, and friends, I don't leave valuable instruments within the reach of anyone unsupervised. :D
  5. I know it can. So most of mine are hung in a place void of Sunlight.It is natures enemy along with moister. I have had a lot of bass's damaged by direct sunlight. Treat them like Vampires...just don't drive a stake thru their heart or decorate with Garlic.
    Mic Nuggette'
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    As stated already, humidity is more important tham temp. (as long as the room you are talking about is as described) Keep and eye on your fret board. You haven't given us very much info about the bass itself so it's kind of hard to help beyond that. Do you have an oil finish? Paint? How about the fretboard? Oiled rosewood? Lacquer on maple?

    P.S. Welcome aboard!
  7. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    Good advice as always. In all honesty the best place to keep you bass is in a case. Do I follow that, not really. I have wall hangers in my music room and my basses hang on the wall. As for the windows I have UV pull down shades I picked up from a place I worked that made printing press plates where UV light would cause a chemical reaction with the coating. Then I have plantation blinds over the uv shades. This allows me to still have natural light in the room. You can also buy UV window screen similar to window tint.

    The temperature shift is not harsh on a bass as long as it is a slow gradual change and the bass has time to acclimate. Humidity causes the fingerboard to swell and contract and depending on the wood is to how fast it does it. It seems to me ebony fingerboards react the most to humidity.
  8. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006

    About this much.
  9. My band moved into our rehearsal last november (One we can go 24 7, it's our room like...) And it was really cold in the room over winter.

    We had a gig in January and my bass ended up at home where my mum keeps the heatin on full all the time! Anyway, it stayed here for a week. Messed it up big time.
    I took it back to our rehearsal room but it's not as cold in there now.

    After this change in temp, my bass is now a mess to play, rattles, low end sounds rubbish, and the high end pops n crackles. Can't wait till pay day and get it set up again!

    I always keep it flat in my case, so luckily, No neck warp!

    So, IME, As long as you can keep affording to have it set up and keep it flat in your case. Wont damage anything too much.
  10. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    No, that won't hurt it at all.

    Like a (famous) luthier said, on another forum: "Do you want a guiatr, or a painting of a guitar?"
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    You bass isn't made of glass. Relax and play it. If it's new, the strings will go out of tune quickly when it sits. After a couple of years, those strings won't fall out of tune as quickly. The only temp swings you need to worry about are the kind which take place when you store it in the trunk of a car at 10 below Zero, then carry it into an 80 degree room and expose it to the 90-degree temp difference immediately. In that case, you could have finish cracking. Leave it in the case and let it warm up for an hour or so.
  12. Cyber Soda

    Cyber Soda

    Sep 24, 2008

    + Infinity.

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