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! :)

How Much Heat & Temperature Change Can A DB Stand?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jgbass, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I was curious how much heat could be damaging to a DB. I always wonder about leaving it in a car for an hour on a hot day and storing it in my car in the garage overnight (well, haven't done that yet but sometimes its tempting on a late night).

    Am I doing unseen or possibly anunexpected damage surprise popping up, to my bass if I keep it in hot places. Also, there's a big change in temperature at night here and where I am playing at night, we're even putting on jackets due to the coolness. I guess this is also a question about the effect of temperatures changes on a DB too.
  2. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    A good rule of thumb is that if the environment's uncomfortable for you, chances are it's uncomfortable for the bass. Vehicle interiors on hot, sunny days can easily approach or surpass the 100-degree mark (quickly), so that innocent hour in the car could result in a bag 'o bass parts. Garages can also be notoriously hot and stuffy; as tempting as it may be, bring that bass inside.

    As for the changes in temperature, take steps to allow the bass to acclimate gradually whenever possible, such as leaving it in the bag for a while whenever there's a substantial change.
  3. I leave my bass in my car in the garage all the time. I'm in Colorado, so it can get extreme. When it get's really hot in the summer, I leave a crack in the garage door at the bottom and the windows in the car open for air circulation. Of course, make sure you garage door is in the locked position!
    You say you're in San Diego....I would think your axe should be fine in your garage with any weather SD can dish out.
    Probably alot safer than chancing pulling it out of the car and hauling it into the house.
    By the way...hi jg. Nice to talk to you again.
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    On a clear day under the hot southern Colorado sun, near noon on the actual day of the summer solstice, and at about 9000 feet, I watched a friend's mandolin start coming apart in his hands from the heat.
  5. What do ya expect from a wimpy mandolin, Damon?
    I'm talkin' about a covered garage, with open windows and circulation. My bass is my closest friend and is a work of art. I would never do anything to endanger it! :eyebrow:
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    We must have been composing our posts at the same time, Paul: yours wasn't there when I was composing mine. I've got over a thousand posts on this board and have said the word "Colorado" maybe once before. And here it gets posted at the same time you're posting about the heat in Colorado!
  7. WOW, now that is some mandolin player!
    OK, it's not easy to quantify, but this is one time when I don't recommend doing a test to find out....
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  9. Laminated or carved? I have had my laminated bass outside at festivals for days in all sorts of weather. I just added a carved bass to my stable and I plan to be much more careful with it.
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I always go by personal feelings as well. We feel when its' gonna rain. Our throats get dry when the Humidity is low etc.

    Do not expose your Bass to extreme heat, cold, or drastic humidity changes. Treat it like a Baby. A Bass cannot 'cry' when things are wrong but it sure knows how to 'crack' and come apart.

    Don't be Lazy, give your Bass the same comfort you give yourself, meals and bedding aside..lol

    Hide Glue can loosen in extreme heat conditions and crystalize in the cold. Paul has been Lucky as he has a well built Bass but one day, that Bass might talk back.. What will you tell it then?
  11. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Tell it to walk it off.
  12. I wrap one of those mylar space/emergency-blankets† around the bass when I take it in the car in the summer. It makes the bass look as if it's about to be roasted, but it really does help keep the (black) bag cool. It's the extreme differences in temperature, and especially humidity which cause the problems.

    - Wil

    † about $3.50 from local sports/camping store
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    When it comes to extreme cold -- I live in a place that gets very cold in the winter, so this stuff is kinda like "tales from the frontier" -- I think one should have an eye to how fast things warm up when they come in from the cold. In places that have real winters, the difference between room temperature and the temp outside is usually much greater in winter than it is in summer. The transition from back-of-your-truck to small, hot (dry or steamy, take your pick) gig location can be very dramatic. The rapid temp transitions can bring on condensation problems and some finishes will crack and craze.

    Condensation problems might occur if you keep your home at tropical jungle conditions for your prize orchids or something and then let your bass get real cold. You could conceivably get frost forming in there. I'm not kidding! You'd have to be a pretty stunned person to let this occur, I think, but ya never know...

    I like to let my bass warm up gradually, if at all possible. The foam in your bass case works just like your beer cooler does, it insulates. Let it sit in the bag for a while to slow down the warming.

    Don't plunk it down next to the radiator, hot air vent, wood stove, nuclear reactor, whatever to "warm up".
  14. Amen ta that. I've stood at Portage and Main in January, they don't call it Winterpeg fer nuthin'...

    Will, thanks for the great mylar blanket idea. I'll be using that. I've never understood why so many cases are black.

    Paul, no disrespect intended, but I'm dumbfounded to learn you leave your Bohmann in the car in the garage.

    Suggestion: The Radio Shack hygrometer/ thermometer that many of us use will record highest and lowest temperatures and humidities. If you leave your bass in questionable, possibly extreme conditions of temp or humidity, leave the hygrometer in the case with it and check the min/ max values later. You'll then know for sure what your bass is enduring, and you might want to change your storage routine.

    Yeah, I'm overly anal about this, summer and winter. Better to err on the safe side, says I.
  15. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Lots of good info here, guys. I think I need to take even more precautions here with this carved bass, especially now.

    Been doing these musical theatre gigs, up to four a week, and I leave about 6:00 pm after loading the bass in the vehicle in the heat and head up this mountain for the gig. Not really that high elevation, but around 8 or so, eveyone is putting on sweaters, covering themselves with blankets, right here in San Diego. Last night I bent down to place the bass down, and I noticed the concrete floor of the pit was still hot at 10 at night from baking in the sun all day. Ouch, definitely need to put it in its case or mylar blanket from now on.

    Message I am getting here is to really keep giving it lots of TLC, won't even put it in the hot car in the garage until I'm ready to leave, and maybe I'll get one of those mylar emergency blankets to set it down, wrap it during break instead of placing the bass on top of the case. Radio Shack hydrometer/thermometer, great idea too.
  16. Eric, I was going to give you guys an explanation as to why I believe my bass is safer in it's warm case in my attached garage......then I thought....I don't owe you and Ken an explanation.
    Ken, it's not that i've been 'lucky' that my bass hasn't been injured. It's that I know how to take care of it.
    Also, I certainly don't need a lecture from Ken about the day when my bass starts talking to me about the way i've treated it....sounds like a good story from 'The Twilight Zone'

    Jeeze! The "Bass Police" strike again!!!!
  17. Nope, you don't.
    And I didn't mean to infer that you were abusing your bass in any way. Knowing how long you've been playing bass, and knowing how you feel about basses in general and your Bohmann in particular, I'm quite certain you care for it like you would your first born male child.

    I just wouldn't want someone new to the instrument thinking it's ok to leave a bass in a car in a garage without first knowing the dangers posed by extremes of temperature and humidity.
  18. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    man... just driving half an hour to a practice, my rosin melted in my bag and I now have a combo tuner/rosin cake. It was bloody 105 degrees the other day and not nice! Bass is alright though
  19. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    That happened to me too. I had the bass on its side in the car with a little GK combo on its back next to it. The rosin melted, ran out of the bag, and dripped through the speaker grill to form a pool around the center of the speaker cone. It was impossible to clean off...although it didn't affect the sound from what I could tell. I told my luthier and he said "Well how do you think your bass felt? It was in the same hot sunlight!"
    That was the same summer that my String Charger fell off the bass, out of the bag, and onto the ground when I was putting the bass in the car, and I drove over the pickup on the way out of the driveway. Too much substance abuse...
  20. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    you probably have an air conditioned/heated garage or something...... :D