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Instrument warmup time?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gabu, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Does a bass "warm up"?

    I swear my bass sounds better 15 minutes into playing than it does when I take it out of the bag.
  2. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    could it be your hands? or are you switching basses and noticing a difference?

    w/ me, it takes a similar amount of time before my digits feel loose and ready to go.
  3. ingmar


    Oct 14, 2002
    Normandy, France
    Hey, I noticed that too, depends on the bass for me though. My Alembic sounds well straight out of the box, the T-bass however takes a few minutes to "warm-up" ..., seems to have to do with the neck!
  4. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Umm, I think it's your ear. There's not that much, if any, physical change right when you take the instrument out of its case from playing it for a few minutes. The neck curvature couldn't be it, I think. Possibly the feel of the neck changes because your hand's oils have made the neck slicker or maybe your body heat radiating from your hand could change the feel of the neck as well.
  5. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I have been noticing this on my Jazz basses.

    They are a Fender '75 reissue and a MIM Deluxe V.

    It could be my hands warming up too. The tone seems audibly better to me, though... So I mainly am suspecting the bass itself.

    OTOH, I hadn't thought about my amp. I guess that might need warmup time more than a bass? Or both? Awww, heck.

    Bleah... how could I find out? I guess I can leave my bass in the bag for 15 or 20 minutes with the amp on... then try and see whether it's one or the other.
  6. I think it is your amp + a little bit of your hands

    it is widely believed that tube amps need warm up time to sound right. I am starting to notice a little, just a little with solidstates as well.. It could be your cones too. I think they need a warm up time after sitting still for a while, so after 5~10 minute of playing it could sound different.
    but based on the cone logic, strings, pickups, etc. could come into play....

    my $.02
  7. Limo


    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    I've been noticing this with my Ampeg tube amp, it's low in volume and tiny sounding the first 15 minutes after that it sounds great. What kind of amp do you have?
  8. I would say that the possibility of the bass warming up after being played would, from a simple energy transfer basis, be realtively impossible.

    Thinking about the amount of energy actually put into the bass from string vibration etc compared with it's overall surface area, I would say that your playing it has less to do with it's overall steady state temperature than the ambient conditions.

    Of course this depends on how one sets the boundary conditions.

    (sorry it's the engineer/smart a$$ in me)

    I vote for the fingers loosening up thing myself
  9. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Boys et al, should one cry or laugh?
    It is obvious to any person trained in technology or physics that the strings do warm up. Give this a try: take a metal paper clip, bend it to and frow a few times, and notice the temperature change.
    The same physical principle works in a string, though the amplitude of the strain is much less. But the frequency much higher!
    NOTE: there is a temperature build-up.

    The cooling of the string is a minor factor. The convection depends on the temp difference and the amount of air stream. As you are not moving, very little air stream occurs - no cooling.
    NOTE: there is hardly any cooling, when playing on stage in-doors.

    So if you wonder why your bass goes slightly flat after playing some ten minutes - it's warm-up. The string warms up, get longer and out of tune.
    If you wonder why your bass sounds "warmer" - it is...warm-up! The string gets more flexible, and more sensitive to smooth attack.

    You should do warm-up exercises before playing. Both for your muscles and for your instrument. Then this change will already have happened, before the gig (and you save your joints...)

    Sorry for the first line. I guess it may have been offensive to some, but I get very troubled about our future, when I see these anti-scientific/anti-fact ideas popping up on all kinds of fronts.
  10. jbay


    May 23, 2002
    Personally I feel it has more to do with your ears... You get more accustomed to the tone after a while. Similar reason why sound engineers try not to do (serious) mixing/mastering immediately after recording...
  11. cabooke


    Jan 26, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    I find if I don't get a good warm up in, it takes me three or four songs before my hands don't feel tight anymore. As you get warmed up, your hands will loosen up and you will get a warmer tone from just going in cold.
  12. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I have a B100-R and a SVT400T. The B100 is a 115 combo and the SVT400 plays through a 215 (B25) cabinet. Now that I think about it, I do not notice it as prominately in the B100-R. I also noticed it at a practice studio I used on Sunday. Then I was playing through a Crate B220 w/ a 215 cab.

    I am begining to feel that it is a combonation of everything. Basses do seem to warm up... at least to some degree. But then again, maybe that is mostly in the hands. The amps make the a big difference too.
  13. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    I always warm up my strings before tuning and playing by using the palm of my right hand to quickly rub up and down the neck (strings). You can feel them getting warmer from the friction.
  14. mjl422


    Jul 3, 2002
    As Suburban so eloquently put it, it's a matter of Physics. A bass is made up of wood and metal which expands and contracts with temperature changes thus altering the tone of the instrument.

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