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Is 40 degrees F too cold to leave a bass in a car trunk?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jim C, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    New job and too much conversation to bring a bass in the office (for weekly rehearsals).
    Assuming bass is allowed to warm up slowly before the gig bag is opened (Mono or Sadowsky bag), is 40 too cold?
    Usually a 70's P bass

    OTOH, I will deal with the conversation if 40 is too cold but looking for easy and safe.
  2. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I mean, there are going to be some people who tell you that you shouldn’t, but I treat my basses like tools made out of chunks of wood and so far, nothing bad has ever happened to me.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    If you would be uncomfortable in a car trunk at 40 degrees, it's not good for your instrument.
    Butch Bobcat, reep, R Briere and 28 others like this.
  4. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Electric basses: portable and easily stored. There's no sufficiently good reason to leave it in your car.
  5. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    I guess that precludes any outdoor gigs at 40°F too.
  6. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    You’d probably be OK but I wouldn’t do that to a 70’s Fender.
  7. Tori2013


    Aug 28, 2015
    40 is the receiving temperature for produce and vegetables. The body and neck of the bass was once a plant so you're good to go. ;):thumbsup:
  8. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    My 1975 Precision bass traveled through Colorado winters in the back of a school bus or in a trailer.
    The only real risk is to the finish, and that's reduced by keeping it in the case so that temperature CHANGE is slower.
  9. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I say take it in, but a solid body instrument is pretty tough.
    happycamper likes this.
  10. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    That's nothing. If you lived up here you guys wouldn't even take your instruments out of the house.

  11. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    I'd get a cheaper bass, just to be safe. Even if you have two in the trunk, as there's always that day when you can't let it warm up slow ...
    Tony In Philly likes this.
  12. lucas303

    lucas303 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2019
    I wonder what temperatures basses are exposed to when sitting in shipping containers on boats, in the trailer of a UPS/FedEx/etc truck (it's almost certain those trailers don't have HVAC, afaik), or on cargo planes?
  13. jnuts1


    Nov 13, 2007
    no don't do it. the cold to hot swing will 100% effect your neck. especially if you have low action. you can also create electronic issues with condensation if you do this weekly.
  14. mmon77

    mmon77 Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern MN
    I've done it in much colder weather with a cheap bass. The bass lived to tell about it, and was no worse for wear. I allowed it to warm up slowly in its bag for 30 minutes or so before removing it.

    One of the differences between cheap basses and more expensive ones is the aging/drying of the wood. I would think the cold would be worse for a cheap bass that was made of wood that hasn't been allowed to dry and stabilize for years, vs a nicer bass with properly aged and dried wood.

    I could be wrong though.
    The Nameless likes this.
  15. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I've routinely left my basses in the car at 40F and never had a bit of problem. 32F is my limit, though.
  16. I wouldn't leave any of my basses in a vehicle unless there were absolutely no other options. And still, I would be a nervous wreck!
  17. It should be fine, if it got much colder though you should bring it in.

    And be sure you take care to let it warm up slowly. A drastic temperature shift will be worse for it than being in a cold environment.
    Scarysharkface likes this.
  18. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I've done gigs where all the instruments where in the large trailer for hours at -30 celcius. Life on the road, it happens...no choice.

    These things can take wayyyyy more punishment that one may believe.
  19. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    Northern California
    Is 40 too cold? I don’t know.

    What I do know is that I wouldn’t do it. As others have said, a bass in a gig bag isn’t that bulky. Is there a reason you’re avoiding the conversation? Not much space to put a bass at work?
  20. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    This was my thought. I'm sure my instruments have been subjected to conditions during shipping to the retailers they were originally sold to as well as to and from previous owners that are far worse than the conditions I've exposed them to.

    It's obviously impossible to eliminate extreme conditions completely because then you'd never be able to go to rehearsals, gigs, jam sessions, etc. But I do try to be smart about it and do what I can to minimize exposure/risk as much as possible.
    gozbass likes this.

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