Letting the bass "defrost" after it arrives by ground shipping

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Jun 25, 2003.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Hi guys

    I have heard some people say to let a bass in a sense "defrost" for a few hours before you start rockin on it after shipping. How many find this to be true, thanks
  2. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Stingray & Serek addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Southwest Texas
    Never heard of this before. :confused: Why would you do that? Mabye, letting the wood settle(i.e. humidity, heat, etc.)? I don't even think I could bear to get a new bass and just let it sit for a day or two before I had to play it. I personally would'nt think it would matter much. Though you still might need to set it up after a few days.
  3. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again??

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    By "defrost" I guess you mean letting the temperature regulate to the surroundings?? I always do it.. Although in this age of double truss rods and multi-laminate necks I doubt warpage is much of an issue.. Introducing an instrument in an opposite environment (hot to cold / cold to hot) could result in cracks due to exansion and/or contraction..
  4. Deano Destructo

    Deano Destructo Stingray & Serek addict. Hasn't slept since 1979. Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2000
    Southwest Texas
    Prog, would'nt cracking occur regardless of playing? I'm honestly not sure if it would matter. Does it?
  5. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again??

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    I'm sure it would..

    But putting more stress on it by playing during its temp stabalization (I feel) would just increase the likelihood of cracks developing.
  6. LizzyD

    LizzyD Chocoholic

    Oct 15, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    I would only worry about it during the winter, if it's extremely cold where you live. If the case is really cold to the touch, let it warm up a little first. Likewise, if it's really hot, and you bring it into an air conditioned building, let it cool down a little.

    Probably wouldn't really hurt it either way unless it's extreme.
  7. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again??

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    You're probably right Lizzy.. I admit Im a little anal when it comes to my basses.. Seems my level of caution rises in proportion to the amount of "frog-skins" I shell out for a given instrument.

  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Actually, it's not really a problem of playing the bass immediately after shipping, but of opening the box and the case immediately after shipping, at least in really cold weather. If it's been out in freezing weather for several hours (say, sitting in a UPS warehouse or something), you should leave the bass in its box inside for several hours, or even overnight, before opening it up, depending on how cold it is.

    The risk is more to finishes than to the bass itself, and much more of an issue with lacquer (especially older stuff) than oil finishes, but even an oil-finish bass will pick up condensation if it's very cold in a warm room.

    Last winter, I picked up a used Rick bass and had it shipped. UPS left it sitting on my front porch in 25 degree weather all day. I got home, brought it in, and left it sitting in the shipping box in the basement, but of course I got impatient, and after a couple of hours I opened it up. The bass still felt really cold to my hands, and I watched in dismay as little cracks (called "weather checking") slowly appeared in the finish all over the bass.

    Ouch! Didn't hurt the bass itself, though.

  9. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again??

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    I guess I should have specified "finish" cracks in my previous posts..
  10. neptoon


    Jul 25, 2000
    Kings Bay, GA
    yep, the zon i got from daichi last winter has got a couple of really large cracks in the finish. but, more than likely the developed during shipping. it was during that really cold snap last january when the temp dropped from like 55 to less than 20 overnight and then flew out to here when it was like, 60...i left the bass in the case overnight, but when i opened it up, there were these huge arse cracks in the finish. the bass sounds awesome, though :D

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

  12. bassguppy


    Jan 8, 2003
    Zombie Bump.

    I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska and the temperature outside is usually between 0 and -35F this time of year. So what's the consensus on ordering a new bass and having it shipped up her near the Arctic Circle? I'm guessing it will be in VERY frigid temps once it arrives in Alaska probably for 2-3 days. Do I want to chance it or wait for the spring thaw sometime in May?
  13. bassguppy

    I live near vancouver but work in northern alberta in the winter(between -20 and -40c). ive taken basses with me in the box of my truck and they were fine. slack off the strings a turn or two and bring your 4mm alen key. ive never had any problems. i will bring it inside when i get there, let it warm up over night then tune it up the next day. check your relief after a couple days. also note that i travel with a cheap ibanez. no foderas in the box of my truck.

    anyways, let it warm up all the way before you put any stress on it. you live up north, you know what i mean. cold stuff can get brittle.


    i just got a bass sent across the country to me last fall. when i got it inside it collected lots of condensation and i had to dry it off a couple times as it was warming up. the set up was un playable and it did take about a week for it to settle into its new climate. its fine now.
  14. RickC


    Jun 9, 2005
    I usually let the box temp stabilize for an hour or two, but only in winter. I'm sure it doesn't matter in most cases, but especially with an older piece/finish I just figure why take the risk.

    Plus I kinda like to extend the ritual of "opening the box" Grab a drink, look on it awhile, imagine removing the outer garments and having my way with it soon...

  15. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass

    Jan 10, 2006
    Houston, Texas
    I lived in Anchorage, AK in for 5 years. I left my bass in the equipment truck year round..practiced on a different bass..I never had any problems with the the neck changing or warping etc. but the finish on the body did crack . it was on a lake placid blue Fender J-bass. I didn't realize some day people would actually pay to have a "reliced" bass that looked like mine.
  16. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    We have the opposite problem in my neck of the woods...letting a bass cool down so that tuning it up won't burn your fingers after it sat at the local UPS hub in the height of 120 degree August heat.

    No cracking issues, but it will warp the hell out of a pickguard. I keep a heat lamp handy in my store just for re-flattening purposes.
  17. pfox14

    pfox14 Guest

    Dec 22, 2013
    Any good instrument is going to be sensitive to temperature and humidity. You have to let it sit and acclimate to its surroundings before playing it.
  18. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    Ahh, the revival of an old thread.

    We don't have that extreme weather in NC but if my bass has been in really cold or hot conditions I like to let it acclimate while in the case for 30 minutes. Most of the time it is going from a warm/cool house into a warm/cool car to the gig so there never is a drastic change.
  19. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Inactive

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Avoid playing "Kenny G" tunes and all will be well.
    Nothing good can come from Fuzak on a new bass :)
  20. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Finish cracking can happen to nitro finish, poly finishes do not have this problem. However, the neck is very sensible to temperature and humidity, whenever I get a new bass I always let them acclimate to room temperature for couple of days before to attempt any set up.