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My bass loves heat

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by kid_squanto, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. kid_squanto


    May 5, 2006
    So last night I left my bass at school in my orchestra directors office. Overnight, the custodians messed up the boiler system and the music wing got blasted with temp.'s in the 90's all night. (This includes the room where my bass was locked up.)

    I heard about this in the morning, and went to go see if my bass was alright. I tuned it up, and it sounded 10x better than the day before. It had a HUGE sound and sounded so much warmer (no pun intended)

    So my two questions are:
    Does anyone elses bass love heat like mine?
    Is there any thing I can do over the winter to continue to make my bass sound this good, other than blasting the heat in my house?

  2. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Especially if it's a carved bass, you might want to have a luthier check the fit of your sound post. One possibility is that when the bass warmed up, the expansion resulted in a looser fitting of the post. Your bass may like that looser fit.
  3. I have noticed various positive changes in my sound that I (perhaps superstitiously) attribute to warm humid weather. I know on some colder days it is less responsive than it would be otherwise, but the bass is too young, 1.5 years, for me to know for sure if it is just the weather. My impression is that warm humid weather gives it a richer sound. I have two sound posts, one for winter and one for summer. There is only about a sixteenth of an inch difference between them and this winter I still have the summer post in and the response is still improving in general, but truly, I do think it has a certain temp and humidity that it likes and it does seem to be the warmer side.
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Mine too! It seems to love about 65-70 degrees and 55% humidity. It even feels different.
  5. JimGullen

    JimGullen orch. bassist trapped in a statistician's body...

    Oct 25, 2005
    West Bloomfield, MI

    I remember one Saturday last February where we had a nice fire in the fireplace, after a few hours I decided to play a little bit. I keep my bass in a corner next to the fireplace so it was warm...not hot.

    Usually in the dry winter, my bass tends to be a bit scratchy, but on this particular day it had as beautiful a voice as it EVER had (in my experience). Strong, big, powerful, smoooooth....simply prototypical doublebass tone.

    I was pretty shocked, my wife even commented on how good it sounded. "It must enjoy your playing in our living room with a fire going as much as I do." [ Yeah, my wife's a keeper! :) ]

    I don't know what it was, It hasn't happened since, even in the humidity of the summer. I still remember that day clearly.

    Best regards!
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    It's possible the high heat dried the bass out which might have something to do with it's improved resonance. You've got to be careful though - dry means cracks, especially in Chicago winters. Humidity should be kept around 40% wherever the bass is living for long periods.
  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA

    I think my bass sounds better in the winter when the humidity is lower.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Mine too. Humidity chokes my sound.
  9. I've noticed this in all of the basses I've owned, both carved and plywood. They always play more easily and seem to sound more open in the hot weather.
  10. Masters2010


    Jul 30, 2006
    Chepachet, RI
    Mound sounds and plays much better at this time of the year, I feel like I'm playing a cello at times.
  11. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    My bass is a big fan of the cold. Today in the DFW area, it was icy, 28 degrees -- my bass sounded great. During the hot, humid months of the Texas summer, my strings go up about 5mm, there's alot of resistance when I bow and my sound is suffocated. Cold weather keeps my strings stable and tightens up my bass giving it a powerful kick. Too bad it's only cold for about 3-4 months out of the year down here.
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Wow! 5 mm? I have only ever seen a change of a fraction of a mm across seasons.
  13. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    When its 100 degrees with 50%-70% humidty...thank God for bridge adjusters.
  14. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Be careful, the fire place SUCKS humidity out of a house. Mine drops 20% on the hygrometer if I run it for more than a couple of hours.

    I think everyone needs to have they're posts checked. This is where the old school crew used a post for the winter and a post for the summer. (One piece bridges too.)

    I can tell a big difference in my 180 yr old instrument when the RH changes dramatically. It usually sounds better when the RH is going up.

  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    Your bass is exposed to that 100 degrees?
  16. BMason


    Oct 1, 2006
    Houston, TX
    No, but it seemed that way at times. During the summer, the room that it stays in was at about 80 degrees with the humidity hovering around 50%.

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