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My Bass Sounds better "Dry"?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Andrew Jones, Dec 28, 2002.


  1. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Every year when my bass dries out in the winter (we have very humid summers) it sounds better more open less damped.

    Is there anything in the set up that can be done to replicate this year round?


    AJ
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Some, if not a lot of this, is atmospheric. I have proof in hand, kinda.

    I made an informal recording with a singer and pianist the summer before last. It was (literally) about 100 degrees and 90% humidity. The bass in the un-airconditioned apartment, not surprisingly, sounded like it was full of Play-Doh. When I got home and played the recording through the Boston Acoustics it sounded exactly the same.

    Later that year, during the winter, I pulled out the recording and the bass sounded beautiful. It was still sounding a little on the tight side, but had all of the sustain and upper partials that I like. This summer I pulled it out again during a hot and wet spell, and the sound was back to the way it sounded when it was recorded.

    Wet air dampens sound waves, and the first to go are the upper frequencies.
     
  3. WET AIR DAMPENS SOUND WAVES? How can that be? Wet air is less dense than dry air. Just askjeeves.com. BTW Thanks for mentioning that link Ray, that Jeeves dude is one mofo. As for the set-up question, I'd say it ain't the wet air but the unfinished pieces of wood all over the bass.. bridge, soundpost, the whole inside.. soaking up the wet air. Why are all those surfaces left unsealed (or not AS sealed)? Only master luthiers would know for sure.
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm probably wrong about density -- but I'm am right about the effect. Also, the bare wood idea doesn't likely affect my stereo in the same was as my bass. This from: http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~kryw/dlectures/sound/Sound Waves.html (via Jeeves, search: high-frequency sound waves humidity)

    Sound attenuation

    The fact that the air absorbs sound energy is used in the attenuation of sound intensity.

    The decrease Db in intensity level of a sound wave that travels a distance x in air is

    Db = - (4.34) att x

    where att is called the attenuation coefficient.

    The value of a depends on the frequency of the sound, the humidity and the temperature of the air.

    Below 2000Hz, att < 0.002m-1, but increases rapidly for frequencies above 2000Hz.

    The high frequency sound is absorbed more quickly than low frequency sound.
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Geez Ray, I believed you the first time - BEFORE you put on the horn rimmed glasses. :)
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Don't get me wrong -- I don't really understand that crap. I just copied and pasted for the mathy heads here.
     
  7. In answer to your original question, the best thing you can do is get a room dehumidifier for those humid summer months and a hygrometer to measure the level of humidity in the room. it's not that expensive, and you should be able to keep the insrument at a constant humidity level.
     
  8. grackle

    grackle

    Sep 27, 2002
    Washington, D.C.
    How important, really, is it to monitor and maintain consistent humidity levels?

    Did basses crack more frequently before the advent of home humidifiers and dehumidifiers?

    What did bassists do in the "olden days"?
     
  9. Well, this thread wasn't really about preventing cracks, it was about maintaining a consistent sound. Theoretically, if you keep a consistent atmosphere you should keep a close to consistent sound. Since you don't have any acoustical instruments listed in your profile, I can understand your perspective on this, as BG's are not nearly as susceptible to weather changes as are DB's.
    As for the second part of your question, I can not give a conclusive answer to your question, but common sense tells me Yes, before there were preventavive measures available, they probably did crack more, and what they did in the olden days is pretty much the same thing we do now. We cry a little bit, dry our tears and then take it to the local luthier. The only difference is that in the "olden days" luthiers didn't charge as much as they do now.And believe me, once you have to pay the price to fix a crack, you will take any preventative measures you can.
     
  10. Wow, I must have been gone a long time or I had my head (as someone formerly of GA would say) in a place where the sun doesn't shine......IT'S REEDO!!
     
  11. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Thanks guys cool idea's Ive deffinetlly noticed humidities affect on sound at classical conserts at Tanglewood on rainy days vrs dry. I guess I was thinking the variable was the intrument and less the enviorment.

    How loud is a dehumidifier? one thing that bugs me is the werrrrrrr of the 2 humidifiers I run just to maintian 35-40 persent in the winter.


    AJ
     
  12. Yes, but I think it's me who's been gone a long time. I was busy finding a wife, getting married, and now we are expecting our first child in July.
    So you understand that I have not been ignoring all of you, but I have been busy. Besides there are now so many more knowledgable people here, it's sometimes hard to give a better answer than Bob Brainstopper ;) or of course Ah-nold Schnitzel. But as time permits, I'll try to come around more often.
     
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY


    Congrats, pal! You're in for a bumpy and wonderful ride.