Outdoor Gig...Effect of Heat and Humidity on a Bass??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by scootron, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    I'm playing an outdoor gig for the 4th of July. The forecast calls for 92 degrees and high humidity. We are supposed to be covered and in the shade, but I'm sure it will still be very hot and humid where we are.

    Is this apt to have a seriously adverse effect on my bass, a MIA Fender Jazz? I will have time to get it there in the case three or four hours early. Is there anything else I can do, or should I not worry?

    I have a less expensive back-up I can use, but I'd like to go with #1 unless it would expose it to unnecessary risk.

    Anybody have experience/knowledge in this area?
  2. buffordbass


    Nov 11, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amps, Lakland Basses
    Take care of it, wipe the sweat off frequently and you should be fine. I play outdoor gigs in Texas all summer.
  3. puff father

    puff father Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Endicott, NY
    Don't leave it sitting in a hot car for hours. Don't leave it in the direct sun for a long time (in or out of the case).

    Other than being really hot, you should be fine. :)
  4. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Yup, what they said. I've done some hot sweaty outdoor gigs with my MIA Jazz and it's been fine.

    The worst part will be the giant belly-sweat spot you'll get from where your bass hits your belly. I HATE that. Yick.
  5. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    Avoid temperature extremes. Should be fine. Don't be surprised if the humidity and sweat kills your strings dead after one set, but you can reincarnate them with a soak in denatured alcohol for a day. Drink lots of water...let your fluid level drop too much and you'll get cramps and your hands and fingers may decide to stop working right.
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

  7. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I've noticed while playing outside in heat and humidity tuning isn't always stable. Make sure and tune between sets. The other poster is right also, that your strings will go quick. This isn't a problem for me, because i don't like the sound of brand new strings. Besides that, follow the rest of the advice given, and you'll be fine. This is just another reason I love my Zon. It's absolutely stable no matter what the weather.
  8. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    My black Ric gets surprisingly warm in the sun. Never had any problems with it. If you have shade you should be fine. The only problem I ever had at an outdoor gig was my amp going into thermal shut down. Lesson learned: Don't let an amp in a black SKB case sit in direct sunlight and expect it to pump out tons of watts for an hour at a time.

    Also, look out for wind. I had a guitar player who's guitar blew over in it's stand on break. I always try to shelter my stand from the wind by at least putting it on the lee side of my stack.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    This is where Elixir nanoweb strings become especially valuable: they are not affected by sweat. Might also be true for other coated strings, but I've only used Elixirs.

    Excellent advice. In addition: DO NOT DRINK BEER! The urban legend is that beer, or any other kind of alcohol, will hydrate you and cool you off. NOT TRUE!

    I'm sorry to shout, but one of my bands played a brutally hot and humid outdoor gig a couple weeks ago. The guitarist and I warned everyone to drink water. The drummer, an older guy, said "I'm drinking Coors Light, it's mostly water". We said "doesn't work that way, it'll dehydrate you". He said "Nah, I sweat the beer out, I don't even feel it". Well no, you'll sweat the water out and become dehydrated... but we couldn't convince this guy. Sure enough, by the end of the 2nd set he was heavy lidded and gasping for air. I hope you all are smarter than he.
  10. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I've been wary of extreme heat/humidity outdoor gigs ever since my band played at the Birchwood Elementary School Summer Picnic in 1974 and my guitar neck warped so badly I couldn't play any notes on the bottom 6 frets!

    These days when I get an outdoor gig and the forecast looks oppressive I bring the Steinberger or the Modulus, just for peace of mind.
  11. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    I played a 6 gour gig earlier in the week for Canada Day and I had no problems. It was mid 80's and sunny. We did have shade where we were playing but the worst thing that was affected was my bass. I had to tune it between sets. Honestly, I don't think I had to tune it more than I do inside though.

    Also, drink lots of water. If you have to drink beers, pace yourself and only have one between every 2nd set or so.
  12. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Good advice from everybody.... except the beer... come on... at least a couple... ;-)
  13. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    +1 on the NO BEER. It's the worst thing you can do to yourself in high heat and humidity.
  14. Sahm


    Dec 18, 2007
    Delaware, OH
    Your bass should be fine. Try to keep effect pedals out of the direct sun. Also try to bring a fan to circulate the air on-stage.
  15. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    Played the gig, avoided the beer and the direct sun on my gear, everything worked out fine. Had a couple of huge fans on the stage (no pun intended), and that helped a lot.

    After dark, it started getting cooler. The crowd was 500-600, one of our largest ever, and a cross section of the community, so we broadened our setlist to add diversity. Otis Redding, Bonnie Raitt, Old Crow Medicine Show, Eddie Floyd, Kenny Wayne, Foghat, Derek and the Dominos, Georgia Satellites, etc. Lots of fun for us, and pretty good crowd reaction.

    Thanks again for everyone's advice.
  16. Def don't leave it in your car for to long, that's real important. Mainly, just keep it out of direct sun and wipe the sweat off when you get a chance. Worse case scenario would be your gonna have to get new strings from the sweat and grim of your hands.
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Well, today I played outdoors in hot and extremely humid conditions. The crowd passed the hat and had us play an extra set, a long one, right up until the fireworks display. Aside from a Vanilla Coke I drank water all day long. I killed a set of strings with sweat, but I stayed reasonably fresh the entire gig.

    No issues with my bass or amp. To the contrary, my pair of Berg HS210 cabs was thunderous in the anechoic conditions!
  18. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    IMHO, if you are well hydrated, shielded from sun and rain, and your gear is as comfortable as you are, you are gonna be fine.

    Ok, yeah, a beer or two or some bourbon in the gatoraid, why not? Is is summer, Gott seit danke!

    Our 4th of July downtown gig was great! Hot, humid, a little rain, but great audience and tons of energy. Lexington Rocks! :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:

    PS. Played my Sadowsky, and brought a Fender Jazz back up--didn't need the back up.
    My rig was not miked or DI'd into the PA. Carried the day. Got lots of compliments.