Storing basses in a room of varying temperature. How bad is it?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MacaroniShrek, Jun 4, 2022.

  1. MacaroniShrek


    Mar 18, 2022
    Hello all,

    Currently the only place I can store my basses is in my bedroom. The temperature in this room varies wildly, as when I'm at work, no AC is running. However, at night when I'm home, the AC is running constantly.

    The temperature and probably the humidity is fluctuating constantly. Is this putting my instruments at great risk?

    Any suggestions as to how I can mitigate the effects of the fluctuating temperature?
  2. Dan Bone

    Dan Bone

    Apr 4, 2021
    Yeah.... that's not IDEAL conditions. Dunno how worried I'd be though. What is the temp range (swing +-) ? From 72F up to 95F I'd be ok..... (same as working outside). If you're going higher....
    Maybe store them in their cases when you're gone and only open when the AC has been on for an hour or so.
    LowActionHero likes this.
  3. I always found humidity to be much more of a factor than temperature, unless we're talking quick radical fluctuations in temp. I run a dehumidifier set to about 40%-45% from Spring thru Fall and a humidifier in the Winter months.
    DTRN, GWGuitar, john m and 8 others like this.
  4. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    Our home has a similar problem. The person who did the HVAC should be ashamed. When common areas are comfortable, the smaller areas like bedrooms, my little practice space, etc. are hot/cold depending on the season. My solution is to hang my instruments on a wall in a common space and then take an individual bass that I’m going to play into my practice space and return it to the wall when I’m done. Everything has has remained stable. This is is a pretty workable solution for me.
    To answer your original question; big daily swings in temp/humidity not good and should be avoided if possible.
  5. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Don't worry about it.

    The two effects of atmospheric temperature changes are expansion/contraction and, if cold thing into warm air, condensation.

    Within a room that is simply changing temp due to HVAC, the expansion and contraction will not harm your instrument. Condensation also won't happen because the rate of change is too slow. Don't worry about it.

    Changes in humidity affect wood, but it takes a long time for wood to absorb and shed water. However much water your instrument soaks up from humid air, it will lose when the air dries. Don't worry about it.

    And, if you keep your instrument in its case, there's even less effect from either temperature or humidity. Don't worry about it.
    J_Bass, Mili, Pilgrim and 13 others like this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member


    "don't worry about it!"
    J_Bass, C Stone, Winslow and 2 others like this.
  7. Nebadon2000

    Nebadon2000 Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    North Carolina
    Illustration From Sweetwater;

    Where I purchased my Bass [Melody Music 2019] one of their 'Why buy here' selling points was they kept humidity in Ideal range 24/7.

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2022
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    What messes with instruments is changing tension - your neck and your strings expand at different rates when things change. If your instrument is always going out of tune, you have a problem. If it isn't, You're OK.

    Acoustics are much more finicky than solid bodied instruments. There the rules are different.
    LowActionHero, MVE and Rich Fiscus like this.
  9. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    That's far more applicable to acoustic and hollow instruments, as only one side of the exterior wood parts are finished, and the internal bracing isn't finished at all. This causes woods to gain and lose moisture content unevenly, which is what warps wood. Add dissimilar woods and parts attached cross-grain to each other, and moisture changes can affect these instruments.

    Solid body instruments are, well solid... and nearly completely finished. Even extremes will take a long time to cause changes, and many may not be noticeable at all beyond maybe needing an occasional truss rod tweak. Do you keep all of your wood furniture in a special room in special conditions?

    It breaks down to what builders call conditioned vs. unconditioned spaces. Even a room in living space left for a day or two with no heat or AC will take a while to change. As long as an instrument is kept in comfortably livable space, it'll be fine. Skip the shed, garage, basement, and attic, and you're good.

    On a side note, leaving heat or AC off or with extreme settings often doesn't save as much money or energy as a closer occupied / unoccupied setting, as the HVAC system will often work longer returning to the occupied setting, erasing the savings.
    Mili, 6-3-2 and AGCurry like this.
  10. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I've never worried, or noticed any problems over 20 years with instruments in my poorly insulated studio apartment. I wouldn't say the temperature changes "wildly", but it definitely is not a constant 70º!
    The slower & less extreme the temperature fluctuations, the happier I am. I use a cheap "beater" bass or my parts P or J when I have to leave it in a hot car in the summer or play outside in 40º weather (which happened a lot this last winter). No evidence of ill effects as of yet on those.
    My double basses are the real canaries in the coal mine. (Especially the one I just got with a solid top; the old plywood Kay is super stable.) The glue that holds them together is heat sensitive and some joints are under tension. So you can imagine what can happen if you bake one of them in a hot car! (A buddy of mine found out the hard way, and this was in Canada!)
    Thus far, knock on wood, the double basses have abided my poorly climate controlled abode. So I guess a shaded 90º on a 110º day isn't a deal-killer.
    Plain Old Barry and AGCurry like this.
  11. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Unless, like the both or us, :)you live in St. Louis where we get these wild temperature and humidity swings out of nowhere. All of a sudden the action on my Lakland 55/94 will just get lower. It's easily fixed but it can really throw things
    out of whack. It doesn't happen that often but man when it does. :woot:
  12. Nebadon2000

    Nebadon2000 Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    North Carolina
    That all makes sense to me;

    I have Wall Clock with humidity Gauge it shows 'Good' range from 50-70% in which needle stays in my House.
    Never had a problem; in fact for many years 'Humidity' and effect on Bass never entered my mind, played tons of outdoor gig's, brought Bass in from freezing temps to warm and vice versa [being in trunk from some long drives]

    Every once in awhile I needed to make a very small tweek with truss rod
    Plain Old Barry likes this.
  13. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Well, my house is kept pretty constant, as it should be for my carved double basses and acoustic guitars. But I'll think nothing of leaving my Fender Precision in my car overnight. When I was touring in the 1970s, all of us left our solid-body electric instruments in the band bus, whether it was 100 degrees or 0 degrees. No damage was noted.
    Mili, Rich Fiscus and Plain Old Barry like this.
  14. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    Some modern acoustic instruments, and nearly all antique instruments, are built with hot hide glue. Hide glue can be easily softened and disassembled with heat and moisture. It's reversibility is sometimes thought of as a feature, as it's easily repairable, but it does require extra care in storage.
    AGCurry likes this.
  15. dalahorse


    Apr 14, 2010
    It's funny how wildly local climates differ. My wife and I installed a whole house humidifier in order to get the RH to stay up around 40-45% during the cold season. And our evaporative cooler keeps the house around the same range in the warm season. But yeah - in our experience, changes in RH seem to make much more of an impact on our instruments than temp. That being said, most heaters and coolers impact RH while they operate.
    Gluvhand likes this.
  16. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Unless the basses are constantly out of tune or something, I wouldn’t look for solutions to a problem that isn’t occurring.
    Mili and Plain Old Barry like this.
  17. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    A bit melodramatic. Whatever did the people living in the desert or in climates with 90% RH for weeks on end do before indoor climate control? Their guitars didn't explode or get overgrown in mold.
    6-3-2 and Plain Old Barry like this.
  18. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    My rule of thumb is to keep my instruments in an environment where I feel comfortble.
    6-3-2, kumimajava and Plain Old Barry like this.
  19. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    I broke down and purchased a "smart" a/c thermostat for the house. I was surprised to see that it measures humidity and will actually turn the a/c on very slightly for the humidity (it might affect the temperature by one degree or so).

    AGCurry said it best, near the top of the page.
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  20. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    Another voice chiming in to say it's more efficient to bump your AC a few degrees warmer when you leave the house than turn it off completely. Also close your blinds if you don't need light for plants: keeps heat out and if you bass isn't in a case it'll protect the finish. By doing both of those things the humidity shouldn't fluctuate much, which will mean your bass stays pretty stable. You'll probably still need to do seasonable truss rod adjustments, maybe twice a year, but that's about it.
    Plain Old Barry and stigbeve like this.