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

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

  1. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    ^This^ That chart, as has been pointed out, is really only relevant for traditionally made acoustic instruments. Even for modern hollow- and semi-hollow body electric basses and guitars, it's... well, let's just say - a little overdramatic. My rule of thumb has always been: If you are tolerably comfortable? Your electric bass/guitar is comfortable. Before I moved to northern Indiana, my instruments and I lived for 34 years in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Vegas" is tourist code for "The Mojave Desert"; a place where the heat will kill you, given the chance, and where "Humidity" is just a word in your dictionary... Inside my house? All of us (including a bunch of hollow- and semi-hollow body basses and guitars) were just fine, thanks. Where I am now? Yeah, there's lots of humidity - outside. Inside? We're all just fine, thanks. Most of my instruments live in their cases in the basement; where the temperature is always pretty stable, and the HVAC's de-humidifier (and an extra, back up one) keep the humidity down to a comfortable level.
    So... bottom line? You can worry if you want to, but personally? I wouldn't...:cool:
    MobileHolmes and gln1955 like this.
  2. ZombiiBass

    ZombiiBass Check out my band Zombii!!!!!!!! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    Right Coast Punk CT
    Endorsing Artist for Dirtbag Clothing, Black Diamond Strings, Clayton Custom Picks, and WB Gear.
    Certainly not the best conditions to keep your instruments in, but also not the worst. I live in the Northeast so our winters are dry and summers are hot and humid. In my music room, I have an AC unit running all year to hold the temp at 68-70f. I set it up to run on economy mode. That helps with the temperature. For the humidity, I have a dehumidifier and a humidifier. Yes it is okay to run both. In fact, when you run both and adjust your settings properly your room will stay at the desired humidity and both units will not have to run as much. Well worth the investment. Especially if you have expensive instruments.
  3. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    This is it, right there... ;)
  4. Bluesrock

    Bluesrock Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2021
    Storing an instrument in a room with moderate and stable temperatures is ideal but isn’t always practical. The worst-case scenario is when there are ongoing or sudden spikes (up and/or down) in temperature and humidity. Of course, as musicians we often move gear from one location to another so it’s impossible and unrealistic to expect perfect conditions most of the time.

    I’m glad other posts have mentioned humidity issues, which are often overlooked. As I mentioned in another thread, I’m a museum professional and so my observations are based on experience. When I first got into the field, I worked at an art center with an untrained staff. The center featured an exhibition of handmade acoustic guitars by a single luthier. Unfortunately, several were damaged due to low humidity. Fortunately, they were covered by the center’s insurance plan.
    thunesBARROW likes this.
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Solid bodies are tough.
  6. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Humidity is really the main item to keep consistent. Though huge fluctuations in temperature can cause some real problems with finishes cracking.
  7. fishdude101101


    Oct 15, 2020
    Why not run AC but not as hard while your at work?
    Plain Old Barry likes this.
  8. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Speedy changes are the significant factor. Keeping our basses in cases slows the speed of the change.

    In life nothing is certain. The examples of our instruments or taking a hot SVT out into 0° may show no ill effects. Doesn’t make it ideal.

    In life there are those who will say don’t worry. They may be correct. If they aren’t do they arrive ready to take full repair or replacement responsibility?

    We listen to each other here. I hope we are being judicious listeners. I trust experience. My tech has it. My solid body bass had climate induced neck adjustments this late winter early spring. We had wild fluctuations of temp and humidity. My tech recommended that I wax my fretbd at next string change. This to prevent this effect. My finished neck and fretbd ‘51 had no effect.

    So when we say do or don’t worry do we know the particulars of the bass? Wear, age etc. IMHO. YMMV.
    Robert B likes this.
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Ask me in another 40 years. The first 40 didn’t make a difference.
    Plain Old Barry and AGCurry like this.
  10. Bassdoggydogg


    Jan 29, 2021
    I had this fear for a long time, then I got over it. One time when my ex was wildly throwing open windows I yelled "BABE THE BASSES LIKE IT STUFFY IN HERE" I was only half-way joking at that point, but now I don't even trip. I'll leave my bedroom window open all night with 2 basses out on stands. Then again I live in a pretty modest area when it comes to climate.
  11. I live in Melbourne, Australia. It's brutally cold in winter (yet not enough to snow), and blistering hot in summer. A dirty, industrial feeling smoggy humid atmosphere in the city on a peak summer day. But during Autumn (fall), and Spring? We get four seasons in an hour, ISTG. :laugh:

    I often check the necks on my basses with the fluctuations in temperature in mind. There's rarely any shift. My Jazz was upside down inside out when I took it from Melbourne to Brisbane, a far more tropical climate, however. I think it's only rapid shifts that will cause you grief. And not much grief. A hex key set will put it right.
  12. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    The bass with solid roasted neck do help.
  13. rpt50


    Jan 10, 2021
    For decades I lived in places with climates that could be really bad for instruments (e.g., Savannah GA humidity and upstate NY winter indoor dryness) but I was in ignorant bliss regarding the purported effects of temperature and humidity on instruments. Of course I never did anything ridiculous like leaving instruments in the trunk of a car on a hot sunny day, but beyond that, I just was totally unaware of concerns, and left instrument out on stands wherever I lived. And yes, the HVAC is turned off when I'm not home.

    Then, well into my 5th decade of life I joined the acoustic guitar forum, and those guys made me wonder why my instruments didn't shatter, melt, disintegrate, or explode due to their exposure to "extreme" conditions. I started monitoring humidity and using humidifiers in the winter and you guessed, I started to have some problems with some acoustic instruments (bowed tops and muddy sounds). Needless to say, I went back to doing nothing, and everything is fine now.

    Anyway, I don't thing you have to worry, especially if you are talking about solid body electrics. So much of the surface is sealed that there is no way for normal humidity fluctuations to have an effect. Acoustic instruments are a different story as the interior is unfinished, but a lot also depends on construction. Regarding temperature, it would take greater and more rapid fluctuations than would normally happen indoors to have any ill effects. It would not be good to leave a bass in a hot car all day and then immediately take it into a cool air-conditioned room, but gradual changes are not going to be a problem.
    MobileHolmes likes this.
  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I read in the meteorological forum that Jamerson used to play his bass vertically so the humidity would coat the whole neck.
  15. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    It's probably not enough of a swing to really matter with a solid body. I live in the midwest, and particularly for winter gigs, instruments sometimes see 70 degree temp swings from being outside to inside with no issues. Really, the only likely issue would be something impacting the finish if it's nitro (weather checking or hazing). I also do my thermostat on a timer so I'm not heating/cooling when I'm not around, really only maybe a 10 degree swing between the two (but YMMV).

    If you are really concerned about this, probably the best thing you could do is keep your instruments in their cases or gig bags during the day. In my above example, even if ambient temp varies by 70 in the winter, I don't think the bass is seeing much more than maybe a 20 degree swing, as the case/bag takes a while to heat up, cool down. Over the 8 hours at work, bass may heat all the way up in the case, but it would be more gradual
  16. Old Fart

    Old Fart Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2011
    A/C will remove all the humidity. In fact, this is arguably the way A/C makes spaces more comfortable. Not by lower temperature as much as removing humidity. Humans have a very narrow comfortable temperature range in humid conditions, and a wide comfortable temperature rate in arid conditions. 80 degrees is uncomfortable in the PNW. 110 degrees is comfortable in Phoenix.

    And....humidity is arguably a bigger problem for guitars than temperature.