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#2898443 - 12/29/17 04:47 AM C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD!
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
'Round here anyway. Temps hovering in the low single digits with a predicted "high" today of 18 F.

This can play Hell(paradoxically) on guitars and strings, we know, so what precautions do any of our arctic or otherwise cold weather region located members take in these extreme conditions?

I just make sure my cases are in an adequately heated(but not overheated) room, but I've known some guys to overdo it. One guy some years back that I know placed his guitar's case in FRONT of the heater duct, which did cause other, more costly to repair problems.

It WAS a nice '67 Gibson J-45, and he's yet to get it fixed(neck warp and BIG crack in the body) and I still wonder what caused him to put his brain on "hold" that day.
Whitefang
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#2898476 - 12/29/17 07:21 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
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Loc: Inside the Beltway
Stupid is as stupid does . . . Sure I heard that somewhere? I wouldn't park a Squier Affinity Strat over a heating vent, but that's me.

We're hitting upper 20's & low 30's this week, with nights in the teens. Maybe some snow this weekend. That's pretty damned cold for around here: Last year, around this time, it was in the 50's, and went up to near 70 one day.

My house is brick-&-block, so its pretty damned solid. Still, I keep all my Guitars in hard-shell cases, and every one of them has an in-case humidifier, which I take out and refill every 10 days or two weeks, year-round. Had to go out to a rehearsal the other night, made sure my car was warmed up before I put my gear in it, but I left my main Amp home, because I didn't want to chance bringing hot tubes out into 15-degree air.
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#2898477 - 12/29/17 07:26 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Delta Offline
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Registered: 08/18/10
Posts: 252
Loc: Ormond Beach, FL
It's been a while since I've lived in a cold climate, but I remember it never seemed to be a problem. Keep the guitars (especially acoustics) in their cases and away from windows, walls and heat sources and have a humidity guage. 40 to 60% is ideal. I remember during long dry cold spells it would get down to 30%. There are remedies at that point should you wish to use them. I just left them alone. I never had any problems.
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#2898482 - 12/29/17 07:48 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Delta]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
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Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Mid 70*F here all week. We suffer the heat in the summer (late June is the hottest reaching 117*F to 120*F for a day or two). 50*F is the coldest it gets @ mid day around here, and that does not last long, in a day or two it goes back up to near 70.
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#2898488 - 12/29/17 08:20 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: desertbluesman]
Larryz Offline
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Posts: 10503
Loc: Northern California
When it's 30 here we are cold. So I really feel sorry for all the guys and gals on the weather maps when it gets down to single digits and minus degrees...I don't really do anything other than leaving the door open to my music room so the guitars stay at room temp. We try to keep the house at 70 winter and 75 summer.

I wonder what all of you think about leaving tension on the neck year round or should we release tension in the winter months as strings tend to tighten up during the colder months? cool
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#2898495 - 12/29/17 10:11 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Originally Posted By: Larryz
I wonder what all of you think about leaving tension on the neck year round or should we release tension in the winter months as strings tend to tighten up during the colder months? cool


I try to cycle through my Guitars enough that I always want to have them in tune, and ready to play. Living in their HSC's with the humidifiers keeps them more or less stable, when the weather changes. IME, it's not a good idea to leave your Guitar unplayed for long periods of time. If you're worried about having tension on the neck during a hot, dry season (which might mean when the heat is on in your house), use a humidifier. If nothing else, your strings will last longer, if you're not constantly re-tuning them; ask anyone who works in open tunings.

I keep the humidifiers in my Guitar cases year-round, because in the hottest part of the Summer, air-conditioning sucks the moisture out of the air, and in the Winter, indoor heat does the same thing.

FWIW, most of the solidbody Electrics shipped to our store were at or near normal tuning & tension when they arrived, regardless of the time of year; with the Acoustics, it varied somewhat. In the store, we kept everything tuned (everything on display, that is) and had humidifiers running in the Acoustic room, year-round.
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#2898553 - 12/29/17 04:52 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Winston Psmith]
Larryz Offline
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Posts: 10503
Loc: Northern California
Thanks Winston! I have very little humidity to worry about. I'll start tuning the ones that are not being used in a rotation of one a day and keep a closer eye on them. I do keep them in their cases... cool
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#2898606 - 12/30/17 04:20 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
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Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
My buddy's Gibson was in it's case, but the cheap-o stiff paperboard one with thin felt lining it came with 50 years ago.

Humidity can be a problem 'round here in the Summer months. And I suppose too, in Winter as well, but not a big one this time of year. Except keeping the humidifier on our furnaces working well. My best guide is that if my glasses don't fog up when I come in from the cold, then I know an adjustment is needed.

But I've never had one of those guitar humidifiers, so there's another thing I might seriously consider. Thanks too, Winston. smile
Whitefang
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#2898630 - 12/30/17 07:17 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
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@Whitefang - get a small plastic box that'll fit inside the pick compartment of your Guitar case; a soap dish with a lid is a good choice. Find or cut a piece of plain old kitchen sponge to fit in it, drill or punch a bunch of holes in the lid of the box, put the dampened sponge in it, there's your cheap-o humidifier. The Planet Waves ones are essentially the same thing, in a slightly fancier piece of plastic.
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#2898683 - 12/30/17 01:27 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4466
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Originally Posted By: Larryz
I wonder what all of you think about leaving tension on the neck year round or should we release tension in the winter months as strings tend to tighten up during the colder months?

Over the years, since moving into my home here 19 years ago, I have slightly adjusted my guitars to take the 12 degree temperature change from summer to winter in the house. We keep the house at 80* at the thermostat in summer, (but it is 3 degrees hotter in the room where I have my guitars in summer). We turn the heat down to 68 at night at the thermostat in winter, I turn that up to 72 when we get up from bed and up to 75 when she is out or working. It is likewise 1 to 2 degrees cooler in the room where I keep my guitars.

I play each guitar every 4th day, and the only adjustment I make is to tune the strings from summer, to fall, to winter, to spring etc. I rarely touch the truss rods. My guitars all have a lower action in winter and slightly higher in summer which is fine with me.
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#2898687 - 12/30/17 01:42 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: desertbluesman]
bbqbob Offline
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Registered: 01/10/06
Posts: 574
Loc: Maine
High temperature yesterday was 2 degrees F. Low was -21 F. Bit warmer today...up to a steamy 7 degrees! In the past I have had a solid topped dread crack in the middle of winter. Needles to say, I pay attention to humidifying my guitars now!

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#2898697 - 12/30/17 02:25 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Winston Psmith]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
@Whitefang - get a small plastic box that'll fit inside the pick compartment of your Guitar case; a soap dish with a lid is a good choice. Find or cut a piece of plain old kitchen sponge to fit in it, drill or punch a bunch of holes in the lid of the box, put the dampened sponge in it, there's your cheap-o humidifier. The Planet Waves ones are essentially the same thing, in a slightly fancier piece of plastic.


Cool idea. I think I even have a ouple of old "Chopper Hoppers" 'round the houst that'll work fine. ; Thanks.
Whitefang
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#2898709 - 12/30/17 03:46 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Loc: Northern California
Thanks DBM, good info! thu
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#2898849 - 12/31/17 03:31 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
The cold isn't really affecting my guitars as it is my HANDS.

Constant temps below 20 and 10 makes my hands too cold and stiff to play easily. By the time they warm up enough, it's time to hit the sack! frown

Damned Coumadin. mad
Whitefang
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#2898911 - 01/01/18 08:42 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
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Loc: Northern California
Well I got about 8 guitars out of their cases last night and tuned them all up to 440. 2 of them I play every other day and were already in tune. The other 6 were all flat by no more than one whole note so the colder weather and lack of playing them let them loosen up a bit. I really enjoyed playing around with them for an hour or two especially the nylon acoustics. I have 5 more to go tonight and they are all solid body electrics. It will be interesting to see if they are down a whole step too...

I'm going to get them all out like DBM does at least 4 times a year and keep the tension set for each of the 4 seasons. So far none of them need a truss rod adjustment...I'm thinking of using all of them more this year! I guess I'm making some kind of New Year's Resolution even though I never make one LOL! cool
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#2898967 - 01/01/18 03:27 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Give you westerners an idea of the cold here and no doubt in bbqbob's neck of the woods....

Today I went to my brother in law's to see if we could find out what was wrong with my windshield washer. Turned out the fluid in the washer fluid reservoir was FROZEN SOLID!!!

Took an hour in a steaming hot tub to thaw it out enough to dump down the drain. We figured maybe(and hopefully) that it being in the car so long over last winter and through the summer broke down whatever chemical in it that made it keep fluid in -20 degree weather. But there's still frozen fluid in all the lines and the only way to take care of it is to park my car somewhere heated to thaw. I've no place I know of to do that, so I'm SOL. frown
Whitefang
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#2899010 - 01/01/18 07:06 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
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Loc: Northern California
How about just buying yourself a new jug of fluid and get a hand held spray bottle that puts out a good stream and use that until the sun comes back out? cool
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#2899051 - 01/02/18 03:58 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
That'd be hard to manage when some truck on the FREEWAY sprays that watery ROAD SALT that dries instantly on your warm windshield, now wouldn't it? wink

I did have a new jug of the stuff in my unheated garage that didn't freeze, and it's hoped that by putting it in the reservoir it'll eventually dissolve the frozen stuff as I try to work it through. And besides, by "until the sun comes back out" you probably mean when warmer weather returns 'cause it CAN get PLENTY sunny out 'round here and STILL be -0+ . wink
Whitefang
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#2899080 - 01/02/18 07:27 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 10503
Loc: Northern California
You're going to need some sun one of these days for things to warm up and you may be sitting there for a long time if you can't see to go anywhere. The idea is to clear the windshield and get to that warm spot you were dreaming of...or just wait for the thaw.

If your unheated garage has electricity, perhaps you can clear the windshield with my spray bottle, pull into the garage and avoid those salt spraying trucks and plug in a hair dryer. It will thaw the lines and the remaining frozen fluid will run out, then put the new fluid in...


Edited by Larryz (01/02/18 07:33 AM)
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#2899093 - 01/02/18 08:16 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
J. Dan Offline
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Registered: 07/25/08
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-4 when I got up this morning, but it's warmed up to a balmy 3 now. My picture frame weather thingy says "not as cold" for the weather today. Showing a high of 18 - may need to break out the sunscreen.

I have a 108 year old house, so even though I've replaced the Windows, it definitely is still drafty and not very even temperatures. It has radiant heat, so it's alway warm by the radiators and cold other places. I normally keep my gear in the mud room, but it's not heated and so this time of year is almost as cold as outside. I've got all my guitars/basses in the living room on stands right now - away from any radiators, but in a 68 deg room,

Humidity is an issue around here since it's like Houston in the summer and Phoenix in the winter. One tricks to set pans of water in the radiators to add some humidity, but that's kind of a pain in the butt to keep up with.

The swings wreak havoc in my piano as well.
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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2899096 - 01/02/18 08:42 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: J. Dan]
Larryz Offline
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Loc: Northern California
I got the remaining 4 solid bodies out last night and tuned them up to 440. The Jazzmaster was dead on even though I haven't touched it in years. I thought I had 5 but then remembered I just sold my Jaguar this Xmas to my buddy that I have played with since '65. Anyway the other 3 are Strats and they were all flat within a whole step. Most of the strings within a half step. So the colder temps do loosen them up just a tad. I did find one that needs a little truss rod adjustment...

When I hear you guys back east with those cold temps, I realize how easy I've got it out here. Luckily, we have little or no humidity to worry about...that trick with the water pans on the radiators J.Dan is a good one! We used a wood stove for heat for a lot of years and they will suck the moisture out of the air. We would put a tea pot full of water on the stove and have hot water for tea, coffee and cocoa while putting moisture back in the air... cool
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#2899177 - 01/02/18 02:28 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10173
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
@Larry:
Too much crap in the garage to put the car in. And like I said, you can get plenty of bright sun in winter here, but Antarctica gets plenty sunshine too. grin Sure, keeping the car in the garage will keep trucks from spraying that salty melted snow on my window, but I don't DRIVE my garage on the freeway! grin

@J. Dan:

My ex's Mom used to do that pot of water on the stove bit for humidity in the house. Trouble with her was she'd keep forgetting to keep an eye on it and after the water boiled away, the small pot she used would shrivel like a spider in a campfire from being on the flame that long. grin I felt sorry for that thing. She probably spent more on replacement pots than she would have if she broke down and spent the money on a decent humidifier for her furnace. cool
Whitefang
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#2899208 - 01/02/18 04:23 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
J. Dan Offline
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Loc: St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: whitefang

@J. Dan:

My ex's Mom used to do that pot of water on the stove bit for humidity in the house. Trouble with her was she'd keep forgetting to keep an eye on it and after the water boiled away, the small pot she used would shrivel like a spider in a campfire from being on the flame that long. grin I felt sorry for that thing. She probably spent more on replacement pots than she would have if she broke down and spent the money on a decent humidifier for her furnace. cool
Whitefang


That's the nice thing about pans of water on the radiators - the radiators don't get that hot as it's just hot water running through them to begin with. If the water dries up, you're just left with an empty pan. Plus there are radiators throughout the house, so you can put one in every room. Still, a bit much to maintain for me.
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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2899248 - 01/02/18 07:56 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: J. Dan]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
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Loc: Northern California
@ Fang, Your not in Kansas anymore ToTo, trying to "drive your garage on the freeway"....the idea is just to get the car close enough to the garage to plug in the hair dryer. If your house is closer than the garage you can run an extension cord out there and thaw the lines to your windshield washer. If you don't shock the crap out of yourself it will be worth a try. The hair dryer won't melt the rubber like a zippo lighter would, but I could do it with a flame too if I had to...I get the Antarctica concept with the sun shining while it's freezing cold outside...you will still have to rely on the sun for heat even if you have to wait till spring...until the sun comes back out is just an expression.


Edited by Larryz (01/02/18 07:57 PM)
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#2899258 - 01/02/18 09:47 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
J. Dan Offline
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You people seem to think everybody has a garage. Where I live in the city of St. Louis, the only garages are the properties that originally had carriage houses for the horses that got converted to garages. That's not me. I do have a brick paved alley circa St. Louis Worlds Fair around early 1900's. But no garage.
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Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2899261 - 01/02/18 09:51 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: J. Dan]
Larryz Offline
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Loc: Northern California
I guess it would be pretty tuff to start a garage band in St Lois eh? LOL! rimshot
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#2899263 - 01/02/18 09:57 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: Larryz]
J. Dan Offline
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Loc: St. Louis, MO
Originally Posted By: Larryz
I guess it would be pretty tuff to start a garage band in St Lois eh? LOL! rimshot


Despite the lack of garages, I would argue that it's more difficult to NOT be a garage band. But that's just me being stuck up....not having a garage, and all.
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Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2899264 - 01/02/18 10:04 PM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: J. Dan]
J. Dan Offline
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Of course every house in the 'burbs has not only a single garage, but probably more square footage in the garage than the house. Apparently it's a thing in the 'burbs to put a humungous video screen and sound system in the garage and watch movies out there. I don't exactly get that. These suburbs are full of garage doors open with families sitting out there watching movies...in..the...garage. Really?

So St. Louis is weird - St. Louis CITY is NOT in St. Louis county. City IS a county in and of itself and is NOT in St. Louis county, which is a different county. Most of the suburbs are either St. Charles County or Jefferson County. 2.9 million metro area and St. Louis CITY has 317,000 residents. Weird, I know.

But it's cold everywhere, that's for sure...no doubt there. Except the county doesn't have homeless people dying everynight in johnny on the spots and dumpsters. Yeah, last night a guy I guess thought it would be warmer in a dumpster but didn't survive the night. -4 is cold when you live on the streets. My county friends who live in their comfortable suburban homes and like to make sure they block public transit to keep out the bad element can rest assured that the bad element is dying off from the cold and they won't have to worry about them anymore.
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Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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#2899289 - 01/03/18 04:41 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: J. Dan]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
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Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Well for one, I'm not about to stand in shin deep snow handling an electric blow dryer. Plus, standing outside in these sub-zero temps taking the blood thinner I'm on makes it hard too.

As with many things in life, I'll just have to deal. wink

J. Dan----Radiators? I haven't seen those in a house since my brother in law sold his house that had them. And that house was built in 1922! Just nobody over the years bothered to update the heating system. That boiler always gave him problems. In fact, the house I grew up in for the first 12 years still had an old COAL furnace until it was converted to oil heat when I was 6. I STILL recall my Mom letting me toss in big lumps of coal, and that coal piled up in a corner of the basement. Many homes still have the doors of their old coal chutes in them, although long ago sealed up. As for garages-----

In my neck, there were always plenty of homes with garages. But back in the late '60's there were very FEW "garage bands" as I'd say only 1 out of 20 or 30 garages had any POWER going to them. But, we had PLENTY of "basement" bands. grin

And incidentally....The city I grew up in and still live IS considered a "suburb", and was incorporated in 1921. And still has most of those houses built back then and earlier up and running. My stepbrother too, lives down your way. But he's a "well off" retired engineer who lives in (I'm guessing) upscale Chesterfield.
Whitefang
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#2899321 - 01/03/18 07:28 AM Re: C-c-c-c-c-c-COLD! [Re: whitefang]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 8045
Loc: Japan
I was and still am terrified of any expensive instrument in a country with no central heating. Maybe in a four or five star hotel it`s different. Most private spaces are freezing in winter and broiling in summer. I`m at the point where I use my living space for cooking in summer-`leave dough to rise 2 hours in a warm place`. Not a problem. In the winter, if I buy a bottle of chilled water like today, and forget to put it in the fridge-so what. There is a very kool device called a kotatsu-it`s a heating unit that fits under a table. The table has a blanket that can cover your lower body. Keeps you nice and cosy while you have hot goodies on the table.
With this going on, I have reluctantly gotten better at truss rod adjustments. That plus, frankly the lingering feeling that if I pay someone just for that, it`s kind of an idiot tax.
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