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Protecting gear from the cold


clatteramy

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Howdy from tour! We're in Ogden, UT right now on route to our show in Boise, ID tonight. Now that the temps are dropping (and we're in the mountains!) I was wondering if any of you have tips for keeping musical equipment from getting too cold in the van overnight or problems to watch out for that are cold-weather related. I take my basses in to the hotel with me, and we cover everything with a moving blanket. An ideas? Thanks in advance!

 

Amy

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My .02 is that you're doing the right thing. You can't really keep everything from getting really cold, but you can use blankets and cases to act as insulation, so the temperature changes are slowed. Be sure to give the gear some time to aclimate to room temperature also, so they're not shocked with warmth and humidity.
- Matt W.
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Tis a big problem, that.

 

Cold shouldn't bother the electronic gear, as long as you get a couple of hours to warm it up before you plug it in...don't want nasty humidity condensing on it while under power.

 

Cold is pretty tough on guitar finishes...especially nitro or other synthetic finishes. In one night, they can crack. Keeping those basses in the hotel room is the right thing. I don't know what to say about the drum heads, under tension that is a bit of a problem...but I could offer no help there.

 

Hopefully, the trailer itself is kinda sealed. (no open vents, nice weatherstripping on the doors.) Be nice to conserve whatever heat is already in there.

 

Wouldn't it be grand to have a tiny heater in there, and run a plug into the motel room? I'll bet you could accomplish a lot by just filling a few hot water bottles and putting them under the blankets.

 

I would think that some of the emergency blankets that have reflective coatings (pretty cheap disposable ones) would really be beneficial here.

 

OR...come to Texas with the road show. Only gets cold in February here!

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Hey Amy!

 

I'd agree with the above that probably the biggest thing to watch (since you already take the basses inside..) is making sure that the electronics have adequate time to warm up and dry out before plugging anything in. You definitely don't want condensation on the amp circuits when you fire it up!!

 

Hope the tour's going well!

-Mike

...simply stating.
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well I don't think that it really matters if the amps get cold. The drums either. My band keeps our amps and stuff in my drummer's pretty much un-insulated garage year round. And it gets pretty cold here sometimes. Sometimes lower than 15F.

 

Good thinking leaving the basses inside though. I hope any other string instrument player in your band is doing the same.

 

What might work is put some foam insulation on the doors and sides of the van in the back were the gear is, stuff something in the cracks of the doors (where they meet the van body) and blast the heat for a while, then close all the doors and windows and vents and leave it. That should lessen the cold a little. But its not really getting THAT cold yet.

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I've left basses in the bus bins when it was -10 outside, in my car when it was below freezing, and in trailers for days at a time. I'm not sure that it's as big a deal as you make it out to be. There can be issues with the finish, though.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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Haha, consider yourself lucky that you passed through UT during this unseasonably warm spell. Last January near Ogden (Logan, more specifically) the overnight low was about -50F with a wind chill down around -70F. :)

 

Keep your basses inside whenever possible, and give your tube gear as much time as you can to warm up to room temperature before you turn it on. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your tour!

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I used to find gas/service stations (the old-skool ones that fixed cars rather than sell ding-dongs) and they would let me leave the trailer or van in their garage.

 

Even a mini-storage place will usually give you an overnight rate on an unused stall. They may be unheated though. Get a small space-heater.

 

Find an apartment/condo complex with underground parking and see if someone will let you use their space for a small fee.

 

Hotels also have underground parking.

 

Always, take the guitars inside.

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I've never had a problem with my gear in the cold. I used to leave my amp and EB3 in the car for 5 weeks in Feb-Mar. An hour inside, and we were ready to go.

 

I think your precautions make sense. I would bring the guitars inside for security as much as warmth.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Hey Amy!, Come to Tucson it hardly ever gets below 40 degrees! It was 90+ today an will be in the high 60's tonight! Come on down! :D

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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With regard to the guys that think cold isn't really an issue.. I kinda agree with you.

 

In my experience, it's not the cold that's so damaging to an instrument. It's the sudden CHANGE in temperature, whether it be from hot to cold or cold to hot. As a rule, molecules contract when cooled and expand when heated. Sudden extremes in say..... finished pieces of wood don't react well to this.

 

In fact, in most cases it's a matter of bringing a cold instrument into a warm environment too quickly. The wooden body expands faster than its finish material, causing cracks or "checking" in the finish. Most instances of this can be avoided simply by leaving the instrument in it's CLOSED harshell case for an hour or two to let it slowly adjust to room temperature.

 

Condensation and rust is another issue.. :D

-Mike

...simply stating.
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You know, we were just planning out our January / February tour and Tucson was on the list!

:eek: YYYEEEEEEEHHHHAAAAAA !!! :cool::thu::D

 

Let us know when and where! I'll be there and make BIG noise for youse guys!!! :D

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Somewhat off topic here.

 

Amy, I just took a look at your web site. You really use all those amps at once? Must be quite loud in there! Not to mention interesting. :)

 

Since I'm always curious to see what people use for their sound, I see that you've got a Mesa somewhere in there. What's all the other stuff on your path?

 

TIA,

Alex

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Guys, I had the opportunity to play in the same festival with Clatter this summer & watch them play... & lemme tell ya, it's quite a treat!!!

 

With 3 rigs on stage, an array of pedals, and her 4003 in hand, Amy really does some amazing things! I believe she has sound bites on the website (clatter.com). I definitely recommend it.

 

I'm trying to focus on the bass oriented stuff here, but Joe (the only other member of Clatter) is one of THE best drummers I've had the pleasure of seeing/hearing.

Both are top-notch people to boot.

-Mike

...simply stating.
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Well, what a wonderful thing to read after a long day of travelling!! Thanks, Mike! :) And how are things coming along with St. John's Wort? (An awesome blues-rockin' band with some great bass playing by Mr M P!)

 

Alex, to help answer your question you should check out my Bass Rig Demystified thread on the Clatter forum. I'm also hoping to put up some video from our tour one of these days to help illustrate my setup. Let me know if you have any questions! :)

 

(P.S. Hi from Pocatello, ID! Not so cold here tonight!)

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Some good advice already on this thread. Just to add my take:

 

Keep your instruments out of the cold. Put them in the back seat or whatever. Your amps, cabs, what have you, will be easy to acclimate to their new temperatures before turning them on and playing. You instrument will be a different story. Wood does weird things when it goes from 20 degrees to 80 degrees. The more you can limit the temperature changes of your instruments, the better.

 

edit: and please let me know when you're going to be in the Seattle area! I'd love to come out and hear you play!

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Originally posted by clatteramy:

 

Alex, to help answer your question you should check out my Bass Rig Demystified thread on the Clatter forum. I'm also hoping to put up some video from our tour one of these days to help illustrate my setup. Let me know if you have any questions! :)

Nice setup there. Well, I don't think I'd get that crazy myself just yet, though I do like distortion and reverb on my bass.

 

I usually use an old BOSS Hyper Metal HM-3 pedal, or some setting from my DigiTech BP200. I sometimes use a Crybaby wah before the distorto for extra noise. Mostly when I'm in the mood for Voivod or Napalm Death. Distortion sounds awesome with my five string. If I had a more powerful amp, I'd literally send people to the restrooms hehe. :D

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Being from North Dakota, I feel I can add a comment here. A temperature of -20 degrees and almost no humidity for a week at a time is not uncommon here. We also have stretches of temperatures of 90+ and 90% humidity. I leave my rack & cab in the garage all the time. I just let them sit in the venue for an hour or so before I power anything up. We usually have an hour or so of work setting up the PA and stuff anyway. Speaking of that - the "band" gear sits in an old Chevy van all year round. The Crown's and QSC's fire up all the time and pump 1000's of watts to the EV's with no problem.

 

I do, however, take my basses in with me. Maybe you don't have to, but I just feel better and it isn't like I'm humping a 90lb cab up to my 3rd floor apartment.

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