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Old 01-26-2018, 03:55 AM   #1
AlyKat
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Default Cold Guitars

This winter has been really cold & our house a little colder than usual, especially where I keep my guitars & I have been having a lot of trouble keeping a guitar in tune. Not that big of a deal here at home but the last 2 weeks I have rehearsed with a group & hauling my guitar out in below zero weather, being in the cold car & the cold rehearsal space makes it nearly impossible to tune. I can tune in between every song if I need to but I can't even get it tuned right to begin with. At practice if we are off with our tuning it's not a crisis but what if we had a gig & couldn't tune our guitars very well? That would sound awful.

What do people do that gig in the winter & drag their guitars out in the cold. Any helpful tips on tuning & keeping a cold guitar tuned? Eventually it warms up & is fine but what if you cant wait.....the show must go on & with an un-tuned guitar

Help !
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Old 01-26-2018, 04:10 AM   #2
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Hmmmmmm...... Damfino....... I've only had one guitar that had a vibrato on it and I don't ever recall using it on a gig in cold weather. As for the others, cold weather was a minimal problem, but they did need to be tuned a couple of times during cold weather gigs. I think its just the nature of the beast.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:08 AM   #3
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I have been wanting to post the same question! I also have this problem.

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Old 01-26-2018, 07:24 AM   #4
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Would a battery powered hand warmer dropped into the case help?
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:43 AM   #5
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It's OK to get a guitar cold.
It's OK to get a guitar relatively warm (< 140deg-f).

It's especially NOT OK to go from hot to cold, or vice versa, in a very short amount of time. Nitrocellulose will check and crack, condensation in the pickups, wood drying out, etc.

Ski resorts were a place I played regularly. If you're playing live winter gigs like that, keep the guitar in a hard case, leave it in the case for ~15 mins before you open it so that it's somewhere close to the ambient temperature before opening. Never, under any circumstances, allow the inside of the case to become damp. If you live in an area where that's impossible (Hawaii), throw a couple silica-bead packets into the case to prevent mold/mildew/rust.

Heat... Don't leave your guitar in a car baking in the sun, don't set it on top of a radiator. When I want to straighten a warped neck, I bring it up to ~200f. I 'think' the flubbery-ness starts at the ~150 mark, depending on the moisture content.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Ski resorts were a place I played regularly. If you're playing live winter gigs like that, keep the guitar in a hard case, leave it in the case for ~15 mins before you open it so that it's somewhere close to the ambient temperature before opening. Never, under any circumstances, allow the inside of the case to become damp.
When I lived and played in Vail CO, this was pretty much the basic rules. I'll add, make sure your vehicle is warm before putting the guitar in passenger compartment, do not put it in the trunk! Often times I would bring the guitar into the bar the day before and leave it in the office and let it acclimate.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:58 PM   #7
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I put my guitars in the passenger seat so they get good heat on them. They seem to stabilize fairly quickly once inside. I am usually at a venue an hour before first note. The guitars come in first, before amps and such.
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Old 01-26-2018, 02:07 PM   #8
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Metal strings and metal hardware + temperature changes = metal changes in size.
Not much you can do except make sure large temp changes don't damage the guitars construction.

You could fit auto tuners I guess.
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Old 01-26-2018, 03:19 PM   #9
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This week I did set the guitar in the floor of the passenger seat so that it was directly in front of the heat vents. I did start my vehicle & let it warm up first as well.

HA!! I should invent an electric blanket for guitars $$$$$$$
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:25 PM   #10
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So it is damaging for my guitar when I bring it on the bus and go to school and then have rehearsal later when its cold? I cant see how I can do it any other way, except for getting a hard shell case, but surely the guitar will also get cold when in a hard shell case?

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