Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    1

    Default Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    I have an outdoor gig to play on 12/23, and I'm expecting the temp to be 40 - 45 degrees. I have a 1951 Gibson A4, which is not "all that" in most worlds, but I love it and it's made it through 67 years without significant cracking and I don't want to be the one that drops the ball. I'm grateful to have been entrusted with it! So, I'm wondering if it's okay to take it to the gig or should I get something else? I have a 1975 Penco that I could take, or I could borrow one from a music store. This is my first post. I searched on "playing in cold" to see where it had been talked, and hilariously got "women playing mandolin" as one of the threads. Made me think I'll fit in just fine here! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,458

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    While I don't like it because it's hard on my hands, low circulation, I have played in colder. The length of time you play shouldn't hurt anything and since you will put it back in the case when you are done, the only thing I would advise is to not open the case when you get home, but let it warm up slowly.

    As with Ranald I have played when it was snowing. It's the sudden fast severe change that is the worst. I have played many times in the 30's with by best mandolin, it's the one I like to gig with, without problem. I finally started using a different mandolin for some summer gigs as it is on the river and extremely humid and the varnish shows a lot of wear and gets sticky. I also have fingerless gloves, two pair, one I like better than the other.
    Last edited by pops1; Dec-07-2018 at 2:45pm.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  3. #3
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Man, oh man; other people's problems. My stepdaughter decided not to busk today because at -12 (10F) with a windchill of -20 (-4F), it's too cold to sing. She'd given up on taking her guitar out some time ago. And it's still early winter, not very cold yet.

    Actually, I do empathize, Chuckie. You're trying to protect your instrument, and have to deal with your local climate. But someone from up north had to say something to the effect of what I did, so the rest can now see that it's been said, and stick to the topic.
    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

  4. #4
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    By the way, I used to play fiddle with Morris dancers in Toronto, and sometimes played outdoors at temperatures slightly below zero (32F), with snow on the ground, and never had a problem with my instrument, except perhaps keeping it in tune. There are hunters' or shooters' gloves available, with finger holes and a flip-top mitten. They are good for keeping fingers warm. You flip back the mitten when you want to play, a piece of velcro holds it out of your way, and your fingers are exposed. However, for using a pick, you'd need to cut off the tip of the thumb. I also wore a cape, with arm holes, on cold or wet days, and could keep the fiddle under it when I wan't playing it.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	imgres-2.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	7.0 KB 
ID:	173232
    Last edited by Ranald; Dec-07-2018 at 4:52pm. Reason: typo
    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    I am with Pops, your only concern is a quick temp change. Other than that, 40-45f is not a big deal.

    Try to get it near that temperture before the gig so you don't whip open a 70f mandolin and have an instant 30 degree change. Same goes for afterwards, warm it slowly.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com
    1-800-493-4922

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  6. #6
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    923

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    My biggest issue with the cold is what it does to my hands and my ability to play. I'm from southern California where we play music outside at festivals when it's 113F. My fingers don't do well when it's much below 60F.

    That said, for an older instrument or one that has special value to me, I'd leave it at home. I'd get a cheap backup mandolin for playing in severe cold temps. Something glued together with epoxy or gorilla, and something finished with plastic. That means pretty inexpensive. Even if it's only for one use, these instruments will survive long after the snow melts. And with a decent setup, they can actually play pretty well.
    Last edited by dhergert; Dec-07-2018 at 4:10pm.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002
    Gibson F-9
    2016 "$199.00 solid F style" MKLFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,383

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Agree, 40-50 degree weather should be no problem, just let it warm up in the case for a while when you get home. Saw Town Mountain play at a house party a few years back when it was in the teens/lower 20s F, and their mandolin player at the time was using his Kimble F5. I almost asked him if he wanted me to run get my Kentucky for him to use instead. He had fingerless gloves and warmed his hands by the lights between songs. Mandolin needed frequent tuning until it settled in, but looked just fine when they were finished, and sounded great throughout.

    As a fellow southern boy, I can sympathize with your definition of cold Supposed to be getting 5-8 inches of snow/ice here in Charlotte Sunday, which will shut us down for days. I think our entire county only has 1 snow plow, lol. Good luck at the gig!
    Chuck

  8. #8
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    454
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    Man, oh man; other people's problems. My stepdaughter decided not to busk today because at -12 (10F) with a windchill of -20 (-4F), it's too cold to sing. She'd given up on taking her guitar out some time ago. And it's still early winter, not very cold yet.

    Actually, I do empathize, Chuckie. You're trying to protect your instrument, and have to deal with your local climate. But someone from up north had to say something to the effect of what I did, so the rest can now see that it's been said, and stick to the topic.
    It is obvious to me why we have so many French Canadian friends that snow bird in Florida. Last year they returned home for two weeks at Christmas with no instruments in tow as they knew it would be brutal when they arrived in Ottawa. -38 C which is the same as -38F. Not for me! I don't think my fingers would move.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Collings MT
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Kentucky KM-950
    Harley Benton A style (Current campfire tool)

  9. The following members say thank you to Pittsburgh Bill for this post:

    Ranald 

  10. #9

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    I'd take a substitute and leave "the good one" at home on a cold day...

  11. #10
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    It is obvious to me why we have so many French Canadian friends that snow bird in Florida. Last year they returned home for two weeks at Christmas with no instruments in tow as they knew it would be brutal when they arrived in Ottawa. -38 C which is the same as -38F. Not for me! I don't think my fingers would move.
    Believe me, there are days when unlocking the door with numb fingers involves great willpower. Fortunately, our doorway is sheltered. My brother was a school principal in an Inuit (Eskimo) community on James Bay, where much of winter is in the -40's and 50's (doesn't matter much which scale we're using at those temperatures). Once, he went out "on the land" with local men on snowmobiles. One broke down, and the other men threw their mittens on the snow and fixed it. My brother took off his mitts to take a photo, and said that within a few seconds his fingers were so numb that he could hardly snap a photo. Accordions are popular up there -- but indoors. We have hot, humid summers in Ottawa, going over 100F sometimes, but I admit that I have never experienced a Deep South summer and would find it very difficult to deal with, especially in a very humid region.
    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

  12. #11
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    6,602

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    It is obvious to me why we have so many French Canadian friends that snow bird in Florida. Last year they returned home for two weeks at Christmas with no instruments in tow as they knew it would be brutal when they arrived in Ottawa. -38 C which is the same as -38F. Not for me! I don't think my fingers would move.
    Those numbers do not fall in line, -38C = -36.4F small difference when fingers are older than (25?) but, it is different.
    Transitional temperature changes are where instruments can go sideways, in either direction. Allow instruments to acclimatize and you shouldn’t have any trouble. When you get home, put the case where it normally lives and let it be overnight. You shouldn’t have any problems. Think about it this way, would you go outside “au naturale” without preparing for it?
    Merry Christmas!

    Just to be clear, 1.6 degrees is splitting hairs and when it’s below 0 in any scale but, “Taint the same!” As my father would have decried!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  13. #12
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    564

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Your "good one" should be good in 40's to low 50's. Just keep it in the case when going back inside. I've played many times outside in those conditions. And with my good instruments. Both mandolin and guitar. In Minnesota even early June can get that cold at night.

    In January, played a couple tunes outside in Hancock, MI during a Finnish festival. After about 10 minutes my fingers were getting numb. And it took a bit before the mandolin would stay in tune. Then again, it was probably teens to about 20F at the time.
    1910 Gibson A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 2018 Big Muddy MW-0, 2015 Ashbury Style E OM, 1983 Flatiron 1N
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/

  14. #13

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    https://winterwondergrass.com

    Some of you may have heard of it. We have a pretty cool Festival here (they also do it in Colorado and Vermont):


    You might recognize a few of the names on the roster. In this case, alcohol seems to help with the cold. You sure wouldn't drag me out there sober! haha

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	WGCO2018_0222_165429-8497_JRL-1.jpg 
Views:	22 
Size:	283.8 KB 
ID:	173251
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com
    1-800-493-4922

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Folkmusician.com For This Useful Post:


  16. #14
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    My brother took off his mitts to take a photo, and said that within a few seconds his fingers were so numb that he could hardly snap a photo. Accordions are popular up there -- but indoors.
    Correction: Pardon my geography. That should have been Ungava Bay, to the northeast of James Bay. The people of James Bay are mostly Cree, and fiddle is the popular instrument in that region -- though I know this isn't helping with Chuckieboy's query.
    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

  17. #15

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Those numbers do not fall in line, -38C = -36.4F small difference when fingers are older than (25?) but, it is different
    Just to be clear, 1.6 degrees is splitting hairs and when it’s below 0 in any scale but, “Taint the same!” As my father would have decried!
    I’m not sure why my hometown (O-town)’s climate becomes the centre of this thread but -40 is where C and F are the same. We haven’t seen actual -36F in years and years—that would include the “windchill factor” which is a myth used to scare children and Americans but -20F is routine, if not exactly sought after.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t generally bring my good instrument to a wintry outdoor gig any more than I would bring it to a bike gang initiation ritual.

    But really I just will seize any excuse to show you how we reel and roll in Canada...or at least how Rawlins Cross does it, in Halifax. (although there’s no mandolin in this tr@ck, if they NEEDED it there, Dave Panting would be ripping on it)...so just give ‘er, Chuckieboy!
    https://youtu.be/9HQkM0RCfu0

  18. The following members say thank you to Bill Cameron for this post:

    Ranald 

  19. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    2,256

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Those numbers do not fall in line, -38C = -36.4F small difference when fingers are older than (25?) but, it is different.Transitional temperature changes are where instruments can go sideways, in either direction. Allow instruments to acclimatize and you shouldn’t have any trouble. When you get home, put the case where it normally lives and let it be overnight. You shouldn’t have any problems. Think about it this way, would you go outside “au naturale” without preparing for it?
    Merry Christmas! Just to be clear, 1.6 degrees is splitting hairs and when it’s below 0 in any scale but, “Taint the same!” As my father would have decried!
    May not be the same but 36.4 or 38 C or F is too d### cold to be outside picking!

  20. #17
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    249

    Default Re: Question about Playing in Cold Weather

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Cameron View Post

    But really I just will seize any excuse to show you how we reel and roll in Canada...or at least how Rawlins Cross does it, in Halifax. (although there’s no mandolin in this tr@ck, if they NEEDED it there, Dave Panting would be ripping on it)...so just give ‘er, Chuckieboy!
    https://youtu.be/9HQkM0RCfu0
    My coldest concerts were at Winterlude, our February festival on the Rideau Canal. Buffy Sainte-Marie and Randy Bachman (Guess Who, BTO) performed at temperatures well below freezing. The performers were more sheltered than at the Rawlins Cross concert in Halifax (above), and had heaters and arc lamps on stage to warm them, but they were cold. Buffy dances about like Tina Turner, which must have warmed her a fair bit, but Randy moves more slowly. However, it was the audience who really suffered, especially at the Bachman concert. Standing in one place, even in your warmest clothes is brutal. I had to amputate my wife's feet when we got home. For some reason, the National Capital Commission dropped those outdoor concerts from Winterlude, and I haven't heard any complaints. I don't think there were any acoustic instruments by the way, though perhaps at Buffy's show.

    If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Gloved Guitarist."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcTqWoNvtwE

    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •