Dingwall Z3 5 String Bass Feedback Requested

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Neuroman, Nov 12, 2013.


  1. Neuroman

    Neuroman BHPD - Previously Stage 2 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Sunol, CA
    I am considering a Dingwall Z3 and am looking for feedback from TBers familiar with this bass. I have not played a Dingwall before and am intrigued by the fanned fret layout. I am curious as to how different it feels as well as any other characteristics of this bass that make it unique or special in your view.

    Thanks in advance for taking the time.

    Here is a pic of the bass which has caught my eye (on "The Bass Place" for about $5k)

    Attached Files:

  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    You probably won't even notice the transition to fanned frets, the adjustment time is minimal. However, if you do lots of harmonics and double stops you will find a bit of an adjustment period.

    The Dingwall tone is fairly unique, fairly mid-dy, but they have a selector switch to change the mid freq. They are not one trick ponies. I believe that one has the active pickups with the glockenlang pre-amp. Dingwall fit and finish is on par with any other world class brand, if you do not like it, it certainly will not be from that.

    Hope that helps.
  3. metalstorm

    metalstorm Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    I had one and i loved the playabilty and feel. However the tone was not my favorite and tendonitis madr it difficult to play for me
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    I don't have a Z3, but do have a halfway decent Voodoo Z1 that is pretty nice and an Afterburner 1 that is pretty not bad too.

    I find the neck on the Z to be very comfortable. Its fairly slim profiled, and is both compound profile and asymmetric. That is combined with the neck being compound radius. By comparison, the AB neck is a bit thicker in the profile, closer to what you might expect if you've been a fender player, or other traditional basses (at least down at the nut, and it flattens out further up the neck).

    I found no trouble when I moved from a boring fret neck to a fanned fret neck. I don't play a whole ton above 12th, and the 'money' part of the neck (1-12th) is easy to maneuver and the fan is nearly unnoticeable from playing position. The frets I got used to in less than half an hour...I was more concerned with my move from 4 strings to 5, which took a bit longer.

    Tone wise, they're a bit of a chameleon. Lots of switching options and tonal variety in that preamp. With the caveat that it's got more transparency, and the low end has more definition and presence than other basses. The build quality is on the top end of the top end. The bass body is thinner than many and comfortable, and neither of mine are heavy. The action is low, and string tension, volume and feel are more even across the neck than other instruments, tone and timbre is more even than other basses across the neck as well. If you have specifics you'd like to discuss, let us know.
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  6. Neuroman

    Neuroman BHPD - Previously Stage 2 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Sunol, CA
    This feedback is very helpful. I think I need to try a Dingwall.

    What do you think about the price for the one I am looking at?
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    I don't. I bought my Z in 2005 dollars, and like many of them, the spec has changed for some of the electronics as well as mine most likely being optioned at least slightly differently.

    If that one is for sale, ask the vendor, or, if you want to order from Dingwall, talk to Barry Lamb, Sheldon's sales director. If you need help getting in direct contact, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

    Here's my Z-1:

    [​IMG]
  8. Neuroman

    Neuroman BHPD - Previously Stage 2 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Sunol, CA
    Now THAT is a cool bass! Thanks for the tip. I will go cruise around the Dingwall site and perhaps give Barry a call. Thanks so much for the intelligent and helpful tip.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Location:
    Seweracuse, NY
    You should see if there's anyone in your part of CA that has at least one of Sheldon's basses for you to get your hands on. If you're really interested in a Z, I'd look for someone with a Z series or a Prima series to try. They will have similar if not nearly identical neck shapes and while the body shape is different, they will still feel the same and have the same thickness.

    If you feel like the cost of the Z series is too much, you should consider the Afterburner 1 or 2, with the AB2 being closer to the look of the one you posted.

    The hierarchy of Dingwall bass lines (not including the 'super' basses):

    Combustion (Chinese made, Canadian QC/Setup)
    Afterburner Z (ABZ)
    Afterburner 1
    Afterburner 2 (usually chambered these days)
    Zebra (Z basses)1 & 2
    Zebra 3 (3 pickup)
    Prima
    Prima Artist

    ^^Within those levels there are options and variants too, so theoretically you could spec a AB 1 that cost as much or more than an AB 2, etc.

    Sheldon has a good comparison chart up on his site that should help explain some of the differences.
  10. Soulvaccination

    Soulvaccination

    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    I agree with burningSkies above. My Z3 is more than adequate in everyday situations, but like everything in life there some inherent compromises that must be made.

    Pros:

    -Great tones, lots of very useful sounds available. Best tones in active or passive mode that I've ever had on any bass, and not just the low b.
    -Excellent playability
    -Very well built

    Cons:
    -Heavier than average due to all the electronics and wood choices (mines a shade over 9lbs which is a couple pounds over an ABZ)
    -cost
    -takes a while to re-adjust to playing above the 12-14th frets
    -sometimes too "hi-fi" for some rock tones
    - can take a while to find your ideal tone(s) as there are so many to pick from
    -slightly tighter to slap/pop depending on your technique

    I'm a car enthusiast. I would compare it to a Ferrari or a Bugatti. Not everything on this bass is ideal for a daily grocery getter but it has a lot more to give than a run of the mill Toyota Camry. It's certainly not needed by many players, but once you have one it's hard to go back to your old bass, and I find myself playing it more and more even in a "root/5th country type song" when another bass would have been fine.

    Like others have said do yourself a favor and play some other dingwalls if you can. Many of Sheldon's endorsing artists stick with the AB and super J/P lines because they're all good in their own way depending on what you need. Don't feel like you need to buy the top of the line dingwall to get a better bass. They're all good in different ways, so you really have to know what you want. They don't really make a "bad" bass to pick from.

    I'd rock any model they make, but I had the money and didn't know exactly what I wanted so I bought the one that could do it all. A year and a half later I'm still not 100% sure what one I'd buy if the Z3 wasn't an option.

    The price listed is fair. They've been listed used recently from 4300 to 6000 depending on specs and condition.

    There are lots of nice high end basses. For my personal taste the tone, build quality and playability of the Z3 trumped other higher end basses. But for several grand it better be exactly what you want so do your homework:) good luck!
  11. Neuroman

    Neuroman BHPD - Previously Stage 2 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Sunol, CA
    Great feedback.

    I contacted Barry, received a price list which includes both retail and "street" values with options. He turned me on to the local (relatively) Dingwall dealer so I can play one.

    Can't wait.
  12. TechnoDisciple

    TechnoDisciple

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    My Z3 is the most comfortable bass I own. As others have said, there are many tones to choose from and the variables are almost endless. It can be a little tight if you like to slap and pop, but with a little practice you will get used to staying in the open zone between the neck and the neck pickup. The build quality is top notch. Comparing it to some of my other basses with a spectrum analyzer I found that my freq curve had a slight dip at 100htz and 200khtz. I am running my bass through a Thunderfunk that is basically flat with a slight boost at 100 and 200 htz. This rounded out the bottom and gave me that tone that I love. The notes are clear on all strings anywhere on the neck. I love this bass. If I were you I would look into the new switching/control options that will be coming out on the new Z3's. Here is a link:

  13. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Disclosures:
    Owner of Bass Gear Direct
    Hi Techno, what finish is that on your Z3 and what fretboard ?
    also do you have the wenge neck or the std maple?

    Beautiful looking bass !!
  14. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Supporting Member

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
  15. TechnoDisciple

    TechnoDisciple

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    It has a spalted maple top w/ a grey burst finish and a ziracote sapwood fretboard on a 5 piece maple neck.
  16. TechnoDisciple

    TechnoDisciple

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    Here are some before/ after shots:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  17. TechnoDisciple

    TechnoDisciple

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, Il

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