Fender Jazz vs Sandberg vs Dingwall?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    There is a lot of similarities between a Fender Jazz and a Sandberg JJ (or TT) model, even though all Sandbergs I have played were all "better" than any new Fender I have tried.
    Would you say the basic Dingwalls (excluding Combustion) represent another step up (from Sandberg) in resonance, response, articulation and sustain?
    No Dingwalls to try here, I am afraid, but I see how Sandberg has let the Jazz evolve.
  2. eloann


    May 14, 2012
    I'd say Sandberg and Dingwall took a pretty different approach. Sandberg built on Fender's to improve many little things. Dingwall deconstructed the designs and re-engineered them from the ground up. I'm guessing the limitations these builders are striving to remove is exactly what makes most Fender players like them.
    I took a cheap beat up precision with a $10 pickup and flatwounds to a jam session as an experiment recently. It definately cornered me into grooving (in a rather pleasing way) since I couldn't do anything fancy with it.

    However I'm currently talking to the folks at Dingwall about a 3rd one, and I've put all my other basses up for sale, which I think speaks for itself.
  3. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Just for clarification:
    Here in Sweden, Sandberg TM cost as much as a Fender AM Deluxe.
    Having tried a few, the Sandbergs have better wood selection, better fretwork, more robust and precise tuners and bridges, better shielding, pickups, a zero fret etc.
    All resulting in a more even, balanced tone along and across the neck. Very little dead spots. Rich, complex tone from low to high = throaty, interesting tone also with the tone rolled off.

    No new Fender that I have tried (including AVRI but not CS) have been close.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  4. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    While i am not a big jazz bass fan (more of a P guy) , I am a huge Dingwall fan. One of the many great things I can say about Dingwalls is I have never played one with a deadspot EVER! I have owned 4, still own 2 and have one on order.

    Another thing I can say is that Sheldon's fit and finish is uniformly top notch. I've played other brands of equal fit and finish (my Sadowsky P is superbly finished), but I have played none that were better.

    Oh, and Sheldon's neck profiles are the most comfortable I've ever played. They are incredibly well engineered and executed.

    I think eloann's summation is spot on. Sheldon has never been constrained by the past. He re-imagines everything he does to be sure he hasn't missed an improvement that can be made. And then he constantly strives to improve what we all thought couldn't be improved, and does so constantly.

    But, I may be a bit biased!
    AlexanderB likes this.
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  6. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Dingwall nailed it with the separate string/separate length approach. You won't look under the hood of a grand piano and see all the bass strings the same length and have a bunch of movable saddles to correct intonation. The all strings one length is basically a compromise. ..not an optimal approach.
  7. bassofthe


    Jun 5, 2011
    I typed out a reply, but I realized it was ending up essentially as "I'm biased, but get a Dingwall".
  8. MDBass

    MDBass Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Spector-Dingwall-Aguilar-DR-Tech 21-Darkglass
    This is an excellent summation. Sandberg makes some incredible instruments, but Sheldon & Co. are honestly visionaries...the year long build times for any of their new handmade Canadian basses speaks volumes...
  9. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    My ABI is as fine a piece of craftsmanship as I can see being possible, and it is a "lower line" Dingwall. Tone and playability are top notch.

    However, wood is wood. My ABI has the normal dead spot on the G string. It is not by any means significant, and you have to be looking for it to notice it, but it is there.
  10. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    I disagree on the 'Sandbergs are better than the standard Fenders'. i have played a few Sandbergs and have finally bought a Am. Std. US Fender Jazz. It simply has a more vintage vibe to it than the Sandbergs (probably in part due to the PUs).

    I would say play as many as you can, there is variation in the Fenders and Sandbergs (e.g. weight varies quite a bit for the Sandbergs).

    Dingwall I have never played, no experience here.
  11. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    In terms of the 4 factors you named (articulation, sustain, resonance and response), the Dingwalls are certainly, IMHE, vastly superior to USA Fenders, including CS Fenders. Whether you like the tone or fanned frets is a matter of taste. I have never owned or played a Sandberg.
  12. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Thanks! Interesting feedback!

    Having played many and REALLY wanting to like (and buy!) a new Fender, they have nothing non-CS that will equal ANY Sandberg I have played. (Note - no Fender bashing, please!)
    Having seen many Dingwall clips on YT, I get the impression they (just like Sandberg) do not settle for "OK". Their attention to detail along with fundamental design improvements, I just guessed they will have the potential to sound even "clearer" and more responsive than Sandberg.

    If/when I get another fiver, it almost HAS to be a Dingwall... But for a four stringer, 34" E is good enough for me, especially from a good 34" bass. I do not play five string much enough or well enough to need anything better than my 1994 EMG loaded Fender Jazz Bass Plus V for now...
  13. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    By the way, I did try a Gibson Thunderbird a while ago. My first time with the "genuine article", even if I have played bass since -96. Anyway, that bass was great, and wood quality, craftsmanship, responsiveness etc was much better than any Fender in the shop. Neck-through = no dead spot I could hear. I do not like the Pickups and I am not 100% ok with the shape but it shows you can get a far better bass for less money than an Am std Jazz...
    And here on Sweden, Fender Am std is about as expensive as a Sandberg California TM 4 high gloss.
  14. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    What many don't realize is that Sheldon 's 4 string Super P's and J's have a 34.25" E down to a 32" G.

    This offers roughly the same feel as a standard 34" feel, but shortens the upper strings actual length that give them less tension and a sweeter upper end.

    Sheldon's 4stringers are underrated because people think that the scale length advantage is largely limited to B strings. But this is simply not true.
  15. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    gee,.. the guy says no Fender bashing and almost all of his post's are a bash. i don't think anyone can say one brand is better than ANY model from another brand. it makes you sound like a beginner. maybe Fender is sending crap over there, but the one's i've played are awesome, yet i know when something is better. Fender's compete in every price range, yet i have one's that out-play other brands costing twice as much, so it works both ways! i don't want to bash Sandberg, but they make the most gawd awful looking Relic's! :D
    and then you compare a Gibson TB to the holy Fender!:eek:

    are you happy now?!!;)
  16. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Super J and Super P are way too expensive here, unfortunately. And still a "buying blind" thing. Not so tempting, even if I am sure they are good.

    Pacojas, I have two great (old) Fenders. Nothing I have tried the last three years is even close. "Green" (as in cut down yesterday) wood, non-existing shielding, super flimsy bridges, so-so fretwork, bad dead spots, neck too low in the body, defective pots out of the box, general bland and flat sound. I sooo wanted to find one good fretted and one good fretless Jazz.
  17. between fender vs dingwall vs sandberg

    i had a fender ADPV and dingwall ab1, dunno about sandberg, never tried any, but from what i read on TB, watched the sandberg review on youtube, makes me want to sell the fender and grab a sandberg..