Dingwall has priced themselves out of reach for the average Bassist or are the really worth it ?!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassfears, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. Yes

  2. No

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. bassfears


    Mar 26, 2008
    Raleigh , NC
    My contention is that the Dingwall Bass appears nice, I’d like to try one but nowhere in Raleigh NC available to actually hold one. I don’t see how $2500 to 4K for a Chinese bass can be sustainable as a company. Why wouldn’t they price themselves around the Musicman range, I bet they would sell more. Can someone explain why any of these big companies can justify these high price tags. The sum of all its parts as an individual consumer is around $800 (+ or - $200) depending on models ... what am I missing ?
    Dingwall owners mount up and tell me it’s worth it !!
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Our fellow Carolina boy @Nephilymbass has one. Maybe he can help out here.

    If you ever get down to the beach, Music Loft in Wilmington has always had a couple in stock when I've breezed through.
  3. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Things cost money.

    Well made things cost more money, even if the people making it are born in the planet’s slave commune.

    The average bassist has a wage/salary that is well above the poverty line and a few thousand bucks isn’t really that much even for just an old Warwick or Fender.

    Having played a few, yes. A Dingwall is worth hitting the pavement and getting a job that pays more than just a hair into the living-wage range. There are a lot of better motivators for getting a better job than a bass, though, I hope.

    What you’re missing are Masters Degrees in Economics, Engineering, Business Mgmt, Manufacturing, and Marketing.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    The Dingwall Combustions and NG's are commensurate in cost to many of the production basses like EMMM and the flagship Fenders with quality control and build that is as good or more. The D-Rocs are around 1800$ or so.

    There is no 'Chinese' Dingwall that's 4000$. Any bass that's above the NG range are Canadian hand built and custom basses.

    As someone who owns a few Dingwalls in each range, including one that's well in excess of $4000, they all offer slightly different types of awesome, but my import NG played hundreds of gigs with me across a couple years and only got rave reviews, great tone and absolutely no dependability issues. I'm currently playing a base level Combustion while having down time that I de-fretted. I'm playing it 5-8 hours a day and am having no less enjoyment with it than I do my custom Z or my Voodoo Prima.

    Are they worth the money to you? I don't know. But given the wait list for a production import model Dingwall is a year or more they're certainly worth it to a whole lot of people.
  5. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    They have no problem selling every bass they build, so having a job or gig that pays needs to be the focus of the player.
    seedokebass, Ikkir, B-Lo and 19 others like this.
  6. bassfears


    Mar 26, 2008
    Raleigh , NC
    so it’s not that I can’t afford it, it’s should I want to afford it. It’s also the overwhelming feeling that I’m being scammed because I can’t see $2500 for a bass ... you can still get a decent car for that price range. Is the tone and playability that life changing and better than a nice $1000 bass ?
    Grufolo, leftybass54, fhm555 and 2 others like this.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    One of the benefits of how their purchase price has gone up over the years...so has their value. My first Canadian Dingwall was a lovely Afterburner 1...that I never should have sold. I did though, and sold it to a friend for 'friend price' which also happened to be exactly what I paid for it new. Had I held on to it the intervening 8 years since I did that I could now sell it for twice what I paid originally. So very few basses, much less booteeek basses hold their value much less increase. My custom Z cost me less than 5K when I bought it. I have it insured for $14K based on an insurance appraisal for replacement as of 2018.

    While we're at it, we should mention that there are definitely different levels of 'production' in import instrumentland. The quality of work done for basses like this or some of the other off-shore imports is pretty different from the base-level stuff. Dingwall ships their wood from Canada for them to be made, then they're returned where Dingwall doesn't just do QC but actually cuts the nut and does the full final instrument assembly/setup in shop.
  8. bassfears


    Mar 26, 2008
    Raleigh , NC
    Good to know ! I’ll be out that way in a couple weeks, perhaps playing one will sway me !!
    two fingers likes this.
  9. OP, regarding the custom Canadian-built basses, they are very high quality. You can match them against/aside any of the other quality builders. Dingwall is the origin of the fanned-fret system.

    That said, @Sheldon D. regularly drops by the Dingwall Club to answer all questions. That, in itself, is a quality I completely respect.

    A few of his posts have stuck with me for while when asked about pricing and those models built in China:
    "I understand the distaste. I felt the same way when Hamer, Charvel, Schecter and others started doing import guitars. It seemed like they were selling out and the brands lost their authenticity and cool. The other side of the coin in our case has several nuances that aren't obvious.
    1. We're still building as many or more Canadian basses as we always have. You're seeing more Chinese basses because there are more customers in that price range. The cool thing is that many of these new customers will eventually move up the food chain to the domestic basses.
    2. Without the Combustion, the company would have likely gone under in 2009 with the recession and being forced out of our old shop. The Combustion saved our company.
    3. The imports have allowed us to double our workforce and pay better wages and benefits to the team that builds the domestic basses. I realize this is not the case in most companies when they offshore, but for us, we created jobs and made the existing ones better.
    4. The imports have allowed us the cashflow to upgrade our machinery and tooling to build better domestic basses.
    5. The ABI is relatively similar to a Combustion in terms of materials and complexity and if spec'd as similarly as possible would cost more than double. Of course for the extra money you would be getting increased quality, fit and finish which is why the ABZ and ABI are still our best selling domestic basses. Why do the domestic basses cost so much more? Well, basses are labor intensive which makes the cost of basses tied to wages. Wages are tied to cost of living. When starter houses were $60K, we were able to build Afterburners with a street price of $1200 USD. These days starter houses are in the $300K range in our area."

    "We run the two lines in parallel with a separate team and area for the Combustion/NGs and a separate team and area for the domestics."​
  10. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    This is less about the 'brand' then and more about perceived value of basses in general. I think compared to a lot of the bass world, Dingwall offers a very specific thing. It may not be your thing, but then it also sounds like a $2500 Precision or Jazz might not be your thing either. That's fine. Buy what you like that makes you happy but doesn't cause you personal anxiety. That's what it's all about right? We live in a lucky world where you can buy a $79 bass or a $79,000 bass.
  11. bassfears


    Mar 26, 2008
    Raleigh , NC
    I definitely don’t mind playing Chinese/Japanese/Indonesian basses... most of my basses are made in Japan actually and I love them... I think Dingwall is an awesome company from what I can tell but having a hard time justifying that price tag when my multiple basses that hover around 1k have done me well over the years and had minimal issues with any of them. I guess what I’m asking is when I do play one, is it gonna be so different and better that I must own one :)
    Grufolo, AB Nate and leftybass54 like this.
  12. bassfears


    Mar 26, 2008
    Raleigh , NC
    Played a few shows back in the day with @Nephilymbass - I miss Jesters
    Nephilymbass likes this.
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I often feel that the fanned fret/multi-scale gets all the glory, but some of the other features of these basses are 'hidden gold'. The pickups (neo magnet, in shop designed and built), things like neck profile (asymmetric and also adjusted as you move from neck to heel), 5pc neck, banjo frets, the electronics (proprietary 4-way switch, coil parallel/series options for each pickup), etc. all make value in ways that are a bit difficult to discern. Even stuff like the hardness and clarity of the finish and the magnetic battery compartment and its carves. On the NG series, it's not just a drop-in production preamp but Dingwall & Darkglass worked together to design a unique preamp for that bass.

    There's definitely more hand-work on the Canadian models along with a bit more complexity in design (in house designed and built bridge, in house design and fabricated control knobs)...but the geometry on the neck of my Z may not be lauded by people but it's compound radius, compound headstock angle, graphite reinforced 5pc maple, banjo fret with asymmetric carve that also flattens further up the neck. That's a lot complex luthiery and design work in just the neck. That doesn't even speak to the hand work that Sheldon did himself on the body where the 'cello cut' met the 'tummy carve' and also the arm contour...It was a bit of a rando-custom but that tiny little feature was a ton of work and expertise.
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Too bad, last southern tour we did a swing though at the Pour House in Raleigh. Alas, no road work for the foreseeable future.
    aguacateojos likes this.
  15. Dingwall's quality is among the who's who of boutique bass builders. Not to mention there is a considerable queue of customers ordering these basses, as there is a 12-14 month waiting time for your bass should you wish to place an order for a Canadian custom.

    Their NAMM builds are always amazing. On the second-hand market, the Canadian customs do not last long when they're posted and they tend to retain their value, as someone else already mentioned.

    Whenever the Chinese models are completed, they are shipped directly to Dingwall's factory for final inspection and setup before they go out to dealers/buyers.
  16. bassfears


    Mar 26, 2008
    Raleigh , NC
    Pour house is a killer venue, we always love playing there !
    aguacateojos and BurningSkies like this.
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Seems like a fun room we've done it a couple times...most recent booking was cancelled along with our late Spring and Summer tour schedule. We'd been doing the big stage at Shakori Hills Grassroots festival for a few years so we've been trying to pick up more rooms in that NC region. May be an un-issue for a while.
  18. My only hands on experience wasn't super great with one.

    My Basses sound better, feel better, and cost way less. Yea I didn't like fanned frets either, but even without that it was just not a tone or feel I liked that much.

    Seemed well made and such, and probably didn't have strings I'd choose, but I've owned basses that sound/felt that way even with brand new bright strings, so if it's that "meh" then it's just the design, build, or a fluke.

    It certainly was a very good instrument, and it had very sexy finish, and fanned frets look nutso to people watching.

    I have absolutely zero idea if it was a USA one or not, something particularly special or a more off the shelf one, a good example or not. And honestly the time I spent on it (a rehearsal) was hardly enough time to get used to something quite foreign feeling and playing.

    But normally, if a bass is responsive and sound/feels good to me, I'll know very fast.

    That was how I was with Alembic - first play was love, it was so magically respsonsive and amazing feeling/sounding/playing.
  19. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    I played a Squier J Bass a few years ago that sounded and played okay, but when I put on and plugged in one of my "nice" instruments, it was like a night and day difference to my ears and my hands. I own three Dingwalls (two I bought used and one I bought new) and they are great instruments. So is the Warwick I paid over $2k for. And the Kiesel I paid almost $2k for. Now that I have been playing for a long time, I have to admit I have become a bit of a bass snob.

    You can make the same argument for Mercedes Benz cars or craft beer or designer clothes - you are paying (at least partly) for exclusivity. Every business decides their acceptable profit per item and at what scale they want to compete.
  20. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I would only buy one if I had a liberal returns-policy & period, like from GC, but they simply don't carry them, or I guess no one is ever dumb enough to sell them one.
    bassfears likes this.
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