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Mod'ed My Dingwall

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Geoff St. Germaine, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    So I wasn't getting the sound I wanted out of my Dingwall so I ripped out the....

    Just kidding. I was talking with Sheldon about getting a better slap sound out of the bass. The bass has a ridiculous amount of sustain. My suggestion was that the bridge's high mass might be contributing to the massive sustain and preventing a decay response that would give more of a Marcus style slap tone. Sheldon's response was to send me out a pau ferro sub-plate to replace the aluminum one on the bass already. You can see how the sub-plate and saddles are separate pieces and indeed how large the aluminum sub-plate is.

    The difference is quite substantial. More than I would have suspected. The bass doesn't exactly nail the Marcus style slap tone right now... but now my thoughts turn to what a Dingwall with an ash body rather than the walnut/alder one on this one as well as a maple fretboard might do.

    The sound right now has the biggest difference in the decay characteristics. The sound is a bit more open sounding to me as well. It is quite hard to describe, but there is a noticeable difference. Here are some pics of what has been done.


  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

  3. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

  4. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Sounds like a good upgrade/mod. Man, that is one seriously sweet bass, Geoff. I like everything about it. Bet it sounds as good as it looks!:cool:
  5. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Not only does that look cool, i bet it sounds sweet. Is it ok to have the B string saddle hanging that far over the back of the bass?

    Anyway good job man :)
  6. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Yeah, the B saddle is supposed to be like that. The pau ferro sub-plate is identical dimensionally to the aluminum on that was in there.

  7. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Very cool Mod. And I dig the severed hand-looking glove in the pictures, too :D
  8. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE

    Nice to see some pics of this bass again ! I love it.

    How did you ground the bridge now that the sub plate is not conductive anymore? Did you get the ground wire throught the plate and then linked every individual bridge?

    Just curious.

    Peace, JP
  9. Geoff

    Thanks for sharing some more pictures with us. Your bass is still the No1 looker.:D

    Ths mod sounds like it has made a big difference, have you gigged it yet? does it cut through the mix as you would want it?



    p.s. any more pictures?
  10. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    I've never heard anyone complain about too much sustain. :)
  11. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Hi JP,
    There is a copper strip that runs along the bottom of the sub-plate. All of the bolts that are on the bottom side of the bridge contact it and it is in contact with the ground wire. It's dead quiet, so I must have installed it correctly ;).

  12. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I wouldn't say that I'm complaining, hence the comment about ordering an ash bodied/maple fretboarded bass with the wood sub-plate.

    This one is going to be switched back to the aluminum one.

  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    And of course, you recorded some samples before and after to add a little objective science to the arena of bridge design... right??
  14. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Unfortunately I am living in Colorado right now and do not have several things I would need to do that, most specifically a proper computer. I will leave the bridge as is until I go back to Kingston and then I will make some recordings. I am going to switch this one back, so I can do it then. That won't be until January though.

  15. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    interesting to hear/see Mr. D's solution to your request.

    valuable info!!

    thanks for sharing.

    oh, nice sandals!

  16. Geoff:
    Great flipflops, and nice surgery on the bass.
    Interesting Mod to the Dingwall, and interestingly enuf its the same conversation I've been having w/ Sheldon in regards to my wanting fender-like tones on my Dingwall Super Jazz. I've never been able to get a great slap tone on my Dingwall primarily becuz the bass is too resonant and the note sustains forever. One of the points we've been focusing on for a good slap tone (and suprisingly for a good P tone as well) is a rapid sharp decay after the note is sounded. So before I've seen your Mod, Sheldon's suggestion was to reduce the bridge sub-plate to a much thinner one, now I'm wondering if i should abondon a metal subplate all together and go w/ a wooden one (or ask for both and let me decide).

    As for an Ash body and maple fretboard....we'll see about that, Sheldon thought that a ASH body wouldn't provide the fender-like tones in one if his basses and hence we decided on Alder. (I did decide on the maple fretboard already)
    So...... importantly does the subplate switch give the bass a more fender like tone? I know you said it doesn't nail the Marcus tone, but really w/o Mr Millers thumb I wouldn't expect it too. but is it closer than before?
    What do you mean by more open sounding

    Thanks in advance
  17. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Looks gorgeous!

    I think you're probably right about a maple board bass. Though this one must have a great, unique character all it's own. Perhaps a purpose-built slap bass for when the mood strikes you is what's needed. I like to have a few different bass choices for tonal variety.

    Sheldon is a real original. Great bass!
  18. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    How thick is the plate that was replaced? Trying to get an idea of how much mass it represents. Also, do the individual bridges screw into the plate, and the plates into the body, or do the bridges screw thru the plates directly into the body?
  19. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    The plates are about 13mm thick. The individual bridges screw into the plate, and then the plate bolts into the body in the manner shown.


  20. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    That 1/2" thickness represents a significant amount of material. I'm not at all surprised that you get a change in tone by its replacement.

    When you switch back, if you are interested in not going quite all the way back to the original sound, you could consider lightening the aluminum plate by "swiss cheesing" it.

    That design is very interesting. It also affords you an opportunity to see what would happen if the plate were brass or steel.

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