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My New Bass Dingwall Afterburner

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FCM3, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. Hi all:
    I wanted to show off and review my new bass, incase others are curious.
    I have been in the market for my first 5-string bass. i was hoping to find a niced bass under $1500 which had a tight punchy B string, a fast neck, and great pickups. About 8yrs ago I had the opportunity to play a Dingwall Zebra bass. I recall that this bass had the most incredible B string I had ever played but it cost over 3 grand. Approx 1yr ago I read that Sheldon Dingwall was making a "budget model" of his zebra bass called an "Afterburner". This bass used many of his signature parts (a novax fanned fret board, aluminum bridges, custom Bartolini soapbars), but w/ some cost savings. Until last week I had not seen any of these Afterburners for sale. Then when it rains it pours. I find one on Ebay, then 2 at an online store in the US, then a 4th on Ebay, a final one at an online store in Canada. I called around an ordered an amber stained Afterburner.

    First impression-
    Wow…. 3 things jumped right out. 1) how well made this bass is, the craftsmanship is incredible, 2) how small this bass looks (since I knew it had a extra long scale I assumed this bass would be really long) and 3) the fanned frets. The neck is 24 frets and the frets really begin to angle past the 12 fret. Also frets one and three look really far apart. This angling allows the string to be at a correct length. (37"-B, 36.5" –E, 35"- A,The body is composed of lightly figured maple overlays over rock maple body according to Sheldon this bass is "solid sounding", w/ open strings ringing like piano strings. The body shape is small and lightweight, the whole bass weighs under 8lbs.

    The neck is really fast feeling. The shape of the neck is very flat, according to Mr. Dingwall the neck and headstock is quarter-sawn maple w/ truss rods and a pau fero or wenge fingerboard. The width at the nut is 1.75 across. The headstock is not angled back, its slightly stepped down from the level of the fret board, where the headstock meets the neck there is a 1" thick taper of wood which I assume supports this junction, this thick part narrows to the neck thickness about 1/2" thick. The nut appears to be dark nylon or hard plastic.

    The bridge is unique looking. It is made of aluminum and bolts to the body thru each string well. Each string saddle looks like a gum drop shape of aluminum which slides in the string well. On the top of each gumdrop is 2 round top screws sitting side-by-side. The passing string actually rides on top of the indent between the 2 screws (picture an upside down UU) and secures in a restricting slot at the back of the bridge. The string space at the bridge is 0.75".
  2. Part2
    Pickups-two custom wound Bartolinis, passive w/ three controls; a master volume, a 4way click knob which dials in set pickups/pickup combos, and a master tone control.
    The pickups are angled w/ their bottoms closer to the neck and top string angled towards the bridge.

    This bass is absolutely gorgeous and I still can’t believe how lightweight and small it feels when played. I’ve had this bass since weds last week, and wanted to play it both at home practicing and w/ my band Saturday night before I wrote anything down. Overall the tone is ballsy, the bass has incredible sustain and presence. The open notes really do ring out almost piano-like; the B-string is tight and very musical sounding. The fanned frets posed no problem in my playing althou notes in the higher register really require me to look. I would say this bass is an excellent finger style or funk style bass, but you can dial up many different tones. I can only briefly describe each pickup as I am still becoming familiar w/ their sounds. To me, the neck pickup (alone) sounds very P-bass like, by turning the tone knob you can go from whomp to a very ringing slap like tone. The bridge pickup (alone) -sounds hollow and deep. The two pickups in parallel give a boost in sound level and give the most bark like sound, very punchy, and tight (I used this pickup combo playing w/ the band), the two pickups in series reduces the sound level, and IMO gives a tone similar to a J bass w/ growly overtones.

    Because it’s a 5string I’m still adapting to the bass (I've play 4s forever), that G-string is really far away all of a sudden. The B-string is posing a damping problem in my slap playing, but I’m loving every minute of it. If you can find an Afterburner, I highly recommend trying this bass, it. Time to call Mr Dingwall and thank him.

    Until recently my current basses were a 93 Fender Urge (MIA) J-P-J pickups and 32" scale, and a 95 Hamer 4string fretless cruise bass. Which I though was the king of sustain.
  3. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    Whoa... I bet a passive Dingwal just kills! What a fantastic looking instrument. Do they make a six string model of this bass? And if I may ask, how much did it set you back? Again, great bass!
  4. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Think you've got parallel and series mixed up. :)

    Looks good!
  5. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State
    Wow, great bass! I really like Dingwall designs. They are also very easy to play.

  6. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'd Loooove to get ahold of that 37" B string...
  7. i really, really want one of those...
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Thanks for the review!

    I've been looking for info on the Afterburner, but haven't been able to find any. The Dingwall site looks at least a year old, and there is no mention of it there.

    Very interesting bridge design. And I think I like the body shape even more than the Prima and Zebra. I am surprised it is so light, being made all of maple.

    It sounds like a fantastic instrument. How much does one of those set a person back, if I may ask?
  9. Nice basses for the money indeed! As most of you know, I'm a fan of Spector basses. But I admire the Dingwall design.

    www.thebassplace.com carries the Dingwall Afterburner in stock most of the time and will mail order. If you're looking for a new Afterburner, check this site out. The Afterburner is very reasonably priced compared to the rest of the Dingwall line.
  10. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    hhhmmmmm... Passve dingwall. I NEED one of those.
  11. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Sweet bass Frank. Good to finally see some nice pictures of it. Hope you like your Dingwall as much as I like mine.

  12. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    very cool :) i love sheldon's work. he's a really really cool dude, too.
  13. Hi:
    thanks for all the positive comments.

    I have found these basses costing anywhere from $1300-1600US. The store in Canada was the cheapest. However once you added in a bunch of fees to send it here it was up over $1400US. The ones on EBAY auctioned off for $1400. Saddly the same week, Kim Stone's Dingwall Z2 went up for auction on EBAY and sold for $1350.

    As Mr Dead mentioned thebassplace had a couple of afterburners (I believe they have a blue one remaining as of last week). This is where i purchased mine, they were great to work w/ and went the extra mile for me. While i'm not sure if Afterburners are in stock all the time (this was the first time i have seen it actually in stock there-they have photos up all the time), but they certainly were willing to order whatever i wanted.

    Geshel: Your points are well taken, and I must say I thought exactly as you are. The bass came w/ a small placard explaining the electronics and its shows which click is which pickup. Maybe I'm reading it upside down. All I know is the bass sounds great.

    I don't think the Dingwall site has ever been updated for along time. There is no mention of the zebra-2(Z2) or the Afterburner model. I have no idea if they make an Afterburner 6 string model. However Mr Dingwall is very helpful and has responded very quickly to my emails.

    Thanks Geoff for your help
  14. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    Anytime Frank. I am glad that you are so happy with the bass. Now I am going to have to find one (Afterburner) to try out.

    As for a 6 string Afterburner, there is no mention of it in anything I have recently seen from Sheldon. I am pretty sure that there isn't one (yet??), I think the 4 and 5 string market is what Sheldon is trying to target. With even 6 string Primas and Zebras being pretty uncommon, I would say there isn't that great of a demand for the sixes.

    Though, I could be wrong.

  15. I'm heading over to the Bass Place sometime later this week. I'll mention what Dingwalls they have remaining in stock. You are correct, the Afterburner is only available in 4 and 5 strings at least for now.

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