My new Fretless Dingwall bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FCM3, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. Hey All:
    After playing my fretted Dingwall Afterburner bass for a few months, I suspected that Sheldons amazing construction and the fanned fret board would translate into a remarkable fretless bass. Sheldon proved me right.

    Sheldon custom built a Dingwall Afterburner bass for me, which has a fretless fingerboard (wenge coated w/ epoxy) maple fretlines (I’m a good fretless player-but an unlined Novax board-No way-I’m not crazy), and uses the Dingwall FD-1 pickups. He also wired the pickups as vol-vol in series mode w/ his mid-cutting BluEQube circuit. Totally passive.

    Since the Afterburners are his budget model, he doesn’t incorporate fancy tone woods or paint anything wild. Solid colors or Flame maple only. No fancy electronic packages either.

    The construction is top notch, This bass is lighter and feels different than my fretted Afterburner (you can find that review back in March of this yr) in that the neck is a bit thicker and the body is a bit lighter, but it all balances out the same. Absolutely incredible. Since the fretless bass uses an epoxy-coated fingerboard and different type of pickup this bass sounds almost Jazz bass like (dare I say Jaco-esque?), very different than my ultra punchy P-bass sounding Fretted Afterburner.

    This is Sheldon’s first fretless Afterburner, and apparently he has built a handful of high-end fretless instruments, but why not. Once you get comfortable w/ and live on the Novax fretboard it becomes second nature. I have not had any problems playing the fretless. I spent the first couple of weeks w/ my chromatic tuner ensuring my intonation was spot on, but since then I’ve had no issues.

    W/ the fretless Afterburner I get amazing clarity, articulation, and punch of each note, along with some cool mwah and growl. Plays like a dream.

    Thanks to Sheldon Dingwall for making this happen.

    Here are a few photos I placed my Fretted Afterburner next to it for comparison.
  2. Cool deal man, awesome looking bass.

    But, help a newbie out, what are the advantages of a fan fretboard? Is it for more acuarate intonation? Or does it just look cool?:cool:

    The fanned frets kinda mess with your perseption, it looks like the necks are twisted.
  3. Those look excellent, Frank. Glad you are happy. I hope to see my new one soon as well.


    Posted the pics up for ease.

  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Read about it here.
  5. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    Man I would never take some acid and play one of those!! That would be bad.
  6. Hey man, Thanks for posting those pictures. I was just wondering how a black dingwall would look. Pretty cool, but that area around the truss rod that's same color as the back of the neck sure is noticeable. I wonder on a request with a new bass order, SHeldon would paint that section the same color as the body of the bass?

    Man, my obsession with dingwalls is out of control. I have got to get one of those!


  7. Hmmm...I would never take acid, but I would (try) to play a dingwall!!!
  8. What a novel idea... why didn't I think of that. It's a natural for fretless. Very cool! :cool:
  9. coyoteboy

    coyoteboy easy there, Ned Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2000
    Sactomato, CA
    Since we're talking about fretless Dingwall basses, I wonder, now that the Lightwave system is made up of individual bridge units, if Mr Dingwall would think of making a fanned fret Lightwave fretless?? Or fretted, for that matter...
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  11. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
  12. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    I've always wondered how a fretless Dingwall would work out. Gotta' hand it to bass players, the sky's the limit. Nice bass.
  13. mans0n


    Jun 15, 2002
    looks like in one of the pics that the necks are actually 'twisted' themselves are they? ive thought novax had that but wasnt sure..... if so that would be terribly cool
  14. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    i'll surely be checking out the dingwall in anaheim next jan.

  15. The necks aren't twisted. The frets are placed on the neck so that they fan in their orientation to one another.

  16. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Read my mind. That would be HELLA cool. The 37" B through those rumbling Lightwaves? Oh man oh man. That'd be the LOW end, eh?
  17. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA



  18. I can tell you the necks are NOT twisted. Its prolly my suspect photo taking which is too blame. In person the fanned frets don't make the neck look funky at all.

    Mark- The Afterburner is Sheldon's budget model bass, Sheldon told he will not add anything "extra" to these basses. So the bright maple strip between the fretboard and the body stays white on all the Afterburners. Once you go to his high-end models you can get whatever you want.
    My personal feeling is that for approx 1/2 the dollars of Sheldon's high end basses, The A'burner gives you more than 2/3 of the sound of a Dingwall (the quality is the same-amazing). The major difference I found between my A'burners and a Dingwall Zebra (which i only played once -along time ago-so i'm going off memory) was resonance, the body weight, and the souped up electronics. In passive mode the zebra had a very similar tone to my bass, just more punchy.

    A Dingwall couldn't even guesttimate what it would sound like nor cost. groovy idea

    Hey Geoff-thanks for posting those picts