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New Dingwall AB-II vs. used Nordstrand SC5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by embellisher, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    It is almost time for my bonus to get here, and soon after that I will be buying a new(to me) bass.

    I have it narrowed down to these two. The difference in price will be about $800.

    I have never played a Dingwall, but I hope to in a few days.

    I have played Jeff Rader's SC5, and it blew away most other five stringers that I have played.

    I am sure that I would be happy with the Nordstrand, but the 'fanned fret/differing scale length for each string' Novax concept that Sheldon uses makes a lot of sense to me. One thing that I haven't liked about 35" scale basses is that the G and C(if it is a six) are very thin sounding on every one that I have played. You gain some oomph on the B and E strings, at the expense of fullness on the higher strings.

    So, anybody out there have experience with both of these? If so, give me a little guidance.

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

  3. I have played a dingwall AB-II, and it was in a real cool looking "whale pool blue" color. anyhow...I really enjoyed it, the fanned frets took about 3 mintues to get used to and I was off and going. it was very comfortable to play and had the tightest B string I have ever played. I really noticed that all the strings sounded very even and clear. it had a great variety of tones too. I'd rate it as a very sweet bass. I have never played a Nordstrand so I can't comment on those, but both should be top quality.

    the Dingwalls do have a different vibe to them so you should play one before you buy.
  4. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Jeff- when i checked out Geoff StGermain's Dingwall, i was pretty blown away... its a real looker and it had everything going for it- i was able to get around the fanned frets ok, it would take some time , but not much- i would find it difficult however, to switch back and forth between fanned and standard fretboards ( if you play another bass as well). When it came time for me to do another bass order, i went with Nordstrand- i think it will be hard to find a better bass, you can certainly spend more... but not a better bass..
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Thanks, Adrian, that is exactly the kind of comment that I am looking for!:)

    Anybody else who has experience with both of these basses?
  6. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    As a guy that hasn't played either, but has heard rave reviews of both basses, I would say used Nordstrand.

    You'll probably love it beyond belief, and if you don't, you can sell it for about whay you payed for it....

    does that help at all?
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I think the box elder Nordie is 34,5" not 35" right?

    buy the used SC5 and save the $800 until you find a used AB1 :D

  8. Jeff:
    Just curious, why the ABII over the ABI? There is a price difference-obviously, and the active electronics, but otherwise its gonna play and sound pretty similar. Tonewise they are slightly different due to the wood choices but they both have the Dingwall vibe.
    Your more than welcome to play mine and see if Dingwall are what your even looking for.
    I'm not familar w/ Nordstrand basses- so i can not comment on it
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member


    The reasons that I would pick the ABII is the active electronics, and the woods. I don't really like flamed maple, but love the look of bubinga.

    Sheldon told me in an email that the ABI is slightly more Fenderish sounding, and the ABII has greater depth and complexity to the sound.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    That's what I am thinking. If for some strange reason I don't connect with the Nordstrand, I should be able to resell it with little or no loss.
  11. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I haven`t played any of them. But knowing that Carey is one of the top luthiers out there and his high praise to that SC5, makes the Nordstrand a real winner.
    You won`t hear things like that pretty often.

    Just my .02

    Hope it helps
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    At this point, I am leaning towards the used Nordstrand. Anybody want to try and change my mind?:D
  13. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    nope. I would try to push you right over to the SC5. That thing is beautiful. I know you have several basses, and your wife has a few as well. I think Adrian's comment about switching back and forth deserves much consideration.
  14. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    when it comes to High End basses, I am cerainly a fan of buying Used (both for the price and re-sale ability) unless there is something specific you have to have in a Custom Made bass, or unless you have $$ to burn and you'd rather not wait for a particular deal to come together

    I just bought a beautiful Elrick for $1300
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    AJ, that is one of the things that is pushing me towards the Nordstrand. I typically don't sell anything, but if I ever did, I should be able to get most of the $$$ out of it. I do buy new sometimes, but used is the best way IMHO.
  16. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    it depends on so many factors, you know?

    IF you can play a bass before you buy it, you can have a better idea of how great it is and the likelihood of whether it will be with you for life....and then theres the fact that how a bass sounds solo'ed differs from how it sounds at full volume within a band context

    anyways, if all the outside factors are equal (whether or not you can play it first, etc) buying used just makes sense financially
  17. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I had a couple of hours alone with an Afterburner awhile back, and I would have to go against the common consensus and say I wasn't just wowed by it. I was impressed by how quickly I could adapt to the fanned frets, but there was nothing terribly magical about any aspect of it to me. I say this not to rain on the Dingwall parade or say that those who like them are wrong - just that there's no guarantee that the Dingwall will be everything you're looking for in a bass...


    Q1 bonus is a wonderful thing, ain't it? - especially if Uncle Sam sends ya some back, too! ;)
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Actually, this is my 2003 bonus, and this is the last one that I will receive. Due to the fact that the .coms went bust and nobody is hiring away our IT talent any more, they did away with them for 2004 and beyond.:mad: Oh well. Just be thankful that I got this one, buy a nice toy, and move on!:) BTW, what happened to your ass?:D
  19. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Bummer on the bonuses, Jeff. I lost my ass! For some reason I didn't get a renewal notice or anything that my supporting status was up. Heck, I really thought the lounge was just down for maintenance, too! I renewed this a.m. so my ass should be back in action soon! :D
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Good to hear! I can't wait to see your ass in action!:eek::p

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