What's the deal with Dingwall?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IdealWay, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. IdealWay


    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    I have heard many people who swear by them here, but never seen one or heard of them before TB. And really, what's up with the diagonal frets!? Looks really difficult to play. Why are they so great?
  2. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Albuquerque, NM
    People like them, so I read, because the mixed scale lengths (longer on the low stings and shorter on the high strings) yields a more even tension and tone. This is also why the frets are fanned.

    From most accounts that I have read the fanned frets feel quite natural since the angles involved tend to mimick the natural placement of your fingers.
  3. IdealWay


    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    interesting... I did not know that
  4. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Dingwalls can be every bit as nice as all of the other popular custom builders. Sheldon is a wonderful luthier with some really great designs. You can get relatively inexpensive standard Dingwall models, or you can commission a full-blown custom at a higher cost.

    The fanned frets are designed to give differing scale lengths along each string, which does give a more even tension and feel across the strings. It doesn't take very long to get used to at all; the most extreme areas are very low and very high on the neck. I haven't spent a ton of time on Dingwalls, but I wouldn't be the least bit apprehensive about picking one up and taking it to a gig a day or two later. Like any bass, they're not for everyone, but they're certainly worth checking out.
  5. here's the first dingwall i ever fell in love with:


    less than a month after i saw it online, it came up on eBay. barely missed it. i believe it is now located in the great Dingwall depository...
  6. UncleBalsamic


    Jul 8, 2007
    I hadn't heard of them before Talkbass either. I've ordered one now though :D
  7. LanEvo

    LanEvo Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2008
    Sheldon Dingwall = super cool guy. Makes very high quality basses that sound and play great.

    They're great basses. I'm surprised they're not more popular. If I were a 6-string player, for example, I don't think I would play anything else but a Dingwall.

    lol. That's the Novax fanned-fret system. You can google it to read more. Basically, you get the benefits of a super-long scale for the low strings and short scale for the higher strings. Plus, you get even string tension across all strings.

    You'd think so, but actually it's amazingly easy. It feels very natural. Took me literally 5 minutes to get used to it. Once you play one for a few minutes, it's hard to ge back to a normal bass.

    Great tone, great sound, great build quality. Plus, Dingwall's the only mainstream manufacturer that offers fanned-fret basses.
  8. My ABI has been the hardest of my basses to part with. The fanned frets really don't take long at all to get used to, and the playability really will spoil you, especially compared to other basses in that price range. That's what really made me love the Novax system.

    The sound (IMO) isn't all that phenomenal in the higer registers, but down low? Yowza. Note-to-note definition is much better than virtually anything else I've played, and that was just with the "entry-level" Afterburner I.


    If you get the chance to check one out in a store or at a GTG, you'll be digging in your couch for the scratch to order one.
  9. pbass62

    pbass62 Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Iron Station NC
    The curiosity bug bit me on the fan fret issue. Just took delivery of my 1st Dingwall today and was off to the races. It felt natural. We will see on the 1st performance with it to see how it sets in the mix but so far Im impressed.
  10. Yes - the physics of the bass itself make total sense tension wise, and relative to the natural tendencies of your wrist motion ... I'd love to try one someday. :cool:
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Keep in mind that beyond even string tension and ergonomics functions, the fanned frets also help to balance the volume and tone/timbre across the strings. This is a big plus.

    Also, the fanned frets get all of the attention, but Sheldon's basses feature a whole cast of design features that are ingenious and bulletproof in functionality. As well as using extremely high quality materials and doing almost all of the design, building, and fabricating in shop make for a very 'hand made' precision instrument. Sheldon's finishes are perfect, pristine and incredibly beautiful on top of all that build quality. The pickups are built in house and he's constantly improving them along the way and are controlled by custom and proprietary circuits.

    At this point I would never consider any other bass. For details of my latest build do a quick TB search on the term 'rastaburst'.
  12. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    I'll let ya know this afternoon. Mine's "Out for Delivery". :)
  13. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I can hardly wait until the new Combustion series comes out (reportedly, some time around May). I can't wait to get a Dingwall of my own. :hyper:
  14. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Really! That's exciting...What model, new, used, color, shape...Did Bowlus get to you or was it something else?
  15. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Bah. With these basses, the fanned frets are almost an attention getting gimmick. Sheldon Dingwall's shop produces some of the best musical instruments of any type being made anywhere. When I got my bottom of the line ABI, I instantly realized that I'd bought my last five string. Two and a half years later, this has not changed. I realized that the instrument could be done differently, but it just can't be done better. It really was just ridiculous that I got something that good at the price I paid. (That's a basscentral plug right there, by the way.)

    And you get Sheldon Dingwall's personal attention should you ever have a problem. That alone is worth the price of admission.

    Don't get me wrong, I believe the fanned frets are better in many ways, and were a big factor in my decision to buy one, but in the end, they are just another advantage.

    Total Dingwall fanboy here.
  16. Dom Phenom

    Dom Phenom

    Apr 24, 2008
    Best. B String. EVER.

    nuff said.
  17. pbass2

    pbass2 Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I ordered a new AB1---one of the best sounding basses I've ever had, or heard. Hands down the best B string, and even-ness across all strings.
    Sadly, I had to give it up--two reasons---it was just a little too damn long for my shrimpy self--that 37" B is a reach if you're little, but more so than that, I found the angled bridge to not jive at all with my pickstyle playing and how I like to anchor my hand/palm, which is roughly 50% of what I do. Too bad---damn it sounded good . . .
  18. Got to play an ABII while I was visiting family in San Diego CA June last year, and really loved it. Even for someone who hadn't / hasn't been playing bass too long, it didn't take hardly any time to get used to the frets, and I really liked the way all the strings had the same tension. I'd tried several other 5-stringers, and the lower strings tend to feel anywhere from slightly to very 'floppy.' Didn't get that with the Dingwall. Another plus - I love the fact the battery compartment cover is kept on with magnets! Using a screwdriver to open the compartment on my one active bass can be a pain. Plus, some of the models (including the Combustion, IIRC) can be switched from passive to active and vice versa, so if you need a passive tone in one song and an active tone in another, you don't have to switch out basses.

    I am another of those who is saving up my $$ for a Combustion when they become available....
  19. I Did! - I think there were 2 threads I read on it ..... That finish is simply I N C R E D I B L E ! Wow - what a bass!

    (hope ya don't mind, but I copied all the pics for computer wallpaper)
  20. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002

    Afterburner I. Quilted "whale pool blue" top. New. Bass Central has REALLY good prices on these right now! We're talking like 50 percent off list. I've played Tom's, but unfortunately, I can't afford a Prima like his!

    I actually didn't get it yet. I left the house 15 minutes yesterday to get my kids from school, and of course, THAT is when Fedex showed up. Later today hopefully!

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