Canadian luthier Sheldon Dingwall has been building amazing instruments since the early 90's and he was a true pioneer as he incorporated the Multiscale or Fanned Fret System that had been developed by Ralph Novak and that meant that every string on the instrument should have a different lenght depending on the pitch it should give when played open. The fact that every string has a different lenght of course means that the frets have to be installed in a "fanned" manner, hence the name.
Even if these basses look modern and rad, they are based on the same principle of old harps and pianos. The strings on a grand piano or harp vary in lenght depending on the note. This means that the lower the note, the longer the string must be. Even upright pianos feature a harp with different string lengths. The result of this is that the harmonic series from the strings is larger and the tone is therefore fuller. Pure physics.
This whole new series is made in China but use a lot of American and European components and this has allowed Dingwall to creat some instruments with their trademark tone and performance at extremely affordable prices. Final set up and inspection is done in the Dingwall shop in Canada so you know the basses will play great right out of the box.
Fortunately for you, no adjustment is needed to play this instrument. Actually they feel really easy to play and ergonomic. Your left hand simply falls into the notes without having to make any change in technique at all.
This is the Combustion model and it features a swamp ash body and 5 piece maple neck with maple fretboard plus some cool extras such as the EMG 3 band preamp. We love the sort of traditional aesthetics which remind of a good old Jazz Bass except Dingwall version.
This instrument features 3 Dingwall FD-3N pickups with neodymium magnets that are powerful and smooth but with aggressive tone at the same time. They are completely noise free so they will behave just great both on stage and in the studio. The smart rotary switch offers 4 distinct positions for a lot of great tones. Speaking of which, we find that this bass actually sounds very different in Passive and Active Modes and that's good news. The raw sound of these pickups in Passive mode is actually slightly midrangey and this works great if you really need to cut through the band. Also if you use some sort of external Overdrive or Distortion unit, this will work incredibly well with the bass in Passive mode. Switch to active and you get a completely different bass. Just add a touch of bass boost and cut the mids slightly and you get a much rounder and modern sounding bass that will be perfect for pop, funk and more. Cool.
The Low B is of course phenomenal due to the increased lenght/tension, but the good news here is that this doesn't affect the other strings (many G strings feel too tight on long scale basses). There's an evenness of tone and volume from string to string that is simply perfect. Actually the extra tension means that you can play the low B gently and get more definition than when you play that string on a 34" or 35" bass with intensity. Also you can just hit it really hard and it will respond just nicely too. Cool
Bass and studio ace Lee Sklar suggested the use of small banjo type frets as these offer a less metallic tone and smoother glissandos/faster feel than jumbo frets.
Individual bridges and lightweight open tuners complete this beautiful bass.
Dingwall Combustion 5 Natural
Dingwall Combustion 5 Natural