Price paid: $ 1600
Purchased from: Dingwall Guitars
Features — 9
- DOB June 2015
- Manufactured in China but final assembly and setup happens in Canada at the Dingwall Shop.
- 2 piece adler body finished in Ferrari Yellow.
- This is a multi scale bass that runs from 34 inches on the treble side to a huge 37 inch scale on the low B.
- 24 banjo frets on a three piece maple neck.
- 2x Dingwall FD3N neodymium pickups nestled right next to each other.
- Darkglass Tone Capsule preamp. 18v
- Master Vol, 4 way rotary switch, bass, low mid, high mid.
- Active passive switch.
- Hipshot Tuners.
- Hipshot rail bridges.
- Carbon fiber print pickguard.
- Black dot inlays on a maple fretboard. The dots can be a bit hard to see and can be confusing with the fanned frets.
Sound — 10
One word: Huge. For rock and metal players, you will not likely find a better bass for those genres. The multi scale design lends a great amount of clarity to the low strings especially the B string. Tension is very even across all the strings and they all have that piano like ring and sustain.
The rotary is configured so that you can select to have the 2 pickups in either series or parallel as well allowing you to use the pickups individually. In the neck position (which is really like a middle position) it almost sounds like P-bass; fat with that really unique mid range. You can get a Jaco-ish sound with the bridge pickup and a bit of a boost to the low mid. In parallel the bass sounds like a stingray and is great for slapping. And then we have series mode. So far it is my preferred wiring config. This is configuration you pick if you want to be heard in the mix. The mid range gets bumped up around the 1k region which leads to an increase in clarity and note attack. It gets a real throaty character that just cuts through loud drummers and guitar players with fat egos. There is also a noticeable increase in volume and fatness of the sound in series mode. I currently play through a Gallien Kreuger MB200 and a CX115 cab. Never need to push the input gain past 12 o'clock.
In passive mode the bass still sounds very powerful. It is just as loud and punchy as my other active basses and lends itself well to playing genres of music where you don't need to be as up front and cutting. With the pickups in parallel it makes for some great slap tones.
Switch the Darkglass preamp on and the bass just jumps to life. The frequency bands are very usable and are very powerful in shaping your tone. The preamp was designed for this bass so it matches up very nicely. The high mid control really enhances clarity. It has no treble control which is neat because many treble controls really become finger noise enhancers when turned past a certain point.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
It's bright yellow. The body and neck are manufactured overseas but the final assembly and setup takes place in the Dingwall shop in Canada where all the hardware is installed. The bass came to me perfectly setup and intonated. The action can get surprisingly low with banjo frets. All those things about extra jumbo frets are a lie!
A few things to note about the neck: The profile is asymmetrical; it's thicker on the bass side than the treble side and is actually quite comfortable. The edge of the neck has a rolled feel and extends slightly past the fretboard. This makes is so that you barely feel the edges of the frets at all when you run your hands along the neck.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've played out with it twice and it stands up to playing live really well so far. I got Schaller strap locks because I tend to be very active on stage and don't want the bass to come off while I thrash about. The finish looks really thick and looks like it can take a few hits. Did I mention it's bright yellow? It's bright yellow. The neck is satin tinted in the back. Which will probably turn to gloss with use as satin finishes are want to do. Would I use it without a backup if given the choice? No. Would I use any instrument live without a backup? No. Shit happens when you least expect it.
Overall Impression — 10
In my 10 years of playing bass this is the best bass I have ever played. The fanned frets solve a lot of the issues people have with 5-string basses and their flaccid B strings. It also resolves something that all bass players have been struggling with for a long time; being heard. The electronics package really lets you slice through the mix but also maintains a very big and solid low end. There have been a few times where I had to back off the volume on my amp so as to not bury the rest of my band. I'm going to be looking into acquiring another bass from Dingwall in the future.