Dingwall Bass Guitars:: Z1, Z2, Z3, 4/5/6 string, Lee Sklar :: Custom hand made basses, Fan Frets at Bassdirect



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>Z Specifications/Prices | Z Gallery | Lee Sklar Gallery

Dingwall Z Series


We set out to capture the best qualities of the classic swamp ash tone. We placed the pickups in the same relative positions as traditional designs so that even though the Z Series basses speak with greater power, clarity and punch, they still have a familiarity to the tone that fits perfectly with any genre of music. The streamlined neck and body shape result in ergonomic perfection.


The Z2 is designed to capture the best qualities of the classic single humbucker tone. Then we increased the versatility by using two independent pickups mounted in a humbucker style array. The tone captures the classic mid-range and bottom end of the original but with a much more refined top-end and useful range of tones. The streamlined neck and body shape result in ergonomic perfection.

Standard specifications for Z1 (top) and Z2 (bottom)

  1. Neck - 5 piece maple, thin flattened C shape, heavy duty truss rod, carbon fibre spars

  2. Fingerboard  - Wenge or Pau Ferro, 24 frets

  3. Matching headstock veneer and finish

  4. Pearl "D " logo on 12th fret and headstock

  5. 3 mm pearl face and side dots

  6. Body - Dual density swamp ash with highlighted grain

  7. Electronics

  8. Super Fatty pickups

  9. Rotary pickups selector

  10. 2 x series/parallel switches

  11. Active Glockenklang bass/treble with active/passive switching (the treble works as a passive tone in passive mode)

  12. Case - Dingwall logo gig bag


4 string £3300

5 string £3450

6 string £3600


Here is a bass that can literally do it all. We combined the Z1 and Z2 pickup layouts with a simple and intuitive switching system resulting in an astounding range of tones that can cover any musical genre with ease. The streamlined neck and body shape result in ergonomic perfection.

specifications as above but with 3 x Super Fatty Pickups and custom rotary selector


4 string £3350

5 string £3450

6 string £3550

Options on Z series

  1. Body core wood

  2. Northern Ash/Alder -  £130

  3. Swamo Ash/Alsh -  £13

  1. Options

  2. Top

  3. Bookmatched Alder (natural/trans finishes) £100

  4. Bookmatched Ash (natural/trans finishes) £135

  5. Top

  6. Bookmatched Alder (natural/trans finishes) £100

  7. Bookmatched Ash (natural/trans finishes) £135

  8. Flame £350

  9. X top package - highly figured exotic top with contrasting laminate £615

  10. Contrasting laminate £220

  1. Fretboard

  2. Pau Ferro - £95

  3. Ziracote fingerboard - £230

  4. Maple fingerboard - £230

  5. Bird's eye maple fingerboard - £425

  6. Macassar Ebony - £329

  7. Fretless Mac Ebony - £415

  8. Neck

  9. Wenge neck - £360

  10. Blacked out head and heel - £160

  1. Inlays

  2. Speedo bars with D £230

  3. Blocks £230

  4. Exotic Blocks £320

  5. Contrasting borders for blocks £210

  6. Luminlay side dots (3mm green or blue) £75

  7. Luminlay face dots (3mm green or blue) £75

  8. Luminlay face dots (6mm green or blue) £95

  9. Luminlay Speedo bars green or blue £425

  10. Luminlay Fretless lines green or blue £315

  1. Performance

  2. Hipshot extender - £100

  3. F# setup and tuning with Dingwall strings £70

  4. Custom setup and tuning with Circle K strings £120

  5. Preamps Pickups

  6. Glockenklang 3 band bass/mid/treble eq, active/passive switching, including magnetic battery cover - £320

  7. Darkglass 3 band bass/mid/treble eq, active/passive switching, including magnetic battery cover - £400

  8. ABx3 (3 FD3s in AB series - no S/P switches) £220

  9. FD3 P-tone (AB, Z) £65


  1. Solid Colours

  2. Black

  3. Vintage White

  4. Ferarri Yellow 

  5. Fiesta Red 

  6. Candy Red £300

  7. Chrome Blue £300

  8. Burgundy Mist £300

  9. Candy Tangerine £300

  10. Bronze Age £300

  11. Transparent Colours

  12. Trans Black

  13. Natural

  14. Natural to Black burst £75

  15. Natural to Indigo burst £75

  16. Trans White - Only on Swamp ash - £90

  17. Pre-bleaching recommended for bright colours £130

  18. 2-tone sunburst £150

  19. 3-tone sunburst £200

  20. Trans Blackburst £200

  21. Honey burst £155

  22. Vintage burst £155

  23. Redburst £150

  24. Indigoburst £150

  25. Whale Pool burst £150

  26. Midnite burst £150

  27. Purple to Black burst £150

  28. Green to Blue burst £150

  29. Diagonal burst any two colours £250

  30. Diagonal burst Metallic any two colours £550

  31. Custom colour - candy and burst to match phorto - £250

  32. Custom colour not listed above (requires photo) £250

Leland Sklar signature model Z2

The specs are:

Northern Ash/Alder dual density body

5 pc maple neck with wenge fingerboard and matching headstock, thin flattened C shape, heavy duty truss rod, carbon fibre spars

24 Mandolin frets

Z2 Super-Fatty pickups

Gockenklang 3-band EQ

Rotary switch wired how Lee likes it - Bridge, Pickups in parallel, Neck, Pickups in Series.

Cost - £3900.00

These upmarket instruments from Sheldon Dingwall are set for success, says Stuart Clayton. Bass Guitar Magazine Review - August 2011

Dingwall Lee Sklar & ABZ 4

There’s no mistaking a Dingwall bass. With their distinctive Novax fanned-fret design you’d be forgiven for thinking you were looking at an optical illusion of some kind, but it’s a system that is now being embraced by a host of top name players including Dave Swift (Jools Holland), Jon Burr (Stan Getz, Chet Baker) and Lee Sklar among many others. The fanned-fret system is designed to facilitate the most appropriate scale lengths for each individual string. It’s a logical system that enables a 5-string bass (for example) to use a full 36” scale on its B string, with a 34” scale on the G string. This allows for clear, well-defined notes across the whole range of the instrument and is a unique concept that is applied across the whole of the Dingwall range.

The two instruments on review here represent two different price points for the Dingwall range. At the upper end is the Lee Sklar 5-string bass, built for the legendary session bassist and retailing at a hefty £4,000. Dingwall have built basses for Sklar for over ten years now, and this new signature model combines all of his favourite features, with gorgeous finishes that reflect his love of hot rods. At the other end of the spectrum we have the rather more affordable ABZ 4 bass, a 4-string instrument retailing at £1,685. The ABZ series combines the fan fret technology with a sleek, streamlined body that makes this instrument a perfect introduction to the Dingwall brand.

Body & Neck

First up on the bench is the Sklar model. This bass is constructed using a unique to- Dingwall construction method that couples a piece of northern ash with a piece of alder. However, rather than use an alder body with an ash laminate top, as is often seen on other instruments, the pieces are placed side by side. Ash is used for the upper part of the body (where the lower strings are sited), while the alder is used on the lower half (where the top strings are sited). As these woods have different densities, the result is a naturally equalising’ body: ‘the higher-density ash accentuates the highs and gives power to the lows without affecting the treble strings’. Similarly, the low-density alder ‘brings out the resonance and warms up the treble strings without making the bass strings sound muddy’. It’s a unique build feature that makes a lot of sense. The body on our test bass is finished in a colour called ‘blueberry’, with a polyester finish. There is a generous amount of edge contouring and an attractive cutaway by the bridge, which makes access to the Neutrik jack socket easier as well as allowing the instrument to stand safely against a wall without falling over. The five-piece maple neck is a bolt-on design and affixed with Allen screws sited in recessed circular bevels. Removing four screws accesses the control cavity on the Sklar bass. A recessed ‘finger hole’ allows you to easily lift the cover off – a fantastic idea that we’re surprised not to have seen on more instruments. The cavity itself is immaculately shielded, with extremely neat wiring. Cable ties are used to keep wires bunched together, making for a very neat and ordered compartment. Top marks. Next up is the ABZ 4. The body of this instrument is a single piece of swamp ash, again combined with a bolt-on five-piece maple neck. Our test instrument was finished with an indigoburst satin finish – very different to the Sklar bass, but appealing in a different way. The same overall body shaping is evident here, although slightly refined into a sleeker instrument. The cutaway section at the bridge is once again present, allowing comfortable access to the jack socket. As on the Sklar bass, the bolt-on neck design comprises four Allen screws in recessed circular bevels. Th e control cavity on the ABZ is accessed in the same way minus the added finger hole. Once again, wiring and shielding are exemplary, altogether some of the neatest work we’ve seen. Fretwork on both instruments is superb and the action on the Sklar bass is set appropriately, while the ABZ needed some tweaking.


The most obvious feature on both instruments is, of course, the unique fan fret design that Dingwall are renowned for, but the fun doesn’t stop there: both basses also have backward-angled pickups (more noticeably so on the Sklar bass) and the staggered bridge saddle design that accommodates the different scale lengths of each string. Dot position markers on both instruments are sited on the lower part of the fingerboard, while a stylized ‘D’ motif adorns the 12th fret of the Sklar bass. Both basses come equipped with a Hipshot extender key on the lowest string (on the Sklar bass this drops the B string to an earthshaking low A), although this is an £85 optional extra on the ABZ series. Both basses have slim frets, a feature that was introduced to Dingwall by Lee Sklar. Th e benefits of thinner frets are a ‘more woody, less metallic tone, smoother glissandos and a faster feel’. The ABZ bass comes with standard ‘banjo’ frets – which Dingwall state is the same size as what you would find on most guitars from the 50s and 60s – while the Sklar bass features mandolin frets, which are thinner still. Th e ABZ bass is fi tted with FD3-4L pickups, while the Sklar has Z2 Super-Fatty models paired with a Glockenklang three-band EQ circuit. The Super-Fatties are made at the Dingwall workshop in Canada and, according to Dingwall, have been constructed with an end-to-end hum-cancelling coil array with neodymium magnets and hardened steel poles. The coils are also noise-symmetric/ tone-asymmetric, meaning that they boast near perfect noise rejection along with increased low-end clarity. Lee chose these pickups as they combine clarity on the B and E strings with increased warmth and fatness on the D and G strings. Th e FD3-4L pickups, on the other hand, are the evolution of the original Fury Dingwall pickups that were developed by Sheldon Dingwall and Glenn McDougall of Fury Guitars. Again, these feature neodymium magnets, humcancelling matched-pair coils and hardened steel poles, and are fully shielded for quiet performance. Dingwall’s literature notes that these pickups are a ‘blend between a J and a P but with more highs, more lows and more dynamic response’. The pickups on both basses feature four lead wiring, enabling the coils to be wired in either series or parallel. At a significantly higher price point it’s unsurprising that the Lee Sklar model comes with a few extra bells and whistles. One of the most impressive of these is the magnetic battery cover sited on the rear of the top bout. This oval plastic cover has two holes for finger and thumb to grab the plate and remove it. Strong magnets hold the plate in place, meaning that there’s no danger of it falling off mid gig. This has to be the  quickest battery access method we’ve seen – it’s certainly the coolest.


Plugging in the Sklar bass was really a rather memorable experience. Th e overriding tone of the bass is very gutsy, with a lot of punch. The low end is clear and well defined, and the tone is even across the whole instrument. Turning our attention to the control set we found a three-band EQ, master volume and a four-way selector control that has positions for front pickup soloed, both pickups in parallel, both in series, and neck pickup soloed. Existing Dingwall users should note that this control is wired to Lee’s preference, which is to have these positions placed in a slightly different order. The first position wires the pickups in series and the result is a powerful, well-rounded tone that sounded phenomenal through our TC Electronic test rig (set fl at). With this setting the bottom end was full but well defined thanks to the enhanced mids, while the top end remained clear without too much ‘sizzle’. It worked well for both fingerstyle and slap playing, and sounded great in a band setting. The next position soloes the neck pickup and in comparison to the previous setting is slightly thinner sounding in the low-mid range. The third position wires the pickups in parallel which results in a scooped tone, ideal for 80s-style slap sounds, while the final position soloes the bridge pickup for a biting fingerstyle tone that is guaranteed to cut through the mix. Overall, the Sklar bass offers an exceptional tonal palette that caters for everything a busy session player like Lee would need. Turning our attention to the ABZ bass, we have a far simpler set of passive controls: a master volume, another four-way selector switch (with positions for bridge, both parallel, both series, neck) and a tone control. With passive electronics and no EQ controls, the ABZ has a more traditional-sounding range, but we found old-school slap tones, biting fingerstyle and everything in between well catered for. As with the Sklar bass, wiring the pickups in series resulted in a full, fat tone that would work for the majority of recording/live situations, while a scooped tone was the result of wiring in parallel. The toggle control might not be to everyone’s tastes – particularly if you are used to using a standard blend control – but the range of sounds on offer is undeniable. In use, the most obvious difference with these instruments is the Novax fanned-fret design.   is was our first time playing a Dingwall, and we anticipated a period of adjustment with our left-hand positioning. Yet we found that for the most part little or no adjustment was required – as unnerving as it can be to look at the fretboard and see sloping frets, our fingers still seemed to land in the right places and we were able to get around both instruments comfortably. It’s a little different in the upper register as the angles become more obvious, which combined with the smaller frets means that you have to be quite careful when playing melodic lines. Playing chords also required some adjustment – for example, playing the interval of a fourth in the upper register requires a slight adjustment. Overall, however, we were stunned at how easy it was to get around these instruments, and would have no hesitation in playing one on a gig.


Both the Sklar bass and the ABZ are stunning instruments that reflect forward-thinking design elements combined with superior craftsmanship. These two very different models occupy different price brackets and certainly the ABZ is priced sensibly in the lower half of the high-end market. There are cheaper Dingwall basses available (such as the Chinesemade Combustion) but this is undoubtedly one of the more affordable of Dingwall’s handmade basses, and is most certainly worthy of your attention. The Sklar bass, retailing at £4,000, is a far more serious investment, but again, there’s no denying the level of craftsmanship, design and sheer playability on offer. These factors, combined with a stunning sonic palette, should make it a serious contender for anyone looking for a top end instrument that not only looks amazing but can deliver the goods in any situation as well. We’d have no hesitation in recommending either bass for an immediate test drive.



Made in: Canada

Body: Northern ash/alder dual-density body

Neck: Maple

Fingerboard: Wenge

Neck join: Bolt-on neck

Frets: 24 mandolin frets

Machine heads: Gotoh ruthenium lightweight tuners

Bridge: Black custom bridge

Pickups: Z2 Super-Fatty pickups

Electronics: Glockenklang 3-band EQ

Controls: Volume, blend, treble,middle and bass

Weight: 3.8 kg (8.8 lb)


Made in: Canada

Body: Swamp ash

Neck: Maple

Fingerboard: Maple

Neck join: Bolt-on neck

Frets: 24 banjo frets

Machine heads: Hipshot

Ultralight tuners

Bridge: Custom Dingwall bridge

Pickups: Dingwall FD3-4L pickups

Electronics: Glockenklang 3-band EQ

Controls: Volume, blend, treble,middle and bass

Weight: 3.4 kg (7.9 lb)


Plus: Superior tones, expert craftsmanship and innovation.

Minus: No complaints about the instruments themselves, but the Sklar model will be too pricey for many.

Overall: Two beautiful basses, great sounds, great to play.

Premier Guitar Review September 2011 By David Abdo

Listen: Bridge Pickup

Listen: Neck Pickup

Listen: Jazz

Listen: Stingray-style

It’s been 60 years since the electric bass was born, and since then bass builders have done their best to improve on an already solid design. Craftsman Sheldon Dingwall and his team at Dingwall Guitars challenge tradition by creating instruments that address many issues with bass design, while keeping their eyes on aesthetics and their ears on classic tones. A prime example of this is the Z3—a striking bass that challenges convention with thoughtful features and versatile sounds.

Bass-ic Innovations

Under the Z3’s gorgeously deep, candy-purple finish is a unique approach to body design. The woods are chosen based on how they complement the different vibrations of the strings. For instance, the bass side of the body has a heavier, denser piece of swamp ash, while the treble side consists of a softer, lighter piece of swamp ash. Dingwall believes this dual-density approach achieves a greater tonal balance across the instrument.

While the body shape is one of the Z3’s more subtle qualities, the neck is the most eye-catching feature of the instrument. The thin, C-shaped neck is constructed from five pieces of maple, and it’s topped with a flat, beautiful wenge fretboard that uses small banjo frets in an arrangement based on the Novax Fanned-Fret system. Fanning the frets creates different scale lengths for each string, ranging from 34" on the 1st string up to 37" on the 5th string. While these scale lengths provide consistency in tone and tension, it could be a challenge to find replacement strings for such a long 5th string—unless you use Dingwall’s line of strings. To that end, the forum on Dingwall’s website has a section dedicated to helping players find suitable strings from other manufacturers.

The Dingwall-designed bridge is impressive, with qualities that almost make other bridges look inferior. Its plate is countersunk into the body, it features individual saddles for each string, and the strings are held in place by a pin that slides into the hole in the ball end of the string. Reportedly, the benefit of the latter feature is that it minimizes stress points on the string and makes it easier to remove strings after breakage. Other special Z3 features include a compound-angled headstock, a Hipshot Xtender key for the 5th string, and a brilliantly devised magnetic battery compartment. Throw in a Neutrik locking jack and heavy-duty mounting bolts, and you have an instrument built for durability and performance.

Good Things Come in Threes (and Sometimes Fours)

The Dingwall Z Series consists of three models—the Z1, Z2, and Z3. The only difference between the three is the configuration of Dingwall’s Super-Fatty pickups. The Z1 uses two pickups with spacing similar to a 1960s Jazz bass, while the Z2 clusters the pickups toward the bridge for a punchy, Music Man StingRay-like tone. The Z3 is loaded with three pickups and combines the positions of the Z1 and Z2 basses for the best of both worlds. The Super-Fatty pickups match well with the included 3-band Glockenklang preamp, which enhances the tone in active mode, and provides a treble cut in passive mode. Each pickup is also wired with a series/parallel switch.

While some basses use a blend control between pickups, the Z3 uses a 4-position rotary selector to engage different pickup combinations. Position 1 solos the bridge pickup, position 2 activates the two pickups closest to the bridge, position 3 turns on the outer pickups (J-bass style), and position 4 solos the neck pickup.

Don’t Fret About Fanning!

“How does it play?” When fellow bassists inspected our review model, every one of them asked that question. They are not alone, for this inquiry is discussed in bass chat rooms across the Internet. The fanned frets may look daunting, but they really aren’t. As with any new instrument, playing the Z3 entails an initial period of adjustment during which you recalibrate muscle memory for the new set of measurements and spacing. I’ve spent many years playing basses with a 34" scale, and I found it took very little time to feel at ease with the varying scale lengths of the Z3.

To get comfortable with the fanned frets, I stood in front of a mirror in a natural playing position and gradually slid my hand from the halfway point all the way up the neck, which allowed me to watch the positioning of my fingers over the fanned frets. Surprisingly, my technique did not require much adjustment as I transitioned from the lower register to the upper part of the fretboard. After a few minutes of this, I looked away from the neck to allow muscle memory to take effect. There were occasions when I missed notes, but I didn’t find it to be any different than adjusting to a 35" scale bass with standard fret positioning. By the second day, I felt more confident playing the fanned frets and the Z3 actually began to feel more comfortable than the basses in my collection.

In fact, I found that the fanned frets were to be appreciated, not feared: They cater to the natural shape of the hand moving up and down the fretboard. Bassists with solid left-hand technique should find it quite refreshing. My only issue with the neck design was that it was slightly difficult to reach notes past the 21st fret on the 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings. Though these notes are available on other parts of the bass, an instrument of this caliber should provide easier access to the upper portions of the fretboard.

Out of the Practice Room . . .

If I had to describe playing the Z3 in two words, I would say “balanced” and “versatile.” The ergonomics are excellent. On a strap, the bass doesn’t shift, regardless of whether it’s at an angle or played horizontally. And the weight is evenly distributed, too—I never felt back pain or shoulder strain while playing it. I’ve never been a big fan of thin necks, but the neck on this bass—which is tung-oiled and thinly coated with polyurethane—felt smooth, fast, and very comfortable.

The aforementioned construction goals of the Z3 were confirmed when plucking the strings. Tension on each string was very even, making 16th-note runs and string crossing a breeze. Expert slappers may find the spacing between the neck pickup and the fretboard too narrow for two-finger popping, but Dingwall also offers other basses that will appease thumb players.

Tonally, the Z3 is a Swiss Army knife. I played it through a Genz Benz ShuttleMAX 9.2 head driving a Glockenklang Quattro 410 cab, a Glockenklang Soul head driving two Glockenklang Space Deluxe 1x12s, and an Eden WT800 driving an Eden 1x15 cab. With all of these rigs, I was able emulate the punch of a StingRay or the warm, plucky sounds of a Jazz bass with a simple turn of the pickup selector. I compared it to my 1964 Fender Jazz bass and a 5-string StingRay, and it was sonically spot-on. The only difference was that the Dingwall conveyed these tones with more clarity and a more even fundamental note.

. . . And onto the Stage

In live settings, the Z3 sat firmly within the mix and was so responsive that I easily articulated my own voice. Every note was delivered with great definition—from the lowest notes of the 5th string to the upper portion of the 1st string. I was also able to adapt it to many different musical styles. The deep growl of the neck pickup was great on blues gigs, the punch and crunch of the humbucker was ideal for rock, and the J-bass position worked well for R&B and fusion. In each scenario, I was impressed with the its ability to rise to the occasion.

The Verdict

The Dingwall Z3 is impressive in sound, look, and feel, and would suit studio bassists or players who perform multiple styles of music. The multiple scale lengths and slapping-space issues may frustrate some, but anyone else who invests in this boutique beauty will be thrilled with its quality components, impeccable playability, and pristine tone.


Buy if...

you seek a boutique bass with clarity, definition, and a multitude of tones.

Skip if...

you prefer traditional looks, slap a lot, or are on a budget.

Dingwall Guitars

Street $5610 - dingwallguitars.com

Z Specifications


•After years of building basses mostly using the Novax® Fanned-Fret System™, but also some with standard parallel frets, we've come to the conclusion that the use of this technology makes basses better - period. The tension and tone from string to string is more even and low note definition is greatly improved. EQing a bass whose strings are all of a similar tonal character is so much easier than when the low strings have a darker quality and the higher strings have a brighter quality. Body woods – Dual density swamp ash core, optional exotic wood top.


•Neck Construction

•5-piece Laminated Quarter-Sawn Hard Rock Maple

•We take neck construction very seriously due to Sheldon’s extensive experience in guitar repairs coupled with our geographic location. During his many years in the repair business Sheldon constantly had to deal with humidity related problems made worse by our extreme local climate. Many of these problems could have been minimised through simple design changes and materials choices. Touring musicians are constantly amazed at how stable Dingwall instruments are. Many state that their Dingwall necks are as stable as their Graphite necked instruments.

•Currently our Prima and Z-series necks are laminated from 5 pieces of quarter-sawn hard rock maple. Contrary to popular belief a laminated neck is not any stiffer than a one-piece neck. The main advantage of a well made laminated neck is that it will be more stable and less prone to warping. Another advantage is that it allows us to laminate up a large stress free block so that we can have an angled headstock with continuous grain throughout. There are many ways to achieve an angled headstock, but the continuous grain style is the most stable. Provided the headstock angle is kept to a minimum, it is also very strong.

•Neck Carve

•Semi Elliptical

•Here is another area where Computer Aided Design has been a great help. An elliptical shape is the most natural feeling, efficient shape there is. We used CAD to create an ellipse that tapers equally down the entire length of the neck shaft. It doesn’t matter what position you are playing anywhere on the neck, it is always extraordinarily comfortable.

•The Prima and Z-series necks are some of the thinnest, most comfortable necks made. Due to our extra strong truss-rod and carbon fiber reinforcement, they are extremely stiff as well.

•Truss Rod

•Pressure Fit, Double Expanding, Single Acting

•The double expanding style is an industry standard. However, our method of installation – taught to us by Glenn McDougall of Fury Guitars, involves glueing the truss rod into the neck under nearly 1000-LB of pressure. This creates a coupling of steel to wood, minimizing dead spots and increasing both sustain and harmonic content.

•Adjustment - Hidden Plateless

•The hidden, plate-less truss rod adjustment has always been a design feature of Dingwall instruments.

•The truss rod is the most commonly adjusted component on most guitars, so access to the truss rod adjustment should be as easy as possible.

•Carbon fiber reinforcement – twin tapered spars

•We use specially tapered carbon fiber spars that provide a maximum of reinforcement near the heel joint where the stress is highest, gradually tapering to a minimum of reinforcement near the nut.

•There is nothing wrong with the tone of a carbon fiber neck. We just really like the tone of wood necks and feel that the tapered spars offer the best compromise between the tone of wood and the stability of carbon fiber.

•Neck Finish


•The finish on a neck makes a big difference in the feel of the neck. Most people prefer the smooth, natural feel of an oil-finished neck. It has also been our experience that an oil-finished neck is more humidity stable than a painted neck (providing the fingerboard is not painted as well). Even though oil provides less moisture vapor protection than a painted finish, an oil-finished neck is considered a balanced finish. In other words the fingerboard side of the neck has the same finish and therefore the same moisture protection as the back of the neck. So the whole neck gains and loses moisture at an equal rate. This is true of a neck that is painted both front and back as well such as most maple necks.

•Necks that are painted on the back of the neck but whose fingerboards are oiled would be considered to have an unbalanced finish where the moisture gain and loss will be slightly more inhibited through the paint. Not much mind you, but enough to make the neck less stable through humidity changes.


•Angled (compound)

•If you look closely at the angle of our headstock, you will notice that it’s actually a combination of two angles. This adds considerable complication to the construction process but provides a perfectly linear string path to the tuners.

•The headstock features a pau ferro face veneer as standard (maple fingerboards get a maple veneered head face) and is also available with an optional matching veneer cut from the same wood as the top. This is a great look and is a very popular option.


•Materials- Wenge, Pau Ferro Or Maple

•Bass guitars have relatively long necks. Any mismatch between the fingerboard and neck shaft with regard to movement due to humidity changes will be very noticeable.

•What this means is that from a design standpoint, we look for woods that are stable first, then from that group we choose the best sounding woods, then from that group we choose the best looking.

•We've found pau ferro and wenge to be very stable when laminated to a maple neck. The two woods sound very similar, so we use them interchangeably depending on quality available at the time.

•Maple fingerboards of course are very stable and add a nice snap to the high end.

•Radius- Compound, 7-1/2” To 25”

•We started with a 7-1/2” radius at the nut. This is a very comfortable and familiar feeling radius. Then using Computer Aided Design, we adjusted the radius to match the increasing width of the fingerboard while maintaining the exact same thickness under each string. The latter point is critical to achieving a low action. A side benefit is that the flatter radius at the bridge makes right hand work easier and keeps the strings a more consistent distance from the pickups for more even response.


•Gotoh GB-70

•These are among the smoothest most reliable tuners made.

•Hipshot Drop A Or D Tuner Option

•You haven't lived until you've heard our E string dropped down to a D or our B string dropped down to an A! Adding a Hipshot is one of our most popular options. When you consider how much music is written in the key of D and A it makes a lot of sense. Once you've tried a great sounding low A, you'll be hooked

•Banjo Size - 24, Fanned

•Leland Sklar turned us on to small frets. We use a size that is normally used on banjos. The small frets intonate very precisely, feel sleek and have a warmer, woodier tone.

•Mandolin Size

•For the player with finesse, who is looking for the ultimate in playability, we also offer Mandolin frets. Necks fretted with mando frets sound even more woody and natural. Fret noise is almost non-existent. Playability takes the term “effortless” to a new level. Players with a light to medium touch can expect 5-10 years before replacement is necessary. (The photo to the left shows a banjo fret on the left and a mando fret on the right


•3mm Pearl Face And Side Dots

•Leland also designed our standard dot pattern of 3 mm pearl dots spaced halfway between the 1st and 2nd strings. Abalone dots are an option.

•Our optional bar design has evolved from the inlay design Sheldon used on the very first necks he built. Bars are available in either pearl or abalone.

•Custom Inlays

•More elaborate inlays can be made available, just ask.



•Phenolic is long wearing and very consistent.

•Neck Mounting Bolts

•Large Head Machine Screws

•In published tests, “Lee Valley Tools” showed the pullout resistance of various wood screws compared to machine screws properly installed in wood. The results were hands down in favor of the machine screws and tapped threads.

•We use machine screws with special large heads designed to distribute the pressure in soft materials like wood. This system is a little more costly and labour intensive to use but results in an extremely strong neck joint.


•Body Woods

•Core wood – Dual Density Swamp Ash

•The dual density concept used in the Prima and Z series was such a success it led us to trying it in a slightly different way on the Z-series bodies.

•Swamp ash is a highly sought after, great sounding wood. The problem for luthiers is that it is also very inconsistent weight wise. Not only from board to board, but from one end of a board to the other! This is why you see such a variance in the weights of swamp ash basses.

•Using our dual density concept, we separate the dense, heavy blanks from the lightweight ones. The heavier blanks get used for bass sides only and light ones get used for the trebles. Not only does this provide the tonal benefits of the dual density system, but also all of our swamp ash basses are very consistent in weight and tone.

•The grain of the swamp ash is highlighted with dark brown filler. The beautiful contrast between the dark grain lines and the transparent body color is where the Zebra gets its name.

•\The total body thickness including top is only 38mm (1.5”). This keeps the weight of the bass down, while increasing the plate (face area) to thickness ratio for a more responsive, resonant tone.

•Due to the small headstock design, the balance is perfect.

•Top and Back Woods

•Top of the line exotic

•We cut our top and back woods ourselves, labeling and storing them in sequence so that the back of the instrument is a perfect match to the top.

•We have a wide choice of exotic top and back woods to choose from for a number of budgets and tastes. The dual density core woods contribute so much to the tone that the top and back woods have a minimal affect. This is a good thing as it allows us complete freedom to choose the most amazing looking woods available without fear of compromising tone.



•Through years of experience, we've come up with our own blend of polyester and polyurethane paints that offer great protection, great colors, and great tone. The bodies almost look like they've been dipped in glass, yet the finish is extremely thin allowing it to be acoustically transparent.

•Strap Pin and Neck Bolt Reinforcement

•Rock maple plugs

•Strap pin screws commonly loosen over time leading to stripped wood. You can imagine the damage that could happen if a strap pin let go. Part of the problem is most tone woods used for bodies are relatively soft. Secondly the screws are mounted in end-grain, which doesn't hold screws well. All Prima and Z-series bodies receive edge grain hard maple reinforcement plugs. You will never see the improvement as it's hidden under the strap pin washer, but it's there, protecting your investment.

•In softer woods like alder and low-density swamp ash we install similar maple reinforcement plugs under the neck mounting bolts. These provide a firm seating for the neck bolts beefing up this high stress area

•Strap Locks

•Dunlop - Standard

•Of the many strap lock designs, these are the easiest to use. As a plus the button design we use is also functions as a regular strap pin.

•Bridge System
•Dingwall Designed Individual Saddles With Sub Plate System

•Featuring a unique pin system that anchors the string by utilizing the hole in the ball. This eliminates any stress points on the string where it wraps around the ball.

•Designed to be “set & forget” simple. Once the string height and intonation are set, the saddle is locked down to the sub plate for perfect coupling. This also guarantees that the saddle never goes out of adjustment accidentally.

•Aircraft aluminum is used for the saddles and sub plate as it is lightweight and has a wonderful ring (Aluminum is the material of choice for xylophone bars).

•The riser screws are made from 18-8 stainless steel. These screws will virtually last forever.

•Matching control Knobs


•For those that crave the “wood look” we offer matching wood control knobs. The knobs are cut from the actual body blank and are unique to the instrument. They feature a brass insert with a set-screw and are finished to match the top.

  1. Super Fatty

  2. *The Super-Fatty pickups including the shells are made right in our shop here in Canada. They feature an end to end humcancelling coil array with neodymium magnets and hardened steel poles. The coils are noise-symetric/tone-asymetric, which means they maintain near-perfect noise rejection with increased low-end clarity. They have been designed to combine Super clarity on the B and E strings with increased warmth and Fatness on the D and G-strings.

Their tone has been described as very clear and transparent on the bottom and very smooth and punchy on the top.  They they have a natural overdriven quality when pushed hard that is similar to a vintage tube amp.

They feature 4-lead wiring which enables the internal coils to be wired in either series for strong mids and high output or parallel for scooped mids and n normal output.

•“I also have a soft spot for good-sounding passive basses, perhaps from having owned and played some great ´60s Fender Jazz and Precision basses. The passive electronics on the Afterburner are just great, hum-free with very nice sounding pickup combinations. I think the slap sound in parallel mode is one of the best I ever heard. I did not miss the blending pot.” Mats Gronberg, Skarplinge, Swede

•Shielding System

•Star Grounding

•The Prima and Z1 features a unique shielding system that features a CNC machined brass pan with an integral ground buss near the output jack. All ground wires are soldered to the buss (star grounding) eliminating potential ground loops. The cavity walls are lined with heavy aluminum foil and the cavity cover is coated with high-grade conductive paint.

•Battery Compartment
•Separate, Dingwall Exclusive Design

•Our battery compartment is unique. The batteries are held tightly in a foam-lined recess. The cover plate is held in place by two strong rare earth magnets. The battery leads are the best quality available with plated contacts for long trouble free life.

•We are very proud of our battery compartment – and we should be. It took over a year to design and went through 15 revisions in the process.


•Neutrik Locking

•The Neutrik locking jack is one of the best ever made. Rugged and beefy, we take great pride in the way we've integrated this jack subtly into our body design.


•Dingwall Custom Made Stainless Steel

  1. We've spent years fine tuning and perfecting our strings. They only have to work with our basses, so that allows us to really fine tune the physical characteristics of the string rather than average them out to fit the majority of basses. This means that our strings reproduce every subtle nuance you will find in our instruments. For the player that wants to experiment on their own, there are several other manufacturers that make strings that will fit our instruments.


Tel: 01926 886433

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