Dingwall Bass Guitars:: Z2, blackburst, MAPLE FINGERBOARD, GLOCKENKLANG 3 band PREAMP:: Custom hand made basses, exclusively at Bassdirect


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Dingwall Z2 5 string - £4000 - SOLD please call to order another

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  1. Actual instrument shown, please click on images to enlarge.

The Z2 is designed to capture the best qualities of the classic single humbucker tone. Then Dingwall 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.. Dual density body wood helps to improve the tonal balance across the strings even further, the active/passive circuit is quiet and very user friendly and at under 4kg this Z2 is light and very comfortable to play. The neck further adds to the experience combining the intuitive fan frets with a custom profile that is so comfortable it is hard to put this bass down!


  2. Neck 5 piece maple

  3. Fingerboard  Bird’s Eye Maple - £320 option

  4. 24 frets

  5. Matching headstock veneer and finish

  6. Black Pearl "D " logo on 12th fret and headstock

  7. Black pearl Speedo and black side dots - £320 option

  8. Body - Dual density swamp ash with highlighted grain**

  9. Trans Blackburst finish

  10. Dingwall USA strings - buy HERE

  11. Electronics

  12. FD3 pickups*

  13. Rotary pickups selector

  14. 2 x series/parallel switches

  15. Active Glockenklang bass/mid/treble with active/passive switching and mid select switch (the treble works as a passive tone in passive mode) - £75 option

  16. Magnetic battery compartment cover

  17. Case - Dingwall logo gig bag

  18. Hipshot Ultralight lightweight tuners, black

  19. Extra strap position on back of body

  20. New 2014 Custom Dingwall Bridge (Black finish)

  21. Weight - 8lb 8oz/3.8kg

  22. Manufactured in Canada


The use of high density Swamp Ash on the bass side increases sustain, clarity and punch of the B and E strings. Low density Swamp Ash on the treble side keeps the G and D strings nice and warm sounding.

The dual density concept used in the Lee Sklar and Prima Artist 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.


We take neck construction very seriously due to our extensive experience in guitar repairs coupled with our geographic location and corresponding extreme climate.  In my years in the guitar repair business I constantly had to deal with humidity related problems made worse by the huge temperature and humidity swings of our 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. We’ve experimented with many different laminations and have found a 5-piece maple construction to be among the best. Years of experience have proven this design to be extremely stable and reliable while minimising dead spots.


We use 18% hard nickel silver fretwire.  Lee Sklar turned us onto the benefits of small frets. The advantages are a more woody, less metallic tone, smoother glissandos and a faster feel.  Our standard size is “banjo” size.  This is the same size as you’d find on most guitars from the 50’s and 60’s. Although its size is smaller than standard bass fretwire, its service life is about the same.


Rotary switch
All Dingwall basses (except Combustion) feature a 4-position rotary pickup selector. The pickup combinations are bridge pickup soloed, both in parallel, both in series, neck pickup soloed.


In the past we’ve used Bartolini, Aguilar and now Glockenklang pre-amps.  These are all top-notch, high-quality pre-amps. What we like about the Glockenklang pre-amps is the smooth and subtle tone shaping and the Active/Passive treble control. We’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the natural tone of our basses so that they don’t need a lot of tone adjustment. The Glockenklang really fits well with this philosophy. The Active treble boosts and cuts as expected in active mode but when the pre-amp is switched to passive mode, the control is switched to a passive cut control. This is essentially like having two basses with two distinct characters. One active and one passive.


The FD-3 line of pickups are the direct decendents of the (F)ury (D)ingwall-1 pickups originally co-developed by Glenn MacDougall of Fury Guitar and Sheldon Dingwall. Glenn has a 40+ year career designing and building guitar and bass pickups.  We take pride in our close association with both Bartolini in the past and Fury as they are among the greatest pickup designers and makers on the planet.

The FD-3 pickups feature powerful neodymium magnets, humcancelling matched-pair coils, hardened steel pole pieces and are fully shielded for ultra quiet performance. Their tone can best be described as a blend between a J and a P but with more highs, more lows and more dynamic response. The most current versions 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 normal output.

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


Unit 12, Rigby Close

Heathcote Ind Est

Warwick, CV34 6TH

Tel: 01926 886433


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