Dingwall Bass Guitars:: Afterburner I and II, 4/5/6 string :: Custom hand made basses, Fan Frets at Bassdirect



Z Series | PRIMA ARTIST | D Bird

In Stock | On Order | Sold

Standard specifications Afterburner I

  1. Neck - 5 piece maple, heavy duty truss rod, medium thin C shape

  2. Fingerboard - Wenge, 24 frets, 3mm Ivoroid face and side dots

  3. Body - 2 or 3 piece Alder body, choice of high gloss or transparent colours

  4. Bridge - Custom Dingwall, made by Hipshot

  5. Tuners - Custom Dingwall, made by Hipshot

  6. Electronics

  7. FD-3/Mach II 4L pickups, Master volume, Master tone, Rotary pickups selector (bridge, both parallel, both series, neck) see below

  8. Dingwall logo gig bag


  1. 4 - string standard £2430

  2. 5 - string standard £2535

  3. 6 - string standard £2635

  4. 3 x pickup £225

  1. Options

  2. Top

  3. Flame £405

  4. X top package - highly figured exotic top with contrasting laminate £775

  5. Contrasting laminate £245

  1. Fretboard

  2. Pau Ferro - £135

  3. Ziracote fingerboard - £260

  4. Maple fingerboard - £260

  5. Bird's eye maple fingerboard - £510

  6. Macassar Ebony - £370

  7. Fretless Mac Ebony - £485

  8. Neck

  9. Wenge neck - £440

  10. Matching headtsock finish (SJ/SP) £450

  11. Blacked out head and heel - £310

  1. Inlays

  2. Speedo bars with D £260

  3. Blocks £260

  4. Exotic Blocks £370

  5. Contrasting borders for blocks £250

  6. Luminlay side dots (3mm green or blue) £95

  7. Luminlay face dots (3mm green or blue) £95

  8. Luminlay face dots on SP/SH (6mm green or blue) £120

  9. Luminlay face dots and D12 on Z (3mm green or blue) £215

  10. Luminlay Speedo bars green or blue £505

  11. Luminlay Fretless lines green or blue £370

  12. Luminlay D on headstock £95

  13. Luminlay D on 12th fret £120


  1. Black Xtender key £140

  2. Chrome hardware on SP/SJ £60

  3. F# setup and tuning with Dingwall strings £110

  4. F# setup and tuning with Kalium strings £220

  5. 2 x Series/Parallel switches - £115

  6. 3 x Series/Parallel switches - £135

  1. Preamps Pickups

  2. Glockenklang 3 band bass/mid/treble eq, active/passive switching, including magnetic battery cover - £365

  3. Darkglass 3 band bass/mid/treble eq, active/passive switching, including magnetic battery cover - £480

  4. ABx3 (3 FD3s in AB series - no S/P switches) £230

  5. FD3 P-tone (AB, Z, SJ) £95

  6. FD3 or Super-fatty II pickups (AB/SJ/Z) £30


  1. Solid Colours

  2. Black

  3. Vintage White

  4. Ferrari Yellow

  5. Ferrari Green

  6. Fiesta Red

  7. Metallic colours (No extra cost on Sklar or D Bird)

  8. Metallic Blueberry £365

  9. Candy Black Cherry £365

  10. Candy Dark Purple £365

  11. Candy Red £365

  12. Chrome Blue £365

  13. Pelham Blue £365

  14. Burgundy Mist £365

  15. Candy Tangerine £365

  16. Black Gold £365

  17. Gold £365

  18. Bronze Age £365

  19. Transparent Colours

  20. Trans Black - £105

  21. Natural

  22. Natural to Edgeburst (Darker colour on edge) - £105

  23. Trans White - Only on Swamp ash - £105

  24. Pre-bleaching recommended for bright colours £170

  25. Pre-dye (enhances grain and colour) £155

  26. 2-tone burst (any combination of standard colours, light to dark) £210

  27. 3-tone burst (any combination of standard colours, light to dark) £310

  28. Custom colour - candy and burst to match photo - £295

  29. Dyed top with Matte Pearl back - £555

  30. Reverseburst (add to cost of burst) - £155

Standard specifications Afterburner II

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

  2. Fingerboard - Wenge 24 frets, 3mm Pearl face and side dots

  3. Body - 2 or 3 piece chambered Walnut core, high gloss finish

  4. Top - Bubinga

  5. Bridge - Custom Dingwall, made by Hipshot

  6. Tuners - Custom Dingwall, made by Hipshot

  7. Electronics

  8. FD-3/Mach II 4L pickups, Master volume, Master tone, Rotary pickups selector (bridge, both parallel, both series, neck) see below

  9. Dingwall logo gig bag


  1. 4 - string standard £2765

  2. 5 - string standard £2870

  3. 6 - string standard £2975

  4. 3 x pickups + £215

Options - see above


Spec as ABII but solid bubinga body


ABII HS 4 £2300

ABII HS 5  £2400

ABII HS6  £2500

Options - see above


After years of building basses mostly using the Novax® Fanned-Fret System™, but also some with standard

parallel frets, Dingwall came 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.


The Afterburner I and ABZ basses feature passive electronics with powerful tone shaping capability. The controls are a simple, no nonsense master volume, a rotary pickup selector and a master tone.  The rotary pickup selector doesn’t load down the pickups like a blend or second volume control.  The resulting tone has great dynamic range with lots of punch. The tone gets really growly with the bridge pickup soloed. Switch to both pickups in parallel for a nicely “produced” sounding tone with scooped mids that’s great for sitting back in the mix with lots of detail to the note, or for a perfect slap tone. Need more power? Switch to series for a heavy, full sounding humbucker tone that cuts, make that pounds through a mix. Looking for a deep mellow tone reminiscent of a 50’s P? Solo the neck pickup, dial down the tone a bit and you’re there.


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.


•Neck Construction

•One-Piece Flat-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.

•We use only aged hard rock maple for our neck shafts. The Afterburner is our first instrument to use a one-piece flat sawn neck shaft. Experience has taught us the correct way to orient the grain of the wood to maximise strength (resistance to deflection from string tension). In most cases this results in a neck that is actually stiffer than a quarter-sawn neck

•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

•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 gluing the truss rod into the neck under almost 1000-LB of pressure. This creates a coupling of steel to wood, minimising 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.

•While repairing guitars, Sheldon found that a high number of guitars had either stripped or missing truss rod cover plate screws. Besides which it usually took longer to remove and replace the cover plate than it did to do the actual adjustment. The Afterburner truss rod is so easy to access and adjust, if needed, you could even make an adjustment between songs. The irony is that Dingwall necks are so stable, your truss-rod will rarely need adjustment

•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 vapour 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.


•Flat, Counter Bored

•The design goal was to utilise a flat headstock design. Materials and labour savings are significant with this design. The only problem was that a flat headstock needs a string tree to create proper downward angle at the nut. It took some creative thinking and custom made tuners to solve this problem, but we feel we've come up with the most elegant solution currently available.

•The headstock features special counter bores that when combined with our custom tuners allows proper break angle at the nut.


•Materials- Wenge

•Wenge is an interesting wood with alternating layers of hard and soft wood (early and late wood). This gives the tone a nice top end similar to ebony, but with the warmth of Rosewood. It's a great all around fingerboard wood

•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.


•Dingwall Designed, Custom Made

•In order for our counter bored headstock design to work, we needed custom made tuners with shorter posts and a “semi-hour glass” shape that forces the string downward as tension is applied.


•24, Banjo Size, Novax® Fanned-Fret™.

•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. .


•3mm White Plastic Side Dots



•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 favour 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 – Soft Maple

•We chose soft maple due to its availability, low cost and great tone. The acoustic qualities of soft maple are similar to alder but with more sustain and a better B-string response

•Top Woods

•Optional - AAAAA flame maple

•OK, here we should have tried harder to save money, but we have a weakness for beautiful woods. The Afterburner is such a great instrument we felt it deserved the best flame maple money could buy. When you pick an Afterburner up and watch the flame come alive in the light, you'll be glad we made the choice we did!



•Through years of experience, we've come up with our own blend of polyester and polyurethane paints that offer great protection, great colours, 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 Screws

•Extra Long, Aggressive Thread Design

•Traditional strap pin screws are doomed to fail. For one, most solid body woods are quite soft. Secondly, the screws are inserted into “end grain” which has a hard time “holding” a screw. Thirdly, the strap pin screw is constantly being pulled on by the strap. This is why it is quite common for strap pin holes to strip out. On the Afterburner, we've come up with a solution. We replace the standard strap pin screw with a longer much more aggressively threaded screw designed for soft materials that strip easily.

•Bridge System

•Dingwall Designed, Custom Made By Hipshot

•Designed to be “set & forget” simple as well as featuring a slotted string anchor system for fast and simple string changes.

•The Afterburner bridge borrows the stainless steel riser screw system used with success in our high-end bridges. We reduced the complexity of the saddles to a minimum, then designed a unique base plate system to hold them rigidly in place. By using stainless steel riser screws and a tough Teflon coating on the bridge long-term corrosion free performance is ensured.


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.

•“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, Sweden.

•Shielding System

•Star Grounding

•The Afterburner is unbelievably quiet. Much of this is due to the new FD-1 pickups and our use of high-end shielding techniques


•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

•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.


Afterburner II 6-String Bass

Fanned frets, six strings, chambered body, 37” scale on the B string...

Doesn’t sound like a run-of-the-mill bass. Mike Brooks checks out

this custom instrument to see what it’s capable of.

Dingwall basses were a rare breed on these shores but some prominent marketing and wider availability have meant that us Brits have finally had the opportunity to sample the delights of Sheldon Dingwall’s bass creations.

The Dingwall brand has been associated with the Novax fanned-fret design for some time, yet on paper this particular model should be a beast of an instrument with a 37” scale length and a wide six-string fingerboard to contend with. So is this merely a feature-laden example that looks better than it plays, or is the sum greater than the individual parts?

Build Quality

The ABII is an impressive instrument to behold, but any weight expectations are dispelled immediately, in part by the chambered walnut body, while the grain of the bubinga top is clearly visible through the gloss coated, translucent-red body finish. Not only do the f-holes improve the acoustic resonance, they also add a touch of class to the bass’s appearance. The smooth curves and sensible body styling are very much in tune with the feeling of quality that this bass offers; extending the rear-body contouring all the way across the top of the body to the end of the top horn means that the bass sits snugly against the player’s body.

The neck profile is extremely slim, almost a prerequisite considering the width of the fingerboard, and traversing the neck is made even easier by the smooth, silk-like satin finish. Six-string basses can be a little daunting, but Dingwall have tried to make this bass highly playable, even down to the positioning of the front-facing position marker at the bottom of the fingerboard facing and using larger than normal markers on the top edge. The fourbolt neck attachment is tight, using countersunk hex bolts, and the neck joint is sculpted, resulting in less bulk to the joint. Dual carbon-fibre spars have been inserted into the neck to maintain neck rigidity, and the overall level of finishing is top drawer throughout.

The hardware and electronics reinforce the air of quality, and rather than settle for ‘off the- shelf’ solutions, Dingwall have developed their own component designs in tandem with recognised component manufacturers to solve problems. Black hardware is the order of the day and modified Hipshot Ultralite machine heads (lighter than the originals!) have been used, making a string tree redundant, due to them being counter-bored into the flat headstock facing. Hipshot also developed the bridge, and although string-spacing adjustments are not an option (set at 18mm), the bridge has been designed to offer maximum sustain and stability. The FD-3 4L soapbar pickups are in-house-designed units featuring neodymium magnets and offering a blend of single and split-coil characteristics with a greater frequency response, and these have been coupled with a Glockenklang two-band EQ circuit. The control layout is relatively simple, comprising volume, pickup selector (bridge pickup, both pickups in parallel, both pickups in series, neck pickup), and bass and treble controls offering cut and boost. The volume control has a push/ pull function that switches the bass into passive mode, with the treble control acting as a passive cut control. A Neutrik locking jack socket is recessed into the lower-body bout, and a quick peek into the control cavity showed that it was well shielded with all circuit cabling tied back. We also liked the magnetic battery cavity cover.

Playability and Sounds

Although we expected to be checking our fret positioning due to the fanned frets, the opposite occurred. The bass felt easier to play, almost natural, as though we were well accustomed to it, and over an extended period it felt that there was less stress on the fretting hand and wrist. However, some care was taken over finger placement from the

12th fret onwards due to the myriad of notes at our disposal. There is a headstock bias due to the amount of timber used in the neck; however, placed on a strap, the bass balances at a perfectly comfortable angle with good weight distribution. The 18mm string spacing and slim neck profile make this an enjoyable ‘sixer’ to play, while the upper regions of the neck are readily accessible due to the extensive cutaways. The ABII is a lively, resonant bass with a definite spring in its tonal step. Spending some time with it shows that it readily responds to the player’s technique, whether digging in or applying a softer fingerstyle touch. The weight of attack also affects the overall tone, but the circuit and tone-shaping options mean that the player can move from a gritty, aggressive tone to a smoother, delicate tone with a minor adjustment of the controls. We were surprised by the lack of mid EQ on a bass of this calibre, but it’s clear that this bass has no need for it as its natural tone displays a mid bias giving it a clear presence. The individual pickups carry the usual traits expected of their positioning, but it was the parallel/series options that created most interest. The parallel setting is by far the most

conventional ‘all-round’ tone on offer, with a warm, round character; yet on switching to the series setting, the signal is far more powerful with more honk and grit to the tone, making fingerstyle passages more distinct and defined, and this setting also opens up the tones from the low B string. Switching to passive mode, the signal is still louder than most passive basses, which is very impressive, with no degradation in the bass’s unique voice or ‘bark’.


There is no doubting the pedigree and overall quality of this instrument; what is surprising is that it took this long for Dingwall instruments to become popular over here. The craftsmanship and obvious forethought that have gone into the design and construction of this bass are there for all to see, and despite the sizeable price tag it is clear where your money is going. The sonic performance is quite outstanding and we have no hesitation in saying that the high-quality parts and features have created a fantastic all-round package. Very impressive!

Mike Brooks


Dingwall Afterburner II 6-String Bass

Price: £2,845

Colour: Translucent red

Body: Walnut body with bubinga top

Neck: Bubinga

Fingerboard: Wenge

Pickups: 2 x FD-3/Mach II 4L pickups

Electronics: Glockenklang 2-band, (bass/treble) active preamp

Controls: Volume, pickup selector (bridge, parallel, series, neck), bass, treble

Tuners: Custom Hipshot/Dingwall Ultralite design

Bridge: Custom Hipshot/Dingwall design

Made in: Canada

Nut width: 53mm

Neck join: Bolt-on, 4-screw attachment

Scale length: 37” (940mm) for the B

string, 34” (864mm) for the E string

Frets: 24

Weight: 3.9kg (8lb 9oz)

Case/gig bag included: Yes, gig bag

Left-hand model available: Yes, as a custom order

Plus: Quality workmanship and top-notch design have resulted in a 6-string that looks fantastic, plays amazingly well and totally sounds the part.

Minus: Hefty price tag, and there is no getting away from the large neck dimensions, although this is one of the most playable 6-stringers out there.

Overall: A very impressive instrument; its eventual owner will be one very happy bassist!

Issue 64 Bass Guitar Magazine June 2012


Tel: 01926 886433

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