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This article was originally published in issue #56
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Dingwall’s product line features some incredible high specification boutique instruments. However, even though the Combustion line is a more accessible price point for many, they are no lesser an instrument concerning value for money.
Premium in every way, except price.
Available in 4 string models and NG variants.
Left-hand models on the way!
Value for money
You’ll have to get over the fear of fan-frets
It won’t be the last Dingwall you buy...
Dingwall FD3n Neodymium pickups
EMG USA BT07 3-band pre-amp
Swamp Ash body
Dingwall Combustion 5 String
MSRP £1299 (UK) $TBC (US)
Fresh out of the box, Dan Veall takes a look at a brand new and updated release of the now much lauded, Combustion bass from Dingwall Guitars based in Saskatoon, Canada.
This isn’t the first time we have examined the Combustion line. Most recently, we looked at the 4 string versions including the Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood signature four string bass. Have a look at our previous issue 45 to see it in action.
Dingwall’s product line features some incredible high specification boutique instruments. However, even though the Combustion line is a more accessible price point for many, they are no lesser an instrument concerning value for money. More the reason to get a closer look here.
Let’s get some details together then: Sheldon Dingwall brought the Novax Fan Fret System to mainstream bass guitar originally back in 1990’s. Indeed setting the trend as more and more bands have been enjoying the benefits of the system when tuning down their instruments for example. Furthermore, Dingwall, having tested the water and proved the method, many other manufacturers of instruments are taking to the design for their instruments too. I have covered what the benefits of a fan-fretted ‘multi-scale’ instrument are in previous Dingwall bass reviews; I’d urge you to go check those out, or indeed the Dingwall website details. I do however touch on the advantages in my video.
This particular bass has a great feeling maple neck with rolled edges. This is something that you don’t always get with off-the-shelf basses as standard. You do here.. It feels super comfortable, and as I’d mentioned in my video, touring artists have said that it is rock solid with very little movement from climate to climate. Looking at neck profile, the neck isn’t ‘skinny’ like say an Ibanez SR. It has a bit more meat on the bone as it were and I feel that is an asset as the sheer tone of this instrument is undeniable. Stuart Spector of Spector Basses is a firm believer in neck mass to aid tone. I’m not going to argue with either Sheldon or Stuart in this case! - “D’at B String!” I will exclaim, believing I was still one of the cool kids! It has to be heard, that’s for sure. Moving on, you do have the option of Rosewood as a fretboard too, but personally, I am a sucker for a blonde beauty. Fretwork is exemplary. I will just say that these basses are manufactured with North-American sourced materials in a high-quality facility over in China and are shipped back to HQ in Saskatoon for a final set up to get these basses playing like the rest of the Dingwall product line.
The body of this bass with its translucent finish is made from swamp ash. So, you have tonal benefits, weight benefits and of course a sweet grain coming through the glossy finish. In the Combustion line, there are many other particularly nice finishes to choose from. Superb!
Electronics, well again Dingwall serve up their premium FD3n (Neodymium) pickups that have already been part of the premium range including the Afterburner basses for quite some time. However, new for 2018, instead of the previous rectangular shells, the proprietary casing graces the body top, and I think they add a new level of class, as well as being a nice curved area to place your thumb on! Both pickups are hooked up via a 4-way selector switch (offering parallel and serial configuration modes) to a superb EMG preamplifier that can be bypassed for entirely passive operation.
The tone has depth with a slightly aggressive edge when you dig in which can be smoothed with the onboard equaliser; it will cut through the mix easily if you find that your usual set up gets you lost in music.
Summing up, once again the Dingwall Combustion range delivers! When picking up another off-the-peg bass in the same price bracket for review, well, it makes for a powerful argument to take it that 37” - 34” scale bass home with you!