From Dingwall -
“OUR GOAL IS SIMPLE - We want to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up every time you play a Dingwall.
For our team of craftspeople, building instruments is the most fascinating and fulfilling experience imaginable. It is the meeting place between the technical world of physics and engineering and the emotional world of soul and passion. Instruments from centuries ago are today still cherished, passed on from generation to generation. We believe that the instruments we build will share the same legacy. Because of this, we build every instrument with passion and reverence.
Dingwall basses have been synonymous with great tone, definition and the “Best B in the business!” When bass players purchase or
switch to our basses they hear nothing but praise from the sound engineers both live and in the studio.
The reason being that they naturally sit in the mix.
Why? Because of the fan fret system. It’s all about the great fundamental tone it produces.
- Equalized tension from string to string.
- Strong fundament tones without bad harmonics or overtones.
- No more floppy B string.
If you look in a grand piano you’ll see that the low strings are longer and the high strings are shorter.
This produces the right tension and proper length for each of the notes to ring true.
Now look at the Dingwall fan fret bass. Notice how the lowest, thickest strings are longer and the higher thinner strings are shorter just like the picture of the grand piano. This string length produces the clarity and definition Dingwall is known for.
Sheldon Dingwall -
“Back in 1992. I was looking to improve the B string on 5 string basses. I was approaching it from the piano point of view where by scale length controls the harmonic content of the string and is very influential on the tone of the piano. When I saw the first photo of a Ralph Novak guitar in guitar player magazine I was blown away and realised this was the perfect application for a 5-string bass to achieve the balance of harmonics on every string and an even tension on every string. Within two months of that I ran into Ralph at a luthier’s convention in South Dakota. We became quick friends and decided on the spot that I would pursue the bass end of things and he would pursue the guitar end of things. And on a handshake, we went about our ways. I went home and developed the original Voodoo bass and took the first sample to NAMM in 1993. From that point on we went into production and have been building fan fret bass guitars ever since.”
The Z3 is one of Dingwall’s flagship Canadian production basses. A sleek body design made for comfort, playability and killer tone. With dual-density body core woods, x-top options, multiple finishes and pre-amp options, every Z is a tailor-made work of art.
The Z3 is a bass that can literally do it all. Dingwall 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 from Dingwall –
Fingerboard radius – compound, 7-1/2” (at the nut) to 25” (at the bridge)
On their Canadian made basses Dingwall do the more complicated compound radius for a few reasons:
- You have a very vintage feeling 7-1/2” radius at the nut for comfortable play in the lower frets.
- And you have a much flatter radius at the bridge to make play easier for the plucking hand.
- The flatter radius at the bridge keeps the strings a more consistent distance from the pickups for more even response.
Scale Lengths - 5 string model - B E A D G
B37″ E36.25″ A35.5″ D34.75″ G34″
Body Core - The use of high density Northern Swamp Ash on the bass side increases sustain, clarity and punch of the B and E strings. Low density Alder 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 use a special polyester that’s been formulated for electric guitars. It not only looks great, but it sounds great too. The bodies almost look like they’ve been dipped in glass, yet the finish is extremely thin allowing it to be acoustically transparent.
Neck Construction - 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 minimized 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 most reliable. Years of experience have proven this design to be extremely stable and reliable.
We offer a 5 piece laminated wenge neck as an option. Wenge is also very stable. A wenge neck will be roughly 50 grams heavier than maple with an open grain feel. The tone is similar to maple but with a slightly snappier response.
Neck Carve -- Thin, flattened C shape
Neck Reinforcement - The double expanding truss-rod style is one of the industry standards. Carbon fibre is standard on the Z.
“While repairing guitars, I found that many guitars had either stripped or missing truss rod cover plate screws. I found it frustrating that it usually took longer to remove and replace the cover plate than it did to do the actual adjustment.” 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. All Dingwall basses feature easy to access truss-rod adjustments.”
Headstock - Headstock design – Angled (compound).
If you build a fanned-fret neck with a traditional headstock angle there will be an odd looking triangle between the nut and the end of the fingerboard. It will also be difficult to position the treble tuners close to the nut for a compact headstock and best balance. We figured out a better way.
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 enables a perfectly linear string path to the tuners, compact design and no tell tale triangle behind the nut.
All Z-series headstocks feature a matching face veneer cut from the same veneer as the top for a perfect match.
Fingerboard - Ziricote is an interesting fretboard wood due to the alternating layers of hard and soft grain (early and late wood). The hard grain gives the tone a nice top end similar to ebony and the soft grain adds the warmth of Rosewood. It’s a great all around fingerboard wood.
Frets - Vintage small size 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.
Position Markers and Inlays - 6 mm Luminlay face dots and 3mm Luminlay side dots with double at 12th fret and headstock. They are luminous under stage lights for easy sighting.
Pickups – FD3 pickups are the standard pickup in our Z3 models. They are a continuation of the FD (Fury/Dingwall) line of pickups but feature Alnico V magnets instead of Neodymium. Their tone and response is the most traditional sounding and feeling of all our pickups yet they maintain the tightness and clarity that Dingwall basses are known for. 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 normal output. The pickup coils can be pre-wired in either series or parallel or can be run through a series/parallel toggle for on the fly tone shaping.
Z3 Pickup Spacing - The Z3 is a 3 pickup system that combines the Z1 and Z2 pickups. This system provides the ultimate in tone-shaping versatility. Almost any bass tone you can think of is available at your fingertips.
Electronics – Glockenlang 3 Band Active / Passive EQ
Pickup Switching – 4 way rotary pickup selector
Knobs - We looked for years to find a control knob we were happy with. We eventually decided to design and manufacture our own control knobs in house. These knobs are exclusive to Dingwall guitars and feature a sleek design that blends perfectly with the overall design language of our basses and match the pickup shells perfectly. They feature a soft-touch formula for extra comfort and grip.
Jack - We use the Neutrik locking jack because it is one of the best output jacks ever made. It is designed for use in studio consoles where reliability is a must. It’s not an easy jack to install in a guitar, therefore you don’t see them often. We take great pride in the way we’ve integrated this jack subtly into our body design. It’s accessible, yet unobtrusive.
Tuners - Hipshot Ultralite tuners are an open-back design made from billet aluminium for minimal weight. Reducing weight at the headstock makes a big difference in the way an instrument balances.
Bridge - At Dingwall, we take our hardware pretty seriously. Nowhere is this more evident than our bridges. The Prima Artist and Z-series basses feature Dingwall designed individual saddles with a countersunk sub plate system.
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 aluminium is used for the saddles and sub plate as it is lightweight and has a wonderful ring (Aluminium is the material of choice for vibraphone bars). The riser screws are made from 18-8 stainless steel. These screws will virtually last forever.
Strap Pins - Dunlop locking with “Reach Reducing” pin on back
Weight - 9.67 lbs
This Dingwall Z3 in exotic Buckeye is a spectacular piece of work. Custom built for its one owner in 2016, it has not been modified or changed in any way. It has been looked after brilliantly so it remains in new condition. It would certainly suit a new buyer, without having to wait in a long queue for a new Dingwall custom build.
Comes in its high quality Dingwall gig bag in new condition.