Dingwall ABZ4/3 Review. – 24/01/2019

First off I must say, that although in my mid-forties I am really an old school bass player. I normally play a Fender Jazz or Precision bass, used to have a Gibson SG Bass for a while and have played Rickenbacker and other such instruments before. In my 20s I used to have a modern looking Washburn Bantam bass which played well, but gave way to my current Jazz Bass. Also most recently I bought an Ibanez SR600 as I needed a light instrument due to back issues that unfortunately didn’t turn out well as you can read in my previous review.

With all that in mind I will reviewing this bass with an open mind, but obviously rooted in my own style and preferences.

 

Specifications

The model name of this bass refers to its four strings and three pickups, these are Dingwall’s own FD3 humbucker.  The lower two are wired in parallel, whilst the neck one is wired in series. As to electronics it sports the optional Darkglass pre amp and a clever Neutrik jack to avoid your cable falling out mid gig.

Neck and fingerboard are made from maple and satin for a smooth feel, the body is swamp ash which is resonant but light. It shows tighter grain on the bass side and looser grain on the treble side which is known as dual density. Frets are nickel banjo size frets. The scale is 34-36.25 inches. Hip shot ultralight tuners are used with no strings tees. The bridge is the Dingwall Afterburner Bridge which is Teflon coated for durability.

The main feature of this bass however, are the fanned frets (also known as a multiscale bass) which in theory allows for better intonation across the fretboard.

Finish

The bass is definitely well made and put together and no discernible flaws can be found. The neck is smooth and fast and the third pickup seems to act as a natural ramp to aid right hand playability. The matt finish seems to hold up well to use and is resistant to finger prints and is well executed. At this price point perhaps some more exotic woods or a gloss finish could have been used although I do understand than some are available as extra options.

 

Playability

I have never played a fanned fret instrument before and to be honest I thought it would be an issue. But it wasn’t, within a few minutes I was perfectly comfortable without having to think where I had to place my fingers. I did have to setup the bass to iron out a little buzzing and then re-intonate it. After this it played really well and as advertised it does indeed play in tune all over the fretboard. The bridge as well is quite interestingly setup as the string sit directly on onto a pair of bolts making height adjustments very easy to make

Sounds

Please check out YouTube Video for a Sound Demo.

Accessories.

A Dingwall (Levy’s) Premium gig bag was included with the bass as well as colour coded Allen keys to cover all adjustments.

Verdict.

A very playable bass definitely one that should be on your radar if looking at fanned fret basses.

By Ernest H Slade
www.gear-review.co.uk