Prima Artist

The Prima Artist is designed without compromise. Created with our desire to build the best bass guitar in the world, it takes bass building art and engineering to a whole new level. The Prima Artist exudes quality craftsmanship, tone and aesthetic appeal for the ultimate ownership experience.



* While our website is under construction this information is subject to change. *


The case is a Levys Gigbag – Leather, made in Canada


Dual-density: Walnut on the bass side, soft figured maple on the treble side.

Body Core

Figured walnut on the bass side adds great sustain, clarity and punch to the B and E strings. Soft figured maple on the treble side keeps the G and D strings nice and warm sounding.

The traditional way of combining body woods to control tone is to laminate horizontally. For example laminate a thick maple top on a mahogany core to increase the brightness of the mahogany. This system works well to alter the tone response of all the strings as a group. However, our experience with the Novax Fanned-Fret ® system has opened up a whole new way of thinking about an instrument. What if we could take this concept one step further by focusing on the needs of the bass and treble strings separately? In effect creating a body that naturally balances tone between the bass and treble strings. At the time this had never been done before.

To achieve this naturally equalizing body we turned traditional thinking on its side by laminating across the width of the body. This allows us to use a higher density wood such as Walnut for the bass side to accentuate the highs and give power to the lows without affecting the treble strings. We then use a lower density wood (Alder) for the treble side to bring out the resonance and warm up the treble strings without making the bass strings sound muddy. For such a simple idea the results are pretty dramatic – warm, punchy treble strings with solid snappy bass strings.

Standard Top
Premium select top and back
Tone Chambers
Top Options
Top & Back Standard
Exotic wood contrasting layer option
Matching Wood Cover Plates
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.
Natural gloss
Pickguard Options


Prima Artist necks are laminated from 5-7 pieces of exotic wood.

Neck Construction

Prima Artist necks are laminated from 5-7 pieces of exotic wood.  We choose the woods for strength and tone first, then try to come up with a combination that either blends or contrasts nicely with the top and back woods.

An example of a Maple, Purpleheart, Wenge, Figured Bubinga Prima Artist neck.

Neck Carve
Thin, flattened C shape
Neck Reinforcement

The double expanding truss-rod style is one of the industry standards.  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, minimizing dead spots and increasing both sustain and harmonic content.

“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.

Dual carbon fiber reinforcements are standard.

Compound angled
Headstock options
Matching veneer standard
Standard Fingerboard
Fingerboard Radius

Fingerboard radius – compound, 7-1/2” to 25”

You can build bass fingerboard with either a single radius (cylindrical) or a compound radius (conical). We offer both types.

On our Canadian made basses we do the more complicated compound radius. We like it for a few reasons:
- We can have a very vintage feeling 7-1/2” radius at the nut for comfortable play in the lower frets.
- We can also 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.

Fingerboard Options
Ziricote, Birdseye maple or Macassar Ebony.
Fretless Option

Macassar Ebony with edge lines. We prefer the warmth of tone and beautiful look of Macassar Ebony for a fretless fingerboard. To guaranty buzz-free performance regardless of temperature and humidity changes, we install short fretlines on the edge of the fingerboard only. Thereby eliminating any chance of buzzing caused by the fretlines shrinking or expanding from the fingerboard surface.

Fret Options

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.

Mando size Optional
We install Mando size fretwire in the Lee Sklar model.  These are Leland’s personal favorite size frets.  They have an amazing feel – almost fretless like.  They are the most woody and smooth sounding frets available.  Their service life is very good.  Depending on playing style, you can expect 5-10 years of use per set.

Position Markers and Inlays
Custom Smoke


The Prima Artist pickups feature an FD-3 treble coil with a custom wound bass coil


The Prima Artist pickups feature an FD-3 treble coil with a custom wound bass coil. The coils are noise-symetric/tone-asymetric, which means they maintain near-perfect noise rejection with increased low-end clarity. The pickups are installed into wooden shells cut from the actual top and contrast layer of the body that they will be installed in. They are truly one of a kind pickups made in our shop in Canada.

Their tone can best be described as the best of a vintage J and P, but with the most clear and punchy lows possible. It’s impossible to imagine the power and clarity of the lows of these pickups. They have to be heard to be believed.

The Prima Artist pickups 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 Prima Artist bass features individual series/parallel switches so that the player can access these tones at the flick of a switch.

Pickup Options

PA1 spacing
The PA1 pickup spacing is modeled after the J style bass. The tone combinations will be familiar to anyone used to a J style bass.

PA2 spacing (optional)
The P2 spacing features two pickups grouped together in the sweet-spot.  The tone is more focused in the mid-range than the standard spacing. This tone will be familiar to anyone used to a MM SR tone.

Exotic wood shells, matching wood shells
Standard Electronics
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.
Pre-amp Option
Pickup Switching
Rotary pickup selector, Series/parallel toggle switches
Prima Artist control knobs are made from cutoffs from the actual body blank and so are unique to the instrument.  They feature a brass insert with a set-screw and are finished for a perfect match to the top. We include one extra knob with each Prima Artist as a spare.
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.


Hardware Color
Hipshot Ultralite tuners are an open-back design made from billet aluminum for minimal weight. Reducing weight at the headstock makes a big difference in the way an instrument balances.

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.

The saddles feature a unique pin system that anchors the string by utilizing the hole in the ball. This eliminates any stress points on the string where it wraps around the ball.

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 aluminum is used for the saddles and sub plate as it is lightweight and has a wonderful ring (Aluminum 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

Scale Lengths and Dimensions


Scale Lengths



Bridge Spacing 4
19 mm – .748″
Bridge spacing 5
18 mm – .709″
Bridge spacing 6
18 mm – .709″
Nut width 4
42 mm – 1.65″
Nut width 5
45.5 mm – 1.8″
Nut width 6
55 mm – 2.2″
Heel width 4
59 mm – 2.32 “
Heel width 5
71 mm – 2.8″
Heel width 6
87 mm – 3.43″
Neck thickness @ 1st fret
19 mm – .748″
Neck thickness @ 12th fret
22 mm – .866″


We’d like to congratulate Prescott Niles on the 35th Anniversary of the release of their debut album “Get the Knack”. This album broke New Wave into the mainstream paving the way for new music, fashion and youth culture everywhere. Prescott has been playing and endorsing


We got our pilot run of the new Version 4 Voodoo Saddles back from anodizing today. We’ve removed the pin system and went with a simple cup to hold the ball end, smoothed and rounded the surfaces but left the texture as close to “off the machine” as possible to preserve the


Choosing which Dingwall bass is right for you just got easier. Take a look at the new side by side comparison grid.

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