Saturday, 12 January 2008
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I need some advice or encouragement or maybe a reality check :lol: Let me begin by saying that I am new to the board, not a bass player (except in my mind) and not a musician. I have wanted to play bass for over 40 years (that will give you a clue to my age). I was close to beginning at that time. My best friend, who was a great guitarist, asked me to be the bass player in a new blues band he was forming. Before the band got off the ground it collapsed because of in-fighting between a couple of members, and so it was back to the music store with the bass. I never went back to it - life somehow got in the way. A week ago I began to think of learning to play again. Maybe it was seeing the previews for the movie "Bucket List." I began to do internet searches for the best bass available. I figured that I probably would only have one, so it should be a good one. Lo and behold I found Dingwall and was delighted to find out they are made in Saskatoon. I live in Sakatchewan about 3 hours north west of there. Needless to say I fell head over heels in love with the Afterburner. So, the advice I need from Sheldon and others is where do I start? Can I buy a bass, learn to play before buying an amp? Afterburner I or II? Any advice you can give me would be most appreciated as I am starting from ground zero. Thanks.
13 years ago
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#8553
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Welcome, Dennis. You simply can't go wrong with a Dingwall. The Afterburner line would be a great place to start, or end, for that matter. I use an ABI as my main gigging bass. There is a big price difference between the I and II, so you have to decide which look appeals to you, and which you can afford. Go to this link http://www.basscentral.com/2003/dingwall.shtml to get an idea of retail prices. You might also shop for a new or used one at the list of retailers on the Dingwall website www.dingwallguitars.com., or they occasionally become available through the USED GEAR thread here on the Dingwall forum. You would at least need a practice amp to make learning to play practical. I strongly suggest the Fender B-DEC. It has a built-in drum machine with a bunch of patterns and songs pre-loaded. http://www.fender.com/products/search.p ... 2354200000 It will make learning to play much easier because it provides the option of accompainment from other instruments, as well as a ton of other features to help you along. The other forum members here are very helpful and knowledeable, so I'm sure they will be chiming in soon. You need to know that most of us hardcore Dingwall players started on what we like to call "ordinary" (parallel-fretted) basses. It's safe to say that most of us also sold off the majority of our remaining ordinary basses after discovering Dingwalls, and many of us have owned some very expensive hand-built basses through the years. There is no comparison when it comes to a Dingwall. I'll say it again- you cannot go wrong with a Dingwall. I wish they had been around 36 years ago when I first picked up a bass! You are very fortunate to be able to start out on one. Good luck in your search. Mark
13 years ago
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#8554
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Welcome. I just saw an AB1 on Talkbass.com. No takers at $1500.00 so it is now at "best offer". Go after it.
13 years ago
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#8557
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Hi Dennis and welcome to the forum. I agree with your approach: get a great instrument right off the bat, no fooling around with "starter" basses. Who has time for that (assuming cash isn't a huge constraint)?. My ABII is an absolute pleasure to play: low action, even tension, light gauge strings, great tonal response, etc. There are lots of fine instrument makers but none any finer IMO than Sheldon and crew. An ABI or II would be a fine choice. With the II there is a bit more onboard tone shaping capability but the pickups alone, just plain flat, are incredible. Plus, depending on the amp, there can be lots of tone shaping done to suit particular needs, tastes and situations. Mark's idea is a good one as you would then have some built in accompaniment. As an alternitive, I often take the output of my computer (with iTunes) and my bass into a mixer and play away without the amp, through headphones, to the tunes I've downloaded. This works well and makes for a very portable rig for practice. When the time comes to play with others, then you'd probably need an amp and I'm convinced there are lots of them around (good ones) for not much $$$, especially used. There's help in previous threads for that part of the equation. But, by all means, go for it. We've all got one time around. Might as well play as much music as possible. Having a nice instrument just makes it that much more enjoyable. Sources for used equipment include: talkbass.com, bassgear.com, ebay, websites of bass only and general music shops, Craigslist, etc. New gear can be had at a number of DW dealers, all of whom that I have contacted have been helpful to me when deciding about purchasing my first DW.
13 years ago
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#8558
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Hi Dennis and welcome, once again I wholeheartedly agree with all Dingwallers before me. If I were to start from the beginning I'd start again with a proper instrument (AB I and AB II are fantastic instruments and great value for money). Guitarded has proposed a nice amp to start and keep for a while too. Cheap gear becomes expensive in the long run if you are willing to keep up with it
13 years ago
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#8561
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Hi. I feel very "qualified" to respond, since I was in a similar position 6 years ago. I began learning bass on my 39th birthday with no previous musical experience. After being a passionate music fan (mainly Jazz and rock) for my whole life, I was inspired by watching my 5 yr old daughter learn piano; what was I waiting for? First-this was one of the truly wonderful decisions in my life (after marrying my soul mate, of course), and has enriched it enormously. Second, your most important step will be to find a good teacher. I took lessons for a year before turning to the infinite supply of learning aids in print, DVD and online. I live in a small town and that teacher only took me a short way, but I'd still be taking lessons if I could find a better teacher. Email me if you like, I've tried countless study aids to find what worked for me, and have a slew of stuff I'd be happy to send you for the cost of postage.IMO you must commit firmly to a substantial and regular but reasonable practice schedule; for me this was no less than 60 minutes per day. About the bass. You are correct that it'd be best to start with "the One". However, the reality is that it'll take you at least a year or 2 to know what is your "one". I had the same idea, but have been through a gaggle of basses before I found what works best for me. There are no better basses than Dingwalls, IMO. However, the Afterburners and Z series are very long-scale instruments. The distances covered by your fingers are greater than on a standard bass. IME this will increase difficulty, especially in the early going. For this reason, I'd suggest a Super J model. I'd also suggest beginning with a 4-string, rather than 5 (although if you are totally committed this is not essential). The shorter scale is a must if you have small hands or any arthritic finger issues. Lastly, a beautiful, top-shelf bass is a wonderful treat that'll inspire you and if you're flush the Super J will be killer. However, I'll wager that o matter what you buy, in a year you'll be joyfully thumping and, having a better feel for your needs/wants, will be shopping for another bass.If dropping 3K on a bass will be a one-time deal, wait a year and get something nice but inexpensive (like a Fender Jazz) to start.
13 years ago
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#8563
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Hi Dennis. Welcome. How's the winter in northern Sask? We lived in Kamsack for a few years... brrrrr.... I can also equate with your situation, although a bit different - I played as a kid with a few different bands and then didn't touch the bass again for twenty years. For some reason bass just had that visceral appeal to me, I could look at a guitar or other instrument and it just didn't do it for me. I guess it was just a matter of time for me to get back on track, especially once the demands of work and life in general settled down. Anyway, I think I've said it on here before, and I think it's good advice, Marcus Miller commented to figure out your equipment early on and then get busy. Lots of us spend years in search of gear. Unfortunately, maybe it's just a growth experience some of us need to travel. However, the Dingwall basses are amazing and fill all my bass needs. Besides my uprights, I only have two electric basses - both DW's. I also enjoy owning Canadian made basses and the fanned frets are sooo cool. We could all go on and on about them, (actually we are aren't we?) but I think you are making a very good choice and a well worthwhile purchase. Even if you sold it they hold their values very well. 4 string, 5 string, Super J, Afterburner??? All I can tell you is I was freaked thinking about trying a 5 string long scale DW. I have fairly small hands and had always played traditional style 4 string basses. The 5 string ABII has made me a better bass player as you become more proficient and see the instrument from a wider perspective. Could I choose between my Super P/J and my ABII if I could ony have one bass? Nope, and I won't dammit. Good luck. They are soooo amazing... :wink:
13 years ago
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#8565
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[quote="lomo":3mknzmhm]... the Afterburners and Z series are very long-scale instruments. The distances covered by your fingers are greater than on a standard bass.[/quote:3mknzmhm] Dennis- remember that the 37 inch B on a Dingwall 5 string is only 1.5 inches longer in each direction than the B on a 34 inch scale 5 string, not 3 inches longer at the nut, so unless you have small hands, it should not be an issue. If you are starting from scratch, then you have no point of reference to be prejudiced in this regard. If you started on a unicycle and that's all you had and all you ever used, then you would have no point of reference regarding a bicycle or trike. I love my SJ-4, but the benefits of fanned frets are best realised on a longer scale instrument like the AB or Z. Mark
13 years ago
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#8572
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[quote="XTCINXS":1kf8zl2e]Welcome. I just saw an AB1 on Talkbass.com. No takers at $1500.00 so it is now at "best offer". Go after it.[/quote:1kf8zl2e] I didn't look. But, if this is the 5 string whale-blue one from Blacksburg, Virginia (USA), then it's mine :D I bought it a few months back for $1250....A REAL STEAL!!! I had to drive nearly 4 hours roundtrip to meet the guy halfway. But, it was SOOO worth it! I'd never played a Dingwall, but knew about the technology and the benefits of the fanned fret system. Changing subjects a bit... I can't imagine starting out on a Dingwall!! That's like getting a Lamborgini for your first car!! Ok, I'll let the other member's explain the differences between the ABI and ABII. But, for me and my band's music, I prefer the brightness and bite that I get from the maple neck/body, passive ABI. I've never played any other Dingwalls, but I know from experience that maple works for me! I don't see me ever getting an ABII, unless a used 6 string comes along at a price I can't pass up. And, DO get the Fender B-DEC. I bought one a while back when I was between bands. I bought it because it's like having a band in your amp to play along with. But, it would be phenomenal for a newbie as a teaching aid! ONE SUGGESTION: If you're the type of person that gets frustrated and quits, then get a 4 string. They're the easiest to play. But, if you'll stick with it no matter what, then go ahead and start on the 5 string. One of the best things about Dingwall basses is the low B string on the 5 and 6 string basses. 4 string basses don't have a low B string. Find a band that'll be patient with you. I started playing in 1989 when I was 17. I had always been drawn to bass when I listened to music, and I have never played any other instrument. Anyways, I started from day one in a band full of newbies, teaching myself with help from the guitarist, John Kuca (may he rest in peace, I miss you bro). I was playing covers within a week. So, IMO it's like Billy Sheehan has said, playing in a band is the fastest way to become a good bass player. Good luck!
13 years ago
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#8587
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Welcome Dennis, I don't think I can add anything more to what everyone else has advised. I just wanted to support you with just getting your hands on a bass and trusting what you feel. I've been playing music for over 40 years, but playing bass only for about 5 years. I always felt a strong draw towards bass guitar without knowing why. Now that I'm playing bass, in a band, I think I've realized that I was drawn to it because it's a rhythm instrument -I'd been playing sax. What gives me the biggest thrill playing bass is locking with our drummer and providing a steady, solid groove for the rest of the band to take off from. I see it as being the floor that the others stand on. I've not yet felt any desire to "be a star" or frontman. I'm perfectly content to stand in the back and groove. Occassionally I sing backing vocals or pull out a harp to blow some blues. It's been fun learning to sing or play harp while playing bass. I've got a way to go... As far as what kind of bass to start with, I don't think there's one right way. Being a low-risk taker, when I decided to actually get myself my first bass (as a birthday gift to myself) since the Beatles were such a huge influence in my coming of age as a musician I got a knock off of a Hofner Beatle bass. It cost me around $450. I got a small Aguilar 12", 30 watt practice amp and started playing to cd's... mostly blues because it was the easiest form of music for me to learn with. Once I joined a band I realized i needed a bass with the ability to adjust intonation - the replica Hofner didn't have adjustable saddles and the intonation was way out. My next bass was a Fender Jazz bass - Highway One. Again, it was relatively cheap - I think I paid about $800 for it. This served me well until I got a bug to move to a 5 string. I did a ton of internet research and came across this forum. Everyone here was raving so consistently about the quality and playability of DW's that I figured I should try one out, which I did while visiting my son in Seattle (Bass Northwest). They had an AB1 5 string that I fell in love with. It was so effortless to play. I didn't get it at that time because I still wanted see what a Warwick felt like or some other "boutique" basses. I kept returning to the DW as the top of my list mainly because the fanned fret system made so much sense. For me, it turned out that I had a harder time adjusting to the 5th string than the fanned frets. I'm still not happy with my tone - but it's not the fault of my AB1. I can't even exaclty describe what I'm not satisfied with or what I'm shooting for, but I know I'll know it when I achieve it. I'm waiting for a set of D'Addario Chrome flats to try. Anyway, congratulation on following your dream of playing bass. As far as I can tell bassists tend to be the most easy going, least egotistical, most musically "generous" brother/sister hood of musicians. On a completely other note - for any experienced bassists reading this - when I re-string my AB1 with the D'Addario chrome flats, I want to be sure that if I need to adjust the truss rod, I do it right. If I turn the allen wrench toward the B string, is that loosening the TR? And, if so, does loosening mean increasing or decreasing the relief?
13 years ago
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#8588
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Dennis - Welcome. You have good taste in instruments! No one makes them quite like Sheldon and crew... Valkyrie - turning your wrench toward the B string will tighten the truss rod and decrease the amount of relief. Ken
13 years ago
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#8589
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Thanks everyone for all of the information. I'm very clear now in what I want and what I need. Thanks to you all for your incredible generousity and encouragement in helping a 60 year old move towards achieving a dream. Now all I need to do is get the disposable cash together. :!: In discussing this with my wife I discovered that we have some more house renos to do :shock: so it may take me a little longer than I first planned, but it will happen. :D In the meantime I will be haunting this board and other sites learning as much as I can
13 years ago
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#8590
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[quote="Spiritbass":ozf5tq1q]Valkyrie - turning your wrench toward the B string will tighten the truss rod and decrease the amount of relief. Ken[/quote:ozf5tq1q] I always thought it was the other way around: righty tighty, lefty loosey.
13 years ago
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#8591
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I think Spiritbass is right... turning the wrench toward the B is turning it clockwise, or to the right, tightening the truss and flattening the neck/decreasing relief.
13 years ago
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#8593
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[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":2g4ijojh][quote="Spiritbass":2g4ijojh]Valkyrie - turning your wrench toward the B string will tighten the truss rod and decrease the amount of relief. Ken[/quote:2g4ijojh] I always thought it was the other way around: righty tighty, lefty loosey.[/quote:2g4ijojh] I agree with Smallmouth. Clockwise straightens and counterclockwise allows the neck to bow more.
13 years ago
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#8594
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RIGHTY TIGHTY (clockwise) equals less relief/straighter neck. LEFTY LOOSEY equals more relief/higher action.
13 years ago
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#8596
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Turning clockwise (looking from the body towards the headstock) will lower the action.
13 years ago
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#8597
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Now I'm really confused. Let me ask the TR question in this way: If I've got my AB1 lying flat on the floor (carpeted, of course) out in front of me, with the bridge close to me and the headstock further away and I've got the allen wrench in the truss rod sticking straight up (perpendicular to the floor) through the strings/right along side the A string... if I turn the wrench counterclockwise so that the top of the wrench is going left - toward the B string, is this tightening or loosening the TR? And... would this be increasing or decreasing the relief? Thanks mucho!
13 years ago
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#8598
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[quote="Valkyrie":87nvhutg]Now I'm really confused. Let me ask the TR question in this way: If I've got my AB1 lying flat on the floor (carpeted, of course) out in front of me, with the bridge close to me and the headstock further away and I've got the allen wrench in the truss rod sticking straight up (perpendicular to the floor) through the strings/right along side the A string... if I turn the wrench counterclockwise so that the top of the wrench is going left - toward the B string, is this tightening or loosening the TR? And... would this be increasing or decreasing the relief? Thanks mucho![/quote:87nvhutg] Counterclockwise is loosening the TR and increasing relief. Always loosen the strings before adjusting the TR.
13 years ago
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#8599
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Thank you, one and all!
13 years ago
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#8602
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EXTREMELY SORRY GUYS for adding to the confusion. I was thinking about my basses that have the truss rod adjustment at the headstock....WHAT A DUMB**S I AM BEFORE MY COFFEE!! I work nights and had just gotten up when I wrote my reply. I'm gonna edit it to correct it.
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