1. Sheldon Dingwall
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  3. Friday, 11 January 2008
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This is the last project we've been working on for NAMM. It's a little brother to the Afterburner. There are a few details to be worked out and financing to be sourced but the goal is to put this into production at a really attractive street price.
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Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Here's my thoughts on all of this:

[b:3jjfauea]Price[/b:3jjfauea]: BS is right-on with the $900-$1200 price range. Any more and you might as well shop for a used ABI.

[b:3jjfauea]Finish[/b:3jjfauea]: The flame top is nice. You could downgrade the quality of the top to cut some costs, but then you might as well use a fake flame top - I've seen some pretty convincing ones. Is paint really any cheaper per unit than a top? Offer maybe 3 metallic colors (a red, a blue, and a black), and offer 2 colors with "fancy" tops, natural and blackburst. As far as how to set the body apart, droop the bottom cutaway like a PA?

[b:3jjfauea]Pickups[/b:3jjfauea]: You could put one humbucker in the sweet spot. I had a couple of Cort Curbow Petites with a single Bart, a mid-cut switch, and a Bart MK three band eq, and it was all you needed. They were very impressive little basses. Cort did a great job with them, and managed to bring the 6 string in at way less than $900. I've nearly decided to get another, shave the neck, and have it around just for fun :) .

How about a PJ set up of some kind? Everybody makes at least one bass with this arrangement. Seems like there are a dozens of soap bars to choose from to find a decent one. Whatever the layout, a standard sized rout so that we can hotrod the bass is a must.


[b:3jjfauea]Frets[/b:3jjfauea]: 24. IME, a 24 fret Dingwall slaps just fine, thank you, and I wasn't frightened by the look at all! :D If you don't need the last 2 frets then don't use them, but I try to go way up there at least once on every solo :wink:


Count me in for A Dingwall Whatever, even at $1200, but no more than that or I'll just buy used.


Mark
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BurningSkies Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="guitarded":3ia64lqf]Here's my thoughts on all of this:


[b:3ia64lqf]Finish[/b:3ia64lqf]: The flame top is nice. You could downgrade the quality of the top to cut some costs, but then you might as well use a fake flame top - I've seen some pretty convincing ones. Is paint really any cheaper per unit than a top? Offer maybe 3 metallic colors (a red, a blue, and a black), and offer 2 colors with "fancy" tops, natural and blackburst. As far as how to set the body apart, droop the bottom cutaway like a PA?


Count me in for A Dingwall Whatever, even at $1200, but no more than that or I'll just buy used.


Mark[/quote:3ia64lqf]

I think we're ALL interested in this bass! :D


[color=indigo:3ia64lqf]My thought on the shape thing is that, while it's much less time consuming to use the AB footprint, what this needs to be is a 'new model' rather than a down-scale of a current model. It would be a unique instrument that won't have to live in the shadow of the AB's now legendary reputation. Having a solid finish, or a trans over ash or alder could work with a new aesthetic. Look at the EBMM basses. They've hardly ever gone with a fancy wood top and people love them. Fenders, Laklands, even Sadowsky Metros are almost all solid or basic burst or 'natural' finishes and they work great and sell well. The colors wouldn't have to be the same old same old either...they could have their own personality as well.


I think that maybe there's a need to think more about the target musician for this instrument. We know its aimed at 'entry-pro-level gearheads and players, those who haven't had a chance to play a Dingwall and can't justify the cost of one sight-unseen or even after having played one. But that covers a lot of ground. Its guys who have played in bars for 30 years and kids who have played in high school in basements. Its hobbyists who are gear heads and also pros who want an alternative to short scale, or want a quality back-up for the stage. Metalheads love them because of the downtuning potential...

But...you can't play to all those people. Do you aim to please the majority of the crowd and drive down the middle of the street or do you define your product a bit more clearly?

The string thing will be a problem for some, unless the 'alternative' string choices become more well known to prospective buyers.[/color:3ia64lqf]
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Smallmouth_Bass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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1. [b:1vhyu6fz]The Name[/b:1vhyu6fz]
I agree that changing the name from an Afterburner (GL) is probably a good idea. It's a new model and needs a new name to go with it.

2. [b:1vhyu6fz]Cost[/b:1vhyu6fz]
It would be great if you could keep it under $1000, but I do think that up to $1200 is acceptable depending on the features.

3. [b:1vhyu6fz]Pickups[/b:1vhyu6fz]
Go with what sounds best. However, once you're getting into the $1000 range, single coil hum is not an option (IMO). I like the idea of having standard sized routes for pickup upgrades. FD-3s, SuperFatties or even standard PJs.

4. [b:1vhyu6fz]Frets[/b:1vhyu6fz]
Personally, 22 or 24 doesn't really make a difference to me; I don't go there. But, if someone is going to take the plunge on a fanned fret bass, I doubt that having it look less intimidating by having fewer frets will make a difference at all. The whole concept of fanned frets makes sense and I think that anyone who is interested in the bass is going to want it mainly for that, so it will be a non-issue. And plus, those who will likely buy one will want to look different and show it off!

As for room to slap; I don't have a problem on the Afterburners the way they are however I don't slap much. Some might prefer to have more room, but it can be done.

5. [b:1vhyu6fz]Body Shape & Finish[/b:1vhyu6fz]
I think I'd try and make the body shape noticeably different from the Afterburners. The Afterburners have gone from "entry" level models to mid to higher end models and having a model below it with the same look will cheapen ABs a bit.

If you can keep a nice flame top, that would be nice. For solid colours I'd probably go with some of the standards like black, white and 3-tone sunburst. Maybe even candy apple red and a lake placidy blue of some sort.

One thing you might want to consider to keep this model looking distinctive from your other models is to add a pickguard. If you could manage to get a fairly traditional shape and not have it interfere with the neck pocket/butt end of the neck, it might look pretty cool.

6. [b:1vhyu6fz]Strings[/b:1vhyu6fz]
Keep the 37" to 34" scale (5-string) and don't worry about it too much. These days, strings can be easily ordered online and there [i:1vhyu6fz]are[/i:1vhyu6fz] some other options for strings. Even still, Dingwall strings are not easy to come by in a regular store and have to be ordered anyway...
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Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="Funkshwey":2845bgya]I have some suggestions for a name.

Dingwall Galaxy

Dingwall Rocket[/quote:2845bgya]

Uhhh, already suggested: "[i:2845bgya]How about "Rocket" as the name? You should hold a contest to name this new model and give one of these to the winner"

Mark [/i:2845bgya]


Mark
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BurningSkies is right on the money when he says that this needs to be a unique model with different aesthetics than the current line so that it doesn't feel like a cheap alternative. Hell, I even stay away from ABIIs because I feel it's a compromise when I already have a Prima (actually, even before I bought it I felt a bit like the ABs were the "budget" Dingwalls, something unacceptable at this price range). Different looks will make the model much more attractive, even to current dingwall owners.

Pricewise, I really think you should try to keep it below $1000. That extra digit is a huge psychological barrier IMO. If I were to go to the $1200 area, it should be REALLY different (looks or specs-wise) to make me not prefer a used afterburner.

Name it like you would name a bass you're proud of. No-one wants to shell out a grand or more to get a cut-down, "limited" version of what you think a bass should be like.

IIRC, you had initially announced bart pickups... I thought "doh, if I ever get one of these this will be the first thing to go". First of all, they should be the exact size of FD-3s to allow replacement. Other than that, dunno, can't you have someone in China or someplace make you pickups with your instructions? I think chinese FD-3s or something would be ideal.

I'd go with 24 frets. The difference in the angle between the 22nd and the 24th frets is minimal, and I think there are many bassists who are used to 24 frets and just want them to be there, even if they won't use them. For example, I rejected a 21-fret Dingwall because of that - as stupid as it may seem as I don't play that high often. If it was a $300 bass I wouldn't sweat it, but when I'm giving my earnings to buy the ONE bass for me then I want it to have it all, including 24 frets. And at $1000, you're mostly looking at people who are searching for their holy grail bass - you may be used to people shelling out $4000-$5000 for their dream bass, but this is a small minority; most people see $1000 as the biggest amount they are willing to give for a bass - I know, I've been there when I bought my warwick a few years ago. Warwick through their ads etc made me feel like I was getting a bass limousine, and that's the feeling you have to communicate to potential buyers.
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My opinion on this is the new bass is it should look slightly different than your AB basses, to at least set it apart from your other product line, but give it a familiar Dingwall-esque look- so its readily recognizable as a Dingwall

However I think the bass needs to come under the $1000.00 mark, and lower is going to be better (899). If your trying to reach out to players -who've never tried a FF bass or on-the-fence folks, you have to make a compelling argument, and its my opinion that 1200.00 is not what will convince folks to try it.
Finally, I'd say that your in a bit of a dilemma. on one hand people see these fretboards and pass immediately, so a 22 fret fretboard really removes alot of the busy-ness, but 24 fret basses tend to be seen as higher end. Id say do 22, just to broaden the appeal of your basses.
Of course if you don't think you can come to market w/ a sub 1000.00 bass that meets your standards and tone- then skip it.

While I'd love to have 2 to play out at biker bars, its gotta have a Dingwall soul else it ain't worth playin
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[quote="FrankM":28i15av4]
While I'd love to have 2 to play out at biker bars, its gotta have a Dingwall soul else it ain't worth playin[/quote:28i15av4]

Well said. Give this man a Harrumph! :wink:
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Hi Sheldon

There are some really good (and diverse) points of view being disseminated here, one observation is that they are all from existing DW owners. Have you been asking this question to the staff in stores that are DW dealers to get a feel for what the non DW owners are looking for from a price point/feature/USP perspective, or even a cache perspective?

I also think Frank M made a good point that if you cant get a product worthy of your name to fit your price point then it might be better to skip it. Then I guess its up to us DW owners to get cracking and drum up some more business for you so you can hire and train more staff to increase output without sacrificing quality!

N :)
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groovemachine Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Here are some more suggestions for a name:

Dingwall ADVANTAGE (everybody want`s to have an advantage)

Dingwall XPLORER (gives more people the chance to explore the Dingwall-world) :wink: my favourite

English is not my native language and for me these names sound good. Please tell me if I`m wrong.... :D


H.P.
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Sheldon Dingwall Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Thanks for the input guys. Some really great points brought up.

Here's where I'm at body style-wise.
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Nic DB Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Is it me or is the body shape a little slimmer in the waist? I also see 4 knobs, what are you thinking now for electrics?

N
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They both look great.

A while back you said that Hipshot treats your AB bridges as custom pricing. What if you committed to the same bridge as the AB's and just purchased way more to get a volume price break. It would be less labor intensive to install too.
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[quote="Sheldon Dingwall":6upvpu7k]Thanks for the input guys. Some really great points brought up.

Here's where I'm at body style-wise.[/quote:6upvpu7k]

At first glance...

I like the body style. It's got the identifiable back end styling that all Dingwalls have, but it doesn't have the unified leading curve of the horns that the AB series has. To me it looks like the body has more offset waist than the AB series (a la Jazz bass style, although that may be more of an illusion due to the horn shape), and the neck doesn't feature the elongated heel meeting with the front pickup. The curve of the neck end is closer to a traditional bass and de-emphasizes the sweep of the frets. I think this shape is a little less 'extreme' than the AB and may be a good place to catch some of the more traditional crowd.
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FrankM Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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I like the body style, definately Dingwall, but not totally Afterburner. Also it does take your eyes away from the fanning down low.

I still think a 22 fret fretboard makes the fanning look less pronunced, and look less busy down low. The 24 just looks crowded

Why not consider the 2 choices as a Jazz style pickup or a "musicman (Z2)


Honestly thou Sheldon-- your going to have to ask a NON-biased crowd for what the average Joe wants to play. I'm not sure w/ the #s of Dimgwalls in this group that our answers will be -what the ave guyy wants.
Also clearly you've thought this through, as the Idea is appealing, but realistically can you come in w/ a sub 1000.00 Dingwall that you don't mind carrying your name
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Seeing as how the lower strings are very rarely used way up on the neck (e.g. low B at the 24th fret), what about making the butt end of the fretboard "straight" (like a regular parallel fret bass) and just have a partial fret at the bottom? So you'd probably only be cutting, or partially cutting off two frets really. This would also give a little more room to slap and decrease the fanned look.
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Brim Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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here are some of my thoughts:

- 22 frets is a good idea....so the AB's and higher models come across as an upgrade. "But I want 24 frets on my GL!" Sorry, it's only available in the Afterburner I', II's, or Z and Primas. Remember, this is an affordable entry to Dingwall.

- Definitely provide an attractive top (flame maple is nice). It will resound the rest of the Dingwall line as precisely crafted works of art. Some of the more recent Zs and PA's are just spectacular in terms of woods and craft. Amazing. I think the entry model should speak in some degree to this fine effort to detail.

- Love the input jack - it does look sexy.

- Name suggestions (abbreviations in parentheses): Dingwall Spark (SP), Dingwall Element (EL), Dingwall Muse (M), Dingwall Burner (B) [signifying that the "After"Burner model are higher up in the hierarchy], Dingwall Alpha (A), Dingwall Genesis (G), Dingwall Bolt (B), Dingwall Ascent (AS), - I'll think of more later.

Just my humble opinion. Honestly, I think this is a great idea to produce an more affordable Dingwall. I would never have been able to afford my AB-II without the awesome deal I got from my friend, but the idea of a Dingwall that's $900 - $1200 street price is incredible.
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My thoughts so far:

- 22 fret is the way to go. Looks unclattered, while reserving the 24fr for the higher models (AB's, Z's and Primas)

- Passive soapbars (in a popular size) that will allow for eventual upgrade of the pickups

- Not sure about the splitting of the coils or (if it takes off in a strong way) a J coil inside the soapbar housing for the J lovers

- A flame top (if financially viable for the target price) would be a strong point

- A large control Cavity would allow for mods without butchering the body

- Name(s): Eco, Ahead, Iris (spectrum) or Olympus (it is a divine Dingwall after all)
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[quote="fullrangebass":2ukojbb0]- A large control Cavity would allow for mods without butchering the body[/quote:2ukojbb0]

Would make it a lighter body as well (a few ounces anyway).
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Great points from everyone. Here's my two cents:

~Both body designs look great... a little more subtle than most DW bodies, and most importantly it's a unique new shape for the DW line that still has a signature Sheldon look to it. I'm really glad you did not make the lower horn look like a PA as that would have broken my heart. It may just be me, but I think your lowest and highest-end designs should look very different from each other.

~I'm not bothered by the 24-fret neck, but whatever the general public wants will work... that said, I think 24 isn't hurting the bass at all.

~Stacked soapbar PU's with a coil split and ease for upgrades a must.

~Solid colors really may make this much more affordable from a production standpoint... Black, Lake Placid Blue metallic, what else? Maybe a metallic orange or subtle red.

~Price point: as low as you can get it without ruining your rep, Sheldon. Numbers will dictate, quality will dictate more. Try for an even $1000 ($999 for the sales-oriented) street price.

~Scrap the concept if it isn't worthy of the DW moniker FOR REAL.

Can't wait for my Prima Artist... I'm just pining away for another year at least. Hope I don't wither into nothing... :shock:

Much love, folks.
Stick.
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Dragonlord Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":2soxiemx]Seeing as how the lower strings are very rarely used way up on the neck (e.g. low B at the 24th fret), what about making the butt end of the fretboard "straight" (like a regular parallel fret bass) and just have a partial fret at the bottom? So you'd probably only be cutting, or partially cutting off two frets really. This would also give a little more room to slap and decrease the fanned look.[/quote:2soxiemx]
Great idea IMO, best of both worlds
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