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Dingwall Bass Guitars Afterburner Model


Dingwall Afterburner
descriptions supplied by Dingwall Guitars website

Design Goals

Compact body and headstock - lightweight and well balanced.

Create a passive bass with greater tonal flexibility.

Unlimited upper-fret access.

To use only top quality materials and brand name components.

Capture the essence of a vintage tone but with modern flexibility.


After years of building basses mostly using the Novax® Fanned-Fret System™, but also some with standard parallel frets, we've come to the conclusion that the use of this technology makes basses better - period. The tension and tone from string to string is more even and low note definition is greatly improved. EQing a bass whose strings are all of a similar tonal character is so much easier than when the low strings have a darker quality and the higher strings have a brighter quality. Body woods – Dual density swamp ash core, optional exotic wood top.

Neck Construction
One-Piece Flat-Sawn Hard Rock Maple

We take neck construction very seriously due to Sheldon's extensive experience in guitar repairs coupled with our geographic location. During his many years in the repair business Sheldon constantly had to deal with humidity related problems made worse by our extreme 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 use only aged hard rock maple for our neck shafts. The Afterburner is our first instrument to use a one-piece flat sawn neck shaft. Experience has taught us the correct way to orient the grain of the wood to maximize strength (resistance to deflection from string tension). In most cases this results in a neck that is actually stiffer than a quarter-sawn neck

Neck Carve
Semi Elliptical

Here is another area where Computer Aided Design has been a great help. An elliptical shape is the most natural feeling, efficient shape there is. We used CAD to create an ellipse that tapers equally down the entire length of the neck shaft. It doesn't matter what position you are playing anywhere on the neck, it is always extraordinarily comfortable.

The Prima and Z-series necks are some of the thinnest, most comfortable necks made. Due to our extra strong truss-rod and carbon fiber reinforcement, they are extremely stiff as well.
Truss Rod
Pressure Fit, Double Expanding, Single Acting

The double expanding style is an industry standard. However, our method of installation – taught to us by Glenn McDougall of Fury Guitars, involves gluing the truss rod into the neck under nearly 1000-LB of pressure. This creates a coupling of steel to wood, minimizing dead spots and increasing both sustain and harmonic content.

Adjustment - Hidden Plateless

The hidden, plate-less truss rod adjustment has always been a design feature of Dingwall instruments.

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.

While repairing guitars, Sheldon found that a high number of guitars had either stripped or missing truss rod cover plate screws. Besides which it usually took longer to remove and replace the cover plate than it did to do the actual adjustment. The Afterburner truss rod is so easy to access and adjust, if needed, you could even make an adjustment between songs. The irony is that Dingwall necks are so stable, your truss-rod will rarely need adjustment.
Neck Finish

The finish on a neck makes a big difference in the feel of the neck. Most people prefer the smooth, natural feel of an oil-finished neck. It has also been our experience that an oil-finished neck is more humidity stable than a painted neck (providing the fingerboard is not painted as well). Even though oil provides less moisture vapor protection than a painted finish, an oil-finished neck is considered a balanced finish. In other words the fingerboard side of the neck has the same finish and therefore the same moisture protection as the back of the neck. So the whole neck gains and loses moisture at an equal rate. This is true of a neck that is painted both front and back as well such as most maple necks.

Necks that are painted on the back of the neck but whose fingerboards are oiled would be considered to have an unbalanced finish where the moisture gain and loss will be slightly more inhibited through the paint. Not much mind you, but enough to make the neck less stable through humidity changes.
Flat, Counter Bored

The design goal was to utilize a flat headstock design. Materials and labor savings are significant with this design. The only problem was that a flat headstock needs a string tree to create proper downward angle at the nut. It took some creative thinking and custom made tuners to solve this problem, but we feel we've come up with the most elegant solution currently available.

The headstock features special counter bores that when combined with our custom tuners allows proper break angle at the nut.
Materials- Wenge

Wenge is an interesting wood with alternating layers of hard and soft wood (early and late wood). This gives the tone a nice top end similar to ebony, but with the warmth of Rosewood. It's a great all around fingerboard wood

Radius- Compound, 7-1/2” to 25”

We started with a 7-1/2” radius at the nut. This is a very comfortable and familiar feeling radius. Then using Computer Aided Design, we adjusted the radius to match the increasing width of the fingerboard while maintaining the exact same thickness under each string. The latter point is critical to achieving a low action. A side benefit is that the flatter radius at the bridge makes right hand work easier and keeps the strings a more consistent distance from the pickups for more even response.

Dingwall Designed, Custom Made

In order for our counter bored headstock design to work, we needed custom made tuners with shorter posts and a “semi-hour glass” shape that forces the string downward as tension is applied.

24, Banjo Size, Novax® Fanned-Fret™.

Leland Sklar turned us on to small frets. We use a size that is normally used on banjos. The small frets intonate very precisely, feel sleek and have a warmer, woodier tone.

3mm White Plastic Side Dots
Phenolic is long wearing and very consistent.
Neck Mounting Bolts
Large Head Machine Screws

In published tests, “Lee Valley Tools” showed the pullout resistance of various wood screws compared to machine screws properly installed in wood. The results were hands down in favor of the machine screws and tapped threads.

We use machine screws with special large heads designed to distribute the pressure in soft materials like wood. This system is a little more costly and labor intensive to use but results in an extremely strong neck joint.
Body Woods
Core wood – Soft Maple

We chose soft maple due to its availability, low cost and great tone. The acoustic qualities of soft maple are similar to alder but with more sustain and a better B-string response

Top and Back Woods
Optional - AAAAA flame maple

OK, here we should have tried harder to save money, but we have a weakness for beautiful woods. The Afterburner is such a great instrument we felt it deserved the best flame maple money could buy. When you pick an Afterburner up and watch the flame come alive in the light, you'll be glad we made the choice we did!


Through years of experience, we've come up with our own blend of polyester and polyurethane paints that offer great protection, great colors, and great tone. The bodies almost look like they've been dipped in glass, yet the finish is extremely thin allowing it to be acoustically transparent
Strap Pin Screws
Extra Long, Aggressive Thread Design

Traditional strap pin screws are doomed to fail. For one, most solid body woods are quite soft. Secondly, the screws are inserted into “end grain” which has a hard time “holding” a screw. Thirdly, the strap pin screw is constantly being pulled on by the strap. This is why it is quite common for strap pin holes to strip out. On the Afterburner, we've come up with a solution. We replace the standard strap pin screw with a longer much more aggressively threaded screw designed for soft materials that strip easily.
Bridge System
Dingwall Designed, Custom Made By Hipshot

Designed to be “set & forget” simple as well as featuring a slotted string anchor system for fast and simple string changes.

The Afterburner bridge borrows the stainless steel riser screw system used with success in our high-end bridges. We reduced the complexity of the saddles to a minimum, then designed a unique base plate system to hold them rigidly in place. By using stainless steel riser screws and a tough Teflon coating on the bridge long-term corrosion free performance is ensured.
Dingwall FD-1™, Custom Designed & Manufactured By Dingwall Guitars™ And Fury Guitar®.

Dingwall has teamed up with Fury Guitar to co-produce the FD-1™ pickups. These pickups feature a vintage influenced tone with a pronounced “Bark” that gives the sound an aggressive edge. The pickups have high output yet are extremely noise and feedback free. To quote one customer.

“I also have a soft spot for good-sounding passive basses, perhaps from having owned and played some great ´60s Fender Jazz and Precision basses. The passive electronics on the Afterburner are just great, hum-free with very nice sounding pickup combinations. I think the slap sound in parallel mode is one of the best I ever heard. I did not miss the blending pot.”

Mats Gronberg, Skarplinge, Sweden

Passive Plus

The Afterburner is a passive bass with some very useful controls. At the heart is the 4-position rotary switch that allows both series and parallel tones without the high frequency robbing effect of a pan pot. A push/pull switch on the tone activates/de-activates the bluEQube™ for a broad selection of tones or a pre-set slap tone

bluEQube™ – Passive Mid-Contour Circuit

The bluEQube, when switched in, cuts the upper mids, providing a modern “Hi-Fi” tone with a nice open acoustic quality. This is also a great tone for slap. So you can instantly go from a great vintage fingerstyle tone to a great modern slap tone. We've been able to accomplish with a passive circuit what would normally require a specialized active system.
Shielding System
Star Grounding

The Prima and Z1 features a unique shielding system that features a CNC machined brass pan with an integral ground buss near the output jack. All ground wires are soldered to the buss (star grounding) eliminating potential ground loops. The cavity walls are lined with heavy aluminum foil and the cavity cover is coated with high-grade conductive paint.

Neutrik Locking

The Neutrik locking jack is one of the best ever made. Rugged and beefy, we take great pride in the way we've integrated this jack subtly into our body design.

Dingwall Custom Made Stainless Steel

We've spent years fine tuning and perfecting our strings. They only have to work with our basses, so that allows us to really fine tune the physical characteristics of the string rather than average them out to fit the majority of basses. This means that our strings reproduce every subtle nuance you will find in our instruments. For the player that wants to experiment on their own, there are several other manufacturers that make strings that will fit our instruments.