Interview with Sheldon Dingwall 2016

By Johnny Cheng, GFG music

Photography Dingwall & GFG music

Published 05/19/16

 

Our team is obsessed with doing things at the highest quality level.

 

Recently, more and more manufacturers follow your path on fan fret bass. How do you think about it?

I think it is good. More people are being exposed to the benefits of fanned-frets which also helps our sales.

 

 

Can you reveal more about your future plan in bass? What can we expect in 2017?

In 2017 we will be introducing 6-string Combustion and NG2s as well as the production version of the 4-string D-bird. I am finishing up those designs right now but am also in the planning stages of bass designs for 2018. I'll need to develop those more before I release any details.

 

 

Can you tell more about the FDV pickup? What is the difference between it and previous ones?

The FDV pickups use Alnico V magnets instead of Neodymium. This results in a more familiar "crunchy" top end and increased low mids. They are pretty sweet sounding.

FDV pickups

Do you think single cut applicable to your bass?

We've played with single cut designs but have not taken them past the prototype level. We believe in the benefits of a bolt on neck design and feel that the benefits of a single cut are more noticeable on a neck through or set neck design.

 

 

Why is Dingwall's electronic chamber so neat and tidy?

Our team is obsessed with doing things at the highest quality level. A neatly wired circuit is more reliable and easier to troubleshoot should there be a problem. A neat circuit also indicates that we care deeply about our basses. Even the parts that people don't see.

The electronic chamber in Super J

We see a lot of your design influenced by race cars. Can you tell more about your story with cars?

When I was a kid, there was a lot of Hot Rod and Chopper influence all over North America. There was a lot of street racing and drag racing going on. Cars were a status symbol. If you had a cool car, people would give you respect. In Southern California where Hot Rods, Choppers and Electric Guitars were invented, there was and still is a lot of influence between the three industries.

Sheldon Dingwall and the race car

What is your dream car?

I have many dream cars. The early model DeTomaso Pantera is one of my favourites. Lamborghini Huracan, the new Maseratis, Corvette and Mustang are all very GAS worthy. The car I drive now is a purple Cadillac CTS. It's a great car, I love it. It's funny, in North America the Cadillac brand was the top luxury vehicle until the 1980s through mid 2000s when it was considered a "forgotten" brand for old people. When I met Helmut Schaller (the head of Schaller at the time) at NAMM, he invited me to visit him in Germany. He said he would take me for a ride on the Autobahn in his Cadillac. It surprised me to see a German so excited about an American car. Soon after I saw photos of new Cadillac concept cars in magazines and got really excited myself.

Sheldon Dingwall and his purple Cadillac CTS

D-Bird and Lamborghini

You lead a great team. Can you introduce your team members to us?

Jeff Frey handles a lot of the management duties, assembles the bodies, designs the circuits and does tech support.

Paul Hillacre does all the fine sanding, finishing and buffing. Paul's a natural guitar maker so he does a lot of the one-off jobs that require precision. He's also a master builder with his own line of guitars called Hillacre.

Ryan Marshall takes the necks and bodies from the CNC machine and transforms the shapes so that they feel and look perfect. He also inspects all of the Canadian made basses. He is a talented bassist who gigs. We rely on his experience when testing new ideas and pickups.

Joey Lorer runs the wood shop. Joey does all of the woodworking from finding and purchasing our wood, to cutting it, gluing it and CNC machining it. And He has a special ability to maximize the grain in any top or body. Often when you look at a top on one of our basses it looks like it grew in a guitar shape.

Jeremy Dern winds our pickups, levels frets and sets up the Canadian made basses. He also keeps everyone laughing and in a good mood.

Quinn Petersen and Mike Kuzub specialize in frets and setups on Combustion and NG2 basses. Quinn is a very talented jazz guitarist.

Joel, he handles a lot of the emails and is currently updating our website. Joel's a seriously talented guitarist with his own Jazz Fusion band The Joel Grundahl Trio.

Jeff Frey

Paul Hillacre

Ryan Marshall

Joey Lorer

Jeremy Dern

Quinn Petersen

Joel

Other than bass, what do you want to design in the future?

Life is pretty busy right now. I have guitar designs waiting on me to have time to work on them. At some point, I'd like to design and build some furniture. I'd like to build a motorcycle. In the past I've designed and made some mountain bike parts, longboards and medical accessories (for when I broke my leg long boarding).

Dingwall's longboard