Jan 26

Are You Ready for a $5-Grand Instrument?


Golfers are easy sells. Tell them something will improve their game, and they'll buy it. Every golfer has a drawer or shelf or cabinet in his house, garage, or workshop, where he keeps (hides) these useless testimonials to a). what a lousy golfer he is and b). what a sucker he was to pay real money for empty promises. The same can be said of bass guitars. If you expect a 5 or 10 thousand dollar bass to make you a better player, or if you think anyone in the world will be able to tell the sonic difference between it and a $600 Roy Vogt Carvin bass, you're deluding yourself. The difference, then, is craftsmanship. If you want a bass that not only sounds great, but is, in itself, a work of art, then the price-tag may be warranted. One such bass is the Monarch Standard fretless, handmade by Fodera (not Fedora) of Brooklyn. Is it a sonic marvel? Judge for yourself. Is it a work of art? Most definitely.


Walnut Body

1-pc Red Oak Neck/ Ebony FB

Figured Walnut Top

Fodera / Duncan Dual Coil Pickups

Fodera / Pope 3-Band Standard Preamp

34-Inch Scale, 24 Large Frets, 19.0mm Spacing

Black Fodera 19.0mm Standard Bridge


Price: $5,050

The Monarch is one of Fodera's production models. They'll also build you a 100% custom axe. Just tell them what you're looking for - and be prepared to say "price is no object!"

New Posts
  • The Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar (GSRM20TR) scores 4.3 stars among nearly 90 verified purchasers on Amazon. That tells us this undersized bass has a lot going for it. It seems that this short scale bass is a favorite among traveling bassists, which means it must deliver in the sound department, as well as playability. It's also a great bass for younger players who find the weight difference a big plus, as well as the fact that all the frets are within easy reach on this 28.6" neck. Certainly worth checking out! (A great Christmas gift for the learning and traveling bassist). FROM THE AMAZON WEBSITE: Don't be fooled into thinking the Ibanez gsr micro is a toy. It’s made to the same high standards of the other gio series guitars. The Gsrm20 features, small scale SR body, full sound pickups, the same construction, same materials, and same set-up and inspection as its full size counterparts. Its shorter 28.6” scale makes it perfect for tour buses, space-restricted home studios, folks with smaller hands, as well as young rockers or beginners. SPECIFICATIONS: 6.9 pounds 39 x 11.5 x 2.3 inches Shipping Weight 9.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies) Fast, slim Maple neck Compact, light-weight Body Dynamic P pickup Short Scale 28.6" PRICE: U.S.: @$179.00 U.K.: @169 pounds SHIPPING (U.S.) Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues. AVAILABILITY: This bass is available online and instore at Dawsons in the U.K.
  • Featured this week, and coming in at about $250, the Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar. With a very solid pedigree, and a traditional look and feel, this bass has a lot going for it. But what about the sound? Check it out. Specifications: Basswood body Single-coil Jazz Bass bridge pickup, vintage-style split single-coil Precision Bass middle pickup Volume control knob for each pickup, master tone control knob and active bass-boost control knob Black pickguard Warranty Included Not eligible for international shipping. Price: $249.95
  • SUPER J STANDARD - OVERVIEW The Super J is our interpretation of the Classic J style bass. We deconstructed the original design, kept what worked and improved on everything else. The look and feel lean toward the traditional, but the tone and performance are everything you’d expect from a Dingwall. We downsized the scale 2” from our standard scale range for a faster attack and quicker, punchier decay. The results are great clarity on the E-string with a big and warm quality to the D and G-strings. The Standard features a pick guard and top mounted controls. SPECS: Body Core - 2-3 piece Alder or Swamp Ash Alder is the traditional wood for the J style bass. It can’t be beat for a traditional warm tone. Due to the internal tone chambers of in the Super J body we add a book-matched Alder top. This gives the natural finishes a nicer look too. Optional upgrade - Swamp Ash Swamp Ash is a great option for those who would like a little less mid presence in their tone. It has a very distinctive grain pattern. Due to internal tone chambers in the Super J body we add a book-matched Northern Ash top specially cut for maximum grain pattern. Northern Ash has a stronger grain pattern than Swamp Ash guaranteeing a stunning looking top. Tone Chambers - Yes Top Options - Premium Bubinga, Quilted Bubinga, Figured Makore, Arbutus burl, Flame Maple, Maple burl, Figured Redwood Exotic Wood Contrasting Layer - Included with Premium tops A contrasting layer helps to visually offset the top from the core. It adds a nice visual interest with natural finishes. Finish - Polyester 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. Colours - Natural, 3-tone burst, Vintageburst, Olympic White, Black, Candy Apple Red, Supersonic Blue, BronzeAge Custom colours available Pickguard options - White / Black / White, Black / White / Black, Tortoiseshell, White Pearloid, Black Pearl, Baltic Amber Neck construction - 5 piece Maple We take neck construction very seriously due to our extensive experience in guitar repairs coupled with our geographic location and corresponding extreme climate. In my years in the guitar repair business I constantly had to deal with humidity related problems made worse by the huge temperature and humidity swings of our 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’ve experimented with many different laminations and have found a 5-piece maple construction to be among the best. Years of experience have proven this design to be extremely stable and reliable while minimizing dead spots. Neck carve - Medium thin C-shape Neck reinforcement - Dingwall heavy duty truss-rod The double expanding 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. Headstock - Flat, counterbored, scalloped I watched an endorser receive a bass from another company once. His tech brought it to him, he strapped it on, took his hands off of it and jumped up and down a bit then said, “It’s too heavy, send it back.” He never played a note. Not everyone is this extreme, but it taught me a good lesson on the importance of balance. The Super J headstock was designed to not only look great and fit with the body design, but to be the lightest traditional design headstock available. The most distinctive feature of the Super J headstock is the scallop. The scallop serves two functions: 1 - It reduces headstock mass slightly. 2 - It defines a three dimensional Hot Rod style flame on the bottom edge of the headstock. The Super J follows the spirit of the original American Hot Rods. Strip it down to its raw components and build it back up to perform better than the original designers could have ever envisioned. Building on the success of the shortened and counter bored Afterburner tuners, I designed a traditional meets modern boutique headstock for the Super J. Because the longer traditional headstock caused a reduction in downward string angle on the furthest tuner, we designed a new tuner that had the capability to direct the string below the headstock surface to increase the break angle slightly. The end result of all this effort was weight savings of well over 100 grams. That’s nearly the weight of two tuners. Headstock options - Matching finish Standard fingerboard - Morado Morado is another name for Pau Ferro. This wood has a nice tight grain structure for a smooth look and feel. Its tone is similar to ebony but slightly darker. It’s color ranges from golden-brown to orange-brown to milk chocolate with a slight purple hue. It is one of the most stable exotic woods meaning you won’t have to adjust your truss-rod very much with a Morado fretboard. Fingerboard radius - 190mm - 406mm, 7.5 inch - 16 inch Compound 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 - Maple Fretless option - Wenge / epoxy It’s not easy getting a singing tone from a fretless fingerboard. We did a lot of experimenting trying to find the right combination. We developed a process for coating Wenge with a layer of epoxy. The epoxy provides a long wearing surface that gives the notes a sweetly singing quality, while the Wenge provides warmth and mid presence. Fret options - 22 Banjo We use 18% hard nickel silver fret wire. 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 fret wire, its service life is about the same. Position markers and inlays - White or Black Fiber side and face dots. Optional Pearloid or Black blocks. Pickups - Super-Fatty The Super-Fatty pickups including the shells are made right in our shop here in Canada. They feature an end to end hum cancelling coil array with neodymium magnets and hardened steel poles. The coils are noise-symetric/tone-asymetric, which means they maintain near-perfect noise rejection with increased low-end clarity. They have been designed to combine Super clarity on the B and E strings with increased warmth and Fatness on the D and G-strings. Their tone has been described as very clear and transparent on the bottom and very smooth and punchy on the top. They have a natural overdriven quality when pushed hard that is similar to a vintage tube amp. They 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. Pickup options - FD-4 P neck The most current version of the FD-4P pickup features neodymium magnets and hardened steel poles. The coils are noise-symetric/tone-asymetric, which means they maintain near-perfect noise rejection with increased low-end clarity. The pickups including shells are made in our shop in Canada. The tone can best be described as emulating the tone of a Vintage P, but taking it to new levels of power and punch while balancing extremely well with an FD-4 series-wired bridge pickup. It’s uncommon to find a PJ pickup combination that work so well together. We are very proud of the performance of this pair. The FD-P pickup set can be wired in either series or parallel configuration. We pre-wire and recommend them wired in series. Electronics - Active / Passive Glockenklang 2-band. Passive treble auto switches 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. Pre-amp 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. Electronics options - Passive The Super J is available with passive electronics only. This makes for a stealthy setup. The controls are simple, but the range of tones is impressive in their range. Knobs - Dingwall custom We looked for years to find a control knob we were happy with. We eventually decided to design and manufacture our own control knobs in house. These knobs are exclusive to Dingwall guitars and feature a sleek design that blends perfectly with the overall design language of our basses and match the pickup shells perfectly. They feature a soft-touch formula for extra comfort and grip. Jack - Traditional Style We chose to use to use a traditional jack on the Super J to fit with the more traditional vibe of the design. We use only Switchcraft brand which has been the standard of the industry since the 1950’s. Hardware colour - Chrome We’ve tweaked the design of the venerable Hipshot Ultra-lite tuners to make them even lighter. We’ve designed new posts to guide the string toward the headstock face (or even below in the case of the Super J). This allows proper downward angle at the nut for maximum sustain on a flat-style headstock without the use of string trees. Eliminating the string tree reduces the weight of the headstock slightly and improves tuning stability. Bridge - Dingwall custom made by Hipshot Strap pins - Dunlop locking Bridge spacing 4 19 mm - .748 inch Nut width 4 38 mm - 1.5 inch Heel width 4 60 mm - 2.36 inch Neck thickness @ 1st fret 21 mm - .827 inch Neck thickness @ 12th fret 24 mm - .945 inch Average weight 4 Kg - 8.75 lbs Comes with - Dingwall Gigbag Country of Origin - Canada Basic starting price for the Super J 4-string is $2000.00 - $2500.00 Visit the Dingwall Website for more info, and check out their FAQ section for answers about the fanned fret concept. 10 Comments nolasafari - 10-05-2011, 08:18 PM Looks like a piece of art. TLDTR - 10-06-2011, 10:12 AM I love craftsmanship, and this is a beautiful example. Looks like it could play itself! I'm going to make an effort to hear one first-hand! Thanks, Elmeaux Silverfox - 10-06-2011, 10:22 AM B string? Where is the B string on a 4 string bass? Different tuning or a typo? Elmeaux - 10-06-2011, 10:38 AM Originally Posted by Silverfox B string? Where is the B string on a 4 string bass? Different tuning or a typo? Just a typo...some of the info is pertinent to their five-string model, too. TobiasMan - 10-06-2011, 02:05 PM Seems very bright and middy and a little thin on the bottom end to me. That seems unusual for a Dingwall. Elmeaux - 10-06-2011, 04:50 PM Originally Posted by TobiasMan Seems very bright and middy and a little thin on the bottom end to me. That seems unusual for a Dingwall. Doesn't say the amp he's using...or the settings. That could make a difference. Greg Jewell - 10-06-2011, 06:01 PM I'd worry about using this demo. My guess is that the instrument sounds much better than advertised, but the video does little to justify the $2000 asking price. DONNIE B - 10-06-2011, 06:45 PM It is a fine looking bass. Elmeaux - 10-06-2011, 06:54 PM Here's a great video I found. It's the Dingwall Factory tour where you get to see Sheldon Dingwall doing his thing. It's about half an hour to watch, but well worth it. Silverfox - 10-07-2011, 09:05 AM Sure is nice to see a bass hand made and assembled. Gives you a good idea as to why the price is what it is. I am thinking the reason this is such a good bass is because it is made in Canada, as I was.