Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fanned Frets? Fret Not.

I have recently been spending some time with the Dingwalls that are currently in stock and wanted to share how impressed I am with these basses. I realize that many players have a major hang-up with the fanned fret design of these instruments because I once fell victim to the same type of prejudice myself. Even though bass players, as group, are very forward-thinking and tend to be open to new ideas and technical improvements in bass gear, there is something about the "visual impact" of the fanned fret system that really throws a lot of us for a loop. I can tell you though, as can thousands of happy Dingwall owners, that you should not be apprehensive about playing a bass with fanned frets.

First and foremost, if you look at how the frets are aligned from the 3rd to 15th frets, the angle is very close to being parallel. When you consider that only a slight initial adjustment is necessary with respect to the extreme lower register (which disappears after a few minutes of playing), the system becomes very easy to use. Personally, I was extremely skeptical...until I actually tried my first Dingwall. That skepticism evaporated almost instantaneously. I routinely hear similar statements from other Dingwall owners. Most Dingwall enthusiasts will tell you that virtually no adjustment was needed to adapt to fanned frets and that they felt very comfortable within just the first few minutes of trying their first Dingwall. This coincides with my own experiences. In addition, Sheldon Dingwall's commitment to quality and value are right in step with the overall approach that we take to gear at Blueberry Hill.

If you have been thinking about purchasing a Dingwall, or are just curious and would like to learn more about these unique instruments, check out a great review of the Dingwall Super J in the November 2006 issue of Bass Player magazine.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Roscoe Tops On Reserve (and Mark's Ziracote Roscoe)

It seems as if this blog has suddently become devoted to all things Roscoe! The body and neck shown above are for Mark's Roscoe SKB 3006 that is nearing completion. It features an outstanding piece of Ziracote (with a touch of sapwood) for the fingerboard, and the body is a 3-piece (becoming somewhat of a BHB trademark since we first did it on a stunning LG 3005 that is featured in the Sold Basses Gallery). The body wings are book-matched Ziracote and the center section is flamed maple. The color scheme is very balanced, the lookis unique an original (a true "one-of-a-kind"), and it will have killer tone as well. That's a winning combination!

Ziracote is one of my favorite tone woods. It has been used as a substitute for Brazilian rosewood (aka "The Kind of Tonewoods") in the high-end acoustic guitar market for years, and I love the unique color and grain pattern that the wood displays. It isn't easy to come by, but I'm hoping to use it on more Roscoe projects in the future. In fact, we just reserved out second ziracote top today!

And speaking of tops, we also reserved a handful of other excellent pieces that are available for future Roscoe custom projects. Scroll to the end of the Roscoe section on the Basses page at the Blueberry Hill site for photos of the thuya burl, ziracote, flamed katalox, and imbuia burl that we now have on reserve. These tops are all "top shelf" and will make for some unique and incredibly beautiful custom instruments.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two New Homes For Two New Fs

I just received a call from my customer Dominick yesterday letting me know that his new BN5 has arrived. We will probably be arguing for years trying to determine who was more floored when the case was opened for the first time! I have had the privilege of seeing and playing a lot of great basses, but this BN5 might have one of the most insanely over-the-top tops I have ever seen. And the amazing thing is that the fingerboard is just as ridiculous! Dominick is a very satisfied customer, his expectations were exceeded (which is what we shoot for at Blueberry Hill), and this bass will go down in F Bass history as one of the finest ever made. The photos posted in the Sold Gallery do NOT do this bass justice.

While Dominick decided to go with a BN5 tricked out to the max, Matt wanted to go with a BN4 that was more understated…but ground-breaking in its own right. Matt had been talking to me about getting a BN4 for years, and he finally decided to pull the trigger on the very nice trans red bass shown above. The unique thing about Matt’s bass is that this is the first time that George has not matched the pickup covers to the body. I thought that it was a great idea to match the covers to the fingerboard and really liked how this one turned out. This is a great look and should work equally well for blue, black, and green colors as well. In fact, I liked this look so much that I decided to apply it to the spalted topped BN5 that we currently have under construction.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Update on Custom Roscoe Projects for Kurt & Russ

The finishing touches were recently added to the custom Roscoe of all custom Roscoes, featured above. Kurt opted for a custom 34" scale length for his SKB 3006, a wedge neck (wenge, yellowheart, and maple), ebony covers with exposed pole pieces for the Nordstrand Dual Coils, mini switches for each pickup, and a unique custom paint job. Per Kurt's instructions, the top is finished in a custom blueburst and the back was left natural. This one turned out great! You can see additional photos of Kurt's bass, showcasing some of it's custom features, at the Sold Basses Gallery at the Blueberry Hill site.
Russ was lucky enough to grab this top (which I was secretly hoping I might be able to keep for myself) and will soon be taking delivery of a stunning SKB 3005. In this photo, the light amber color has been applied and the clear gloss is being sprayed this week. This one isn't too far from being completed, and I guarantee it will be absolutely amazing! Russ is going to be one happy bass player when he gets his hands on this one!!!