Dingwall Combustion NG-2
Since the 1990s Sheldon Dingwall has forged his own instrument-design path, inspired in part by the Novax fanned-fret system. Periphery bassist Adam “Nolly” Getgood considers Dingwall’s designs the ideal tool for preserving his sonic footprint within his band’s ultra-dense instrumentation, so he and Dingwall collaborated on the NG-2.
Within the Periphery
The NG-2 looks like the bass equivalent of an Italian sports car. A sleek, gloss-black finish protects our review model’s two-piece alder body. The sporty look carries over to the pickguard’s unique shape and carbon-fiber-like patterning. A rigid five-piece maple neck supports a maple fretboard. Fanning across the ’board are 24 banjo frets that deliver a fast feel. Thanks to the fanned-fret arrangement, each string has its own scale length, ranging from 34" for the 1st string to a mighty 37" for the 5th.
The NG-2’s engine combines Dingwall and Darkglass electronics. Two Dingwall FD-3N pickups are positioned close together to maximize punch and note definition. Instead of a blend control, Dingwall employs a 4-way rotary selector to engage different pickup combinations. The first setting solos the neck pickup. The second puts both pickups in series for a fat, aggressive sound. The third position configures the pickups in parallel, and the fourth solos the bridge. Despite the pickups’ proximity to each other, they reveal noticeably different character with each turn of the selector switch.
The NG-2 also houses a Darkglass preamp with 3-band EQ. The preamp’s design is the result of a three-way collaboration between Dingwall, Nolly, and Darkglass that pushes the frequencies Nolly likes for growl and girth. The bass frequency is set higher than most bass EQs (at around 70 Hz). Mids are centered at a familiar 500 Hz. There’s no treble attenuator, but a hi-mid control with a 2.8 kHz cutoff. An active/passive switch lets you bypass the preamp.
The NG-2 feels incredibly comfortable and balanced. The neck is fast and smooth, with a radius that lets the fretting hand maintain a natural position while shifting along the fanned frets. Making the transition to fanned frets is a relatively seamless affair. My only ding (no pun intended) is the somewhat limited access to all the strings when playing at the top of the fretboard.
Tones are deep, punchy, and aggressive. While position 1 doesn’t quite transform the NG-2 into a P-style machine, it conveys similar characteristics. The second position provides a monstrous sound with loads of punch and top end that could make StingRay loyalists do a double take. The fourth setting nails the burpy bridge sound, particularly with a boost in the bass and mid controls.
The NG-2 excels onstage. Using the rotary switch’s second position, the bass’s strong voice cuts through the loudest performers while supporting the band with just the right amount of definition. The preamp is voiced perfectly, whether boosting the bottom for big, blooming lows, or turning up the mids for more assertiveness. Highs are abundant, and the hi-mid control is effective for mellowing them out or adding extra bite.
My fellow musicians lauded the NG-2’s strong voice, especially the sound of the 5th string. Its consistency and power punched through the ensemble, particularly on tunes like the Time’s “Jungle Love.” For gentler jams, cutting hi-mids and soloing the neck pickup produced a deep, articulate tone that was spot-on for songs like “Let’s Stay Together.” Be it slapping or 16th-note bass lines, the NG-2 was responsive and a joy to play overall.
The NG-2’s playability, tone, and 5th-string power outperform some basses that cost two or three times as much. It’s more than just a rock bass—while its timbres may not cater to all old-school preferences, it can handle almost every musical situation with authority. If you haven’t yet found your ideal 5-string, I recommend taking the NG-2 for a test drive.
Watch the Review Demo: