Are his ideal instruments “good enough,” or do we need more?
By Jon Liebman
Week of February 18, 2019
We just published a very upbeat and fun interview this week with the inimitable Dann Glenn, who’s done everything from composing symphonies and authoring books, to scoring films and playing bass with some of the biggest names in the music world.
In addition to hearing Dann talk about his never boring life and career, including his recent return to bass playing after a debilitating accident, the always cheerful Dann just couldn’t say enough about his prized Dingwall basses. Employing Sheldon Dingwall’s patented “fanned fret” design, Dingwalls are highly unique, to say the least. What’s even more intriguing about Dann’s Dingwall basses is that they’re fretless. Yes, he plays a 6-string fretless, fanned fretted bass. Go, Dann!
It’s quite fascinating to think about the metamorphosis of the electric bass, from Leo Fender’s earliest prototypes, to some of the wildly creative instruments being made today. On the one hand, you’d be hard pressed to find any argument negating the fact that Leo Fender absolutely nailed it with his exquisite electric bass design.
But no matter how excellent a product is, there’s always someone with a new idea, a different approach, a never-before-thought-of concept. After Fender made his indelible mark on the music industry some 65+ years ago, other prominent luthiers and designers began to appear, like Mike Tobias, Vinny Fodera, Roger Sadowsky, and, more recently, Pete Skjold, Gerald Marleaux… the list goes on. We’ve also seen profound innovators, like Ned Steinberger and Emmett Chapman, relentlessly pushing the boundaries of an instrument’s possibilities, constantly bucking tradition.
How many ways can an instrument – especially an ideal instrument – be reconfigured, reconceived, and remanufactured? How many “new takes” can there be on design, sound, electronics and playability?
Having just returned from another NAMM show, I can attest to the fact that creativity and innovation aren’t going away any time soon. There are always new surprises to behold and, undoubtedly, something completely unexpected lurking right around the corner (who would have ever thought of making a fretless fanned-fretted bass?!).
Putting inspiration ingenuity, and originality to work can be a beautiful thing. Even when there’s nothing wrong with the product in the first place.
Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Dann here.