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fender tony franklin signature fretless

5/5, 5 from 3 reviews

Recent Reviews

  1. donCameron
    A joy to play.
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Nov 19, 2017
    Build Quality:
    • + The blade switch for pickup selection. Hipshot tuner
    • - The old school bridge tends to slip, but you can use blue locktite on it.
    I bought this on ebay from Willcutt Guitars, for 1,299.00. It's a 2015 model and was in perfect condition. The only strange thing was a shim under the neck, which it didn't need. I noticed there seemed to be a high spot in the neck, affecting notes above the octave on the a string. I was about to get the neck serviced, when I noticed the shim. I called Willcutt about it and they said it shouldn't have had one and they were right.

    The bass came with DR Sunbeam Nickle Plated strings. I was wary of using rounds on a fretless since I had been playing an Ibanez with Fender Tapewounds for decades. I tried a few options and came back to the Sunbeams every time. They are perfect for this bass. Once you get it in tune (you have to mess with the hipshot to get it spot on) it stays in tune all night. Harmonics ring clear and it produces the most wonderful growl with the Jazz pickup.

    The split pickup is huge. I have a fretted 2014 American P bass, but I really just keep it around for when the TF starts weighing me down. It's rather hefty compared to my other p bass.

    The jazz pickup can be noisy, depending on the environment, but it sounds so big.

    The only other issue is the bridge saddles will slip, but that can be remedied with locktite blue. I asked Tony about this (he is very accessible on Facebook) and he said they knew the old bridges did that, but he liked the tone (I can't fault him on that) and recommended using the locktite.

    I was so happy when this came out. I never liked the jazz styling and since I've got large hands I like a wider neck. I didn't think I'd be able to afford this, but I couldn't pass up that price.
    Price Paid:
    1299.00 (used)
    joebar likes this.
  2. BuckyBass
    Outstanding instrument
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed May 19, 2017
    Build Quality:
    • + Excellent build quality -- essentially a custom shop instrument.
    • - List price is expensive. Passive electronics only.
    This is a really, really good bass. Years ago a friend had a 76 Fender fretless that I loved. This bass surpasses it in build quality, sound and flexibility. Even with the amp off it sounds great! The additional J provides access to the extended harmonics that give fretless "that sound." Absolutely lovely feel with the stock strings, but it can take SS rotosounds if you want to flip to the bridge pickup to sound like Jaco. With the switch in the P position you get a great 70's P sound, and the PJ blend is just a wall of overtones.

    Note: If you buy this you will be getting a copy of Tony Franklin's bass. There is a video on YouTube where he describes the instrument in detail, including the reasons for all of his design choices, with reference to his very own 77 Precision. I happen to agree with TF about most of those choices, but if you want something different, you might want to buy something else. You'd have to rout the bass or mess up the pickguard to change it, and that would give me (and TF) a sad. :( The bass is just too perfect.
    Price Paid:
    $1000 (used, perfect condition)
    joebar likes this.
  3. joebar
    simply amazing fretless bass
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed May 7, 2017
    Build Quality:
    • + just about everything about this fender is off the hook. I would give it custom shop quality and is considerably a step up from the American standards.
    • - the only complaint is the ever so slight dead spot in the classic position but I can live with it; the basses positive merits far outweigh this one small issue. I don't consider it a flaw.
    I have owned many FL basses including (what some consider) the best FL out there-the might Pedulla buzzes. I thought that bass couldn't be rivaled (certainly not by a Fender); was the benchmark in which I measured FL basses.
    seeing that I would likely never find another one locally again, I decided that if a TF Fender FL came up locally, it would be my second choice.
    earlier this year, an ad popped up locally and I had to go and see it.
    it was brand new (2016); still had the plastic on it. the owner had custom ordered it from the factory, but personal health issues forced a sale.
    we negotiated the price and I walked away with it.
    I felt like I was taking a chance on this bass because it wasn't set up properly, I was playing in an apt lobby through a tiny useless amp.

    I got it home and started to dial it in (new strings (GHS pressurewounds) after oiling the dry FB and such. I should note that the ebony has tiger stripes in it-very nice.
    the bass' factory strings are also excellent; low tension and not too bright. (they weren't on the bass when I bought it but were included.
    ; I put them on another bass and they are perfect.
    once I got it where I like it, I was shocked and stunned immediately. the bass had all the qualities I wanted in a FL bass. it sang. it roared. it growled and sustained for days. if set up correctly, this bass will mwah for days.
    the PU's are a great balance too. very even in signal and very powerful. Fender doesn't really elaborate on the P PU, but it is better than the CS 60's PU IMO. the Dimarzio jazz PU is a classic (hum cancelling). all PU positions are useable and all sound amazing. apparently, this model of passive Dimarzio jazz PU is the hottest one you can get-thus the reason for the mismatch; it allows for perfect smooth out put in any position.

    this is the best bass purchase I have ever made and I have owned many. it hits on all cylinders and amazes me every time I pick it up.

    it has a slight dead spot in the typical Fender spot on the G string but it isn't bad; it has been said FL basses are more prone to these. not a big deal considering how amazing the bass is on every other level. I don't consider it a flaw.

    the bass has nitrocellulose on the body and neck. I don't like glossy necks but for some reason, this finish is beautiful feeling on the neck. not sticky like Gibson nitro. again-not an issue.

    the bass has a useful drop D tuner from the factory as well.

    even at full new price the bass is worth it. may be the best value out there.

    this bass was based on Tony's 77 precision FL bass-it has the period correct headstock and bridge; anyone saying that a top loaded bridge doesn't sustain as well as a through body one...well I call shenanigans on that.

    I am a P guy through and through. my favorite sound on the bass is the P PU soloed. people say P's are ganky on their own but I guarantee you, the sound is perfection.

    I know this is a bold statement, but I put this bass on equal footing with my Pedulla's overall. no one is more surprised than me.
    this bass inspires me to want to become a proficient FL bassist.

    I recommend this bass to anyone who is on the fence about this one.
    Price Paid:
    johnny_bolt, paul and tomersg like this.

Bass Details

  1. No. of Frets:
    Scale Length:
    No. of Strings:
    Body Material:
    Neck Material:
    Body Finish:
    nitrocellulose sunburst
    Nut Width:
    1.65 inches
    Fingerboard Material:
    fender bent plate
    fender P and dimarzio J
    9 lbs
    EQ / Controls:
    vol/tone/3 way PU selector
    1850 (CAN)

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