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The Alure of Fenders?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SMPTE, May 9, 2006.

  1. SMPTE


    May 5, 2006
    I'm replacing one Pbass with probably another (PDeluxe ;) ), and I was trying to figure out why I have such an attachment to them.

    I found a great quote by John Entwistle:

    <Which sound was responsible for that amazing sound on Won’t Get Fooled Again?>

    “That was Frankenstein, which I made from dead parts. I had a day off in San Francisco once and spent it screwing a bass together from five smashed Precisions including a couple of slab ones of which they only made about 20. I took the pickup and scratch plate from one of the slab Precisions, the neck from another, machineheads from a Jazz Bass, the body off a sunburst Precision and the tailpiece from another. The slab Precisions were like white, squared-off Telecasters, with a split pickup, a maple neck, black scratch plate and what looked like blue veins coming through the white paintwork. I don’t know what they used on them but those basses had a sound of their own, really raunchy with more of a growl than a regular Precision. I have about 35 Precisions, all with different colours and from different yeras, but I always go back to Frankenstein.

    “I used Frankenstein through Hiwatts for the whole of ‘Tommy’, ‘Live At Leeds’ and ‘Who’s Next’ but by ‘Quadrophenia’ and Who By Numbers I was playing Gibson Thunderbirds. I felt I was getting stuck in a rut, using all the treble."

    I'm an engineer by trade and the idea being able to do this with a bunch of disparate parts and get those sounds makes me grin just a bit. It may explain why I'm gravitating that way. :bag:

  2. wwittman


    Apr 21, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    I'v ebeen on that PARTICULAR tone quest recently as well... and thsoe slab P basses were extremely rare (only 20 made, by some accounts)

    but the net result in the 'frankenstein' is an alder body, a maple neck, and a P pickup from a 66 (POST CBS) Slab.

    it's worth noting that John acknowledges he had 35 or so Fenders and only this ONE stood out as exceptional.
  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    I don't think alder.... John described transparent white on Ash I think
  4. SMPTE


    May 5, 2006
    Point taken, it's up to us to figure our what percentage of it was artistic enthusiasm from building something vs. how good it sounded. Probably higher on the sound considering who it is.

    I wonder if it's like monkeys typing shakespeare, if 1 million luthiers hammer for an infinte number of years eventually they'll make a decent Fender?
  5. I'm surprised if Who's Next is Frankenstein, most of what I hear is his Thunderbird in action, particularly Bargain and Going Mobile.
    Perhaps he just meant Won't Get Fooled Again was Frankenstein.
    I've always wished Fender would bring out a reissue of that rare P-bass, it's sound was amazing. They must know how to do it, I'm sure there would be a demand for it.

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