Tony Franklin Fretted vs 60th Anniversary

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BFunk, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have been thinking of purchasing a Tony Franklin fretted P bass for a while. I have never come across one to try, but really like the sound I hear in the few video reviews available. Recently, I came across a 60th anniversary P that I think is really great. I am thinking that maybe I should not wait to come across a Franklin and buy the anniversary. I think the P/J setup of the pretty cool, but I would buy it mostly for the P sound. I prefer the looks of the Franklin. Has anyone had a chance to compare the P tone of these two instruments? What about the neck shape, weight, fit and finish? Thanks.
  2. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Bumpa. (Homage to Critters' Buggin!)
  3. KwinS

    KwinS Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    I can only speak for the Tony Franklin Fender. I have one of the golden amber ones. It has a great Precision tone. Very thick and meaty. I rarely use the full on J by itself. I prefer the P alone, but occasionally use them in combination if I need to cut through a little more. I like the 3 position blade switch more than a VVT configuration. This and my Conklin BDGT-7 are the only fretted basses that I've kept, with no desire to get rid all. In fact, I would snag the white version in an instant if I could find one. They are quite rare, and look sharp. One thing that a lot of folks miss on these, is that the fretted ones do NOT come with the d-tuner. It has to be added afterward, if you want it.

    I don't have any clips with this bass, but I will sometime in March. A singer/songwriter type heard it in a live setting and requested that I play it on a couple of her new tracks. Hopefully sooner than later!

    I don't know if that helped any, but I hope it did.
  4. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Thanks for the feedback on the TF. I've heard nothing but universal praise for it.
  5. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    Similarly, I have the white fretted Franklin as well as the sunburst fretless Franklin, but I haven't tried the 60th Anniversary P. Both Franklins are sound and play better than any other 4 strings that I've owned or tried. In terms of 4 fretted strngs, I also own the Fender MIA 57P, the MIJ 51P, a Ric 4001 C64S, a EBMM Stingray, and the fretted Franklin is much much nicer sounding, playng and looking than those basses are. I tend to use but pickups P and J most of the time, but occasionally solo the P or the J depending on the song and the space. It's tough to imagine that the 60th Anniversary P would be better than the Franklin.
  6. KwinS

    KwinS Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    I'm a little jealous. Your white one would complete my collection of all 4...and you're local...Mwahahahahahahahaha!
  7. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    A couple of things that I liked about the Anniversary was that the neck feels a little chunkier than the American standards I tried. Also, the sound was punchier, and with more growl and attitude than the American standard. I know the Anni. has a vintage pickup and ash body which probably contributes to that sound. How is the neck on the TF compared to an Am Std? What about the sound?
  8. KwinS

    KwinS Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    The neck is a modern C. Which is more flat than a trad C. It feels to me like it's in between my old Geddy Jazz and most other P's that I have played.

    I think the output on the bass very versatile. I've been able to get pretty serious growl out of mine, and it cleans up nicely, too. It's very 3 dimensional to me.

    I'm not an expert on that kinda stuff. I just know what feels and sounds good to me.
  9. Mr. BassmanPT

    Mr. BassmanPT

    Aug 15, 2009
    i am also very interested in the franklin fretless.

    the only thing that is holding me is that i play with 5 string basses for so long and could miss it.. but i am set and have decided to take a chance. i can always use the d tuner to go for the lower notes... its not the same thing though..
  10. I own both the fretted and fretless versions, and I keep having this funny experience in music stores where I come across a really nice Fender or Squire and decide to bring in one of my TFs to see how they compare.

    Every single time, and I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME... the TFs absolutely blow the other basses out of the water. It's not something I can really explain or make sense of. You sort of have to experience it for yourself to know what I mean.

    As for the 60th Anniversary P-bass. The last time I played it in a store, I remember the playability being alright, but I also remember disliking the general tone of the pickups, as well as the popping sounds that they made whenever my fingers happened to brush the poles. This popping sound has happened with every single 60th Anniversary P and every AmDlx P I've tried, but it has never happened with the TFs, AmStds, nor with any of the other passive Precisions I remember trying. Go figure.

    All the best on your decision!
  11. WoodyJ


    Jul 29, 2008
    Smyrna, GA
    Another Franklin fan here, I've had mine for 4 years and it is a great instrument. I LOVE the 3-way switch as it provides three distinct, useful sounds and IMO is more user friendly than fiddling with a pair of volume knobs to achieve the same result.

    The bridge pickup on the TF is a hotter-than usual DiMarzio (or a Fender copy) which solves the balance problem that most P/J basses have.

    The TF also has a lacquer finish, but (I assume) with a poly undercoat like the AVRI Fenders.

    Regarding the 60th Anniversary Precision, I was interested in one when they came out but I didn't care for the modern, bigger headstock. Had it had the old Tele-style headstock, I might have one now but I wouldn't have sold my TF to get it. ;)

  12. Ivan R

    Ivan R

    Jun 8, 2012
    My fretless TF is THE best bass I have ever owned or played, bar none. I would buy a fretted one in a heartbeat.