Fender Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass - 3-Color Sunburst

4-string Electric Bass with Alder Body, Maple Neck, Fretless Ebony Fingerboard, and 1 Single-coil Pickup - 3-color Sunburst
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Fender Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass - 3-Color Sunburst
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A "Best in Class" P-Bass Goes Fretless with Unique New Features!

Leo Fender designed and built the world's first electric bass guitar in late 1951 and every electric bass made since then is unquestionably a direct descendent. Although the Precision Bass, as it was eventually called, was almost flawless in its design, some players, like Tony Franklin, wanted the unique sound of a fretless bass plus the expanded tonal range available with an extra pickup. Not surprisingly, Fender was more than happy to build Tony a fretless P-Bass, and now you can own a Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass, too.

Fender Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass Features at a Glance:
  • Lightweight solid alder body and Hipshot Bass Xtender
  • Maple neck with modern "C" shape
  • Unfinished ebony fingerboard
  • Two specially voiced pickups
  • Black tolex hardshell case

Lightweight solid alder body
Bass guitars are big and that can mean heavy, too. This Signature Series Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass has a solid alder body, which is resonant, but relatively light, which you'll appreciate after two or three hours up on stage. The sunburst version has a brown shell pickguard, while the Black version comes with a three-ply black vinyl pickguard. The Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass is equipped with the Hipshot Bass Xtender for "Drop D" tuning on the low E string.

Maple neck with modern "C" shape
Leo Fender wasn't a guitar player, so he didn't really know that guitars weren't supposed to have maple necks. Eventually, the blond maple necks became a Fender trademark. The Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass has a nicely balanced maple neck with a modern "C" shape.

Unfinished ebony fingerboard
While Fender became quite famous for its blond maple necks and fingerboards, Tony Franklin wanted something more in keeping with the old traditional upright basses. So the Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass features an unfinished ebony fingerboard, which is the perfect complement to the maple neck and helps give this bass its distinctive sound.

Two specially voiced pickups
While the P-Bass has traditionally come equipped with just one split single-coil pickup, Fender equipped this Signature Series bass with an upgraded P-Bass American Series pickup plus a Tony Franklin Signature Series Jazz Bass bridge pickup with hex screw lugs and ceramic bar magnets. This delivers a wide range of bass voicings, from vintage to modern.

Black tolex hardshell case
Naturally, when you build a bass guitar that's as classy as this one, you want to be absolutely certain it will make it in total safety from gig to gig. So the Tony Franklin Fretless comes standard with a black tolex hardshell case with black plush lining.

Fender Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass Features:
  • Color: 3-color Sunburst
  • No. of Strings: 4
  • Body Wood: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Scale Length: 34"
  • Machine Heads: Vintage '70s Fender open gear with Hipshot Bass Xtender
  • Fingerboard: Unfinished ebony
  • No. of Frets: N/A
  • Pickups: Two specially voiced single-coil pickups
  • Controls: Master tone, master volume
  • Pickup Switching: Three-way switch
  • Bridge: Vintage single groove
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Case: Black tolex plush-lined hardshell case

The Fender Tony Franklin Fretless P-Bass true P-Bass vibe and modern features!
NOTE: This product is available in the United States only - no international sales.

Additional Media

Bass Guitar Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Body Shape Precision
Left-/Right-handed Right-handed
Number of Strings 4
Color Sunburst
Body Material Alder
Body Finish Urethane
Neck Material Maple, Bolt-on
Neck Shape Modern C
Fingerboard Material Ebony, 9.5" Radius
Number of Frets Fretless
Scale Length 34"
Nut Width 1.625"
Bridge/Tailpiece Vintage single groove saddles
Tuners Vintage '70s Stamped Open Gear Tuning, Drop D Xtender
Number of Pickups 2
Middle Pickup American P Bass Single-coil
Bridge Pickup Tony Franklin signature J Bass Single-coil
Controls 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone, 3-way Switch
Strings Tony Franklin spec'd hex core, (.045-.105)
Case Included Hardshell
Manufacturer Part Number 0190085800

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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3 Great Tones

This is a lot of money for a P/J Fender bass....BUT.....this bass kills. Wanted to buy an upright bass for about the same money but we did not have enough space. I tested this bass with a Roland DB-500 and was completely blown away. Been playing for over 40 years. The TF Bass can do Jaco, upright bass and a very solid P Bass. The lack of lines was a concern, however I found intonation to be very easy....easier than a lined fretless. Read on the web that unlined basses are easier to play and it is indeed true. Pickups are a little noisy so I used a Boss NS-2 and all was well. The 3 position PU selector switch allows quick access to the major tone groups. Plenty of "Mwah" sounds, particularly around the 12th fret (octave up). Part of the test was with my wife playing jazz piano and the TF tone was to die for. No adjustments out the box were required...in fact it was still in tune from the Sweetwater evaluation! I also own a mid-70s fretted P-Bass and this is a nice alternative. Bass is so good I am selling my Warwick Corvette, Ibanez Gary Willis, and Carvin LB-76F....all fretless 5 and 6 strings. Not really a rock and roll bass. Only con is the noise from the bridge JB pickup. This is an excellent bass which will expand your creativity...can not stop playing it! Also, I will only order from Sweetwater because of their excellent customer service.
Music background: Advanced amature, Play guitar and bass for over 40 years, live and in a studio.

Sweet Bass!!

This is an instrument that you can grow with. I'v been playing bass for 30+ years, and am not easily blown away. This bass does that for me. The more I play it, the more voices I find. I own several basses. This is by far the most expressive that bass I own. Plays great, sounds great, and is still confortable at the end of the night. It is wonderful in the studio, too. I am a very happy owner.
Music background: Professional Musician

Fender Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass...Wow!

I wanted this bass strictly for the Fret less action. I own 2 other basses which are fretted. I was amazed at the smoothness of the fingering. I do have plenty of "adjusting" on my part to get this down, but with this neck action so smooth, I can't miss. This is also my first Fender owned bass. I love the way it feels. Not as heavy as I had imagined it to be. I love the sound it produces and I guess Tony Franklin knew what he was doing when he set out to help with Fender to design this bass. Awesome! I may change out the strings to experiment with the sound and more smoothness than the stock NPS strings that come with it. If you want a fret less bass, and no lines, then this is it. Love it! Sweetwater staff are great to organize and ship this baby fast too. :)
Music background: semi pro musical hobbyist

Great 4-String Fretless

I started to lock in on the American Standard Jazz Fretless, but I wasn’t quite sold. I found the Tony Franklin Fretless on the Sweetwater website, and I ultimately decided to go with it instead – it had a lot of nice upgrades over the MIA Jazz Fretless for not much more money. Switchable P/J pickups vs. J/J pickups P Bass Neck is a little wider (to me, this is a plus) Hipshot D-tuner installed Chrome Knobs vs. Plastic Ebony Fingerboard vs. Rosewood (Ebony is more durable) Unlined Fingerboard vs. Lined (to me, a cosmetic plus) Nitro Finish vs. Urethane To me, the pickup upgrade is a real plus. This bass can sound just like a P bass or just like a Jazz bass. It can be played in a way that is punchy and almost does not sound like a fretless (P pickup). It can also sound very fretless (J pickup). Also, the nitro finish is another big plus. I was a little worried that it would be sticky like a gloss urethane finish, but the nitro finish is extremely fast and smooth, and not at all sticky. This is now my preferred finish. The bass is much better made than I expected it to be (maybe I didn’t have a fair opinion of Fender). There were some tiny cosmetic blemishes on the fingerboard and at the bottom of the pick-guard, but the overall construction is great – the nitro finish was done really well. For a P bass, this is surprisingly light and well balanced. It is very easy to play and sounds great. I had Sweetwater install GHS heavy gauge brite-flats and strap-locks. They did a great job with these items as well as the overall setup. On the downside, this is still a fairly expensive instrument that you will likely have to buy before you try. Still, I would highly recommend this bass if you are interested in a 4-string fretless.
Music background: Hobbyist

tony franklin fender

Just got it,and I'll say first of all the sweetwater's customer service is awesome! great fretless bass, can get fretted and fretless sounds out of it, light weight and the sunburst is beautiful,the stock rounds are a bit harsh on the fingers, but a switch to halfrounds should fix that,thanks again sweetwater!
See also: Fretless, Fender, Fender 4-string Bass Guitars, Fender Fretless Basses