Fender Frankenstein Precision Bass Review
Time for a look at the Fender Frankenstein Precision Bass in my quiver, except it’s not one, it’s two. I put both together using a variety of Fender and non-Fender parts, and they have both become the instruments I use with The Hellbenders. Definitely more rock focussed than the rest of the stuff I do!
And so we begin…
Item: Fender Frankenstein Precision Bass
Inspiration: The Fiesta Red one is easy to explain. When I first got hold of Bass Culture, The John Entwistle Bass Collection book it was his famous Frankenstein bass that I feel in love with most – so I decided to create my own.
The Surf Green one was more of an afterthought as I had a fair bit of hardware lying around. I love the Surf Green colour as it just screams ‘60s surf music to me! It’s also the only bass I’ve got with a proper P-bass neck. All the others have the narrower Jazz bass width neck on them.
Image: Easy! It’s about the colour and the maple fretboards! I love these babies!
Investment: Basses built from parts can end up being very expensive and not really worth a lot so I’d always warn people heading down this path. That said, these two were pretty much made from bit and pieces I’d acquired over the years. Both bodies are proper Fender ones, as is the neck is on the Fiesta Red one (the other neck is a Mighty Mite).
Intrinsic Qualities: The Surf Green one features Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound SPB-3 pickups, a Jazz bass ashtray, while the Fiesta Red one has pretty standard DiMarzio pickups but with a phase switch installed, a BadAssII bridge and a normal P-bass ashtray (that sits a little further back than normal due to the size of the BadAss bridge. I like using the ashtray covers as they give me somewhere to rest my hand when using a pick. The Surf Green one also has a thumb rest installed on the bass side. These instruments (like just about everything I have) feature Dunlop Straploks. Both basses deliver classic P-bass tones and are very comfortable to play. I tend to use the Surf Green one less and mainly on heavier songs – the Seymour Duncan pickups really pack some punch – while the Fiesta Red one is go-to option most of the time.
Intangibles: There’s nothing intangible about these guys – they are P-basses! It’s as simple – and wonderful – as that.
If not this then: A Precision Bass is an essential tool, so if I didn’t have these I’d definitely have one kind of P-bass or another! I would however make sure it was a pretty standard version as there’s something about the pure simplity that appeals – and because of that I may well look at a Squier version and then install some of the Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound SPB-3s and an ashtray cover.
The new format for doing a brief reviews of the various bits of great that I use is called the “I” Test: 7 categories that are a bit different from the standard review that reads like it’s lifted from a guitar magazine. My “I Test” takes into account not just the performance characteristics (as normal reviews do) but also addresses the real reason we buy stuff: the 7 “I”s – what’s the Item, Inspiration (why did I get it), Image (what’s it look like), Investment (bargain or just lust), Intrinsic qualities (what does it do), Intangibles (sometimes the reason you got it doesn’t fall into any other category!), and If not this then… (did I look at alternatives).