Tony Franklin (musician)

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Tony Franklin
Tony Franklin.jpg
Franklin in 2012
Background information
Birth nameAnthony James Franklin
Also known asThe Fretless Monster
Born (1962-04-02) 2 April 1962 (age 59)
Derby, England
Genres Hard rock, blues-rock, folk rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass, fretless bass, keyboards, synthesizers
Years active1982–present
Associated acts Roy Harper, The Firm, Jimmy Page, Blue Murder, Quiet Riot, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Whitesnake.
Website Official website

Anthony James Franklin (born 2 April 1962) is an English rock musician, best known for his work on the fretless bass guitar with Roy Harper, The Firm, Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, John Sykes' Blue Murder, David Gilmour, Kate Bush, Whitesnake, and most recently with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.



Born into a musical family, Franklin first took the stage at age 5. He got his big break in 1984 as bassist in supergroup The Firm, with Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers and Chris Slade.

Franklin's television credits include the Late Show with David Letterman, Beverly Hills 90210, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Good Morning America, Top of the Pops (U.K.), VH-1, MTV, Don't Forget Your Toothbrush (Finland), dozens of Japanese programs and more. Sony released Tony Franklin: Not Just Another Pretty Bass, Franklin's first sample loop library, in 2006. [1]

While maintaining his music career, from September 2003 through July 2011, Franklin served as Artist Relations Manager for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and SWR. He returned to music performance full-time in mid-2011, when he joined Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band for the tour supporting the guitarist’s 2011 album, How I Go. Franklin can be heard on Shepherd’s album, “Goin’ Home”, released in Summer 2014. [2]

Fretless bass

In January 2006 Fender introduced the Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass, [3] a distinctive instrument, with an alder body and modern C-shaped maple neck with an unfinished and unfretted ebony fingerboard with side dot position markers. Other features include vintage tuners, Hipshot Bass Xtender drop-D tuner on the E string, and three-way pickup selector switch that controls an American Series Precision Bass mid pickup and a Tony Franklin signature Jazz Bass bridge pickup with hex-screw pole pieces and ceramic bar magnets. [4]

Other career highlights

Although mostly known for his fretless work, Franklin's been doing sessions with the same fretted Precision Bass for many years. Fender released the Tony Franklin Fretted Precision Bass in 2008, a replica of the instrument used throughout his career. The signature fretted bass is similar to his fretless model, with Precision and Jazz Bass pickups and a three-way selector switch that provide an array of tones. The model was discontinued in 2015.

Prior to his work with The Firm, Franklin toured and recorded with English folk/rock singer-songwriter and guitarist, Roy Harper, appearing on eight of his albums between 1982 and 2013. [5]

In 1996, Franklin played on long-time friend, Donna Lewis's album "Now in a Minute”, which spawned the worldwide smash hit single “I Love You Always Forever". [6] [7] Substantial touring followed the release of the single throughout the U.S., U.K., Japan, Europe and Canada.

In 1997, Franklin toured the world with Whitesnake as part of the "Last Hurrah" tour. [8]

Franklin cites John Deacon, Paul McCartney, James Jamerson and Jaco Pastorius as his main influences. [9]


Related Research Articles

The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses. Since the mid-1950s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music.

Blue Murder (band)

Blue Murder were an English rock band led by guitarist-vocalist John Sykes. The group was formed in 1987 following Sykes' dismissal from Whitesnake. The initial line-up was rounded out by bassist Tony Franklin and drummer Carmine Appice. In its nascent stage, vocalist Ray Gillen and drummer Cozy Powell were attached to the project. In 1989, Blue Murder released their self-titled debut album, which cracked the Billboard 200 chart and spawned a minor hit with "Jelly Roll". By the early 1990s, however, Blue Murder's music had fallen out of fashion with the popularity of grunge. Franklin and Appice left the band, while Sykes put together a new line-up and released Nothin' But Trouble in 1993. After a live album the following year, Blue Murder were dropped by their record label and broke-up. Since then there have been numerous attempts to reunite the band to no avail.

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  1. "Sony Creative Software: Tony Franklin - Not Just Another Pretty Bass". Amazon. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  2. "Kenny Wayne Shepherd album: How I Go". Kenny Wayne Shepherd official website. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  3. "Fender Products: Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass". Fender Musical Instrument Corp official website. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  4. "Fender Products: Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass". Fender Musical Instrument Corp official website. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  5. "Roy Harper Discography". Roy Harper official website. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  6. "Donna Lewis Discography". Donna Lewis official website. Archived from the original on 21 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  7. " - I Love You Always Forever Listening & Stats". music website. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  8. "Deep Purple.Net - Whitesnake History". Deep Purple.Net. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  9. Epstein, Dmitry M. (September 2000). "Interview with Tony Franklin". Retrieved 21 November 2010.