Staccato guitars were conceived in 1978 by Pat Townshend. The first one was cast in aluminum, all guitars after 001 were cast in magnesium alloy. At the time both Travis Bean and Kramer guitars were also cast in aluminum, Staccato was the first and only production magnesium guitars made to this day.
The first 21 guitars made by staccato were interchangeable neck models. The neck section could be replaced in a second with alternatives of 6 string, 12 string or bass guitar. This was a unique concept, doing away with the need for a heavy cumbersome double neck guitar. The prototype was commissioned by Yamaha musical instruments division in the orange country California. This was cast in Los Angeles and machined in John Carvthers guitar shop in Santa Monica. Pat Townshend did the final build, assembly and paint job at his home in Topanga Canyon, California.
A prototype bass was built in Norfolk England in 1983 and a business partnership was formed to produce Staccato guitars at the old school house in Woodbastwick, Norfolk. The partners on equal shares were Pat Townshend, Bill Wyman, Chris and Mick Jagger. This was something of a milestone in British music history for a musical instrument to be financially backed by members of the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world the Rolling stones.
The M.G. model was launched in 1985. This was along more conventional lines with fixed neck (not interchangeable) but retaining the cast magnesium alloy though neck, precision right hand turning system and fiberglass body. Just over 200 of the M.G. models were built with the production ending in 1987 after Pat Townshend resigned from the company re-entering the world of classic motorcycle racing, as a rider, turner and development engineer.
The most famous and most seen M.G. bass was the chrome plated E.M.G. pickup model, specially commissioned by Gene Simmonds from "Kiss".
Staccato still made basses to order although there are only 60 cast necks left so numbers are extremely limited. As Pat Townshend died April 9th 2011, it is know if there will be any new Staccato bass build.
This Staccato M.G. guitar features a magnesium alloy neck-through-body core mated to a fiberglass shell fixed with four Allen screws.The Staccato's strings don't have to come off to detach the body and all of the electronics therein are attached directly to the neck core. The fingerboard is made of industrial plastic. The tuners are at the body in Steinberger headless fashion.
This guitar specially developped for Gregg Parker is one of the first of the models ever produced, with serial number 3, considered one of the prototypes, only 21 Staccato guitar model with interchangeable necks were ever made. It features an elaborated electronic circuitry allowing to connect to midi functions.
Here is the story told by Gregg :
In 1982 , Gregg reconnected to his R&B roots, and through his ties to Motown executives, in particular Mickey Stevenson, he went on tour with Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr in England. He ended up relocating to London, heavily recording and in demand as a session guitarist for the British music scene in the ‘80s.
At Abbey Road and Trident Studios, he recorded for bands such as Imagination, Dave Ball of Soft Cell. With his own projects, he continued to create various rock projects, including “Parker” with Mitch Mitchell in 1985, when he released a scorching rendition of “Black Dog”, sold out the Embassy Club and appeared on British television specials.
Among the audience at the London Embassy Club in 1985 was Chris Jagger, the younger brother of the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. Chris introduced himself later that night to Gregg, which led to a decades-long friendship. Jagger and Gregg played and recorded together and Jagger introduced Gregg to Staccato founder Pat Townshend. Both Jagger brothers were investing in the Staccato company, which was interested in creating a custom guitar for Gregg. The result is this guitar one of the very few first prototypes, customised with the addition of a fretless fret-board over the pick-ups, and a volume boost.
Gregg stayed at the Norwich Staccato headquarters to oversee the guitar design, after he had recorded “Black Dog”, and then promoted the Staccato in his record marketing, videos and the media circuit. Some of the press coverage can be found in the picture section. At the Embassy gig, Gregg also had been invited by the director Paul Dickin, to perform on the Channel 4 British TV music show The Tube, hosted by Jools Holland. He premiered “Black Dog” on the Tube heavy metal special in early 1986, featuring a white Staccato guitar and a black Staccato bass, joined by Mitch Mitchell and Tony Saunders.
This blue Staccato was the final prototype given to Gregg in 1985, along with the Staccato bass, played by Tony Saunders for the special.