Sunday, 16 October 2011

Staccato MG bass, circa 1986, made from magnesium alloy and fibreglass
This Staccato MG bass from 1986 is one of approx 200 guitars/basses built in the UK by Pat Townshend. I recall these guitars well from when they were first introduced, and remember seeing them at a music show in London, I'm guessing, in 1986. As I remember Chris Jagger (Mick's brother) was also involved in the company, and no doubt it was through his connections that these guitars were used by Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones. Other endorsees included Gene Simmons of Kiss, and Motorhead's Lemmy (and if memory serves me correct, I saw Lemmy's bass exhibited at the above-mentioned music show).

The neck and centre body section is cast in one piece from magnesium alloy. Perhaps some more knowledgable readers can confirm this, but I seem to recall reading something to the effect that all the magnesium used in these guitars was filtered from sea water (magnesium being an element dissolved in sea water) and as such provides a material that made these guitars very environmentally friendly. Depending on the process employed to extract magnesium from water, that is.

The outer part of the body is made from fibreglass and seems to have been sculpted to provide for an ergonomic and body-fitting shape. Note that the strings are anchored at the headstock whilst the tuners are situated at the other end of the instrument behind the bridge. Pickups are double-bladed sealed units which are concealed within the magnesium centre body block with only the blades themselves protruding through to the front.

The fingerboard is made from an industrial plastic material and is fitted with 22 very low flat frets, which almost brings to mind the strange fretboard of the Lane Poor bass.

Unless my memory is playing more tricks on me, I believe Staccato offered basses and guitars with exchangable bodies / necks where the centre neck section could be swapped out for another guitar or bass (or converserly the body could be changed for say one in a different colour).

This eBay auction for this bass is finishing in 11 hours as I write; the starting price is $1,999 and Buy It Now price is $2,499.

G L Wilson

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