Think of legendary bass players and Francis Rocco Prestia features on every list. For over 40 years now Rocco’s bass has been underpinning the groove for Californian funk legends Tower of Power. In that time Rocco has defined his own style and become synonymous with the much-imitated ‘Finger Style Funk’ that he pioneered back in the ’60s and ’70s.
Now TC and Rocco have joined forces to make Staccato’51 – a custom-tuned version of the RH450 that’s been made to Rocco’s exact specification and ear. It may look like the RH450 bass head, but the sound design is completely different and fits the demands of a legend like Rocco Prestia – both on stage and in the studio.
Rocco’s sound design on Staccato’51 fits his legendary finger-muting technique like a glove. The fullbodied tone with plenty of highs and lows as well as the ultra fast precision response enhances the percussive elements of Rocco’s playing to perfection.
In addition to the sheer tone shaping, Rocco has added a touch of TC’s SpectraComp™ per-string compression to tighten the sound even more. And finally a touch of TubeTone™ brings out the growl of Staccato’51 when really digging into those low-end notes with his powerful right hand technique. To achieve perfect tone, Rocco pairs his Staccato’51 with a stack of TC cabinets – An RS410 and two RS212s – giving him both punch and enough low end to stand out on stage with the 10-piece Tower of Power band.
Price: €1140 list plus tax
How Rocco Prestia and TC Electronic developed the Staccato’51
Staccato’51 was created by combining the unique ‘Bass Amp 2.0’ capabilities of TC’s RH450 and Rocco’s decades of experience as a true bass legend. To get the sound exactly as Rocco wanted, the TC team conducted thorough tuning sessions along with countless hours of real life gigs on the road with Rocco and Tower of Power. Here’s a rundown of how this unique bass amp came into being…
Rocco had been on the lookout for the ultimate bass amp. Hearing rumors about a new and very different bass amp concept – ‘Bass Amp 2.0’, embodied by the revolutionary RH450 that was launched by TC Electronic at the 2009 Winter NAMM show – Rocco arranged to meet TC Electronic on the Denmark leg of Tower of Power’s 2009 European tour.
Rocco tried out the RH450 rig prior to the Tower of Power sound check – and liked what he heard so much that his usual rig was instantly removed from the stage the RH450 put in its place. Shortly afterwards the idea of the customized Staccato’51 was born – Staccato because of Rocco’s style of playing, ’51 to represent his birth year. Next TC and Rocco would meet in Hollywood, to start the work on the custom tuning.
During the days of tuning, hours of intensive playing, listening and comparing was undertaken. Different playing styles in addition to Rocco’s were tested as well to make sure that the amp would work perfectly – not only for Rocco, but for any player.
Rocco first took Staccato’51 ‘live’ on the Japanese TOP tour (May ’09). The results were extremely positive. Fine-tuning and minor tweaks finalized Staccato’51, and the rest is history.
Staccato’51 features in detail
• Classic Tone section – Based on the classic virtues of bass tone stacks, tailored to Rocco’s liking
• TubeTone™ –TubeTone™ emulates every characteristic of both pre-amp and power amp to deliver the full tube sound. Rocco has this dialled in so the TubeTone gives him to growl when diggin’ in
• SpectraComp™ – Most bass players know that integrated compressors generally don’t sound that good. A regular compressor tends to be dominated by the lower string, but Staccato’51’s SpectraComp technology allows virtually ‘per string’ compression that evens out the compression across all strings.
• Integrated Chromatic Tuner - Ultrafast chromatic bass tuner built in.
• Wide range instrument input – Covers both Active and Passive pickup instruments.
• Integrated Linedriver Output – Quality can vary wildly with built-in Line drivers, but Staccato’51’s DI is transformer balanced and galvanically isolated from the rest of the amp, which means no ground loops or hum. And don’t worry about long cable runs – Staccato’51 will draw at least 100m of cable with no drop in audio quality.
• Speaker Output and Linedriver Mute
• Effects Loop – Insert point (pre-amp out, power amp in)
• Auto-sensing PSU – The ultimate in convenience for you if you are a gigging musician. The built-in power supply operates from 90 to 240 Volts, making your life a lot easier as there’s no complicated fuse changing – just plug and play!
• Speaker output – Combined Speakon and ¼” speaker output for maximum versatility
• 4kg / Compact package
• 450w power handling (800w peak) - The high power output level of Staccato’51 is accomplished by using Class D amplifier technology in combination with our Active Power Management™. APM effectively means that the amp behaves very much like a tube amp when getting close to maximum performance by optimizing the power impact, contrary to the hard clipping tendencies of transistor amps and most other Class D amps.
• Staccato’51 is fully compatible with all of our RS cabinets and it will drive any triple combination of the existing models (RS112, RS210, RS212, RS410).
• Optional: The optional RC4 footswitch for RH450 is fully compatible with Staccato’51.