NBD x 2: Conklin Groove Tools Rocco Prestia - I might have a problem.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ab2112, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. ab2112

    ab2112 Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2015
    Rocco's been an influence on me since before I knew him. Although I was a saxophonist, we played several TOP songs in high school (granted, they were arrangements for a high school jazz band). My music teacher was a huge TOP fan and gave me a copy of Monster on a Leash, which became one of my CDs in heavy rotation.

    My musical tastes have become more varied since then, but the last few years (and especially after a funk festival I went to with my best friend this summer), I've gotten back into funk, soul, and jazz. We saw The Motet and I was enthralled with Garrett Sayers' muted, ghosty, between-the-notes feel. As my buddy said "that was a masterclass in ghost notes." After reading an article about Sayers' influences I rediscovered TOP, and the last few months have been an absolute nosedive into them (as well as AWB and Alan Gorrie).

    You can imagine my excitement when a Conklin Groove tools went up for sale on Reverb that (when back-checking Talkbass) was possibly played by Rocco. There's no documentation and I'm not banking on it, but I retain the possibility based on research on this site, as well as the custom road case it came in. Based on videos and pictures I've seen, Rocco played a custom Conklin, and a Korean Groove Tools. The one I have does not match the grain pattern on his Korean Groove Tools that I've seen him with, so if it was his, I'm thinking it was a second backup or something along those lines. I'm temped to email around in a search for possible proof, but I digress...HERE IT IS:

    When it first may have come on the market:
    Conklin Groove Tools GTRP-4 Rocco Prestia Sig.

    An earlier classified for it posted this past summer:
    SOLD - Conklin Groove Tools GTRP-4 Rocco Prestia model
    I have found support for the strap in-hole hypothesis through concert footage and pictures.


    Another was up for sale at the same time that I initially made offers on before the first one. After some time later, the seller made me an offer I couldn't refuse. So, yeah, I might have a problem.

    Enough talk, here they are together:

    Don't mind the sheet on the couch, I just adopted two kittens.

    They're both very similar. They both thump like crazy. The one that *might* have belonged to Rocco is on the right and it is about as minty as basses come. The one on the left is slightly less minty, but when I took it to my local shop to get the wiring looked at they couldn't stop commenting on how nice it was.

    Although playing bass is my only hobby and I can count how many times I've dined out this year on one hand, as a grad student this is thoroughly irresponsible and I will sell one of them soon. My P and J suit me fine and I frankly need some more liquidity in my fun budget, but for the time being, it's kinda neat to have two.

    TL;DR: Got back into TOP and went ham crazy when two Conklin's went up for sale. Need to be more responsible.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
    Baa, Dr. Cheese, tindrum and 7 others like this.
  2. CoR Bass

    CoR Bass

    Apr 2, 2014
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Basses, Ashdown Amplifiers, Morley Pedals
    I thought I was the only one that would want more than one of those. Two popped up on ebay and Reverb recently and it took a lot for me to not pull the trigger on one of them. The pick guard on mine is a bit worn, so one of these days I'd like to get my hands on one that's in better condition. Congrats on the twins!
  3. I always wanted one but never saw one come up for sale at a price I was willing to pay. Such a cool and unique looking bass.
    Woodchuck and austin2112 like this.
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    Beautiful, what's the nut width on the one on the right? Looks like it might be p-bass width.

    How much do they weigh?
  5. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Very cool, not a bass I'm familiar with but the design sure looks like it was made for Rocco's playing. With the ash body, maple neck, and J pickup that close to the bridge it must have monster amounts of punch, the P probably adds some beef. Very nice, congrats :thumbsup:
  6. ab2112

    ab2112 Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2015
    These two might have been them - I got them a few weeks between each other just recently! PM me when you want to get another :thumbsup:

    I'm not sure the exact width but it's somewhere between a J and a modern P...maybe 1.6" They are both pretty light, I'd say 8lbs at the very most.

    Thanks! They are both spectacularly punchy. After a few weeks of playing I'm finding I prefer a passive P tone more, but the thump these offer is unreal.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  7. Beautiful basses! I love the flame maple pickguards! And the grain of the ash on the one on the right! OOF! I love that little spot on the body where the grain and the contour of the pickguard makes a little diamond there, just to the left of the bottom of the neck. Congrats!
    austin2112 likes this.
  8. ab2112

    ab2112 Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2015
    Thanks! I too love when basses have little "birth marks" haha.
    musicman556 likes this.
  9. CoR Bass

    CoR Bass

    Apr 2, 2014
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Basses, Ashdown Amplifiers, Morley Pedals
    Oh, I want another now, but should I is another story. :D I'm glad you bought them, kept me from spending money I shouldn't be!
    austin2112 likes this.
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member



    they're fantastic lookers! congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup: congratulations on your other new instrument! :thumbsup:
    austin2112 likes this.
  11. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    Nice find! I'm a fan, too. Got one off ebay in 2005.....sold it a couple years later......then bought it back a couple years later.

    I emailed B. Conklin about the Rocco bass, he said they were discontinued because Bartolini couldn't supply the custom-spec'd pickups and preamps on schedule. I seem to recall him saying there were 29 or 30 built, but maybe it was 24, as mentioned. I read the original GTRP specs somewhere online back then.....the wood pickguard was described as being "birdseye maple". But the few that I've seen have all had flamed maple guards.

    Couple pics of Rocco playing his. Clearly one is showing a birdseye or burl guard (the USA one-off?), the other pic is unclear. Anyway, nice score on a very distinctive and well built bass.



    Attached Files:

    austin2112 likes this.
  12. ab2112

    ab2112 Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2015
    Somehow I missed your reply - awesome pics!!

    I'm down to one now - the one that *might* have been a backup to a backup. Despite my excitement it's become a case queen so I might offload that one too. I've realized I can't bond with a bass I don't feel comfortable with leaning up against things, lying on the couch and playing, or bringing to jams. If one my cats knock over my P or J, no big deal. Not so much with the Rocco. I'm not in a position to hang onto expensive things I don't use. So the bass will sit in it's road case in my closet until I either work up the nerve to list it or decide to put it in full rotation. First world problems.
    Templar likes this.

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