Got my Ripley/Curbow back!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by berklee46, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    After 6 months, I got my Porcaro-Ripley bass back from Greg Curbow and all I can say is that it was definitely worth the wait!! I had sent my Candy Apple Red Ripley bass to Greg to have him make a Rockwood neck for it. Once it was there I decided to go with a refin as well and a new bridge, etc.

    The bass had been played over the past 15 years and had some dings/dents/etc and it's like brand new now. Pat Wilkins did a great job. I used to have a Lakland with a killer Blueburst finish with black edges. Pat does the finishes for Lakland, so he was able to match it perfectly!
    (I had him get rid of the Mike Porcaro signature from the front. I know where it came from so I don't need the sig across the bass anymore)

    The Curbow Rockwood neck is killer. All of my other basses are graphite, and while this isn't graphite, it's not a traditional wood neck either. It is smoother than any other neck I've ever played, and that includes an older Sadowsky that I had sanded the finish off. It's black with what looks like white birch grain showing through. It's definitely got a ton more punch than it did with the original neck.

    Thanks again to Jason and Mike Z for swaying me to give Curbow a shot. After seeing how this came out, I'm definitely leaning towards ordering a new Curbow soon! :)

    Here's a "Before" pic:

    Here's "After":
    Here are the "After" photos:
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    BIG improvement! That is a killer finish. I think it makes the bass look hella classy. The headstock for the Curbow is also a huge improvemnt over that ugly 5 inline headstock...
  3. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    that is a new bass all around!
    it is beautiful!!!

  4. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Woo-hoo! It's great to finally see those pics! The blueburst with the black Rockwood neck really looks killer, and I'm sure it plays great, too. I'm really happy (and a bit relieved ;) ) that you're pleased with the end result.

  5. The bass looks great! I can only imagine how great it must play and sound after 6 months in Mr. Curbow's care.

  6. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    holy knobs batman!!!

    what do they all do?!
  7. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    "holy knobs batman!!!
    what do they all do?! "

    It's a stereo bass, so each string has it's own pan knob (the 5 small ones in a row), but since I use it in mono, they actually work as seperate volume controls for each string, which I think is great. I can
    boost my light guage G string to be as loud and full as the others...
    There is also an overall master volume, a seperate volume for each pickup, and a passive tone control, which has a surprising amount of tonal range!
  8. Wow. You're making me want to get a Curbow. (Yeah right. I could never afford that) I love Curbow headstocks. I think they're among the nicest being made. Way to go.
  9. Awesome, Scott! That looks great. I saw the bass when it first got to Greg's shop, and I saw the refinished body when I went to pick up my Jazz bass, but seeing the whole thing together is a whole different story!
    Aren't rockwood necks the greatest?!
  10. some guy#2

    some guy#2

    Feb 3, 2001
  11. wow, that's a big improvement, looks very nice! cool colour too!
  12. some guy#2

    some guy#2

    Feb 3, 2001
    Why did you go w/ another bridge & did you get what you were going for?

    & one quick comment
    as much as I dig the after results I DO sort of like that original headstock...sort of!
  13. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Just curious, anyone know the origins of the Ripley brand. Who started it? background on the design? etc.

    I've only seen one of these before,back in the early 1980s. It was red too. I recall the neck being much narrower than most of the present day fives.

    Anyway, it looks great!.
  14. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Dave, you are right - I saw a photo of just the body, and while it looked nice, it didn't compare to how it looks all put together. I'm really liking the Rockwood neck. I'm still a graphite fan, but this is definitely the next best thing!

    I changed the bridge because the original was not a quick release, and I was tired of scratching up the finish every time I changed strings.

    As far as the history of Ripley's go - I'm no expert, but I have talked with Steve Ripley a few times about this bass and his others, so I'll do my best:

    In the early 80's, Ripley had built some guitars for guys like Van Halen and Steve Lukather. He made a few basses for guys like Mike Porcaro, Jeff Pilson and TM Stevens as well.
    He'd hooked up with Tom Anderson, who built the necks and bodies, while Ripley did the funky electronics and assembly, etc.

    Ripley had later worked out a deal with Kramer, and put out about 50, but then they hooked up with Spector and Ripley was kind of put aside.

    The original Ripley bodies were basswood, while the Kramers were Poplar. I was able to learn that mine is a pre-Kramer bass handmade by Ripley and Anderson, but since he had signed on with Kramer, the Kramer logo had to be put on with the Ripley logo - even before Kramer began production.

    I remember seeing this odd shaped red bass in some Toto videos back in the mid 80's and always wondering what the heck they were.
    I was fortunate enough to get that bass from Mike a couple years ago, so all the time and money I've put into it is well worth it. I don't see myself ever getting rid of this bass now!

    Sorry for being so long winded, but hey, you asked! :)
    If you ever come across one, either snap it up, or let me know about it. They certainly aren't as well known, but I'd put these in the same league as Sadowsky, Lull, Tyler, etc. Very studio-friendly Jazz basses.

    Oh yeah, the 5-string neck is much more narrow than most 5-strings. It's actually the same size as a 4-string Jazz bass at the nut, but is quite comfortable at the bridge.
  15. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Thanks Berklee46! That's what a forum is all about! sharing info.
  16. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I just got home from being out of town for 4 days, and seeing your thread put a smile on my face.

    I am, like Mike, very relieved that you are pleased with the bass. Curbow works on his own time table, but the results are always worth it.

    Everyone who orders one very quickly from "why is this taking so #&*^$*&^# long" to "I can't wait to order another one." :D

    The bass looks killer. I liked the body when I saw it a couple of weeks ago, bu it looks much better put together.

    Hopefully, I'll get a chance to shoot up to his shop to pick up my 8 string tomorrow (assuming he finished it).

  17. berklee46

    berklee46 Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2000
    Jason, it was worth the wait, but there is *definitely* a difference between 12 weeks for us, and 12 weeks "Curbow Time" :)

    I'm very tempted to take Greg up on the offer to make a new 4 string bass for me for a GREAT price! Now if I can only figure out what to do with 5 basses...