I've been curious about picking up a Curbow (non-Cort) for some time, and recently, I was able to acquire a 1994 American Petite 5 from TB'er justBrian - thanks again, Brian! I really like the bass, but I found myself very frustrated with the XCTC(?) preamp. It just didn't work the way that I expect from more modern preamps, and while I could eventually dial in some killer tones, it was not a quick process, and I felt like there were a lot of tonal options lurking within this bass, but waiting for a better preamp to let them shine through. So, I immediately began thinking preamp upgrade, but I wanted to maintain the inherent value of the bass (both karma-wise and dollar-wise), so I thought I would check in with the fine fellows carrying on the Curbow Stringed Instrument torch to see if they might be able to help me out and install an upgraded Bartolini preamp (along the lines of what they use now). I expected to have to wait some time for a reply to my e-mail, and then to either get blown off, or to have to part with my new toy for many months in order to accomplish this. In fact, I was already going over who I would contact next, even before I sent my first e-mail! But get this, about an hour later, I get a response from Doug Somervell at Curbow, and he says that he'd be happy to help me out. Nice. Then, I mention that I have this GTG coming up in a couple of weeks (two weeks to the day), and maybe I'll keep it until after the GTG so that I can have it on hand for the festivities. Doug then offers to get it done for me in time for the GTG! I don't believe him at first, but no, he says he'd be happy to do it. But, here I am, a guy he's never met or spoken to, who has an eleven year old used bass that I want him to work on. Surely, that's a back burner customer in some people's eyes (as shown by my six+ month wait for a less complicated repair from another unnamed company), but Doug makes me feel like it's the most important thing in the world for him to do at the time. He even comes in on a Monday (they are normally closed) during an unusual Georgia snowstorm to receive the bass. He even calls UPS to make sure that they know to stop by (since they're usually closed, see ). Wow! This is really something special, and more than I expected. But still, until I get the bass back in my hands, it's all smiles and high fives, right? Well, guess what arrived today - a day early for the GTG? Doug, you da man! Not only have I picked up a great instrument, but I feel like I've gained a friend in the process. Simon seems like one heck of a nice guy, too. These Curbow guys are carrying on in a fashion to make Greg very proud. And according to John Prock, they continue to make some outstanding instruments. I figure on finding out, as when a company treats you this good, they certainly make you want to come back for more. This experience just vastly exceeded my expectations, and with some of the negative stories floating around, I wanted to share one of the positive ones. Here is a "before" picture of my Curbow. Doug refinished the wax/oil finish as part of upgrading the preamp, so I'll be sure to post some "after" shots as well.