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Scored a Curlee

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jbybj, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Obtained this in trade at my local used shop. My goodness the double DiMarzio P pups are pungent. Each pup has a series/parallel switch, separate volume for each, (with a 3 way selector switch), both exiting the jack through a single passive tone. At first I thought I might need to replace all the pots, they are original DiMarzio pots, but they all responded well to some schpritz. I found some great info at Birdsong, who are now making new versions of the SD Curlee designs. Mine is one of the later ones, post 1980, USA version. As kludgey as it looks, the Badass bridge is original. Spoke at length with Scott at Birdsong basses today, great guy, and he has lots of NOS parts. I bought a NOS switchcraft output jack, and an aluminum control cavity cover from him today. As you can see in the pix, the original finish on the fretboard has been largely replaced through extensive playing, the darker areas are sporting a new finish of finger cheese and dirt. I spent this evening replacing the foam under the pups, cleaning the fretboard, (not really a fretboard as the frets are mounted in the same maple laminate that makes up the neck), and for the time being, sealing the raw wood with some tru oil. I know that is not a long term solution, but I wanted to close off the neck to moisture absorption.

    This thing feels great, light weight, 32" scale, comfy neck profile, and a monster tone.

  2. Congrats from a huge SD Curlee fan!

    I've owned two and tried to rehab them but gave up. They are notorious for neck twists. If I ever find one without a twist, I may have to grab it. Those twin Ps growl like crazy!
  3. Jazzcat


    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    Congrats as well. I have a 1979 Curbeck fretless. Yes, those twin DiMarzio Ps are crazy hot. An interesting tidbit about the Curlees is the neck extends all the way down to the bridge mounts, so it is essentially a neck-through bass with a bolt-on neck!
  4. Curly necks? :D
    I kid.
  5. jbossolo


    Sep 22, 2011
    Cool! I'm a fan as well. Scott over @ Birdsong is a great guy, and knows more about these than just about anybody else, other than Randy Dritz himself!
  6. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Nice find! I had the matching guitar from about the same time period. Really well made.
    If it had been a bass, I'd probably still have it!
  7. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I've got a second coat of tru oil on the fretboard, so I'm gonna string it up tonight. I have been thinking about my options, short of taking it to a pro. I'm not sure a pro refinisher would be able to do a proper job without taking the frets out, and that's something I don't want to do. The frets have tons of life left. Plus I would rather keep the costs down.

    I thought about taping up the frets, and applying CA or epoxy to the board. It would still be a two toned board, but I kind of like the relicing of the neck. I don't need it to look pretty, just last a lot longer. Looking forward to hearing some fresh rounds on this Curlee.
  8. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    Its the exact opposite of what I play...Which makes me kind of want one.
  9. jbossolo


    Sep 22, 2011
    Have you considered taking it to Birdsong? Brady does amazing work, and his prices are very reasonable. Just an idea.
  10. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    If you can get the exposed areas nice and clean, you could tape the frets and give the board a coat (or four) of rattle-can lacquer. It'll protect it, and you can blend the edges into the existing finish. Down the road, when it's ready for a refret, you can strip it and refinish the whole board evenly.
  11. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    BTW, if anyone is interested, there is another SD Curlee at the store. It's an early one, single DiMarzio hum bucker, with the custom made brass bridge, (Scott at Birdsong said those early bridges were made by a guy who cast tractor parts in his barn). SD Curlee on the headstock, brass cover plates, and in very good condition, much better than mine. I have already adjusted the truss rod, so we know that works. I played it for about 1/2 an hour, and really like it. I wanted that one, because I wasn't in the mood for a "project", but I couldn't muster the trade in dollars. Fortunately, mine has ended up being less of a project than I first thought. He is asking $650. You can contact Shane at Timewarp Music in Los Angeles if you are so inclined.
  12. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I removed TONS of grime, but there is still a significant color difference. Right now I just want to play it, I will figure it out later.
  13. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Cool ;)

    Neat score!

  14. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    There are some words, that I just keep coming back too. I like the way it rolls of my tongue.

    Definition of PUNGENT

    : having a stiff and sharp point <pungent leaves>
    a : marked by a sharp incisive quality : caustic <a pungent critic> <pungent language>
    b : being sharp and to the point
    b : having an intense flavor or odor <a pungent chili>
  15. That thing is NICE!!

    Looks like the previous owner REALLY liked playing up high...

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