SD Curlee Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by La___Parka, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. La___Parka


    Oct 21, 2005
    First off hello folks!

    not sure if this is in the right place, but i'll have a go. I've got a SD Curlee bass and to be honest I don't think i'm getting the best out of it. Does anyone know how much these are worth as i'd like to trade it for a cheaper/lighter bass and let someone who knows what they're doing take care of it.

    It appears quite old and is scuffed in a few places. I can take photos later if it will affect the rough price guide of it.

  2. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    At this point, pics would help. There are certain models that are valued moreso than others and we would probably need to see the condition.

    I *may* be interested in buying it if you do decide to sell it, btw. I like old Curlee basses.
  3. captremo


    Jan 8, 2006
    I have a 1980 or so curlee with a p and j pickup combo. Do you have or know of correct wiring diagram for this item? I like it for some funk work as it has a good low end bite with clean mids and highs. I'm a former Dever boy now living on the left coast and most people here neve even heard of this company. Thanks.
  4. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Yeah, we'd need to see it. The butchblock one are more valuable, I believe. And since the subject came up, here's mine. I made it into a 'piccolo'.
  5. They were great basses, a friend of mine had one here in the Uk many years ago, and it was a dream to play, nice and light weight with a nice warm tone.

    I've seen them here on evilbay for a hundred quid or so.
  6. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution
    just a little side info: the founder of SD Curlee was a friend of mine. His name was Randy Curlee. He just passed away six months ago.

    At the time he was working for Peavey and had recently worked at SKB cases as the VP of Sales.
  7. LarryR

    LarryR Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles

    Sorry to hear this belated bad news. I admired Randy back in the day and would never sell my Curlee bass. They have a sound and vibe all their own and can be picked up for nothing on Ebay. I frankensteined mine with an EMG, bridge and tuners done by John Caruthers' way back when. Still, what a dream she is to play. Funkiest slapper. Mahagony body, rock maple neck, jumbo frets. Real Machine.
  8. I have to chime in on this thread.

    I didn't know Randy had passed and am sorry to hear this. I talked to him on the phone in 1987 regarding an S.D. Curlee bass that I own. He was working at Yamaha at the time. He was very nice and informative and just tickled that I owned one of his basses. He was very proud of them and appreciated my avid interest.

    I came to know about S.D. Curlee basses because of Jack Blades of Night Ranger. He used them on the first NR record and the Don't Tell Me You Love Me video. He is a small guy and I'm a small girl so I thought this bass might be a perfect fit for me. I finally found one in a pawn shop for $300.00. I pounced on it!

    This bass has NEVER had any issues. ALWAYS in tune and the neck perfect. The truss rod has never been turned since I've owned it nor has it needed to be. Albeit, now the bass is relegated to coming out only occasionally for at-home noodling. I could go on and on about this instrument. I was lucky enough to bring it to a Night Ranger gig in early 1988 and the entire band minus the drummer signed it. Jack was very excited to see it and Brad Gillis, who was the first to put pen to it, even sat down on the step with it and played it for a few minutes. Since then, the entire Winger band has signed it as well as KISS drummer Eric Singer and Quiet Riot bassist Chuck Wright.

    I have owned it since 1986 and will never sell it.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Curlees don't go for much, $3-500. The imported Aspen/Curlee versions even less, like $100.

    Most Curlees I see are pretty banged up which doesn't help the resale value.
  10. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    The early SD Curlee basses were made right here in 60466. The adverage price is around $200, maybe a little more for the Liberty Bell model. I just saw one with pair of Dimarzio Model One pickups. The owner ordered that way. GC offered him $50 on trade for OLP for his kid. He kept the Curlee.

  11. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Use to see them in the early 80's. They were considered the "poor man's Alembic" in terms of the pseudo neck-thru construction and 32" scale. Relatively cheap as well.

  12. eddierukiddin


    Mar 31, 2009
    Long time ago I found a music store going out of business. Got me a Bassman cab with JBLs for $25., a McIntosh 2100 for $25 and an SD Curlee Bass for $50. I played this thing full time on and off for over 20 years and you couldn't pay me enough to sell it. Where else can you find a smooth sounding bass with a mahogany body, maple neck-through body, DiMarzio active humbucker, Bad Ass bridge, Grover pegs and complete brass plates and hardware throughout for the current going price. Plays great, sounds great and looks great!

    BIGREDSIX Supporting Member

    I also knew Randy back in the day. Met him when he was the bassist in the band "Zazu" through my bud Paul, the guitarist. My best friend (also a Randy) is one of the guys who did the actual building of these instruments. The other (Denny) has been a luthier in Milwaukee for some time now.
  14. jaybridgewater


    Apr 1, 2009
    I did sound for ZAZU back in 1973 -1975. Randy Curlee was the Bass Player for ZAZU. Prior to SD Curley he imported Orange amps into the USA for distribution to music stores. I was in his music store which he co-owned (called Makin Music) in Homewood, Illinois on a sunday night when he was tired of his brand XXXX bass (made in europe), ($2500.00 in 1973 money) going out of tune. He picked up the phone called the owner of the bass company in europe at home and got no satification. After the call he took a chisle to the neck of the guitar an found out what XXXX was doing wrong and the rest was history. He sold the guitar shop to Greg and the rest was history.

    He had fought diabetes all of his life and lost. Lost toes, eyes, and still played great music.

    It is sorry news to here he has past away. RIP Randy. You are missed,

    Jay Bridgewater - Montana
  15. guitararmy


    Jul 30, 2009
    Was listening to my Zazu LP yesterday in my truck--transferred it onto CD. I keep hoping it gets remastered and released onto CD. Definitely one of my alltime favorite groups!
  16. dmille96


    Nov 25, 2009
    People can say this model or that is most valuable, but I have probably the rarest bird of all. They actually painted one black to see how it would look. I bought it as a factory second at Zordans Music House when they were located in Frankfort Illinois. I was a big Gene Simmons fan, and as I was 19 or so at the time, a Grabber was a little out of reach - this resembles one if you squint REAL hard. Interesting note, they either put one goldtone Grover trim washer on either by mistake or so they could identify it easily...
    Sounds great but the action sucks next to my 4001 - kinda like playing a 2 X 4 ...never figured out how to lower it without screwing up the harmonics

    single DiMarzio active P-Bass p/u, BadassII bridges, brass nut - the works for Curlee
  17. tphs77


    Oct 6, 2010
    I'm slow on the uptake--I just discovered this site. Randy was once married to my sister. He was a terrific brother-in-law; especially kind to a little kid. Helped me buy my first drum set when I was 10. Randy had diabetes (type 1, I believe) and it affected his eyes, kidneys--even his bass playing (hand problems). He was an excellent bass player. He started piano lessons when he was 5 and he once told me that was his musical foundation. I remember he used to play Vanilla Fudge tunes on an organ in his parents' basement in Tinley Park. When he was a teenager, he was in a band called The Troys. They put out a single 45-Take Care (A)and Got to Fit You Into My Life (B). Both listenable songs. "Take Care" is still available on the web. Then he helped put together Zazu. Originally named Zazu Pitts (after the actress in the 50's TV series, "My Little Marjorie"), but they were called on it by the lawyers, so they shortened it to Zazu. They only put out one album, but it's great. He started Mak'n Music in Homewood, IL. in the mid-70s. Sold the business to Greg, who moved it up to the West Loop. Greg sold it about 8 years ago. Had turned it into a fantastic guitar store. I still have the guitar I bought from him in 1979. Randy made the S.D. Curlee (guitar and bass) in Matteson, IL. I think he was one of the first to actually license his guitar with Japanese manufacturers, rather than just discovering one day they copied it. As mentioned earlier, Randy stayed in the music business until his death a few years ago--complications from his diabetes. I really looked up to Randy. You couldn't find a cooler brother-in-law! Also, he was smart (had a business degree from what was then called U of I-Circle) and had a great sense of humor. He opened up the world of music to me, and I'm glad to see that he touched the lives of so many with his guitars and his music. He would be happy about that.
  18. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Randy was a good person who left way too soon.
  19. Vincent Gallo

    Vincent Gallo

    Apr 4, 2012
  20. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Endorsing Artist: Tecamp Bass Players Gear, Bartolini Emerging Artist
    If I had one I'd never get rid of it. But you have to play Disco Nights to get it to act right.