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SD Curlee

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Walbassman, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. Walbassman


    Nov 27, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    Another exciting brand from the late 70s early 80s originally made outside Chicago and then moved to Japan in the early 80's. Does anyone besides me and lbanks have one? I just got mine from the basspalace. It is exactly like the one that I saw in Biasco Music in Chicago circa 1983. Brings back memories...Any of you other rascals have one of these and have pix? The pic of this one is still on the basspalace site for those of you who are interested.
  2. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    I remember seeing Alec Jon Such of Bon Jovi playing one back in the early 80's around the time of the first LP (remember those? ;) )

    I also seem to remember Jim Lea of Slade playing one as well...

    Nice basses...
  3. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Word up on the Curlees! (mine is now a Piccolo bass.):D
  4. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I happen to have one on the way to me... :smug:
  5. MiniMic


    Sep 29, 2001
    Syracuse NY
    I also had an SD Curlee Made in Japan(about 1981) Great Bass,
    2-Demarzio P-Bass Pickups as I remember now. I really enjoyed that bass. The neck reminded me of the 1970's Gibson(L9) Ripper Basses I had. Without the extra weight of a Ripper. You guys who still can find them are lucky, hang on to them this time !! :)

    Peace Out
    Mike C
  6. I have a 1976 Yankee One from Japan.
  7. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Don't know if this thread is still alive but I have an old one, with one big DiMarzio pickup. The neck is twisted and the truss rod nut doesn't stay put, but I'm in the process of fixing those and refinishing it, and haven't decided on how to approach the frets. I may do a complete fret job but have also been toying with only using frets on the first five positions and going fretless on the rest, with some kind of inlay to fill the slots.

    I know there was a company that made replaceable fingerboards that used magnets to stay in place but they closed up pretty soon, and some of their 'boards were semi-fretless but I haven't seen anyone doing it this way in a long time.


    Aug 22, 2007
    i have a USA S.D.CURLEE,i love it and use it all the time
    inspired by all the greats....body shape and wood(mahogany)are inspired by Gibson,the bolt on maple neck and fingerboard and pickups are Fender,and the neck thru-ish design and 32" scale are Rickenbacker.and it rules.Grover tuners,DiMarzio's,a brass nut and a BADASS bridge stock.how can you go wrong.it is really small,but heavy for its size.....big brass neck plate and control cover.tiny headstock.weird but very cool.

  9. That looks AWESOME!!!!!!!:hyper::hyper::hyper:
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Curlees have that reputation. They look cool as heck, but are prone to warping and trussrod problems.
  11. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Damn, that looks almost new.
  12. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    SkateRat- is there any chance of seeing a photo of the end of the truss rod, with the white cover removed? Because if that cover and the Fender style pickups, I can say that it's not one of the early ones. Same body shape, tuners (mine are gold plated), knobs and neck but I'll bet the truss rod stays where it's supposed to.

    Is there a series of holes in the brass back plate, for the strings to pass through? Mine has a Badass but the original was, in the words of Denny Rauen, "kind of a home-made looking thing". It was replaced by the Badass before I bought it. I know the guy I bought it from and heard him play it for years, which is one of the reasons I wanted it. I don't like playing long-scale basses and this is very comfortable for me, since bass isn't my main instrument- guitar is. I thought my amp or speakers were toast after turning it up with the switch in the series position. Nope- just a whole lot of output, that's all. It was overdriving the input of both amps. Great sound, looks funky and hopefully, the truss rod repair will make it into a good playing instrument. It already looks a lot better but I'll post some photos when it's done. Denny laughed when I mentioned that these are really popular in Belgium and I said, "Well, you have to be known for something, right?".

    Yours looks like it has been incredibly well taken care of. Have you done anything to it or is it bone stock? Looks like one new pickup, am I right?


    Aug 22, 2007
    i let a friend borrow my camera for his vacation,so maybe in a week or so i'll post that pic for you.but my pups are stock.must be the angle of photo.the only thing not stock on mine is the truss rod cover.
  14. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Cool little basses

    I remember the ads for them way back when - The butcher block bass.
  15. viktorkestral


    Sep 24, 2007
    I've owned it since the very beginning (a few years ago...) and I played it a lot but would probably sell it in the next future as I don't use it anymore.. I loved it, it was great to play, small sized, light... The Alembic's poor man is a well fitting description IMO.
  16. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    They were made here right in my back yard. Back in the mid-'70s, Randy sold me a bass that looked like the Liberty Bell. They weren't bad basses for the price. I think their top model was under $350. We see them at yard sales around here all the time. My neighbor's kid just bought one with gold hardware for $30. The DiMarzios need work, but the wood is still cool.

  17. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    They came out in the era of Kramer & BC Rich, all responding to Alembic, but usually with Dimazio P pickups for the most part. All were interesting basses. Curlies usual go for cheap on Ebay.

    I would love to see a butcher block one, I remember in ads at the time.
  18. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Hey Contact Big Red Six, his best bud Randy used to work in the SD Curlee Shop. I've met Randy and he's a very knowlegable guy.
  19. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    I'm told that Randy passed away a year ago.

  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    A buddy of mine in New Zealand has a fretless Curlee. I've played it and it's excellent. I also saw Night Ranger on their very first tour, and Jack Blades used one. He soon got a Hamer deal and quit using it, though.