SD Curlee Brand Revived With New Bass Guitar

The S.D. Curlee bass, made popular in the 1970’s, has been reborn at the hands of Birdsong Guitars’ Scott Beckwith. Once described as the “poor man’s Alembic,” the S.D. Curlee brand went under in 1982 after business decisions that led to key members leaving.

SD Curlee Classic

SD Curlee Classic headstockThe new SD Curlee Classic is a new take on the original Randy Dritz design, featuring a medium scale neck, narrow string spacing, a single DiMarzio pickup, and a “bolt-through” neck joint. The basses are hand built in Texas, and the new build location is reflected just under the SD Curlee logo on the headstock. The bass is also available with 2 pickups with a series/parallel switch.

Beckwith got the license and blessing to revive the SD Curlee name.

“I’ve been a fan of the SD Curlees since I was a kid seeing their ads in old Guitar Players,” he explains. “They inspired me when I started building. The influence is undeniable. I still love their simple, natural look and the fact that a small American company made something different, against all odds and long before there was even such thing as a ‘Boutique’ market.”

The first batch of the new SD Curlee Classic will be available in approximately four months, with orders being taken now. The single pickup model goes for $1,975, while the double pickup version is priced at $2,150. The price includes shipping and a professional gig bag. For more details, visit the SD Curlee Bass site.

SD Curlee Classic Specs:

  • Neck – 3-piece Maple
  • Body – Mahogany or Walnut
  • Fretboard – Maple, 12” radius, 24 frets
  • Scale – 32” (medium scale)
  • Truss Rod – 2-way, adjustment wheel at heel
  • Width @ nut – 1-5/8” (41mm)
  • Spacing @ bridge – 17mm
  • Tuners – Hipshot Ultralite
  • Bridge – Hipshot Style A, brass
  • Pickup – DiMarzio P-style
  • Controls – Volume, tone, series/parallel switch
  • Finish – Hand rubbed oil
  • Hardware – Brass & chrome or brass & gold

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Share your thoughts

  1. Bobby

    Remind’s me of my teen year’s in Chicago, goin’ to D.J’s music and wishing to own one of these fine basses!

  2. Alan Knight

    A “poor man’s Alembic” at $1975-$2150? My definition of a “poor man’s” bass is $400-$500…I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

  3. Zeta

    “iconic hideous headstock” does he say??

  4. Hmmm. No one has more “iconic hideous headstocks” than Fender. S.D. Curlee’s are way cool, and I’m glad they’re back and being made in beautiful San Marcos TX.

  5. eric

    Alan Knight says:
    July 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm
    A “poor man’s Alembic” at $1975-$2150? My definition of a “poor man’s” bass is $400-$500…I guess it’s all a matter of perspective

    Well that 400-500 usd was the leaague were Curlee was aiming at. Initial retail price was around 350.
    Second hand, Curlee USA basses will fetch anything between 300 and 500
    Now that’s true Yankee spirit,

  6. i had one in 1981, it sounded great… someone else thought so too as it got stolen from the UNLV music dept’s office while i was in class!!
    welcome back!!

  7. Alex

    This particular “model” reminds me of Stanley Clarke’s Alembic…

    I guess that what they were aiming for.

  8. I had one back in 1978 I believe it was.

  9. I have an olld one, my uncle gave it to me :D

  10. Still have an original with case. If I could figure out how to post a photo I would! Gladly share!