S.D. Curlee, Standard 2, 1978


S.D. Curlee
Standard 2
The Story Behind


About the Builder (from www.guitaralmanac.com):

The guitar manufacturer of the S.D. Curlee hails from Matteson, Illinois and were in business from the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s. The biggest market for the guitars were in Belgium as they proved to be better quality instruments compared to those sold by Fender. 

The founder of the company was Randy Curlee and the name of the company was culled from the names of the three designers, namely Curlee, Sonny Storbeck and Randy Dritz. During its heyday, the company was able to produce 15,000 instruments and more than a quarter was electric guitars and the bulk was bass guitars. The guiding principle of the company as envisioned by Curlee was that the guitar company should build a quality instrument at an affordable price for the user. The company focused on its work and not much thought was made on advertising, relying on the quality of the guitar to speak for itself. 

The Curlee brand was also licensed to Hondo, making the company the first guitar luthiers to make unlicensed copies of popular guitar brands. This opened the gates for others most notably the Fender Squier brand through Asian guitar builders. Later on in the 1980’s, the company jumped on the bandwagon and abandoned the “all natural” approach to building instruments. In this period, the company started using carbon resin like the Steinberger, Modulus and the Status. The advent of the headless design, bright colors and other innovations made the Curlee design team think out of the box but proved to be too costly. The company was forced to close shop as the costs of adhering to their maxim proved too costly against the cheap market prices. 

The Curlee instrument design is basically a neck through body design with the neck bolted on to the body with a heavy brass plate. The most popular bass guitar of S.D. Curlee had one basic symmetrical shape, drawing inspiration from the Les Paul double cutaway Junior from Fender. The difference though was that the S.D. Curlee also had a fretless design. 

The following are the models for S. D. Curlee: 

  1. Standard 1 – this 1 P-brass mahogany body with a DiMarzio featured a maple neck and a humbucker located near the bridge.
  2. Standard 2 – this was a replica of the Standard 1 but had two pick-ups
  3. Butcher – this bass had a body made of butcher block maple
  4. Liberty – no information provided
  5. Curbeck – this bass had a body made of walnut with maple striping
  6. Summit – this bass’s body and neck is made from laminated walnut
  7. C-30 – this bass is shaped like a violin and is built from walnut or maple with a maple neck. Has the distinction of being the rarest Curlee bass ever made
  8. Yankee – this bass has many active electronics installed and is made from walnut with a maple neck. Built with three pick-up configurations depending on the model, with the Yankee I has a one P-bass, the Yankee II with a 2-P bass and the Yankee II-J which had a 1 P-bass on the bridge and J-bass at the neck.

About the Guitar:

The guitar is in very good shape. At some moment in time it has been signed by Steve Vai. A heavy guitar which is build to last!

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