Street Machines with Strings…
Rocking The World Since 1976

In the beginning three guys (a luthier, a pattern maker, and a businessman) outside of Chicago decided to take on the big guys. They designed instruments, started a workshop, and built a company. SD Curlee basses have been seen on stages of all sizes since, and even on MTV in its early years. They rock, they roll, and they're absolute funk machines.   

Years back amazing circumstances found the remains of the company in the hands of S.D. Curlee fan, collector & enthusiast Scott Beckwith - also the designer/luthier behind Birdsong Guitars (known for their pro-quality short scale basses). We then applied all we know about crafting high-end short scale basses to the classic 1970s SD Curlee design, along with the far superior parts & hardware available to build with today. It couldn't be in better hands.

So what did we do? Bassically, design out problem areas of the originals and refine them with boutique-level craftsmanship... while keeping the vintage S.D. Curlee family natural look, vibe & classic, punchy tone. And every one is still USA workshop built, which means something to us... we didn't go the "Import re-issue with our name on it" route that could have been SO easy.  Instead we build in very small numbers and it’s a labor of love.

Instead of a re-issue, we re-vised. Headstock angle, string pull, hardware, 2-way truss rod with easy access, much stronger neck with thick fretboard, full shielding, attention to detail, and better ergonomics and QC.  Then we top it all off with our hand-rubbed oil finish. If you want a heavy, crude 40 year old original - we get it, we love them too. We're proud of the legacy. But we're even more proud to be offering you the best made, best playing & sounding basses we've ever made - and there aren't a lot of companies that can say that. Thank you for your continued interest in S.D. Curlee USA!

Current Models

Standard76 The "76" is today's version of the original SD Curlee bass with the "brick" pickup! Maple neck, mahogany (shown) or walnut body. Same strong but articulate DiMarzio Model One humbucker with series/parallel switch, available in aluminum with chrome hardware (shown) or black with black hardware (shown on the lefty of mahogany & pecan), all with brass cover plate. You’ll see variations like the 3-piece body, other woods, maybe a “German carve” edge. This model starts at $1500 USD.
(To see what’s available, go check on the inventory page)

Standard78 The “78” is the classic Standard model, today’s version of the Standard from the late ‘70s with the punchy & powerful cream DiMarzio P pickup. We use a reverse arrangement for better tonal balance, and the series/parallel switch, and this is THE classic SD Curlee sound! Maple neck with mahogany or walnut body (shown is special walnut butcher block), with chrome or gold plated hardware. We have fun with these too; the carved edges and twin maple stringers of this era’s fancier builds get crafted in here and there, and it starts at $1500 USD as well.
(To see what’s available, go check on the inventory page)

Yankee II  Reshaped slightly from the original template for improved balance (and better upper fret access than the Standards), comes with full-dress ‘70s style with 7-piece body & German carved edge. This model gets two of the punchy DiMarzio P pickups in our own harmonic arrangement from the late ‘70s, full hardware upgrades from the Standard, and revised controls with series/parallel switching. Starting at $2500 USD
(To see what’s available, go check on the inventory page)

You’ll also see the occasional Standard cut like a Yankee - the “Y76” and “Y78” basses.

Today's SD Curlees are a little different but a lot better in ergonomics, build quality, and neck stability. They weigh a little less, balance a little more, and are made with boutique attention to detail. Yes, they will still most definitely shake the walls or throw down the funk through a good amp!

31" scale 3-pc. maple neck. The great Birdsong neck? These are closer to that now than the old P-width long tenon style. Still fills the hand nicely, still 24 frets (plus a zero fret now for low action & consistent tone), and NO neck issues with our thick board and strong 2-way truss rod with MUCH easier access and smoother adjustment!

Same select mahogany or walnut body. Those are the standard woods. Mahogany is more red with a slight midrange bump, walnut brown and more even tonally. Very slight difference in tone, big difference visually.

Same vintage pickups: DiMarzio Model One (The "brick", in aluminum or black) or DiMarzio Model P (in cream, the high output P-style in our own arrangement for better tonal balance). All electronics are passive, but it’s fully shielded & star grounded now under that classic brass cover plate!

Overall weight averages in the 8 to 9 pound range ready to rock.

For the whole story & vintage instrument info check out the SD CURLEE INFO PAGE.

For you car people, the machines pictured:
"Sarge" the 1974 Plymouth Roadrunner street machine
"American Beauty" is a 1960 Pontiac Catalina sedan
"Highway Song" 1983 Ford custom '70s style van

SD Curlee USA
c/o Wingfeather Enterprises
PO Box 1745
Wimberley, TX USA

(512) 395-5126 (put SD Curlee in the subject)
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