Aria guitars

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Never seem to have same kudos as some of the Burny/tokai/Ibanez stuff.

Quality was always pretty good. anybody else use them?

I used to have a ES650 which was sort of335-345 type and always wanted the black and gold Cardinal series guitar.

Just maybe 1-2 Aria Knightwarriors , sort of HM superstrat type in local shop as well.

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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 19829
    IIRC (and I might not!) @esblonde is a bit of an Aria fan.

    I remember them from back in the 70s/80s ... I think they tried to hit both the cheaper-end and the middle range markets, which is tough to do without devaluing the higher-value range.

    But I do remember them positively from back in the day ...
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 21568
    Their original design PE series seemed to get a lot of attention 'back in the day'. For a time EVERYONE seemed to play their basses. I don't remember Aria copies being around much in the shops I went in (though I remember Beat Instrumental reviewing an Aria LPC-alike).
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  • gilbygilby Frets: 164
    In the eighties they did seem to be "the" bass in regards to whole new romantic thing. Some of those basses do seemed to command a good price today.
    I also had an Aria semi, a TA50 many years back. Nice enough guitar but I didn't bond with it too well. Didn't get on with the neck, maybe a narrow nut, can't really remember tbh.
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  • Two thing that I think hit Aria - well at least when I was growing up in the 80s. 

    Firstly the other three mentioned did direct copies without any shame and it was a way to own something like the unattainable that from a distant might even fool someone into thinking it was the real thing.  Aria (to their credit in retrospect) seemed to actually do their own thing and people are always sceptical new designs - especially in the 80s when you were split between either classic design or superstrats. 

    The other thing that to a great degree damned Aria to my generation was that they were stocked in local music stores (along with school violins and the guillotine lethal folding music stands) alongside Hohner.  They became associated with beginners guitars that you Mum would buy you and as a result didn't carry much cool and had no big artist endorsements.  Then when you went up town to a big guitar store, all you saw was the big Gibson and Fender signs.

    My muse is not a horse and art is not a race.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50701
    edited January 2014
    Always been a big fan. My first guitar (after the cheap classical which fell apart when I put steel strings on it…ignorance of youth!) was a 1984 Aria RS Standard, made by Matsumoku as they all were at that time. A Strat copy of sorts, but with a skinnier, slightly offset body and slightly simplified electrics.

    My first bass was a SB1000. I later had two SBR-60s, a Straycat guitar (RS body shape, two humbuckers), a PE-500 and an acoustic 12-string. (Edit for model identification!)

    Sadly not long after this they moved production to Korea, at first keeping the same designs and very close to the same quality, but then went very rapidly downhill and it wasn't long before they were a real budget brand.

    Even more sadly for me, I completely wrecked my original RS Standard - steadily, thoroughly and irreversibly by using it as the test-bed for all the mods and gadgets I experimented with until the mid 90s. It had about thirty different pickups, at least four bridges including a routed-in Kahler, and the coup de grace was a Roland GK-2 synth pickup which I fitted into the body, before you could buy the guts of it as a kit. Eventually I sold the neck to someone for a project, and chucked the body which by then resembled a Swiss cheese which rats had been at…

    Then I missed it, and since there was this new thing called the internet I went looking for another one. It turned out it was an extremely rare model - it took me nearly fifteen years to find one, and when I finally did it was in California! After some persuasion to get the seller to ship it internationally, I got it.

    A happy ending…

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 6964
    I seem to remember that the opinion of the day mid 70s was that the KIMBARA Strat was better than the Fender!
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
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  • 57Deluxe said:
    I seem to remember that the opinion of the day mid 70s was that the KIMBARA Strat was better than the Fender!

    Some people believe an Ibanez Destroyer body with a broken Squier neck is better than a Fender Strat though.
    My muse is not a horse and art is not a race.
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  • dandldandl Frets: 8
    Yes I have one. It's a 5102T that was made in Japan in the early 70's I believe. It's a lovely guitar and has some really sweet sounding pickups! Here's a pic. :) http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z177/levansleigh/AriaHollowBody_zps4a9d484c.jpg
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1121
    ICBM said:   Then I missed it, and since there was this new thing called the internet I went looking for another one. It turned out it was an extremely rare model - it took me nearly fifteen years to find one, and when I finally did it was in California! After some persuasion to get the seller to ship it internationally, I got it.
    A happy ending…
    Nice story ICBM, that was a long wait but it turned out well.   :)

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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 11798
    edited January 2014
    I think the 80's basses are extremely prized especially amongst metallers as Cliff Burton one used to play one.
    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • LixartoLixarto Frets: 1615
    edited January 2014
    I like mine:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v349/Lixarto/zap.jpg

    It's an Aria PE DCW T.
    "I can see you for what you are; an idiot barely in control of your own life. And smoking weed doesn't make you cool; it just makes you more of an idiot."
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  • Been a very long time since Shiro Arai actually built anything. Aria has been little more than a brand name since the 60s. At various times its guitars have been built by Matsuoka, Matsumoku, FujiGen, Tokai, Dyna, Samick, Young Chang and, now, a bundle of Chinese factories. The finest instruments to wear the Aria name were built in the chaotic period after the Matsumoku facility closed, when the FujiGen custom shop built the likes of the PE1200 and 1000 and the SB-LTD and ELT. But, 18 to 24 months isn't much of a window.
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  • BucketBucket Frets: 7742
    As monquixote says, the old SB1000 basses are highly praised.

    Never had much experience of Aria stuff myself.
    - "I'm going to write a very stiff letter. A VERY stiff letter. On cardboard."
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  • Bucket said:
    As monquixote says, the old SB1000 basses are highly praised.
    Depends which version of the SB1000 you're talking about. The original ('77/'78) featured the PP-II (Power Plus) pickup design. This was redesigned during the first 12 months the SB range was on sale, and became the MB-I. In '80/'81 the carcass was redesigned, the original sen wings being replaced with Canadian ash, also the original jacaranda touchboard was replaced with ebony, bridge was repositioned, and headstock shape and angle altered. The MB-I pickup was also redesigned. Specification remained stable until '84, when the pickup and active circuit were redesigned. That takes you up to the closure of the Matsumoku facility, after which the whole package was redesigned, with a return to sen for the wings and whole new supplier of pickups and circuit.

    As for Burton, his main Aria was a Black 'n' Gold I, derived from the SB700/SR-R60 models, not the SB1000.
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  • seank71 said:
    Bucket said:
    As monquixote says, the old SB1000 basses are highly praised.
    Depends which version of the SB1000 you're talking about. The original ('77/'78) featured the PP-II (Power Plus) pickup design. This was redesigned during the first 12 months the SB range was on sale, and became the MB-I. In '80/'81 the carcass was redesigned, the original sen wings being replaced with Canadian ash, also the original jacaranda touchboard was replaced with ebony, bridge was repositioned, and headstock shape and angle altered. The MB-I pickup was also redesigned. Specification remained stable until '84, when the pickup and active circuit were redesigned. That takes you up to the closure of the Matsumoku facility, after which the whole package was redesigned, with a return to sen for the wings and whole new supplier of pickups and circuit.

    As for Burton, his main Aria was a Black 'n' Gold I, derived from the SB700/SR-R60 models, not the SB1000.

    Do you know the ES650 model, bought mine brand new in about 1980 from Gamlins in Newport. Tortoise she'll binding varitone circuit coil taps the lot.
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  • siremoonsiremoon Frets: 883
    Ive got one of these:

    http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss103/hsk925/S5000451.jpg

    Laser Electric Heritage.  MIJ in about 1986 - bought it 2nd hand in 1987.  Nothing fantastic but nicely put together.
    “He is like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” - Noel Gallagher
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 3277
    edited January 2014
    I have a very prejudiced opinion.

    When 'Aria' began their new regime in the late 70s they had some monster launch models to show what they could do. These were the PE1000 and the PE1500 (the same guitar but the later had Di Marzios fitted which were all the rage at the time). The guitars were well designed and took much from the best Les Pauls and a bit of fender of the time. The Matsumoko production was excellent, in addition these 'launch models' were hand finished and set up in the factory. The GB dealer were Gigsville Ltd and they had a luthier (whose name escapes me) who would un-box and set up every guitar before delivery to the customer. They only had 4 a month for the first year so they were exclusive and caused the desired 'BUZZ' in the guitar world.
    I bought one and still have it.
    http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z410/ESBlonde/Guitars/018.jpg
    http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z410/ESBlonde/Guitars/019.jpg
    The most famous users were Andy Summers (I strongly suspect Roxanne was recorded on one). And Gerry Cott of the Boomtown Rats.
    Cott did lots to his like split coils etc and had it sprayed blue. Aria then issued a Gerry Cott version.
    After that year Aria imported more very reasonably priced guitars from their matsumoko factory, these again were inspected and setup at Gigsville in Surrey and were well above the inconsistent quality of the big american brands of the day (CBS fender and Norlin/Gibson). the SB1000 was released and became the bass of the moment (Buggles/Trevor Horn being a high profile early user).

    The current crop bearing the name are not in the same league as those early models but over the time the brand have produced some good quality instruments at very affordable prices. The Factory (Uncle Matsumoko) also produced a quantity of good guitars under different brand names.

    There is a lot of info and a dedicated forum here
    http://www.matsumoku.org/ggboard/index.php

    I bought an Aria Wildcat at one point (in my Alan Murphy phase) which was a reasonable guitar for its money). Wish I'd kept it.


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  • Wasn't it Paul Brett who did work for them at one time, used to play a 12 string?
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  • BidleyBidley Frets: 2452
    Every time @ESBlonde posts photos of his PE, I shed a single tear.

    I've got a big appreciation for old Aria guitars. The ZZs, Cardinals and some of the superstrats, as well as the PEs all tickle my pickle.
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 21568
    koneguitarist;145628" said:
    Wasn't it Paul Brett who did work for them at one time, used to play a 12 string?
    I think you're right. They did Paul Brett 6 & 12 string acoustic signature models IIRC.
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  • JDEJDE Frets: 1088
    Not played many of their solid bodies, but the Aria archtops I've played run the gamut from very good to really bloody good.
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  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1838
    I have a 1980 LS-500 Les Paul copy.  Plays and sounds great.  Very well made too.
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  • WYNIR0WYNIR0 Frets: 134
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v209/WYNIR0/Misc/IMG_1347.jpg

    My TA-40. Bought in 93. My 1st guitar and I'll never get rid.

    monquixote said:
    I agree with WYNIRO much as personally I think he is a total cock.


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  • http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i278/bargoedboy/ariaES650-1.jpg

    My old Aria, would love to play it again, but it had a fairly slim neck, so probably unable to play it now with my hands.

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