Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're publishing the review made by our friend Edoardo Del Principe of his guitar: a 1984 Aria Pro II Black and gold, let's see his opinion!
After months of searching, scratching online catalogs, reviewes and a few online videos I decided to buy for around 450 euros a Japanese guitar made in 1984.
I want to talk about its original version before I changed some stuff: The Aria Pro II PE BG looks like a Les Paul Custom, but has its own character: the first thing I’ve noticed was the thinner neck, thinner than a 60’s neck, a sort of smoothy D shape neck closer to Ibanez than the classical LP C shape. Another impressive feature is the heel-less neck joint, something LP and Gibson started a few years later than Aria Pro.
The neck is fabulous, better than any LP I’ve tried, and for my small hand is just heaven; the headstock is also nice because has info about where and when the guitar was made in the front and not in the back.
The headstock has less inclination form neck of a normal LP making it a lot more resistant, trust me.
About the hardware I must say that 40 years made their work ruining the metal parts with a bit of rust, but they still work fine; potentiometers are not the best in the market but they are ok.
Also I really enjoyed the coil splitting system using two switch near the volume knobs, that was an Aria Pro II trademark; some guitars had built-in fuzz or boost, weird combination of PU and counter-phase option.
This Aria can be used with two HB or two SC with their own character; the original PU were able to cover a vast range of tonal options. On the bridge you have a medium-high output pickup, a bit raw in its attack but has enough bite to crunch well amps, up to a metal distortion.
Those guitars were made for more classic rock music though, especially with the neck pick up it’s possible achieve a pretty smooth tone for solo or lead arpeggios.
Essentially this Aria Pro II was a sort of hybrid between a strat and Les Paul where with a single guitar you can achieve hard rock and jazzy tones.
Anyway in my opinion the biggest “pro” of this guitar is its build quality: those guitars were made in the Matsumoku factory in late 70’s to the mid 80’s, and Matsumoku was famous to build the most prestigious guitars for Japanese brands and Aria Pro II makes no exception.
The PE Serie was not on the top, because more prestigious and beautiful guitars were made for Greco, Tokai, Ibanez and few other brands which had legal issues to be too similar with Gibson models (the famous “lawsuit era”); on the other hand Aria Pro released its own line of original guitars with their own style, inspired by the American ones but with improvements in the hardware: like it or not, they are good instruments.
If you want a coil-splitting, dual humbucker Les Paul with a THICK maple top you have to spend a lot more than 450 nowdays, but you have to consider that Japanese manufacture of guitars in 70’ and 80’ had the most discontinuous productions ever existed, so make sure to check out what model it is, make some research on the serial number and trust no one.
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