This just arrived via eBay from Portugal via Canada Post. It’s an Aria Pro II RS-750.
Here is my demo of it:http://youtu.be/9FolrjwCYbw
It’s a fairly obscure guitar made in the Matsu. factory over what I believe was a 2-3 year period. I suspect these were destined for the European and Japanese domestic market. This one was purchased second hand from my seller from the original owner in 1981 in Faro on the southern tip of Portugal.
It’s in better shape than the only guitar I ever bought new! It plays like a dream – perfectly balanced. I wanted something with brass hardware to replace a vintage Carvin DC160 which I sold recently. There is no comparison at all to the Carvin and I think it’s nicer than my PRS CU22 – different for sure, and just feels like its not even there when I’m playing it. I might post this review in the Bobby section as well because it makes one hell of a rhythm guitar.
It’s got an Alembic California vibe and the pickups have more clarity than anything I played before. You hear everything on this guitar – it’s like you can count how many frets you slide down by listening to the recording. It’s a hybrid neck and the closest thing I can compare it to is the neck on my 67 Gibson SG Junior in a 25.5” scale which is as wide as a typical strat. It’s super thin and has an amazing radius on it. The fretboard is a massive slab on Rosewood at the nut which tapers towards the body of the guitar – very three dimensional in its design. These guitars were made by hand!
I think the tone resembles the Wolf 1.0 (not that my playin’ does!) but you can be the judge of that! The body looks to be a Japanese Ash (the specs list it as Zebrawood but its not that gaudy!). It's got a really nice yellow color to it. The neck is Walnut and Maple (bird's eye in the center lamination).
So here is a question for any electronics savvy folks out there. The middle pick-up is a slave. I can’t really tell what exactly it’s doing – but I assume it’s there to put things out of phase – or perhaps it puts each pick-up into a humbucking mode – if that’s possible?. The electronics are near perfect. The only modification I can think of for this guitar is to drop in a middle pick-up, perhaps a ½ Dual Sound, or SDS-1 or a splitable strat style humbucker.
Anyone have any thoughts on this – would it kill the tone of the neck and bridge pick-ups by getting rid of the slave (if the slave is always activated)?
The switch on the horn is an Alembic style (possible an actual Alembic unit) 3 way switch. It’s pretty funky. I thought I could go to one master tone and use the third pot as a 5 way rotary switch.