Sunday, September 27, 2015

Famous Arias: Jack Bruce's SB-1000

Up for auction at Sotheby's is the late Jack Bruce's SB-1000 which he used for a short period of time in the early '80s. Of note is the serial number: 088047.  He was also featured in an Aria Pro II advert with this bass and the quote "It's a bloody good axe!". This particular bass has a very plain grain but is still a very interesting instrument for Bruce / Cream fans. The bass is expected to go for between 3,000 - 5000 GPB.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Aria Pro II SB-Integra signed by Billy Gould!

Back in February I had the pleasure of meeting one of my bass idols and former Aria player, Billy Gould! He was at an event to launch his Zon Sonus signature bass in Tokyo and I was able to attend! Bill signed my AP SB-Integra prototype model which is just like the bass he played on Introduce Yourself and The Real Thing. When I showed him the bass he said "that's my bass!" and even played it a bit before signing for me. Here are some pics because "pictures or it didn't happen!".

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another "Cliff Burton's Bass" Post!

Another one? Yep! This time Cliff's older sister Connie Burton has posted a picture of one of Cliff's Black 'n' Gold basses! Check it out:

Also, because today, February 10, is what would have been Cliff Burton's 53rd birthday, here are some photos of "The Major Rager..." in action! RIP Cliff! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Erik Scott of Alice Cooper with Aria Pro II

It seems like the list of players who used Aria Pro II in the '80s is endless. Just when I think I've found them all, another one pops up. Here is Erik Scott of Alice Cooper's band playing what looks like an SB-900. Check out the wood grain! Check my video links for a video of Scott playing an Aria  live.

Even More Aria Pro II Models!

It looks like the folks at Aria have been very busy lately! Here are even more new models! I'm noticing a emphasis on build quality - even on the lower priced models - that I haven't seen from Aria since the '80s. By build quality I mostly mean things like using 3 piece necks instead of scarf joints. Just in my experience with Aria basses from the '80s to the '90s, the ones with 3 piece necks were a lot less likely to warp. *Many* of the Integra models I've played with scarf joints had neck issues. So I'm glad to see Aria producing models with 3 piece necks again. They also seem to have more maple fretboards than I've ever seen from Aria. Here are some of the new editions!

SB-1000 with Bartolini pickups

SB-1000 with 2 MB pickups + BB Circuit

AVB-4005 (available in black or maple with rosewood or maple fretboard)
RSB-42AR (available in blue or green)

Check out for more info on these models.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

New Aria Pro II Models - RSB-1500 & SB Black 'n' Gold & New Website

Aria Japan has released a couple new bass models. First is a revamped RSB series, featuring jazz style pickups, maple fretboards, and active electronics. These are made in Japan and have a street price of about 107,000 yen.

Next is the re-issue of the SB Black 'n' Gold. This is essentially the same model as the Cliff Burton signature version, minus the signature graphic and case. The Japanese street price is about 252,000 yen. 

For the exact specs checkout Aria Japan's site: Click here for the SB specs and here for the RSB specs.

Finally, Aria appears is working on a new site. Check it out at .

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Samhain / Eerie Von with Aria Pro II

Since Halloween is just around the corner, here's an update about an Aria Pro II sighting in Glenn Danzig's old band Samhain! This is Eerie Vonn playing what appears to be a SB Black 'n' Gold I. Cliff Burton was a huge Misfits/Samhain fan so I wonder if Vonn using an AP 2 had any effect on Cliff? Here is a video from 1984 showing the same bass.

And here is Cliff with a Samhain sticker on his Aria SB...

Thanks to Nuno for the info!! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Aria Pro II SB-1000 Transformation into Cliff Burton Tribute

Several months ago I picked up an '83 padauk red SB-1000 in desperate condition. It had been routed to accommodate P/J pickups and had a warped neck. Of course it had been gutted of its original pickup and electronics as well. It was unplayable and pretty much a lost cause. But after a while I thought maybe it could be restored to its former glory. It would be a waste to let an SB-1000 rot away like that. I wouldn't be able to pull it off alone, though, and after contacting several people I finally settled on my old standby at MD Custom Shop in Seoul to do the work. Because of the horrible routing, a black finish was the only way to go. I decided to make this into another Cliff Burton tribute bass. I think it came out great! Besides the refinish, it also needed a re-fret, new pickup, and new electronics installed. The electronics are Aria re-issue but the pickup is from another '80s era SB-1000.

Here are the before, during, and after pics! The Cliff Burton fans out there should know what the custom serial number on the back of the headstock means!

To see how this tribute bass looks compared to the original, click here!

Special thanks to Deathblade Eric and Prostheta from Talkbass for their help on this project! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Aria Pro II Black 'n' Gold Cliff Burton Signature Demo Video

Here's a very nice demo of the Cliff Burton signature bass from a Russian guitar shop. English subtitles are available. Check it out!

Update: here is another video review of the SB Black 'n' Gold Cliff Burton tribute bass from Interactive Guitar:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cliff Burton Aria Bass w/ modification at the "Metallica Museum"

Here is an interesting find thanks to various sleuths at As you can see it "was the last bass he played" on 9/26/86. This was on display as part of the Metallica Museum which displayed several other Metallica items as well. This, though, has to be the most interesting piece there!
It's one of Cliff Burton's Aria Pro II Black n Gold basses but with a pickup modification. The new pickup appears to be a PJ Marx of some kind, perhaps a humbucker. It looks like the PJ Marx is somehow installed on or inside of the original MB pickup. I would think it would be extremely difficult to route the pickup inside the casing of one of those epoxied MB pickups. If only there was a picture inside the control cavity on this bass. Anybody got any ideas on this mod?

Here is Cliff with this bass during what looks like a relaxed soundcheck for one of his final gigs (note John Marshall with the acoustic guitar, used for "Fade to Black"). 

For reference, here are some more pictures of PJ Marx pickups:

After searching for information on PJ Marx pickups it seems they are most closely associated with Brad Gillis of Night Ranger and Ozzy Osbourne fame. This blog has some interesting information about Brad Gillis' PJ Marx pickup. 

If you have any ideas or info about this mod, please comment! 

Also, in honor of this anniversary of Cliff's untimely passing, here is an audio recording of a show from Newcastle, England 9/19/86. James gets pretty loaded during this show!