Sunday, April 26, 2020

Aria Pro II SB-Black 'n' Gold Modification with PJ Marx pickup (ala Cliff Burton)

Alon, from Talkbass, sent me some info about his PJ Marx modded Black 'n' Gold. The mod was inspired by Cliff Burton's PJ Marx loaded Black 'n' Gold. This might be the least well known mod done by Burton and I believe it was done not too long before he died. There is only one photo I've found of Cliff actually with his Aria w/ PJ Marx. He is seen in what looks to be a sound check with Metallica during the "Puppets" tour. John Marshall, filling in for James, can be seen with an acoustic guitar, leading me to believe he was using it on "Fade to Black".

See more from my original post on the PJ Marx mod here:

Alon was kind enough to send some pics and sound samples of his PJ Marx mod. Notice, the pickup is also wired to the two way switch to allow for humbucker or single coil mode.

He did need to create a pickup ring to allow the smaller pickup to fit the stock MB pickup cavity.

Finally, here is a sound demo of the SB loaded with the PJ Marx. Thanks Alon!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

DIY Aria SB pickup repair by Rob Mods.

For those of you that love the Aria SB series, you know that they have an unfortunate tendency to suffer from the dreaded "half dead" or even completely dead, pickups. Since the pickups are encased in epoxy, it was previously believed dead MB pickups would be best served as paper weights or door stops.

However, it turns out there IS hope in repairing your dead MB series pickups! Well, at least if you have some DIY aptitude and equipment. Here is Rob from Rob Mods. doing an amazing job of resurrecting a couple of MB-II pickups! Fantastic work, Rob!!

Aria Pro II SB-Elite I with Rautia MB-II replacement pickup!

Greetings - it's been a while (like 4 and a half years!) but here is something definitely worth blogging about. It's YouTuber TJH3113 giving the Aria Pro II SB-Elite I a spin on the easy listening classic "Feels So Good".

I sold this particular Elite to TJH3113 with a Rautia MB-II pickup installed due to the original pickup being completely dead. I have had a few of these Rautias installed and I can confirm they sound like the originals and are, in my opinion, the best available Aria SB MB replacement pickups available. He makes them in a few different variations. Check his website for details.

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!