Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Pics of Cliff and his SB-1000

Nuno sent me some really cool and rare (to me at least!) photos of Cliff Burton. The photos are of Cliff and his SB-1000 during Metallica's legendary Donington appearance in August of 1985. As Cliff said in this interview, "Donington was a day of targets and projectiles". You can see a few of the "projectiles" he mentions. Thanks again to Nuno for finding these!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Aria Catalog Scans

A huge "thank you" to Yutaka for providing me scans of the Aria Pro II 1979, 1982, 1983, and 1984 catalogs! The catalogs are in Japanese, but there's still a lot of great info here even if you can't read Japanese. The artist rosters are very impressive with the likes of Marcus Miller and Will Lee to name a couple.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

SB-1000 Electronics Restoration

Shawn sends in pics of his electronically restored 1980 SB-1000. It had been gutted of its original pickup/electronics and replaced with an EMG pickup. However, he was able to restore it with a new pickup and electronics from Aria.

Shawn says the sound is the same as an original SB-1000. This was good news to me as I will be having the new Aria guts installed in my RSB-900 very soon, too!

This SB-1000 is for sale at the moment if anyone is interested in picking up a reasonably priced SB! Check the listing at eBay for more photos and information on the bass.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Custom & Unknown Arias: Part 3

Next in the Custom & Unknown department is this nice SB in an orange sunburst finish. It is definitely a Re-Issue and not a product of Matsumoku. It's hard to even guess the year of production since Aria has been using that Gotoh bridge in their RIs for quite some time now. Judging by the pics, you would guess the bass is brand new! Notice the pickups are not at all like most SBs - Matsumoku or RI. It appears to have a rosewood fretboard and either a bone or plastic nut as opposed to the usual brass nut on most SBs. The headstock shape is also slightly different than most SBs. There is also a lack of 'patent text' in between the tuners. A beauty, whatever model it is! (Sorry about the shoddy/random photo placement in the posts. It seems to be a hassle to manipulate photo location (and still have them clickable to see a larger photo) with this editor).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Custom & Unknown Arias: Part 2

Up next in the Custom & Unknown series is an SB with Bartolini P/J pickups. The construction (notice the ridge on the back of the neck/headstock, non-recessed output jack, ebony fretboard) looks to be from the same era as the SB-LTD series, which would be late '80s to early '90s. The nut looks to be adjustable, which I have seen on LTDs as well. The bass was clearly made to have P/J pickups - but it's the only I've ever seen like it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Custom & Unknown Arias: Part 1

I've come across photos of many custom or at least very rare Arias over the years. Some do have known model numbers but are just very rare, others are from the "AP Custom Shop" and others I just can't ID yet! I'll go ahead and make a series of posts about these basses, along with the bits of information I have on them.

First up is a bass that looks very similar to the SB-1010, but it's not quite the same. First, the body looks slightly different. Second, the pickup is not a typical SB-1000 pickup. I have seen this pickup on other Aria basses (the RSB Formula for one). Third, it does not appear to have the BB Circuit of the SB-1000/1010. The electronics, while active, are a more simple configuration. The bass is finished in a beautiful padauk red and it looks like it's medium scale, like the 1010. It was made in 1986 (serial # begins with a 6) which I can't recall ever actually seeing before on SB basses! Usually they fall between 1980-1985 from my experiences with them. I found this one on sale at They take great pictures and have many great instruments, but they are not cheap!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Aria Pro II SB-ELT Neck Repair

Trevor, who lives in the Land of Arias, sends pictures of his repairs to a late '80s or early '90s SB-ELT. Trevor says he bought this bass in bad shape but was able to fix it up and make it sing once again. As you can see, the fingerboard was separated from the neck. Luckily it was a clean separation. As pictured, Trevor used wood glue, clamps, and a syringe to inject the glue in between the neck and separated fingerboard.

Trevor also sent some pics of the bass with the bridge removed. Notice the "Aria Pro II 1980 Made in Japan" stamped on the back of the bridge. However, this does not indicate the bass was manufactured in 1980. The ELT model appears in the 1989 Aria catalog so we can
Trevor's bass is from about that time. Also notice the non-recessed output jack. Older SBs will be recessed, so this is one clue to tell them apart. The other big clue is the slightly pointier headstock on the ELT.

Trevor says after gluing the neck, he gently rubbed out the sides of the neck to remove any excess glue followed by some
car polish to restore the shine.

One of the tuners was also broken when the bass arrived so Trevor ordered some Gotoh replacements. Unfortunately they were 4 in line rather than 2x2! However, Trevor cleverly made due with the 4 in line tuners quite nicely!

Thanks again to Trevor for his contribution to the blog!