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Tony Raven
#1 Posted : Sunday, May 09, 2010 10:44:49 AM(UTC)
Tony Raven
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Okay, okay, so I have this addiction...

Picked up an Aria 714-DLX for cheap -- also swore not to say how little since it's a one-time on a display model. Retail $569.95, commonly discounted to $459.99, but this guy's selling "mine" at $279+$18:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Brand-New-A...&hash=item19bc112396

(Sorry, I don't have photos yet, as I wanted to do it in daylight, but we're clouded in.)

Unconfirmed word is that the line is designed by Trev Wilkinson, & it certainly has many little touches. The veneer top is A LOT more dramatically figured than the photos. This clear "amber" finish is flashier than the blue or common red.

Overall, calling it "a nice axe" is an understatement. I'm not generally excited about pickups that're "designed" by any company, but FWIW it's Duncan Designed H-S-H. The coil-tap switch is a nice touch.

The real win is the Wilkinson floating trem, a two-point system with inserts, & nicely inletted into the top. Not a cheap set, either (but in a matte finish):

http://cgi.ebay.com/GUITAR-TREM...&hash=item27a76b5703

Okay, that was just for drama: it's basically a satin VS-100 (or maybe D20), which can be found for $80. Still, it's very nice, responsive & dead-on return with no adjustment necessary.

The neck feels significantly wider than (say) the Badwater, yet they both measure in at 43mm at the nut. An interesting illusion that I may someday figure out -- it is a tiny bit thinner, maybe by 1mm.

While looking ready to rock, the body has a nice crisp tone &, with the neck-feel, keeps drawing me to jazzier stuff on my first outings.

Another nice touch you might not notice is the output jack, a Strat-style boot, but turned 90 degrees. In playing position, this points upwards. Therefore, the plug is less likely to yank down-&-out, & this makes it easier to put the cord through your strap without a big tempting loop of cable hanging there. Visually, this also adds better flow to the design.

While a chunky full-Fender shape, it checks in at less than 9 lbs, with very good balance.

The bridge pickup may be unique: one ear is in the pickguard, the other is back-mounted, with what feels like foamed rubber underneath.

Cap this off with a white pearl 3-layer pickguard, cut atypically from the usual Stratoclone, for a very striking beast.

Thus far, I've got these complaints:
-- the pickguard edge has a couple of wobbles, which might mean hand-cut
-- the neck pickup is a little wobbly, so I'm thinking to replace the springs with some hard neoprene tube

...& that's pretty much it. I bought this to resell, but I may give myself some time to rethink it.

Now, the reason I was actually motivated to mention it here: Aria has done something rather silly in overusing the "714" brand. They also sell the H-S-S versions as CST (natural ash) & STD (cheaper trem, non-Duncan, but black, white, blue, or sunburst on an alder body). The STD retails at $220, but some sellers seem to be purposely confusing the issue in hopes buyers think they're getting pretty much the same model. If I were to do three flavors like this, I'd either use similar model numbers, or a unifying name, or maybe both.

At very least, if you see a 714, especially at discount, pick it up & take it for a spin.

Edited by user Sunday, May 09, 2010 10:48:57 AM(UTC)  | Reason: typical misspellings


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dmelbo01
#2 Posted : Monday, May 24, 2010 3:43:33 PM(UTC)
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i love Aria guitars , back when before i was divorced i had an aria fa-65 and during the mid 80`s i had one of the ZZ models. i have always wondered why these guitars have not been more popular since they play better than most guitars that are double or triple their price. they are also very nice to look at
Tony Raven
#3 Posted : Tuesday, April 24, 2012 1:16:46 PM(UTC)
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While I'm reluctant to drag out this old thread, I'm trying to be a responsible journalist (yep, another short-lived former career). If you Google aria 714-dlx, this very thread will be the 3rd or 4th hit, so there's clearly a little traffic.ThumpUp

The model dropped from the Aria catalogue a couple of years ago & has become hard-to-find, especially in transparent blue (though I continue to be amazed by the beauty of the "amber natural"). New, you might be lucky to find one for $459 or thereabouts; in the past year, I've not seen even one come up used, so I can't guess a market price.

The 714-CST is still available, & almost as good, though the clear-poly finish is sorta boring & it's an h-s-s.

The 714-STD is popping up all over Creation, & sellers appear to have a tough time moving the sunburst models for $179. With no-name trem & pickups, I can see why -- at that point it stops being a 714 & turns into JAS ("just another Stratoclone"), merely with a spiffy pickguard, coil-tap switch, & turned output jack. Yeah, I'd snag one for $100, especially in one of the discontinued colors, as they're serviceable axes... but Aria's MAC models or even a better STG would be better quality at similar price.

I did find some traces of the old spec sheet, so I can now say with authority that the "Duncan Designed" pickups are a pair of SC-102 & an HB-103, & the Wilkinson trem is a VS-50K (street price $59) (was used on some of the Switch models like the Innovo).

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jgauker
#4 Posted : Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:19:40 PM(UTC)
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They look a lot like the Wildcat version I was looking at in Japan back in the late 70s and early 80s. I had an Aria Cardinal for a while but eventually sold it. I have always wanted to replace my Aria and I love the body shape on these. Back in MIsawa Japan there was a ugly yellow colored Aria Wildcat that I almost bought about 100 times. I ocasionally pook for one on ebay and haven't found one yet. If I ever get back to Japan, I might end up bringing one home, and a Yamaha SG. Dang it Tony! You got me thinking about them!
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Steve
#5 Posted : Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:19:07 PM(UTC)
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Aria makes good stuff at reasonable rates that are even below reasonable on a good Ebay deal.
I've had 5 Arias, the first one was a Fullerton F-20 with Humbucker and 2 singles, $75 used , a strat copy . I wanted a guitar that was OK so I could leave the LP at home, and wouldn't care if a $75 guitar got dinged up. One drunken friend did ding it,, glad it wasn't my Les Paul.
Then I found some PE, SPL DX that are LP copies but lighter than a real LP , but with HB 103 Duncan Design pups that are almost as good as Gibson 490 pups, They are something like this but with split trapezoid shell in neck.
http://www.ariausa.com/guitars/pe-anniv.html
Workmanship is excellent on these Korean models.
I have a Cardinal 350 too, has splitters on the pickups so it's versatile.
This is an older one from Japan Matsumoku. Hardware is a tad crappy , so I'll upgrade that maybe in the future,, might refinish also. The neck is really good.
Arias are worth checking out. Because they don't say Fender or Gibson sometimes you can get great deals on them.
Tony Raven
#6 Posted : Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:40:10 PM(UTC)
Tony Raven
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Yah, Aria is one of those brands that's just been plugging steadily away for decades, sorta like an Ibanez that's never made the big leap. (I was a big fan of Ibanez back around 1980 when they didn't get ANY respect.) I was drawn to this 714 because it's at least as comfy as a Strat, & it was a bonus with all those little tweaks, taking the model a step or two away from JAS.

It just now occurs to me that I never posted those darn photos...

All a writer really needs is a blank page and a bad attitude.
Tony Raven
#7 Posted : Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:53:42 AM(UTC)
Tony Raven
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Heavens -- coulda sworn I linked these in...

Sorry about the color-correction; it's slight but significant. Really, the figuring is MUCH prettier, especially when you can see it with both eyes -- tons of depth.

A closeup of the unique layout & pickguard.


By comparison, the caramel back is Plain Jane, but still well-done. Note the offset heel plate, giving added access to the upper frets.

Does anyone know what the long oval slots are supposed to do? Maybe it's heat venting for wild wang-bar usage... Glare

Edited by user Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:59:21 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified


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jgauker
#8 Posted : Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:40:16 PM(UTC)
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Thanks alot Tony. I thought my guitar GAS was gone with the purchase of my PRS SE but you've managed to get something going. The pictures did it. Great looking guitar by the way!
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Steve
#9 Posted : Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:52:01 PM(UTC)
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I love those headstocks. If it said Fender it could have cost you 3-4 times as much.

Arias are a well kept secret,
http://en.wikipedia.org/...ria_%28guitar_company%29

I was surprised to read Samick is worlds biggest guitar maker said to have 60% of the world market.
I think Aria is big too but mostly we see their acoustics in the USA and not their electrics so much.
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