Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Aria Pro II SB-LTD Bass

You don’t see these very often, and as a long-time collector of Arias I have only seen two of these outside of catalogs, and I have own them both. It is pretty much the poor man’s Alembic.

This is an Aria Pro-II SB-LTD with factory-installed 2AXY/AE-1 Alembic pickups and active electronics. They made these in Japan from 1988 to 1994. The retail price back then was $1895. By the way, a new set of Alembic AXY pickups will set you back over $1000 today (if you can get them to call you back, and they NEVER answer their phone).

It is all-original and unmolested. It has a nifty adjustable brass nut, an ebony fretboard and neck-thru construction. The wings are made of Sen wood, and the neck is made of laminated maple and walnut. There is only the lightest fret wear. Controls are volume/volume/active control.

There is no serial number on this one, which is the norm for SB-Elite basses. This makes it impossible to figure out exactly what year it was built.

For a neck-through bass, it is pretty light, coming in around 9 ¼ pounds.

Amazingly, it came with the original hardshell case. These are very hard to find for any of the original Super Bases.

It plays like a dream and sounds like the thunder of the gods. It will blow away an Aria SB-1000 right out of the water.

The other one of these that I owned was finished in transparent red. The Alembic pre-amplifier crapped out in that one, which was a major-league pain. I had to deal with the folks at Alembic, and it took over 9 months to get the part -- their customer service leaves much to be desired.


  1. So, the customer service...you didn't like it?

    I wasn't even aware of this bass before now. It sounds like a rather neat venture by Mr. Arai & Co.

  2. Greetings. I also own a transparent red LTD Aria Pro bass, and I agree with everything you say ... EXCEPT for your comments on Alembic customer service. I have dealt with them, and not only did they answer the phone, they also answered my email in less than 4 days, and I found their service to be prompt, friendly, and timely. Just had to defend them.
    Thank you, R.L.

  3. I have a see thru red LTD. What do you think the value would be for a bass like this?

  4. @R.L. Your mileage may vary on their customer service. 4 days is a lot faster than the endless months I had to wait. Then again, 4 days is quite awhile to return an e-mail.

    @James Maybe $800 to $900 for one of these nowadays.

  5. I have 2 of these basses in see through black. They are identical but one sounds a touch more powerful than the other. I consider myself very lucky to have stumbled across the first one (my favourite) when I was 14 in 1992 for £200 GBP and picking up the second as a backup for £300 in 2002. I have played many many other basses and never found one as good as these. They are called "Super Bass - Elite" for a very good reason!
    Happy bassing everyone