Friday, September 3, 2010

Aria Telecaster Bass

After a month of covering high-quality guitars and basses, it is time for something a little different.

This is an early (pre-1975) Aria telecaster-style bass. It was made in Japan, and I found it over there at a secondhand store.

I brought it home without the benefit of plugging it in, and when I got home I was in for a bit of a surprise: it is a lame-sounding bass.

It has the thinnest sound of any bass I have ever played. I figured maybe the problem was the tape-wound strings that came on it. Nope, it only sounded a little better with new roundwound strings on it. I think it pretty much comes down to the pickup, which is a cheap 1970s vintage single coil pickup.

That is a shame, because the rest of the bass is pretty nice. The action and neck are good, and the original frets were well done. And the condition is good for what I paid for it. The white finish has turned that yellowed almond-like color that is so easy to fall in love with, and it looks well-cared for. Plus, having the original bridge cover and hard case were definitely not to be expected.

But it sounds like crap. I have had very few problems with vintage Japanese instruments, but this is one I had to give up on. The guy I sold it to was going to track down a new pickup or have this one re-wound.

I wish him luck.


  1. I think that's a nickel covered telecaster guitar pickup, or at least the bobbin for one.

    Yeesh. I love the way those things look, though.

  2. I just picked up an Aria 1820 (branded Lyle) in a vintage guitar store just like one I had back in the early 70s. It works great but is missing the bridge cover.