Sunday, February 6, 2011

Aria Pro II Les Paul Copy

Good morning!

It seems like I cannot let a month go by without writing about a Japanese Les Paul copy. February will not be an exception as we take a look at fine Aria Pro II Leopard guitar.

Aria was ones of many Japanese companies that ripped off Gibson’s (among others’) designs in the 1970s and 1980s. Generally the copies very well made, and this one is no exception.

I found this guitar at a Hard-Off shop in Japan a few years back and picked it up on the cheap. It was in unusually good condition, and was well worth the few hundred dollars I paid for it. I have not seen very many of these on this side of the Pacific.

Although this is a copy, it has everything you would expect to find on a real Les Paul Standard. It appears to be unmodified and there are no signs of repairs.

The non-chambered body is mahogany, with a bound and lightly flamed 2-piece maple top. It is finished in a gorgeous glossy cherryburst.

This Aria has a set neck, although I have seen others with bolt-on necks. It has a bound rosewood fretboard with mother-of-pearl trapezoidal inlays. As usual with these Japanese copies, the frets and nut are very well done. The neck is nicely rounded, and it is between the 50s and 60s style Les Pauls as far as feel.

The pickups are original to the guitar and are a perfect knock-off of Dimarzios in the tone department. This is a good thing, in my book. The rest of the electronics are nice and quiet, and the controls are set up with a 3-way pickup selector, two volume and two tone controls.

As a bonus, this Aria weighs in at a little under 8.5 pounds, which is light for a non-chambered Les Paul.

Everything sounds good so far, doesn’t it? Well, it keeps on being good. This guitar was built well, and looks, sounds and plays incredibly. It has a light action with a truly soulful crunch, and can do anything a $2000+ Gibson can.

Although it was a great playing guitar, I never did play it very much. I eventually sold it to a friend of mine who was a diehard strat guy and wanted to try out a Les Paul. It turned out to be a great fit for him and he still has it.



  1. I think I'm going to have to give you a shopping list then next time you travel to Japan.

  2. I had that same guitar years ago, I constantly think about it. Beautiful nice playing and sounding guitar. Peace Rob