Friday, April 14, 2017

1984 Aria Pro II WL Wedge Bass Review


Today we are looking at a 1984 Aria Pro II Wedge bass, which is not a very common instrument, but as you will see this one is a little different than others I have seen before. I found this one on a recent trip to Japan at my favorite secondhand store, one Hard-Off locations in Nagoya.

The Wedge (also known as the WL) is a product of the mid-1980s, when manufacturers were going for edgy designs. This was also when Steinberger basses were coming into their own, so Aria wanted to put a small bodied headless bass on the market, so the came out with this bass. Up until recently, every one of these I had seen had the tuners built into the bridge, but this specimen has the usual Aria brass bridge, and a little tiny headstock with gold logo tuners.

The body has a funky geometric shape, and supposedly it is made out of maple. It is loaded up with a pair of passive Aria humbucker pickups that are wired through two volume pots and a tone control. The volume pots have push-pull coil taps so the pickups can be used in single coil mode too. The strap knobs are located on the neck plate and near the top edge of the body. These locations actually work pretty well.

The neck is also maple with a nice-looking rosewood fretboard. There are 24 frets, and this is a medium scale (32.25-inch) bass with a 1.5-inch nut. The headstock is cute, with an offset shape and a coat of candy apple red to match the rest of the body.

Well, how does all of this work out? It is a nice sounding bass, with both boomy and edgy sounds available, but it does not exactly do the edgy high-output active pickup sound that a lot of 80s basses were really good at. And, it does not have any of the small bass advantages, as its overall length is still a tad over 34 inches and it weighs in at around 8 pounds, 2 ounces. So it is not small, and it is not light.

But it is cool looking, and it came with the original leatherette soft case which has to be hard to come by. All in all it is pretty sweet, not to mention super-rare, and for what I paid for it this thing is a bargain.

Of course, nothing really sticks around the studio for very long, so if you are interested, drop me a line!


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