1979 Aria Pro II ES-500 Walnut & fitted Hard Case
Rarely seen Matsumoku built 335/345 Style guitar with "Varitone" from 1979
Well, you won't find many of the Aria Pro II ES series. The TA series seem to be much more common & they have a slightly different body shape to this ES model which is more a straight copy of the G*bson. It's too late to be a so called "lawsuit guitar" but it is a really nice 335 clone. I found some spec online at the excellent Matsumoku.org website which gives the body as being made from Sycamore and the neck of Maple. It also lists the pickups as being AL-5S humbuckers
This instrument is in excellent condition for a 41 year old guitar. I have had to repair a few small dents and scratches but these really were minimal but the guitar is vastly improved for it. There are still a few small scratches and nicks around the edges of the guitar but in my opinion the guitar is in really good overall condition.
Other points to note are that the 3 of the caps on the volume and tone knobs were missing but I sourced some replacements which are now fitted. The originals are in the guitar case. The gold coloured hardwear has tarnished over the years but this is to be expected & is purely cosmetic. There is also a dent on the neck pickup cover. The tuners were very stiff when the guitar came in. I have now lubricated these and they work well but they are not the greatest quality & if I were keeping the guitar for me, I think I would replace them.
The other thing to note about the guitar is the 6 position tone selector. This wasn't working when the guitar came in and the volume and tone pots were very crackly too. All the wiring, pots and tone selector had to come out of the guitar for maintenance. Pots and switches were all given a thoroughly good clean and are now working correctly as is the varitone switch. Then wind forward around 4 hours and all the pots and switches were eventually reinstalled. Not a job I would want to tackle every day!
The guitar plays well and sounds really good. It's a rarely seen instrument from the golden years of Matsumoku & I like the walnut finish. The guitar is totally original apart from the nut which looks to have been replaced. The frets are still in good order but do have some tiny indents as per the photos in the gallery. This guitar is definitely collectible & will surely only appreciate in value.
The guitar is supplied with an aftermarket good quality fitted case from "Spider"
Here's some spec I found online:
Aria Pro II ES-500 WA Specs:
Neck: Maple 3-piece
Fretboard: Rosewood with MOP block inlays
Body: Sycamore (veneer) top, back & sides
Scale Length: 630mm or 24.8-inch
Nut Width: 40mm
Pickup/Control Layout: Two Humbuckers, Two Volumes, Two Tones, 3-Way Pickup Selector, 6 position rotary tone switch
Weight: 3294 grammes
335 style fitted case from Spider
So, to sum up. A bit of a rarity. Certainly not one I have seen before & a worthy addition to any vintage Japanese guitar collection.