1980 Aria Pro II TSB-550

Since I'm on a bit of a Aria TS kick lately I thought I'd share this one that's heading to the shop this weekend after a full service and set up.

I've mentioned before how as a younger person I wasn't really into these timber through neck contraptions (although an Aria Pro II CS-300 was one of my first serious guitars) but getting a few of these ready for the shop has really made my appreciation for them grow, a lot.

 

The TSB was the bass version of the TS (Tri-sound, later Thor Sound) and the line up to the 500 were set neck construction with multi laminated bodies and necks giving the impression of a through neck. The 550 onwards was the real deal.

The TSB-550 here was the first of the through neck construction but still with passive electronics in the TS line. Aria had started making through neck basses in '78 with the SB (slightly different shape) range although the catalogues were still mostly filled with copies of big US brands. The 600 has Arias great onboard electronics and the 650 had two of these MB-III pickups. The 450 also had two pickups but a bolt on neck.

 

The construction of these is very nice indeed. The body is exactly the same as the upper models with laminated ash, maple and walnut with through neck maple and walnut with a very nice rosewood fretboard. It's a nice 32.5" scale thin but not too thin neck that's very playable.

The earlier headstocks were this four a side hooked Fenderish style which went to the more recognizable Aria/Vantage two a side in 1981.

 

These pickups, just like the guitar versions are big a clear. Lots of frequency response and the "duel sound" mini toggle does a pretty good version of a neck pickup. 

The bridge is heavy and very well designed. It's not a through body set up but it's recessed into the body with a big base plate and is smooth and easy to adjust. 

 

This one is all original and is in very good condition except for one chip on the back. These Matsumoku and Fugigen style guitars are getting some real appreciation now which is good. For years they were lumped in with "Teiscos" as cheap Asian imports but the quality from these factories from the late seventies to the late eighties was as good (or better) as anything mass produced coming out of the US at the time, and can be had now for a fraction of the price.

 

May 04 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan