1980's Aria Diamond LC-45W

I've written about plenty of Arias before as I have owned and sold MANY, many of them over the years. I'm a huge fan of the Matsumoku factory, that made the bulk of Arias up until 1987 and then production was taken over by several factories in Japan including the also great Fujigen factory while cheaper end guitars were sent to Korea for manufacturing.

While we have some spectacular Aria Pro II Les Pauls in stock at the moment, this is a more "budget" orientated Diamond LP from the mid to late eighties Aria range. The LC-45W is pretty self explanatory. Les Paul Custom, with a retail value of 45,000 JY in White.

This differs from the more upmarket Matsumoku and later Fujigen Aria Pro II LPs in that this one is all laminated construction, rather than all solid, or solid back with laminated top of the more expensive line. 

 

I have no problem at all with laminated guitars, especially well made ones using good quality laminate. There are people who will tell you that a laminated body guitar can not sound good, and let them, because I've heard PLENTY of great sounding ones. 

This LP has a thick laminated back with a pressed laminated top, much like the sub 480 Greco LPs of the 70's and 80's. It's a construction method still used today and as explained in a previous blog, has a more "open" tone than a solid top. I don't dislike this tone, as a mater of fact I quite like it. It is different to a Les Paul tone which could be exactly what someone is looking for?

This is not the cheapest in the line which, like the Grecos linked above would have had bolt on necks as this one has a set mahogany neck with a nicely bound and inlayed rosewood fretboard. The quality of the work is all great and the finish has yellowed really nicely over the years.

 

The headstock isn't a Gibson copy (like the Pro IIs) but an approximation while keeping the Gibson book end vibe. It is also fully multi layer bound just like a Custom.

The hardware is all Gotoh and has nicely aged gold plating. The tuners are original and feel great. The bridge and tailpiece are solid and nicely cast and plated.

 

The pickups are "generic" humbuckers and are probably Matsumoku made as apposed to higher end models that had Maxon or DiMarzio pickups as standard. They sound clear and full although I didn't go poking around inside so I can't confirm if they are Alnico or ceramic magnets. 

The electronics are standard Japanese pots and switch with plastic insulated wire throughout. 

 

This LP is slightly lighter than most and is very resonant and the neck feels great. The quality of work is great with the binding very nicely done throughout and everything fitting well. It looks great and feels great and these pickups do a great humbucker job but being a slightly cheaper version, is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the really nice Pro II LPs we have but don't let that put you off. This is still a great LP and great value. 

May 17 2019 Written By: Tim Brennan