Early 70's Aria Diamond 1832T
As you all (probably) know if you read my blog I'm a HUGE fan of the Matsumoku factory and nearly everything that came out of it during it's lifetime. These early 70's guitars were really starting to get good, shown by the fact that Gibson chose them to make the first non American made Epiphone guitars for them.
I've owned a lot of Matsumoku guitars from this period and I love the necks on them. The 1803T I took over to the shop on the weekend had a very similar neck and all the ET200 series Coronets I've owned have had that great neck as well.
The 1832T was made for Aria between approx 1971 and '74 and seem to have disappeared from the '75 catalogue. They're commonly referred to online as an "Aria Burns copy" although there was plenty of Burns influence in many other Japanese guitars from the mid sixties onward and several Aria branded guitars from this period borrowed heavily from the UK manufacturer.
The 1832T is a solid timber double cutaway body just over 30mm thick with beautiful slightly curved in sharp horns and a very flat back. It has front and back body contouring and every one I've owned has been quite heavy.
It has a bolt on 24.75" scale maple neck with rosewood fretboard with simple dot inlays and standard nut. The headstock is the common Aria Diamond headstock of the period heavily based on the standard Fender 6 a side with open gear tuners. This model, and many others of this period have a plastic Aria Diamond (sometimes Diamonds) name plate with a fake diamond inlaid into it.
The necks are thin and comfortable and rarely have issues as Matsumoku were really starting to get onto their game by this stage.
The pickups are the classic trapezoid style single coils as shown here and you rarely see these without broken covers a the plastic they used (for both cover and bobbin) has turned quite brittle over the years. They are a GREAT sounding pickup though. You rarely see this model pickup without a broken cover these days. The plastic used becomes brittle over time and the corners break off.
Two simple ON/OFF rocker switches turn the pickups on and these are on the top, of three scratchplates in a very Burns style aesthetic. These celluloid plates have all shrunk over the years and every one you see now has gaps between these plates.
The controls are simple with a master volume and tone and a tone switch. Scratchplates on this era Arias always shrink like this and models like this with multiple plates always show up more with gaps between the plates.
The vibrato here was used on MANY Aria guitars from the very late 60's to the late 70's and is based on the offset design with the bridge suspended in the vibrato base plate with 4 height adjustment screws attached from above. It's a very clever and elegant design and stops all bridge rattle with the bridge being "weighted" by the strings. These bridges were offered with both metal and plastic roller saddles and I've never been able to hear any substantial difference between the two. These vibratos also had a cover that clipped in place over the string anchor but some have been lost over the years. It's a beautiful design and looks GREAT with it's original cover.
I've never been able to find an original catalogue price for one of these but Matsumoku, and Aria offered great quality instruments at great value prices.
This model ran concurrently with the Epiphone branded models and the famous Arai/Aria 1702 which is of course well known as the Univox Hi-Flier and this factory was making an amazing array of models and brands shipping all over the world. Within a couple of years they would be in full "US copy mode" and by the late 70's would be back into their own designs making wonderful guitars like the Tri Sound and the Cardinal.
These early 70's Matsumoku guitars are great shapes and great quality and for years could be got for almost nothing. With the awakening of vintage Japanese guitars and how great some (most) of them are, prices have of course gone up but personally I think most of these guitars are still a bargain for their are and quality.