Aria (guitar company)

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Aria Guitars Co.
IndustryMusical instruments
Founded1956; 65 years ago (1956)[1][2]
HeadquartersNagoya, Japan
Area served
Key people
H.Noble / Noubuaki Hayashi
    • Laule'A
    • Mojo Gig Bags
    • Fiesta
    • José Antonio
    • Pignose
    • Kelii[3]

Aria Guitars Co. is a Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments. The company, sited in the city of Nagoya, produces electric, acoustic and classical guitars, electric basses and ukuleles through its brands Laule'A, Mojo Gig Bags, Fiesta, José Antonio, Pignose and Kelii.[3]


Aria was formed in Japan in 1956 by Shiro Arai as "Arai & Co., Inc".[1][2]

They began retailing acoustic guitars in 1960, although the company did not start manufacturing their own until 1964. Aria arranged for Matsumoku, the musical instrument maker, to build the guitars for them under contract. Arai and Matsumoku started building acoustic guitars in 1964, and then electric guitars in 1966, using Arai, Aria, Aria Diamond, Diamond, and much less frequently, Arita brand names. The Aria brandname was changed to Aria Pro II in late 1975, though this has been used mostly (but not exclusively) for electric guitars and basses. All guitars were made in Japan until February 1987, when production of less expensive models (Magna MAB/MAC and Integra IGB series) was switched to Korea (Samick-factory production actually started as early as May 1986).

In the mid-1990s a few models (including the Fender Stratocaster-inspired Fullerton series guitars and the Steve Bailey 6-string fretless signature bass) were made in the United States.[citation needed]

Most famous by their designer H.Noble (Nobuaki Hayashi) who designed most recognizable "pointy" Aria`s headstock, first versions "batwing" or "batears" design, but since 1980 it`s more tamed openbook design, but still recognizable headstock, which is still used. In the 1980s, Noubuaki Hayashi started Atlansia Guitars company in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan and today still make incredible designs and technical novelties (original Japan-language Atlansia page).

Guitar designer and audio engineer, Ronnie Parker[4] started his career with Aria in 1985 when they were producing instruments in the City of Industry, California.

Guitars and Basses[edit]

Aria Pro II made some copies of established designs such as the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul, in addition to original designs In the '70s and early '80s they produced a series of high end professional instruments, most notably SB series of basses and PE and TA electric guitar series.

The company had endorsements from Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Neal Schon, John Taylor, Jack Bruce, Neil Murray, Henrik Flyman, Loose Wayne and SS of Dark Frost and others. Cliff Burton of Metallica used an Aria Pro II SB Black`n`Gold I as well as an SB-1000 bass but was never an official endorser. He has a posthumous 1990`s "Tribute Model" called the SB-CB produced in Korea, and in 2013 Aria with Burton`s family made SB-BLACK’N GOLD I -Cliff Burton Signature Model- with authorized Cliff Burton signature, and made in Japan. Also, users of the Aria Pro II SB-1000 was Cronos of the band Venom.

Probably most prominent Aria Pro II promoter was John Taylor, bass player from Duran Duran, who used SB-basses since until today, but exclusively 1979-1986: at first, passive oak batwing SB-700, he used model SB-900 on "Girls on Film" and later well-known black-oak SB-1000, quite visible all over "As The Lights Goes Down" 1984 tour, also on Power Station recording sessions. In early 2000`s Aria made SB-1000JT, John Taylor Signature model, with black hardware, and one is frequently used at Duran Duran live concerts.

Also, first-ever appearance of any bass guitar on MTV was in a The Buggles` "Video Killed The Radio Star" video (1st videoclip shown on MTV!), where Trevor Horn plays his oak "batwing" Aria Pro II SB-1000 bass.

User of Aria Pro II guitars was Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!, who used PE-Black`n`Gold guitar in numerous live concerts, including The Final, last ever live appearance of a duo, and also Aria Pro II TA-100 Titan Artists hollow-body guitar during 1985 Live in China tour.

Some of the professional models later in 1990`s were known as Firebrands because of the Firebranded Aria logo on the reverse of the headstock. The Firebrand guitars were produced in small runs. They were then given to either named artists who promoted Aria Guitars or to top dealers as gifts. Firebranded Guitars were produced to a higher standard than production models.

Aria has also built amps, such as the 10W Birdy.


Aria Pro II[edit]


  1. ^ a b History of ARIA Pro II, "The company [Aria Co., Inc] was established in 1956 by Mr.Shiro Arai.
  2. ^ a b The History of Aria, "On August 2nd, 1956, ARAI & CO., INC was founded."
  3. ^ a b Other brands on Aria website, 9 Oct 2019
  4. ^ Fjestad, Zachary. "RJP Technologies". Blue Book of Guitar Values. Blue Book Publications, Inc. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-07-28. Luthier/designer Ronnie Parker was the CEO of RJP Technologies. ... RJP Technologies has designed instruments for several large manufacturers including Washburn and Daisy Rock. ...


Further reading[edit]

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