Aria (guitar company)
|Products||Guitars, Bass guitars|
|https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/shiro-arai Oral History, Shiro Arai reflects on introducing his guitars to America . Interview date January 16, 2006, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library]|
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 1988, when production of less expensive models (Magna MAB/MAC and Integra IGB series) was switched to Korea. 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.
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Aria Pro II did some copies of famous American guitars such as the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul though it also did its own style of guitars. In the 70s and early 80s the company came into its own in the United States with a series of high end professional instruments. The company had professional endorsements from Herb Ellis, Yngwie Malmsteen, Neal Schon, John Taylor, Henrik Flyman, and many more. Cliff Burton of Metallica used an Aria SB Black N Gold I as well as an SB-1000 bass but was never an official endorser. He has a posthumous "Signature Model" called the SB-CB produced in Korea. Aria makes guitars ranging from beginner to professional models. Some of their professional models were known as Firebrands because of the Firebranded Aria logo on the reverse of the headstock. The Firebrand guitars were produced in very small runs. They were then given to either named artists who promoted Aria Guitars or to the very top dealers as gifts. Firebranded Guitars were produced to a much greater standard than production runs.
Aria also has built amps, such as the 10W Birdy.
- History of ARIA Pro II, "The company [Arai Co., Inc] was established in 1956 by Mr.Shiro Arai.
- The History of Aria, "On August 2nd, 1956, ARAI & CO., INC was founded."
- Fjestad, Zachary. "RJP Technologies". Blue Book of Guitar Values. Blue Book Publications, Inc.
Luthier/designer Ronnie Parker was the CEO of RJP Technologies. ... RJP Technologies has designed instruments for several large manufacturers including Washburn and Daisy Rock. ...
- "History of ARIA Pro II (Arai Co., Ltd)". Music-Trade.co.jp. Yokohama: Dai-Showa Corporation.
- "The History of Aria". Aria Guitars [Arai & Co., Inc].
- "About Aria" (in Japanese). Nagoya: Arai & Co., Inc.
- "About Aria UK". Guildford: Aria UK Limited.
- アリアの響 [Aria's sounds]. Japan Vintage. Vol.5. Tokyo: Shinko Music Entertainment. 2004. ISBN 978-4-401-61885-9.
- アリアプロIIの壱 [Aria Pro II part 1]. Japan Vintage Collection. Vol.6. Tokyo: Shinko Music Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 978-4-401-63044-8.
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