Price paid: £ 100
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 8
Being a Les Paul based design with HOT pickups I know what to expect. Accousticly it is quiet but plug it in and its definitely intended for Rock and styles were Overdrive and Distortion are used. The pickups are high output so there is a compromise on the Clean sound. Warm sustaining sound due to the body and Bridge design, no noise at all. It suits my needs for the Rock stuff i play, really impressed for a guitar in this price range. There isn't a huge tonal range but what it does it does well. If you want more variety especially on clean sounds you might want to look at a Pickup upgrade.
Overall Impression — 9
I play lots of styles, from original Punk/Alternative to Covers Band Pop and Rock/Metal, this guitar comfortably covers a lot of them areas at a neat price. At the price i paid its a wonderful bargain, one of the best 100 quids I've spent in 21 years of playing guitar! Been through lots of gear over the years; Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Patrick Eggle, Gordon Smith, BC Rich, etc. Currently own 10 guitars, bought this as a back up for my old MIJ Yamaha SG and its impressive. If you are looking at a budget or alternative Les Paul option you can't go wrong with this, Punkers and Rockers will love it. It beats anything I've tried in its price range and will give any mid range Epiphone a run for its money. It reminds me of a Korean Epiphone Les Paul Custom I had a few years ago but without the frills, definitely better than similar priced stuff like Vintage and Tanglewood in my experience. I chose Aria based on they made some first class products back in the 80's when they were made at the Matsumoku plant in Japan, this is'nt quite the same class but upholds the Tradition of quality. My favorite feature is the heel less neck to body joint and the bridge/tailpiece which helps sustain and makes string changing even easier. The feature that could be better is the headstock detail, but it is mid range in the PE series and at least they got the important things right like playability, reliability and sound. If it were stolen or lost I'd definitely buy another.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I will gig this, probably without a back up as well. It feels a solid well built guitar. I've experienced some way inferior stuff that costs more than these retail at. Well done Aria.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Came to me second hand and I cannot fault anything on it. The machine heads feel smooth and are solid, all the hardware is good, nice finish nothing too flash, neat fretwork, low action.
Features — 9
Review based on intended shop price not the price I paid. Body : Flamed Maple Carved Top, Mahogany Back Neck : Maple, Set-Neck, Heel-less Fingerboard : Rosewood Frets :22F Scale :628mm(24-3/4") Pickups : OH-1 Humbucker x 2 Controls : Volume x 2, Tone x 2, PU Selector Switch x 1 Tailpiece : SPT Bridge & QH Tailpiece Hardware : Chrome Finish : Wine Red Made in China I believe, Les Paul inspired guitar with some nice small changes from Aria like the heel less neck joint which allows easy high fret access and their solid Bridge design. The headstock is a little bland looking on this but I suppose they save the detail for higher end models.