Price paid: C$ 375
Purchased from: Remenyi Music
Sound — 10
I've only had the guitar 6 weeks. I'm teaching myself to play. The amp has a lot of effects, and the guitar pickups offer a lot of tonal variety. I'm learning ballads and I play with a very clean sound now, but it will give me loads of distortion, echo, reverb, clean, dirty, and it can be loud in my apartment, but everyone says it won't do on stage. It would be OK for busking. When the switch is set to a single pickup, the guitar will buzz, but it's not a problem, it's an effect. The in-between settings are clean.
Overall Impression — 10
Right now I'm learning chords. I've had this guitar 6 weeks. I practice every day. My fingertips are toughening and I feel no pain now. I have an old classical that I bought without knowing that the neck had come off and was bolted on at a bad angle. The action is a mile high. I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting anywhere, and it was always going out of tune. Well after that, I'm finally getting somewhere with this Aria. I'm very pleased with it. I want to learn ballads, Carrickfergus the way van Morrison sang it, and Hallelujuah the way Jeff Buckley performed it. I'd like to learn to play the Blues, folk, and to play the way the masters do, when they send me into a dream.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this is a well made guitar. I don't have enough experience to judge performance, but I believe it will serve me well and for a long time. Everything looks and feels solid. The finish is a high gloss polish that sparkles. The hardware looks very well made, with no rough or unfinished elements. There were minor flaws that we took care of in the shop. The wood grain is attractive. This looks like it should cost a lot more. I almost bought a MIM Strat for twice as much, but I'm very happy with this Aria.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was well assembled. I looked at three or four in the shop. Some had frets I could feel beyond the edges of the neck. The one I bought was smooth. The only problems were some rough screw heads on the pick guard. We switched them from a damaged model. The whammy bar thread was defective and we took a good one off the damaged guitar too. Except for those little things the guitar is well put together. The paint job is beautiful. Everything looks and feels good. It's a real pleasure to own. I'm eager to learn with it.
Features — 10
I don't know how to locate the date of manufacture, but I suppose it was this or last year, [2008-2009]. I was told it was made in Korea. It has 22 frets, rosewood neck, alder body, high gloss sunburst finish. It's a Strat knockoff with 3 pickups, S S S. Five way Switch combines the middle with the upper or lower pickup for humbucker effect and no buzz. It has one volume control and a tone control for the upper or lower single or pairs of pickups. I bought the guitar as a package but I changed the included amp for a Roland Micro Cube.