Price paid: $ 192.04
Purchased from: GuitarTek
Sound — 8
The sound of this guitar can suit anything, from jazz/blues, to heavy rock, (playing Death metal), it is very versatile. However I have noticed, the humbucker has to be turned on if you want some heavy sounds. Well I'm using this on a 15-Watt amp, and the sound is clear crisp, and there is only a slight buss (which again is mainly when I'm playing with distortion). I have not tried a Pedal on it yet, might get one soon to see if it sounds good, and should do! The noise it makes when the amp is loud would be good enough for a lead guitarist, it sounds good when soloing, with no squeaky noises!
Overall Impression — 10
Well I play Rock/Punk/Metal so it suits all my types of music, and I believe by fiddling around with the settings, and amp, you can get a variety of tones and styles out of this guitar. I have been playing now for more than 3/4 of a year, which is not long, but is long enough to appreciate a good guitar. I wouldn't know what to class it, it is too good for a beginner, but then again it is not an Ibanez, or a Fender, but for the money, I would buy it again if something went wrong, I might even go for the higher model, STG-005, but then again I might not. My first guitar was a Ridgewood Acoustic, which I learnt to play with, which again is a unknown brand, but in the same instance, it is brilliant, and I cant fault it, apart from the weight! This is probably the Best Guitar out there for the money, (I have shopped around for like 6 weeks, and been over loads of websites, shops, catalogues). If you want a guitar, no matter who you are, get an Aria-004, you won't ever regret it!
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is tough! It has a rock solid finish, which is very shiny, which is very attractive. I would probably have a backup when playing live, (only just in case someone steals this from me)! I believe this will stand a live performance, only due to the strength and the quality of the build, as for the hardware; it would stand an Atomic war! Players that use straps wont have to worry about this coming off; there is more chance that the strap will break before the metal things! The Scratch plate (the white bit) has a laminated top, which can be peeled off, but I haven't yet, which keeps it in good nick. The only time you will peel it off is when you sell it again! Apart from this the finish on the guitar will last, its solid, but it does smudge easily, but who cares, it's not a mirror!
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Well this is where I got disappointed to start with, when I first had the guitar, I noticed that when I help the 3rd fret on the 6th string, I got a real flat note, after playing with the bridge a bit I still couldn't get it working, I was annoyed by them. Then by luck I looked at the end of the string, and saw it was fraying, so I replaced the string and Walla, fixed the problem. The action of the guitar is very smooth, and it is a joy to play, and really the price is not right for this! All the pickups were fine; it was really a pick up and play jobbies. (Apart from the strings). Hmm that's another point, the strings they use are not the best, and so it would be advisable to change the strings. The actual Hardware though is real good, its chrome, and will last a long time.
Features — 10
A Strat style Guitar, with the Quality of Aria. Made from Canadian Alder, with a 21 fret neck; it is a solid build, with a sweet blue finish. The Neck is made from rosewood, and feels like a real quality build, again, the neck is bolted on, but for the money you would not expect anything else. The bridge is a tremolo style, which for the price you would expect it too loose its tuning, wrong, its kept in tune for me for ages when using the trem. There are 2 single pickups, with 1 humbucker for good measure, also this can be turned to single when it get too loud. There is also a 5-way Switch for all the different tones and stuff, 1 volume and 2 tone settings. Overall the look off this guitar is brilliant, which is tough, and has stood quite a few knocks.