(SOLD) Aria ES345 Hollow Body Cherry 1971
Aria ES345, red, made in Japan circa 1972. What a gorgeous creature this is. Aria began making electric guitars in 1966, and would go on to re-brand as Aria Pro II in 1975. This one is very early in the piece, so it gets the original Aria logo, a cheeky open book headstock, a fully hollow body with a two-bolt neck, and an even cheekier 'ES345' model number on the sticker in the F-hole. Obviously some of those liberties pre-date the 'lawsuit' era that followed in the subsequent decades, but hey it's a laugh. Later examples copied the USA made examples more closely, but this is kinda it's own thing. First up, it's fully hollow, so that means it's very lightweight. The three-piece maple neck is a very comfy slim D shape and is still arrow-straight and stable with tidy frets after all these years. The two-bolt join has a foot in each camp: the shape feels and looks more like a set neck, but the simplicity of build and slightly shorter sustain of the bolt on lends this a cool vibe. The tone is dark, warm and full, but with a plenty pronounced attack when you dig in with gusto and charming sparkle on the top end. It's very happy playing jazz or blues, but there's enough grit and snap to cover rock stuff too. The aged gold hardware, bound fretboard, aged pearloid inlays and the trap tail are all pretty little details, but the slightly bursted red finish steals the show: heck, it's so pretty it hurts a little bit. Quirky, but rewarding.
Model: Aria ES345
Made: Japan, Matsumoku plant, 1971 approx (serial 167628)
Finish: cherry red, slight burst, gloss poly
Body: laminate maple, 335-style fully hollow, thinline 45mm depth, 402mm across
Neck: maple, three piece, rosewood board, 12" radius, 24.75" scale, two-bolt joint, slim D shape
Mods: bridge pickup re-wound, output jack and one volume pot replaced
Pickup: Aria passive humbucker x2
Case: basic non-original hard case
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. The headstock has some dimples on the end, a dent on the front near the A tuner post and some light scuffs on the back. The neck is clean and smooth in the hands, minor dimples on the back only. The back has minor dimples on both horns, the elbow area and around the electronics cover, as well as some light scuffs along the back edge and middle of the body. The sides have light scuffs around the whole body and some dimples in the elbow area and near the jack. The front has some scuffs in the elbow area and near the knobs and some play wear on the guard and horns. Overall: very good condition (7/10)
Playing condition notes: Neck is straight, intonation is good, action is low, truss rod works. All electronics tested and working properly. Frets are looking pretty good with minor wear only, 8/10 for life left. Setup with fresh 11/49 Moonshiners strings.