Vintage Aria Guitars

Kevin Casper
Aria AF-Tenor

If you're looking for a great, affordable guitar that is a little bit different, check out vintage Aria guitars. Aria is a great company that has a long, interesting history and has produced some fantastic instruments throughout the years. This article will introduce you to Aria instruments, and then highlight some of the most popular vintage Aria guitars that have been produced over the years.

The Aria Story

Aria is a Japanese company founded in the 1950s by an accomplished classical guitar player named Shiro Aria. As a result of Mr. Shiro's love of classical music, the first guitars Aria produced were classical guitars. As a result, many of the most sought after vintage Arias are from this classical-only era. After the initial success of these classical guitars, Aria started producing electric guitars and bass guitars, and well-known professional guitar players like Neil Schon and Cliff Burton began playing Arias on their recordings and on stage.

Aria has since branched out to produce acoustic guitars, gypsy guitars, ukuleles and mandolins; however, when you are looking for vintage instruments from this company, most of the instruments that you will find are classical guitars, electric guitars and electric basses.

Some Notable Vintage Aria Guitars

Some of the Aria guitars that have really stood the test of time and are desired by guitarists today are listed below.

1980's Aria Quest

The 1980's Aria Quest was an extremely unique looking guitar. It featured a neck-through-body design with one solid piece of maple running the length of the instrument. The two side panels are finished in a different color, giving the instrument a cool two-toned look. The shape of the Quest was its most striking feature since it had a wide base with sharp angles that alluded to an arch-top mandolin or a viola. Two humbucker pickups for a warm, fat sound and gold hardware for added flair help make the Quest one of the most desired vintage Arias around.

1970's Aria ES-335 Replica

The 1970s era Aria guitars were designed to compete with popular American made models that cost much more money. In some respects, they were replicas of the originals. Now that a few decades have passed, many guitar aficionados believe that these Aria replicas are holding up better than the original guitars that they were modeled after. The 1970s era ES-335 replica is one of those instruments. The entire body is made from high-end flamed maple, the fingerboard was Brazilian rosewood, and the neck is three-piece solid maple that helps it remain straight even after three plus decades of use. You can see a photo of an ES-335 on Joe's Vintage website along with some other great vintage Arias. You can also purchase guitars from this site, so bookmark it and check back often to see what Joe has found lately.

1970's Aria A560S Grand Concert Classical

These classical beauties were produced throughout the 1970s and are still yearned for today. They featured beautiful Jakaranda wood sides with a cedar top and mahogany neck that gave these instruments a true Spanish-style sound. No detail was spared in the production of these guitars, from the bone nut and saddle to the gold plated machine heads. If you can get your hands on one of these guitars, consider yourself lucky!

1980's Aria SB-900 Bass

These basses are classics: they look cool and sound great. The SB-900 featured a rosewood fretboard with 24 frets, 2 MB-II double-coil pickups, a three position pickup selector and came in Padouk Red and Black finishes. The SB body shape has become synonymous with Aria basses, and they look cooler and cooler as time passes.

Where to Buy

Listed below are some great websites to get you started.


Since these are vintage instruments, they are more difficult to find than brand new models. You'll have to be patient and do your homework to find the perfect vintage Aria.

Vintage Aria Guitars