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Aria Pro II Steve Bailey model

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by K-Funk, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. K-Funk

    K-Funk Supporting Member

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    I just acquired an Aria Pro II Avante Series 6 string fretless in a trade, and was curious about its history. This one has a unlined rosewood fingerboard and single-coil type pickups, in addition to black and chrome stacked knobs and what appears to be an ash body. I noticed that other versions of this bass have ebony boards and soapbar pickups, as well as all-black knobs. Was this bass always a Steve Bailey signature? How did it evolve over time? I heard that a batch of these were US made, and others were Korean. Any extra info on these basses would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. K-Funk

    K-Funk Supporting Member

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  3. Bass Fund

    Bass Fund

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    I've seen Carol Kaye with an Avante 4. The Korean versions I've played were really nice.
  4. Immigrant

    Immigrant Supporting Member

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  5. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

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    Interesting that you ask. Aria also made a 4 string Avante Steve Bailey as well (and I believe a fiver too). I bought one many years ago. It had an ebony board, sunburst ash body, Basslines jazz pups, and a push-pull volume/mute knob. Pretty nice bass for the $300 I paid (used), but a tad on the heavy side, as I recall.
  6. Steve Bailey

    Steve Bailey Supporting Member

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    A nice bass if I say so myself. It was always my signature model as we designed it from the ground up. Almost all were tobacco burst with basslines fundamental fretless pickups.
    There were 4 and 5rs as well as fretted 4, 5, 6,… My whole premise with that bass was to make it affordable. And mine were all "stock" except the prototypes. Some were heavier than others. It was a good company to work with, but since NHF was the US distributor, they have had a couple US distributors.
    I still play that model sometimes in my studio. Gave a few away to students.
    There were some quality control and manufacturing issues later on after about 8 years with the company. Couldn't get them worked out so I moved on. Loved the bass and Shiro and a few other guys with the company, in Japan.
  7. bassbenj

    bassbenj

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    I remember those. They had excellent reviews. At the time I was playing an Aria Pro II Magna 5er which I hated (and eventually sold) and a 6er fretless was WAY outside my fence so I never bought one, though I was rather impressed with many Aria basses at the time.

    Today, I'm sure I'd kill to own one of these. Meanwhile I'm playing my SX Fender-clone fretless 6er.
  8. Kragnorak

    Kragnorak

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    Hi Steve! I'm one that bought one of these 6-strings around the time of the Bass Extremes instructional CD/first album. It's indeed a fantastic bass; while it feels like it's 13 pounds, it also sustains for days and maintains tuning better than a piano!

    It's interesting that this is a recent thread - the main reason I found this is that I'm considering resurrecting this bass by replacing the pickups. I stopped playing the bass in the first place because it doesn't have the kind of MWAH fretless tone that I was looking for. In your opinion, might pickups help or is the neck/fingerboard just too solid? What kind of pickups do you recommend and what kind did you have put in your higher-end models?
  9. Kragnorak

    Kragnorak

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    Hmm, I found a video of a guy on YouTube playing a 1999 model with the Seymour Duncan Fundamental Fretless pickup system.

    He mentions that some of the earlier models had "a set of single coils with some other pre in there". I bet that's what I have. I can't get near as good a tone as "kevinwoodsmusic" did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuHww_wctaE
  10. Kragnorak

    Kragnorak

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    Still researching. Here is the product page for the Basslines Fundamental Fretless system. It was from 1997 and I think my bass and K-Funk's are earlier models with the stacked tone knobs.

    http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/press-releases/basslines_and_s/

    What is interesting is that they mention a retrofit. "In addition, Basslines offers a retrofit system for Aria's Steve Bailey signature model six-string bass."

    I want that retrofit after watching the video above! Unless anyone has better pickup recommendations for this instrument? I've never actually bought pickups before and don't know a ton.
  11. Kragnorak

    Kragnorak

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    I brought my Steve Bailey bass to a rehearsal last night - first time using it in years. I am still waiting to find out how to get a retrofit.

    I got really good feedback on the tone, but I feel it's still not up to snuff. I think that the neck and body are awesome, which creates a lot of great tone, but there are still missing mids and other frequencies. For example, I can't get a lot of harmonics to ring out, even easy natural harmonics like 5th and 7th fret. It's almost like a scooped tone, so my bandmates loved the clarity on the low end. Because it's such a beastly instrument, it easily accommodated the tuning A-C-G-D-G-C (low to high)...

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