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Aria Pro-II SB-1000

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by David Wilson, Jun 20, 2003.


  1. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Managed to snag one of these on EvilBay, haven't received it yet, but I've been looking for one for a good while. They were John Taylor's main basses in the early 80's, which is the main reason for my interest :)

    Anyone else on here have one? I know the string spacing is famously tight, 16mm at the bridge I believe. I'm really interested in any info on the pickup/tone control. The knob is a six position tone selector, anyone have a summary of the different sounds at the different knob positions?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bunnybass info here
     
  2. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    So YOU were the one who snagged that! :D

    I saw that on there yesterday and remarked to myself (as I am prone to do) that it was a very nice bass and that i have always liked those. My only issue with them is said tight spacing.
     
  3. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Yeah, been jonesing for a JT bass for a long time. Don't see them very often. Trip Wamsley has one, which he got from JT's sound guy (it was his backup bass)

    I should get mine late next week, once I get it setup and playtested I'll be back with a report.
    Even if the stringspacing is too small for me, I'm still keeping it :)
     
  4. OneDrop

    OneDrop

    Jun 17, 2003
    Wow! thanks for bringin me back with that post. i didn't have that bass, but a lower model aria bolt-on(sb-1 maybe??) with same body shape and pickup but it was passive w/ a vol. and tone only. yeah i remember it had tight string spacing cause i had tiny 12 year old hands back then and it was easier to play than most basses. :)
     
  5. ryuujin

    ryuujin

    Jun 1, 2003
    Delaware, OH
    That is what my 1991 Ibanez SB-900 evolved from. Both Ibanez and Aria made the SB line of basses. Both designed by the same designer if I remember correctly. Very nice bass you got there.
     
  6. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    I have a Aria Pro II TSB-550 that looks very similiar to the Aria Pro-II SB-1000. Mine is a neck-thru, ash body, with the same headstock design as yours, brass hardware, diamond shaped fret markers. It is passive, with a "Thor Sound" switch. I have never measured mine, but I believe it is a 32" scale, it seems a little shorter than my 34" scale basses, but not as short as my EBO. I have it set up with very low action; no buzzes. This bass has the fastest neck of any I have ever owned.
     
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
  8. Jontom

    Jontom

    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    I bought an '84 Aria SB-900(two pickup model)in trans red,used,for $325! I had to do a setup, make a truss rod cover, take out the EMG j's that the previous owner had in the humbucker cavities(bad asthetics!)and drop in some Kent Armstrong humbuckers(and wire them series/parallel-PITA!),replaced the knobs,added a Badass bridge, and strung it with Labella SuperSteps. Its definitely up to speed, but I'd love to have the original electronics/or diagrams. Anybody?
     
  9. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    Thanks for the link. I found one exactly like mine; Same finish even.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    OK, so I got it last week and I've been playing around with it a fair bit. Here are my notes:

    Initially, it was surprisingly heavy but I'm used to that as I've played a Warwick Thumb 5 for the last ten years which aren't the lightest of basses... This had supposedly been sitting unplayed in a basement for 10 years, and it's in great condition. The finish on the bridge is coming off, I'm guessing that's due to oxidation? The finish is otherwise near perfect.

    I know I'm in the minority, but I love the tight string spacing, I'm used to 17mm as that's what's on the Warwick so 16mm isn't that much of a difference. String skipping basslines are a doddle on this, and I don't find I'm hitting other strings by accident.

    What was unexpected was how 'honky' the bass is, not much bass out of it all, with similar results in active or passive modes. I've been comparing notes with Trip Wamsley, who also has one of these, and he says that's completely normal. He explained that these came out in the day where the 2*15 was king, with very bass heavy cabs, and this bass was designed to cut through that.

    The 6 position EQ selector is interesting, I found I got my sound at the highest attack setting and backing off the tone. See diagram below for controls:

    [​IMG]

    I got the best sound putting it through a Sansamp BDDI, boosting bass a lot and treble a little. Also, I used the blend feature to kick in their tube emulation which I never usually use. I was able to get a good warm, yet cutting, sound that way. You never need to worry about this bass not being able to make itself heard in the mix!

    I haven't gigged with it, or taken it to rehearsals yet. I'll probably do that in the next week or so and update.

    I wasn't playing the bass at the time of it's release (78-87), so it's hard for me to put it in context with other basses of the time, but I can imagine it must have created a huge stir on it's release. Neck through design, active electronics at a decent price. I'm guessing it's main competition at the time would have been an Alembic (much more expensive) or the Stingray. Anyone know what the pricing of these was relative to those back in the day? I know Marcus Miller endorsed Aria in the early-mid 80's.

    Summary:
    This is an extremely well crafted, quality bass. It's tonal character is unique, I can't think of another bass you could compare it to. I bought this out of historical / curiosity reasons, but I can honestly see me using this in a band situation today.
     
  11. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ah yes, I recall these basses in the 80s. I think the Brits were really big on them. The only Yanks I can think of that played them was that guy in Earth Wind and Fire and Rudy Sarzo. In fact I believe his Peavey signature ax from way back-when was largely derived from the Aria design.

    Almost like Ibanez' SR series, the Arias SB series was around for a long time and went through various revisions and options over the years. I've tried those back breaking one pick up ash axes as well as a very nice and fairly light neck-through model with 2 real Alembic pickups and pre-amp (this was stock, mind you, and I don't know how long that particular model was available but it was killer!). This does option does make perfect sense as the line vaguely resembles a "poor-man's" Alembic.

    But you know, the this whole Aria SB thread makes me want to look further into those Peavey Rudy Sarzo basses. They were a bit heavy but damn good bases if my memory serves me right.

    r
     
  12. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Here's the Rudy Sarzo bass I was talking about. Wonder if Aria Pro gets a royalty!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    whoops, the image didn't take. Ok, here's a Rudy Sarzo ax from ebay:

    rudy bass
     
  14. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    yeah, they don't look alike AT ALL!

    Are you the bidder?
     
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Saw Jack Bruce playing one back in 1980 (his other bass at the gig was a fretless Spector) through what was the very first Trace stack I ever saw.

    He was also an Aria endorser...the ads had a pic of him with a quote of "It's a bloody good axe".

    As far as the Aria's similarity to the Peavey Sarzo, really all those basses (along with the Ibanez Musician and a few others) were just ripping off Alembic with the neck through construction, "hippie sandwich" woodwork and active electronics.
     
  16. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
     
  17. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Ok, so you're telling me you see no resemblance between the Aria and the Peavey? Look againg:



    [​IMG]
     
  18. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Damnit I cant get these two images together. Here's the aria, I got it from this thread.

    And no, I'm not bidding on the Peavey though I'm really tempted
     
  19. ...I saw the red version of exactly this bass at "Cash Converters" when I was walking through Wellington two weeks ago. Its pick-up looked different though, so I am wondering whether the previous owner had replaced the original one?!
     
  20. ...yes, he played Arias for quite a while - I remember pics of him with an Aria in musician's magazines in 1983. Tony Butler (Big Country) played one around the same time, too.