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NBD: vintage Aria Pro II

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fermata, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Until last week, I didn't even know the Aria Pro II CSB-300 existed...but when I wandered into the local music store for kicks, that changed:
    It's a 1981 Matsumoku-made Aria Pro II CSB-300, and it's the bass I never knew I wanted. I had no idea there was a production model out there that manages to address my entire esoteric wish-list:

    Medium scale (I prefer short or medium scale)
    Limited neck taper/narrow spacing at the bridge (this is key for me)
    Lightweight (7.2 lbs)/small body
    No neck dive
    2x2 headstock
    Visible wood grain
    No belly cut
    No pickguard
    Matte finish

    If I were dreaming up a custom bass, I wouldn't have landed too far from this! It's a very musical feeling instrument, and the build quality is excellent. The pickup design (it's even radiused to follow the strings) and sound is great: the lows are tight and punchy, the highs are sweet and round, and varying hand placement, technique, and/or the very responsive tone knob delivers everything from deep punch to bright grind. Despite the reverse P-ish pickup arrangement, the bass has its own sound. Since the pickup is a touch further south, it doesn't have that hollow Precision grunt; instead, it has rich and chewy mids (sort of like a Rickenbacker 4004), a bit of classic Stingray punch (minus the sizzle), and great growl. Yummy.

    P.S. Speaking of yummy, an image search for 'CSB-300' not only nets photos of this type of bass but also of a Cuisinart hand blender. To be clear, the above post is about the former, not the latter.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    woodyng2, andruca, 10cc and 2 others like this.
  2. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    Very nice! I recently became aware of these when I started researching birth year basses (1980). I happened to be looking at medium scale basses and that's one of the first ones to come up. I've not seen one local, but they pop up every once in a while on eBay and Reverb. Congrats on a very cool bass!
    fermata likes this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    interesting specs (in a good way!) and features. glad you found it! congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    fermata likes this.
  4. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    It's a few years shy of being a birth year bass for me, but it is from the year that I apparently first expressed desire for a (red, as it happens) electric bass.

    PawleeP and Duder like this.
  5. Nice, I like the color. Congrats
  6. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Thanks--me, too. It's funny, in bright light it's red, but in less direct/dimmer light, it goes almost brown. I'm assuming it's the Padouk Red finish. Aria Pro II CSB Series
    klejst likes this.
  7. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    love the Cardinal basses. great players and still great values to be found.
    fermata likes this.
  8. bench


    Dec 28, 2007
    if it’s really that light and doesn’t neckdive in spite of the short upper horn i’m really jealous ;)

    by medium you mean 32”??
  9. fermata


    Nov 10, 2015
    Mountain West
    Yeah, the lack of neck dive surprised me--despite the 32" scale, the first fret is a fair reach. I'm guessing the tuners are fairly light, and the small headstock probably helps, too. But I've read some complaints about neck dive on these basses, so maybe I just lucked out?

    One more pic (a bit bright):
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    Duder likes this.

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