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  1. #1

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    I tried an Aria FA-71 the other day. Not a bad acoustic sound, but I didn't have time to plug it in and really give it a going over. I could pick it up for just under $500 CDN, used but in excellent shape.

    Anyone have some experience with these?


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    They have one here in Montreal but left handed so I couldnt really cut loose on it (I DID play it.. but very very sloooowly lol) One of the few 17in/Floating PU guitars out there. My only real concerns were a) UGLY FINISH and b) Aria name doesnt have a great resale value. For the finish, who cares. For the resale value, more of an issue because it is an entry level archtop. Unless you have some kind of soul-to-soul bond with it you will probably sell it because either 17in archtops just arent for you or you decide that 17in archtops ARE for you and you decide to put the money into a gibson, heritage, campbellone, etc etc etc.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by dh82c
    They have one here in Montreal but left handed so I couldnt really cut loose on it (I DID play it.. but very very sloooowly lol) One of the few 17in/Floating PU guitars out there. My only real concerns were a) UGLY FINISH and b) Aria name doesnt have a great resale value. For the finish, who cares. For the resale value, more of an issue because it is an entry level archtop. Unless you have some kind of soul-to-soul bond with it you will probably sell it because either 17in archtops just arent for you or you decide that 17in archtops ARE for you and you decide to put the money into a gibson, heritage, campbellone, etc etc etc.
    Drew, I'm highly impressed that you could make sounds on it that could be defined as music, even loosely. No way that I could, good work !

    Guitar looks like it came out of the same factory that produces the Emperor Regent - same body/pickup ... different headstock and tailpiece, variations on pickguard, bridge ...

    I would expect it to have the same sound/feel as the Emp/Reg so if you like those, you probably will like this. Price looks about the same too. I'll keep my opinions about the Emp/Reg to myself THIS time

    Good luck, Godinfan !

  5. #4

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    My Aria FA 71.. Paid $500 US a year ago. One just sold here in New Jersey for about $650. Value will fluctuate, but anyone who has had a chance to try one has been impressed with the playability. Sounds very good through a Fender Princeton chorus, Roland Cube 20x(clean), and a Polytone MBII.

  6. #5

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    I think the aria fa 77 is better and with solid top.

  7. #6

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    Wow. I am impressed that is is holding its resale value that well. The lefty here is going for about 925$ US and that is new. They actually have another model that I would buy without a moments hesitation if only it had a cutaway. FA-77. Tried one and enjoyed the feel and playability. I have to say that on both guitars I felt that the electronics need an upgrade but that is the case with just about everything I have tried until you get to Eastman territory.

  8. #7

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    Heheh.. scolohofo beat me to it.

  9. #8

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    I had an FA-70 for a while. Same guitar with 2 pickups. It was a very nice player.

  10. #9
    OK, I finally went back and plugged it in. I may have to change my moniker now, 'cos I walked out of the shop with it for $400 CDN.

    Sounds GREAT! And that's with rounds on it. I've got a set of flatwounds to put on tonite. Beautiful bottom end, and good acoustic sound for playing rhythm.

    I think it's gonna be my one guitar for big band playing from now on.

  11. #10

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    Congrats. You will love that guitar with flats.. I've used DR 13's.

  12. #11

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    OK - this is a bit late in the day, but I think you'll be pleased with it. I've been able to compare the FA71 with the Epi Emperor and think the accoustic tone is noticeably better on the Aria. I changed the standard pickup for a MIK Kent Armstrong then the Armstrong for a Bartolini - sounds great now, but I'm still thinking about how exactly to set it up (I'm tempted to mount the tone/vol controls in the top).

    As for resale prices - I don't see it matters too much if you don't pay all that much in the first place. Buy a basic guitar and as soon as you walk out the door it's lost 50% - walk straight back in and try and trade it in and you'll find it's lost 75%, so I tend to play them, enjoy them and if I decide not to keep them in the long term give them away to neices and good causes. Won't be doing this with the Gibson or Fender of course.

  13. #12

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    Instead of drilling the body for controls, try StewMac luthier supplies for the small thumbwheel type and mount them beneath the scratchguard. I made a new guard while I was at it, too, Rosewood to match the bridge.
    Last edited by RoyaleT; 11-21-2009 at 07:12 AM. Reason: no photo added

  14. #13
    Nice job with the hidden controls. I'm going to play it as is for a while and get really familiar with it before I think about any mods.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyaleT
    Instead of drilling the body for controls, try StewMac luthier supplies for the small thumbwheel type and mount them beneath the scratchguard. I made a new guard while I was at it, too, Rosewood to match the bridge.
    I've tried to upload a photograph of mine (I need the additional credibility points from randyc and lpdeluxe). First thing I do is remove the pickguard, so I hadn't got anywhere to mount the vol/tone controls ... plus I fitted my favorite deep-body zigzag tailpiece, Grover 18:1 tuners and a Bartolini 'floater' mounted on pads. The cable from the pup goes direct to the output jack and I've either been plugging direct to the amp or using an external box with the vol/tone controls in it. Has anyone tried fitting the thumbwheel controls under the top so they peep out into the 'f' hole? Think I might give it a go.

  16. #15

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    drill the top.. that is what it is there for.

    Seriously: The stewmac pots are great. I considered them (before... ahem.. drilling the top). No reason you couldnt mount them in the soundhole. My only concern is the adhesive holding properly. This concern may be entirely unfounded.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by dh82c
    drill the top.. that is what it is there for.

    Seriously: The stewmac pots are great. I considered them (before... ahem.. drilling the top). No reason you couldnt mount them in the soundhole. My only concern is the adhesive holding properly. This concern may be entirely unfounded.

    Here's one I prepared earlier - Aria FA50 (MIK Kent Armstrong and a set of Kluson Deluxe I happened to have around). I moved the vol/tone pots to the top, and I can't say I noticed the slightest difference in tone quality ... but then (as has been said before) maybe it wasn't that great to begin with. I think the small control knobs look quite good, but having thought of mounting the thumbwheel in the sound hole of the FA71 I don't suppose I will rest until I've tried it. I'd use those sticky pads again - my entire world is held together with sticky pads.

  18. #17

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    I use an Aria Pro II, archtop, FA 70 I think (the label is hard to read).
    I would say it stacks up with an ES175, except for its origin.
    Damn good guitar which has seen many gigs. I would not part with it.

  19. #18

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    Hi,

    Just bought an Aria FA77 - best sounding guitar in the shop, and what a beautiful fit too.

  20. #19

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    Yep.. I played one yesterday. I would have bought it years ago if it had a cutaway.

  21. #20

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    I bought a used fa71 a week ago. After a new pair of strings and some adjustments to the neck and bridge it plays very good. It sounds very loud, acoutic. Of course it 's a 17 inch full body. But to my ears it doesn 't have that warm woody jazz tone, not even acoustic. In the future I plan to put a Bartolini pick-up on it. For the moment it 's equiped with a Schaller TZ jazz floating pick up. It 's a well build beautifull guitar.

  22. #21
    I just got my FA-71 back from the luthier's. Got the fretboard planed and refretted, and he also made a new compensated bone nut.

    It's playing amazingly well in tune, and the action is lower than I would have thought possible with a guitar like this.

    I've been playing my Tele a lot lately, but the Aria rules in terms of the beautiful body to the sound.

  23. #22

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    GodinFan

    After playing it for a couple of months, i like this guitar more and more... The playability and the sound are wonderfull... i played a gig with it through a Roland JC120. The FA 71 did it's job very well. I would like to try the FA 77 now , it should be even better. But there isn't one available in the guitar shops in the neighbourhoud, as far as i know. I 'm sure we did a very good deal by buying this guitar, even if some adjustments need to be done to the frets or pick-ups or whatever. I also like the appearance.

    good luck and have fun with the guitar

  24. #23

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    I was wondering if someone could share an audio clip of what the FA-71 sounds like acoustically (preferably not through a cellphone camera).

    (Sorry to the original participants i PM'd as well)

  25. #24

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    Try this link for videos of the FA-71 playing Gypsy music..



    Once I saw that video I bought an FA-71 from Amazon. Thew were selling the last few for 399.00.

    They are selling the brown sumburst one now for a little over 400.

    Out of the box it was unplayable. I had to have a high fret (2nd) shaved, however, so I guess you get what you pay for, but I'm satisfied now. The Amazon price is back up over 800 now.

    I thought the pickup was a little weal, but after adjusting the amp, I got a nice round sound, I put Thomasik 12 flatwound jazz 'n swing strings on it.

    If I had more to spend I would have looked at something else. I believe the particular guitar I received was onlyworth the 400 I paid because it needed another 130 worth of luthier work.

    Mike

  26. #25

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    Here is another link that you might like better:

    Mike

  27. #26

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    Guys - I bought one for £275 with a gator hardcore about 5 years ago and the fella selling had it beautifully setup but couldn't get on with it. I'm not a jazzer as such (never done a jazz gig) but because of this guitar I am more and more loving it. I've been playing 40 years (we won't mention hours as there have been some lean years) and have around 40 guitars and this is without a doubt one of my faves. I have bought other Korean made jazz boxes (a Greg Bennet Samick, a Peerless, a Epiphone Joe Pass, and although I have set them all up as well, they sound like semi-acoustics and this sounds like a jazz guitar.

    All i needed do was adjust the pup, which was in contact with my body. If you want a jazz box and don't want to pay an arm and a leg, find an old one, set it up properly and you won't be disappointed........well, I'm certainly not!

  28. #27

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    Hi Raq,

    Could you (or any other forum member) offer me an opinion of the performance characteristics of the Bartolini pickups? I am considering a future p/u upgrade to my Peerless Monarch 16.

    Thanks.

  29. #28

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    I came back to a full archtop after many years without.

    Archtops are not a versatile axe and feedback easily. But for straight up jazz, can't beat it.

    I found an Aria FA-71 a few years ago in a shop. Made in Korea. Real nice neck. I wasn't shopping for an archtop but I bought it cause it was a real solid guitar for the $ and I missed having one around. Good build quality .

    I set the action pretty low with flatwounds and minimal buzzing. So I will chime in, a real nice archtop. Gonna assume the pickup could be upgraded and I might look into that. Acoustic its quiet of course but sounds good and clean. This is a good way to test an archtop as it lives in the acoustic world really...
    Last edited by GRS; 03-29-2020 at 05:30 PM.

  30. #29

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    I had an FA 71.
    Price was great $500 cdn.
    Perfectly made and set up. Great fretwork. Plays very well and looks great. I liked the 25 1/2" scale,
    The stock pickup was weak. I installed a Benedetto. An improvement but it really needs a big set-in humbucker like a Classic 57. The problem is that it is a plywood guitar with a fairly weak acoustic sound so you need that big pup power. It's got a decent tone but much like many Asian copies. It feeds back like a mofo at gig volumes if you are not careful of how close to your amp you are. Tape on the F holes solves this.

  31. #30


    He talks about his Aria and explains some of his technique

  32. #31

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    Great player. Gotta love a guy who can play with his thumb ala Wes. You get the great tone with the thumb and fingers. Benson does this and Jeff Beck, the Strat tonemeister as well. Interesting what Jim said about Wes having a double jointed thumb!
    I loved Jims economy of movement with his chord melody. So fluid. Reminds me of another Jim. Im left handed as well and Ive always thought that playing a guitar the normal way is better for lefties. My good hand is doing all the fretboard computing.
    His feedback fix is pretty slick looking, I think Im gonna try engineering something like that. Maybe get some thin, black plexi-glass type stuff.

  33. #32

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  34. #33

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  35. #34

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    Another one with an FA-71 here. I love this guitar. If ever I get to a stage where I might need to gig it (highly unlikely) then Doug's Plugs might well get an order from me, too!