1. #1
    Does anyone have first hand experience comparing these two models? From a functional point of view they appear the same. Short scale, laminated, dual pickup, 16" wide guitar. Yet, I see the Ellis edition offered for sale at twice the price of a comparable AF-70.

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  3. #2

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    I believe most of the FA-70s, if not all were made in Korea. The Herb Ellis PE-175 was made in Japan at Matsumoku. That alone could account for the difference.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky View Post
    Does anyone have first hand experience comparing these two models? From a functional point of view they appear the same. Short scale, laminated, dual pickup, 16" wide guitar. Yet, I see the Ellis edition offered for sale at twice the price of a comparable AF-70.
    yeah I've wondered about that ....
    i would seem an AF70 would be a bargain

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan View Post
    I believe most of the FA-70s, if not all were made in Korea. The Herb Ellis PE-175 was made in Japan at Matsumoku. That alone could account for the difference.

    Are you saying cost of labor? Or is it some factory related cachet, perhaps.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky View Post
    Are you saying cost of labor? Or is it some factory related cachet, perhaps.

    Likely both. The guitars made at the Matsumoku factory are known for being consistently outstanding, even compared to their American-made Gibson counterparts.

    Though I must reveal my bias, as I play an Aria Pro II Herb Ellis. Fit and finish on it are better than a lot of Memphis 175s I've handled.

    I cannot speak for the AF-70, though, so YMMV.

    Edit: Also, the pickups in the MIJ Herb Ellis were supposedly made by Maxon and are highly sought after. They sound phenomenal, on par with the Ibanez Super 58s of the same era.
    On the Turntable: Wes Montgomery - Back on Indiana Avenue, Paul Motion Trio - It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago
    Guitar:
    Fender AVRI '59 w/ TI Swing 11s and Tyson Tone pickups
    Through: Polytone Mini Brute II

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by rmpmcdermott View Post
    Likely both. The guitars made at the Matsumoku factory are known for being consistently outstanding, even compared to their American-made Gibson counterparts
    This is why, in part, I ask. I'm a long-time acoustic guitar player who is new to this world. I have no historical allegiance or bias in this space. I had the chance to compare an old FA70 with a 2016 Gibson 175 and thought the value equation tipped most heavily towards the Aria. I could, in fact, find no issue with the Aria that wasn't simply age-related cosmetics (dings, tarnish, etc.). The FA70 seems well built and solid and has a fat, warm sound with a chime to the trebles. Digging deeper, I found out about the Ellis and without holding one in my hand see no functional difference.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky View Post
    This is why, in part, I ask. I'm a long-time acoustic guitar player who is new to this world. I have no historical allegiance or bias in this space. I had the chance to compare an old FA70 with a 2016 Gibson 175 and thought the value equation tipped most heavily towards the Aria. I could, in fact, find no issue with the Aria that wasn't simply age-related cosmetics (dings, tarnish, etc.). The FA70 seems well built and solid and has a fat, warm sound with a chime to the trebles. Digging deeper, I found out about the Ellis and without holding one in my hand see no functional difference.
    Well this is a great place to ask. There are a lot of user much more knowledgeable about the MIJ archtops than me. Also, if you love the FA70, no need to second guess! The Matsumoku factory has a lot of history, but none of that matters if you find a guitar you dig, especially for a great value.
    On the Turntable: Wes Montgomery - Back on Indiana Avenue, Paul Motion Trio - It Should've Happened a Long Time Ago
    Guitar:
    Fender AVRI '59 w/ TI Swing 11s and Tyson Tone pickups
    Through: Polytone Mini Brute II

  9. #8

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    The price difference is Matsumoku/Japan vs Korea for the FA.

    Now, I've played some Korean archtops that I thought were very nice, so the FA-70 might be the cat's whiskers.

    However, I will attest that the Matsumoku-made Aria is going to be a very well made, great sounding and playing guitar. I wouldn't part with mine.