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  1. #1

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    It is a rare guitar here...

    sounds pretty good, very Gibson-ish...

    Looks ok.. except that the rant is partly ruined and should be restored.

    I still cannot find much info about it and I cannot estimate its real value.
    Any ideas on how much it could cost in perfect condition today?
    Last edited by Jonah; 07-23-2021 at 07:13 AM.

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  3. #2

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    While owners and those who have played them generally like them a LOT, but despite that, here in the U.S they're still not too expensive.

    A few years back they could be had for around $500-$600 but recently the few I've seen were just above $1k. As far as nailing the 175 sound goes... IMO, they're more like a warmer Heritage H-575 than a Gibson 175.

    It's been reviewed and opined upon quite a bit here by a few who are pretty well respected, see:

    Dutchbopper's Jazz Guitar Blog: The Aria PE 175 Herb Ellis

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    While owners and those who have played them generally like them a LOT, but despite that, here in the U.S they're still not too expensive.

    A few years back they could be had for around $500-$600 but recently the few I've seen were just above $1k. As far as nailing the 175 sound goes... IMO, they're more like a warmer Heritage H-575 than a Gibson 175.

    It's been reviewed and opined upon quite a bit here by a few who are pretty well respected, see:

    Dutchbopper's Jazz Guitar Blog: The Aria PE 175 Herb Ellis
    Thank you!
    And thanks for the link... interesting that the one I was offered has Gibson-style headstock (much nicer!)

    The owner says it is Matsumoko production

  5. #4

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    I’ve sold several of these, I think I’m up to seven of them now. I’ve had them labeled with two different model numbers, PE-175 and PE-185. The very earliest ones seem to be the ones labeled PE-185. The early ones also have a tendency to binding rot. They were indeed made in the Matsumoku factory and came with really nice Maxon pickups.

    People always downplay their value, but I’ve been selling them for years and never had any trouble selling them for $1200-1400 US.

  6. #5

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    My favorite Herb Ellis PE-175 instruments are the older ones with the "Gibson"-style headstocks.

    Ellis always got a great sound out of his when he toured. As an owner of a Matsumoku archtop, I personally like them a lot.

    Enjoy yours.

  7. #6

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    Thank you for your opinions, guys!

    Though I am not apro player I know many gigging musicians in the area and it turned out that the seller is a friend of a friend of a firend...
    So he himself just offered me to take the guitar home for a week or two... to try it and to check all the faults.


    It is definitely earliest (prototype) 'Gibson-headstock' one, it has not 'Herb Ellis' inlay on the fretboard, only H.E. on the pickguargd.

    The guitar has issues.
    The binding is ruined and need to be repalace.
    The bridge was glued to the top! (Darn... who owns those guitars? What are those crazy sons of the...?
    The bridge pickup is disconnected because the shell was supposedly brokened and it buzzed during playing.

    Cons:
    The frets were accuratly replaced recently (it is seen immidiately)
    The neck pickup sounds very very good, it has lively round tone that also has some crunch (with the tone knob turned on) which gets it a bit closer to real 175 .
    In general guitar feels and plays very well..

    Also despite all the issues it feels, sounds and looks (!) much more as real guitar than many modern factory made guitars of the same value.

    I do not know what to do nest.. I'll bring to the tech I usually work with and trust... and I will see what he would ask for restoration and repair (probably he will find more things to do there)...
    After that I will try to see what could be the reasonable price for it...

    The price he put in the is approx usd670 (in current exchange rate). For example used Artcore AF75 is about usd400 here
    I expect the repair would be at least usd 200 - 250 (local tech's work is cheaper than in US)

    Similar Early (Gibson-headstock) H.E. guitars in good conditions are listed on reverb above usd 1100 - 1200

    I have some cash now. Such an investment won't hurt my budget at all...
    What do you think? Worth it?


    the problem on local market (Russia) is that it is difficult to sell decent guitar... good jazzers do not have money today here so they try find shortcuts buying Artcores, Burnys, Washburns, Harley Bentons and upgrading the pickups... and they may sound goo at the end of the day.

    But if you own really good and pricey jazz box here it may take years to sell.
    Ebay is often an option but if the same guitar is available in US or EU obviously the buyer abroad would choose them so you will have to drop down the price to get them interested in cross-broders (oveseas) deal.

    I mean I am not buying to sell it over ... but I try to be reasonable.

  8. #7

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    if the binding is shot I'd look for another one. the cost to replace the binding is likely more than the guitar is worth.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Thank you for your opinions, guys!

    Though I am not apro player I know many gigging musicians in the area and it turned out that the seller is a friend of a friend of a firend...
    So he himself just offered me to take the guitar home for a week or two... to try it and to check all the faults.


    It is definitely earliest (prototype) 'Gibson-headstock' one, it has not 'Herb Ellis' inlay on the fretboard, only H.E. on the pickguargd.

    The guitar has issues.
    The binding is ruined and need to be repalace.
    The bridge was glued to the top! (Darn... who owns those guitars? What are those crazy sons of the...?
    The bridge pickup is disconnected because the shell was supposedly brokened and it buzzed during playing.

    Cons:
    The frets were accuratly replaced recently (it is seen immidiately)
    The neck pickup sounds very very good, it has lively round tone that also has some crunch (with the tone knob turned on) which gets it a bit closer to real 175 .
    In general guitar feels and plays very well..

    Also despite all the issues it feels, sounds and looks (!) much more as real guitar than many modern factory made guitars of the same value.

    I do not know what to do nest.. I'll bring to the tech I usually work with and trust... and I will see what he would ask for restoration and repair (probably he will find more things to do there)...
    After that I will try to see what could be the reasonable price for it...

    The price he put in the is approx usd670 (in current exchange rate). For example used Artcore AF75 is about usd400 here
    I expect the repair would be at least usd 200 - 250 (local tech's work is cheaper than in US)

    Similar Early (Gibson-headstock) H.E. guitars in good conditions are listed on reverb above usd 1100 - 1200

    I have some cash now. Such an investment won't hurt my budget at all...
    What do you think? Worth it?


    the problem on local market (Russia) is that it is difficult to sell decent guitar... good jazzers do not have money today here so they try find shortcuts buying Artcores, Burnys, Washburns, Harley Bentons and upgrading the pickups... and they may sound goo at the end of the day.

    But if you own really good and pricey jazz box here it may take years to sell.
    Ebay is often an option but if the same guitar is available in US or EU obviously the buyer abroad would choose them so you will have to drop down the price to get them interested in cross-broders (oveseas) deal.

    I mean I am not buying to sell it over ... but I try to be reasonable.
    My own experience (in the US), is that you can find these guitars in better condition than what you describe (e.g., with some binding rot, but no other issues) for around $1000 USD; ones with no real condition issues could be a couple of hundred or so more. So, $670 is probably close to the "right" price factoring in the condition issues (binding repair is crazy expensive). But it really comes down to whether you want to deal with the repairs. I would not want to.

  10. #9

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    Thank you!

    I talked to the good tech.. one of the best I know and a good friend of mine and he said that 1) only binding repair would be about usd500 minimum and most probably more 2) guitar is in such condition that it is difficult to make it properly and no-one would guarantee that it would look and sound as it sounded and looked originally 3) he noticed some minor repairs that in his opinion already changed original construction and decreased the value of guitar 4) and last but not least - that he would rather not get involved with this work at all...

    I rejected the deal.. though I feel a bit sad...
    Local market is poor for relatively good archtops... especially old ones.
    (All the modern cheap ones are available here)
    Form time to time you can come across some particular guitars but often for craze money and often repaired, rebuilt, difficult to track the origin...
    Obviously here is no historical background for this so these guitar are usually brought/bought by players often by the net - not always succesfully...

    Nothing to really choose from.

    And this guitar has some special thing really.. I relaly loved the general feel and tone.

  11. #10

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    if it sounds good and plays good for you
    I’d probably go for it anyway
    and just play it as it is
    (unless it looks really offensive)

    i played one a good while ago
    and should have bought it really
    yes they’re heavy ....
    but a good warm sound and a great neck

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    if it sounds good and plays good for you
    I’d probably go for it anyway
    and just play it as it is
    (unless it looks really offensive)

    i played one a good while ago
    and should have bought it really
    yes they’re heavy ....
    but a good warm sound and a great neck
    Ruined binding is no good really... it should be fixed somehow..
    to protect the body from dust, moisture, and secure the overall construction stability

    There are cheaper (but uglier) ways to do that. But I really do not want to do that.

    The bridge glued to the top is also something I can't live with

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Thank you for your opinions, guys!

    Though I am not apro player I know many gigging musicians in the area and it turned out that the seller is a friend of a friend of a firend...
    So he himself just offered me to take the guitar home for a week or two... to try it and to check all the faults.


    It is definitely earliest (prototype) 'Gibson-headstock' one, it has not 'Herb Ellis' inlay on the fretboard, only H.E. on the pickguargd.

    The guitar has issues.
    The binding is ruined and need to be repalace.
    The bridge was glued to the top! (Darn... who owns those guitars? What are those crazy sons of the...?
    The bridge pickup is disconnected because the shell was supposedly brokened and it buzzed during playing.

    Cons:
    The frets were accuratly replaced recently (it is seen immidiately)
    The neck pickup sounds very very good, it has lively round tone that also has some crunch (with the tone knob turned on) which gets it a bit closer to real 175 .
    In general guitar feels and plays very well..

    Also despite all the issues it feels, sounds and looks (!) much more as real guitar than many modern factory made guitars of the same value.

    I do not know what to do nest.. I'll bring to the tech I usually work with and trust... and I will see what he would ask for restoration and repair (probably he will find more things to do there)...
    After that I will try to see what could be the reasonable price for it...

    The price he put in the is approx usd670 (in current exchange rate). For example used Artcore AF75 is about usd400 here
    I expect the repair would be at least usd 200 - 250 (local tech's work is cheaper than in US)

    Similar Early (Gibson-headstock) H.E. guitars in good conditions are listed on reverb above usd 1100 - 1200

    I have some cash now. Such an investment won't hurt my budget at all...
    What do you think? Worth it?


    the problem on local market (Russia) is that it is difficult to sell decent guitar... good jazzers do not have money today here so they try find shortcuts buying Artcores, Burnys, Washburns, Harley Bentons and upgrading the pickups... and they may sound goo at the end of the day.

    But if you own really good and pricey jazz box here it may take years to sell.
    Ebay is often an option but if the same guitar is available in US or EU obviously the buyer abroad would choose them so you will have to drop down the price to get them interested in cross-broders (oveseas) deal.

    I mean I am not buying to sell it over ... but I try to be reasonable.
    I'd not buy this one. You can find others on the market, and actually the Aria Pro II FA70 is the identical guitar without the Herb Ellis signature. I had one and it was solid as rock, had great tone, needed nothing to be a great player. I easily sold it for what I paid for it later when I needed to fund some other purchases. It was a splendid guitar.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I'd not buy this one. You can find others on the market, and actually the Aria Pro II FA70 is the identical guitar without the Herb Ellis signature. I had one and it was solid as rock, had great tone, needed nothing to be a great player. I easily sold it for what I paid for it later when I needed to fund some other purchases. It was a splendid guitar.
    Don't know if it's correct but I've read the aria pro II PE175 has a sound post. Would that be the case with the FA70? Thanks

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    Don't know if it's correct but I've read the aria pro II PE175 has a sound post. Would that be the case with the FA70? Thanks
    I have no idea with either. I just know my FA70 sounded exactly like the 2 PE175's I've had the chance to play. The look to me to be the identical guitars, even the L5 style tailpiece. The pickups were really good, neck felt good, fretwork was solid. But I imagine the FA70 sells for somewhat less than the signature Herb Ellis model.

  16. #15

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    2 PE175 definitely had sound post.
    I saw it myself as the current owner showed it as a specific detail of construction.

    Tbh I am not much into these onstructional details ... judging more from overall integral impression from guitar its tone and playability

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    2 PE175 definitely had sound post.
    I saw it myself as the current owner showed it as a specific detail of construction.

    Tbh I am not much into these onstructional details ... judging more from overall integral impression from guitar its tone and playability
    I have 2 archtops with soundposts; an Alden es125 - a - like and an old 175 Japanese copy with Sakura on the headstock. One always wonders what they would have sounded like with parallel bracing.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    2 PE175 definitely had sound post.
    I saw it myself as the current owner showed it as a specific detail of construction.

    Tbh I am not much into these onstructional details ... judging more from overall integral impression from guitar its tone and playability
    I have 2 archtops with soundposts; an Alden es125 - a - like and an old Japanese 175 copy with Sakura on the headstock. One always wonders what they would have sounded like with parallel bracing.

  19. #18

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    I recently tried Aria FA-80 with bigsby... looking more like a Gretsch style guitar.

    But it is much newer and really different guitar reminding more modern Korea made archtops

  20. #19

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    Actually I am a bit perplexed...


    My friend working in the States is coming to Russia for a couple of weeks in August... and he takes direct flight with Aeroflot (biggest Russian airline) and they now allow musical instruments on board in hard case up to cello size if you declare it in advance and if the space allows - they put it somewhere next to cabin (the friendliest airline policy I ever met - they started this a few years ago).

    So he can bring me some interesting guitar - as US has very broad market for used guitar... but I did not expect it and I did not plan to invest more than usd 1000 ... so I cannot buy a Gibson or something of the same value... and I am kind of lost... nice possibility, no crossborder shipping, no customs issues ... and I do not knwwhat to do.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    One always wonders what they would have sounded like with parallel bracing.
    They'd sound deader, I daresay. Soundpost made thinner tops possible, and that's the main thing for sonics. Without bracing and with a thinner top, the guitar has higher highs and lower lows. That's my experience, anyway.