The Aria Pro-II TS-500 – it’s a super-Strat, it’s a hippie sandwich, it’s a wanna-be BC Rich…. Aria II was well known for their basses but plenty of their great guitars were sold as well, including this model.
This second-in-line model was built at the Matsumoku manufacturing plant in 1980. By the late seventies Matsumoku was making some absolutely superb guitars and before closing in 1987 they made some of the greatest guitars on the planet.
Matsumoku made high quality instruments with laminated high quality timber bodies and through neck construction which was very expensive and time consuming at the time. Based loosely on an SG shape the TS stood for Tri-Sound, and both the 500 and 600 variants had active electronics.
The body is a beautiful piece of construction using a maple and sycamore laminate with a stained finish. This one is in Brown Sunburst and shows off its grain perfectly.
The set neck is laminated maple and is very comfortable and super playable. The fretboard is a beautiful piece of rosewood fitted with a full 24 frets and access all the way to the top. Early versions such as this had the six a side headstock which turned into the more common three per side ARIA headstock later in 1981.
The pickups are Arias Protomatic III humbuckers. These were made by Maxon but carry no markings to verify that, which isn’t uncommon.
They are strong sounding units with high output, good touch response and sound very good in single coil mode as well, which is not always the case.
Body Maple centre with sycamore wings
Neck 3 piece maple set in
Fingerboard Rosewood 24 fret
Pickups Protomatic III HB
Controls 1 Vol, 1 Tone, 3-way selector, phase reverse, 2 x coil splitters, volume booster, boost switch, 6-position rotary tone control
Bridge String-thru-body chrome bridge
Tuners Covered Kluson style
Finish (BS) Brown Sunburst Poly
Weight 8.1 lbs
This is a solidly-built, well crafted instrument. It is all original and fully functional. The neck-thru design features a 5 ply maple/walnut with sycamore body wings and a string-thru-body bridge with chrome saddles.
It is in excellent original condition with no changes or modifications that we can see. A few chips & dings here and there, but nothing objectionable. The neck is straight & true, truss rod works fine, medium jumbo frets in good condition.
It is a very playable and super versatile guitar, somewhat approaching Alembic-like specs without the serious price tag. The onboard extras are well thought out and very useable. And, amazingly, the circuits are all intact and working as they should.
Just one jump down the spec scale from the headline TS-600, this TS-500 delivers big time in quality, fit & finish, playability and most importantly – in tone.
Comes in a quality gig bag in good condition.