Sunday, 4 July 2010

Aria SB-800 bass with 6-bolt neck
Tyler Beard writes:
This is a rare variant of the famous Aria SB-1000. From the front it is an SB-1000, but turn it over and you'll see a brass neck plate. Indeed, it is a bolt-on. The neck plate is relatively large because there are 2 hidden screws under it. Why exactly this hidden screw design was chosen, I can't say. Otherwise, this bass is every bit the SB-1000, and equal in its quality and sound. It runs on an 18-volt active circuit. It shares the SB-1000's B.B. Circuit and is a tone monster. Brass bridge, nut, and back plates, aluminun knobs. Has sealed tuners that are very high quality. The body is, in the style of Matsumoku, a neck-through look-alike. It's a laminate of Oak, Maple, and Walnut. Also has the Matsumoku trademark 5-piece maple neck.

The neck also has some features that are atypical of your average. It has almost no taper, so it's consistent and if you feel the need to shred like Cliff Burton (I often do), no problem. Also, the neck is sculpted at the neck joint so that your hand slides onto a smooth curve and not a sudden block where the neck and body join. And the instead of using a scarf joint, the angled headstock is given added strength through leaving excess wood where it goes to the neck. I also feel this bass puts the neck joint=sustain argument to rest. This can easily hold a note long as any set neck or neck through.

Curiously, mine has 2 serial numbers. One on the neck plate, and one on the back of the headsotck. The bass can only date to 1978 (the neck plate agrees), as it was only produced for that year. The headstock says it would be a 1981. I find it unlikely this is a replaced neck, though. It's possible parts were overproduced. The headstock design (the "bat-ear") also dates to the late 70s models as opposed to those in the 80s, and no SB had a neck like this with 6-bolts and the heel so it could not be a transplant off of another model.

~Tyler Beard
Thanks for showing us this bass, Tyler. I couldn't possibly comment as to its rarity value, but it's certainly true that the through-neck style is much better known when it comes to this design of Matsumoku-produced Aria basses. If anyone else has any more information, please leave a comment below, in the usual time-honoured fashion here at Guitarz.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!

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