Monday, 11 June 2012

Aria Pro II Titan Artist semi-hollowbody in crackleburst finish
As far as I am concerned, one of the best kept secrets in the guitar world is the Aria Pro II Titan Artist series from the 1980s and 1990s. They are absolutely superb guitars, and are my own guitar of choice. I have two, a 1990s Korean-made TA-40 with Welsh Dragon graphic, and an earlier 1980s Japanese Matsumoko-made TA-30 which is actually my main electric guitar. The Korean-made examples are very good guitars, but the Japanese Matsumoku-made Titan Artists definitely have the edge over them; the differences are subtle, but I feel, important to the overall quality of the guitar. Anyway, this is the subject for a future blog post, one that I will return to later.

This particular Aria Pro II TA guitar (I'm not quite sure of the exact designation - the binding and gold hardware would imply that it isn't the basic bolt-on neck TA-40 model; it's possibly a TA-60) is finished in a very dated 1980s "crackleburst". I'd quite forgotten about finishes like this. Didn't Washburn produce a similar "magma" finish? Whatever, it really is quite awful and doesn't do the guitar any favours.

This guitar is currently listed on eBay UK with bidding currently at £51. I'd expect a guitar like this to sell for up to £200. I personally wouldn't want to spend more for a Korean-made TA, but a Japanese example would be worth forking out more for.

G L Wilson

EDIT: Sold for £186.89 which seems fair enough but is in the region of the upper limits of what you'd want to spend on a Korean-made Aria TA.

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  1. Best version of one of the worst stock finishes ever. It looks like an old bit of furniture that had white paint over the varnish. Now the lime green, lemon yellow or glowing orange and black crackle is shameful. Someone made a mistake in the finishing process and some marketing person’s kid said it was cool. I had to deal with bicycles of that finish during that era. Don’t miss that day at all.

  2. The finish is totally at odds with the style of guitar. I think you may be right about the marketing person's kid.

  3. Danelectro annd Axl still do the crackle finish.

  4. Got one in red crackleburst, realy nice and good sounding guitar! The looks??....well, you will get lots of attention when you are on stage! ;-))

  5. I played a Ta-30(japanese) for years and ,yes, they are superb. Been trying to find a new one ever since my original had a nasty accident.

    1. Keep checking eBay - they come up for sale every now and again.

  6. I have that exact same guitar that I bought at a music store in Frankfurt Germany, 1988. Great components and still plays and sounds fantastic!

  7. I have ARIA PRO II Titan Artist TA-50-VS.. for sale :)

  8. I still have an Urchin. I can find images of the U60 and the over-the-top U100 but none of the U80 so mine might even be rare. $350 at a pawn shop about 25 years ago.

  9. I read that the Japanese copies had 7 digit serial, the Korean, 8.... Any thoughts.. Mine has 7..!! Am I simply clutching at straws to instantly improve my copy! :)

  10. I have a TA60 for sale 81" , its almost never Being played on 0032 495900198



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