Sunday 30 March 2014

1980s-era Arbor Bass
The Arbor brandname is one which I am familiar with, but I know virtually nothing about them. This Arbor bass currently listed on eBay looks to be a solid enough well-built instrument and looking at it I'd guess it was 1980s Japanese judging by the build style, the brass hardware (check out that chunky bridge), and the use of DiMarzio (or possibly DiMarzio designed or just clone) pickups.

I tried scratching around on the net for more information, but there is not a lot to be had. Ask Jeeves tells us that:
Arbor guitars came in both electric and acoustic and were first available on the market in 1983. An issue of the Vintage Guitar Price Guide says they are budget grade and that they carried bass guitars with a solid wood body. Arbor guitars were imported to the United States from China by Music Corp. (MTB), though no current information appears to be available online. Their company website was not working at the time of this writing.
... which doesn't completely ring true to me. I'd have said they were Japanese, maybe even Korean, in origin. I did find the following on a forum to support this hypothesis:
Arbor guitars were founded in 1984 in Osaka, Japan by an ex-Ibanez president and an ex-Yamaha manager. A factory was purchased in Hamamatsu, Japan where guitars were produced from 1984-1986. They were forced to sell the company in the 3rd year of production due to lawsuits that were immediately filed by both Fender and Gibson, jointly. Production was moved to Korea by the new owners.
I'm guessing that they also made guitars for Hohner, who marketed the Hohner Arbor series sometime in the late 1980s/90s.

The above-pictured Arbor bass is currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of US $249.99.

G L Wilson

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  1. I don't know if this helps, but I owned a Torch Vintage Series Bass MIK, basically a p bass, with the EXACT same heavy duty bridge. I'd even be willing to say the tuners were the same, as they both appears to have massive washers on top of the gear.

    The torch was rather rubbish, primarily due to a ply body, but both the hardware and the neck were fantastic quality. I have no idea of the factory (people say samick b/c they don't know any other factories), but it would likely date to the late 80's.

    A good way of finding out would be to check the pots, as a lot of factories only used their own pots, stamped with their logo or name, alas, we cannot.

  2. I just purchased this bass yesterday at music go round in MN. Same blemish on the body. It's 3/4 size. I like it. The bass needs some re-wiring I'm having done this week. Otherwise, a great bass !!!

    1. Nice one. Let us know how it ends up and how it plays, send a review if you like!

  3. I got this bass back from the shop. $150 for a new bridge pickup, some wiring a setup and strings. I have $250 in it and think it is worth it. I like the pickups and options....... I mainly play "P" Basses. This Arbor bass is short scale and makes the bass easy to play in a recliner while watching TV !! It looks like something from the 70's, but it's from the early/ mid 80's where most music gear was crap, but this is very different and unique.

  4. I bought this bass in 1984. I love it. Easy to play. Great tone. I'm in 2 classic rock bands and I have guys coming up and asking me about it. Goes well with flat round strings. Compact. I think I paid $150 for it as a starter bass. But now it is my premier bass. I run it through a 300 watts beringer amp. And it can't miss. All you have to do is be there. Get a vintage 80s model if you can.

  5. I have a arbor hollow body guitar and was looking for some info on it can anyone help



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