Looking at an Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard today. I love these vintage Aria Pro II MIJ guitars. This particular guitar is the third Aria Pro II that I have owned. One is an LS-500 Leopard model (which I am yet to post pics of…) and the other is a 50s Strat clone which I had reliced.
I know the guitar community stands divided when it comes to relicing a perfectly good guitar, but I must admit, I really enjoyed doing this project. There is something cool that happens with your bond to a specific guitar once you do your own little mods to it, like my recent Telecaster project, where I stripped off the poly coating and finished it with a clear lacquer. I found that with every guitar I have either re-painted, re-fretted, swapped the pups, or done some modification to it in some way, I have always found it really hard to part with. Whereas the guitars I buy and leave alone, I don’t seem to worry too much when it comes time to sell them. It’s kinda weird, but you just seem to bond with a guitar a lot more when you invest more than just play time into it.
Any ways, if you want to go back through the steps I took while doing this relic job check out all of the posts tagged with Relic Project. Unfortunately I didn’t get every single last detail along the way, especially the last few steps, but you will get a pretty good idea of how this whole project got started and the initial steps involved.
So the guitar itself is an Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster copy. When I bought this guitar I was so impressed with the body, weight, how the neck felt, the wood grain, etc… but there was something about how the guitar looked that was just wrong. Obviously the guitar just had a recent fret job, where the guy who replaced the frets striped all of the fretboard down, so the fret board was un-painted and the timber looked brand new and very light in color, whereas the rest of the guitar was pretty old and worn looking. To me it was just wrong, so I didn’t really bond much with the guitar initially. But, the reason I bought this particular guitar was that I really wanted a 50s style Strat, and at the time I was totally keen on the Road worn Strats Fender were making. So, I had two choices, try selling the Aria to buy the Fender or just relic the Aria. Hence the decision to do a relic project was made.
Here’s the video explaining how I went about relicing the headstock on my Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds Strat copy. I have to apologize, for the audio in the video, for some reason it’s not matching with the video frames and for the life on me I don’t know how to fix it.
Ok, so I thought while I was waiting for the PUP covers to age with my little UV experiment, I would try my hand at relicing the back of a guitar neck with shoe polish. I wanted that real aged look to the sanded parts, specifically on this post, the back of the neck, and the only thing I could think of that would do the job was shoe polish of all things.
Here’s a video explaining what I am doing and a small sample of the result. Sorry about the dodgy recording, I am filming straight from my laptop and I am finding it really hard to get a decent shot while I am working and filming at the same time….
Ok, so it’s the second day of my little experiment where I am trying my hand at aging plastic guitar parts using UV light, and to be honest folks, I am still not seeing any noticeable differences.
I took a couple of pics under different lighting to try to get a good perspective and see if the angle of the light hitting the pick-up covers made a difference, but honestly, if there is a difference I can’t see it.