Aria Pro II Strikin Sound Relic Project – Complete

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally have my Aria pro II Strikin Sound Relic Project to a point I can finally say it’s finished.

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.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

L-5 ces Jazz guitar Aria Pro Pe180 Superb Japanese Vintage Lawsuit JVGuitars

$3,375.00
End Date: Sunday Oct-1-2017 20:22:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $3,375.00
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Overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The neck was repainted with an aged lacquer tint, and to make the fingermarks in the fretboard I ended up using Acetone on a cotton bud, probably not the best method but it worked. I then rubbed in a little black shoe polish to darken the timber to give the finger marks a more authentic worn color.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

The frets were actually all over the place, so I had to level the frets off. Using an oil stone I carefully filed the frets until they were level. I then used steel wool and 3000 grit wet and dry paper on a soft block to polish the frets. They could probably do with crowning but I will leave that to a later date.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic


The body was pretty beat up when I got it, not overly reliced but it did have it’s fair share of scratches and chips in the paint. Basically all I done was sand the wear mark on the top of the pick guard and where your arm would rub along the top of the body. I also sanded the body down with a 600 grit wet and dry to take off all the gloss, giving the guitar an overall matte finish.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Most of the wear around the jack plug was already there to some degree, I just accentuated it and chipped off the paint so it looked more obvious.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Fender Richie Kotzen Signature Stratocaster, White Blonde, MIJ (1994)

AU $2,499.00
End Date: Sunday Oct-8-2017 20:00:25 EST
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My attempt at aging the plastic parts failed miserably, so I had to seek the assistance of a friend of mine based on the Sunshine Coast to age the plastic parts. Jim from Deluxe Tone Guitars done a great job, check him out on Facebook, he makes some fantastic relics and sells them at bargain prices. The pickups I installed are Fender Custom Shop 56s that I purchased from another good friend of mine, Bert, who is also based on the Sunny Coast.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Fender Japan TL69-98 All Rosewood Telecaster 1980's Made in Japan Free Shipping

$4,063.00
End Date: Friday Oct-6-2017 4:44:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $4,063.00
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Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Fender Japan TL69-98 All Rosewood Telecaster 1980's Made in Japan Free Shipping

$4,063.00
End Date: Friday Oct-6-2017 4:44:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $4,063.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

1981 Epiphone RIVIERA Antique Sunburst made in Japan mij Matsumoku

$1,090.00
End Date: Saturday Sep-23-2017 20:54:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,090.00
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All of the metal parts are the originals that came with the guitar. I didn’t do any aging on them as seeing how the guitar was already 30+ years old, they already had a nicely aged look about them.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

The back of the neck was sanded back to bare wood and stained with black shoe polish. I have noticed however, the darkness of the shoe polish tends to lighten over time, I guess that’s OK seeing how general play time will begin darkening the timber now.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Vintage Univox Hi- flyer phase II made in Japan

$499.99
End Date: Thursday Sep-21-2017 11:26:18 PDT
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I didn’t really do anything to the back of the guitar other than taking off the gloss finish, most of the chips and scratches were already there before I bought it.

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster Copy Relic

So there you have it folks, my little relic project is finally done. I don’t think I will be parting with this guitar any time soon, it’s everything I wanted in a 50s Strat.

L-5 ces Jazz guitar Aria Pro Pe180 Superb Japanese Vintage Lawsuit JVGuitars

$3,375.00
End Date: Sunday Oct-1-2017 20:22:11 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $3,375.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Aria Pro II EG-1400 '77 "Made in Japan" VINTAGE guitar w/gigcase/193

$1,950.00
End Date: Wednesday Oct-4-2017 17:38:50 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,950.00
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Aria Pro 2 Vintage 1983 PE-R80KV

$1,681.50
End Date: Friday Oct-6-2017 4:37:50 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,681.50
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Aria Pro 2 Rare Arita SG Vintage fretless Bass Guitar

$1,100.00
End Date: Friday Oct-13-2017 18:12:07 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,100.00
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Vintage 1980 Aria Pro II Japan PE-175 Howard Roberts Hollowbody! RARE! MIJ!

$899.00
End Date: Thursday Oct-5-2017 11:16:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $899.00
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