Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard – MIJ Les Paul Beauty

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.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

vintage les paul standard copy electric guitar pre lawsuit - Austin ( m.i.j. )

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This Matsumoku made Les Paul STD does not have any serial numbers, so I can only assume this guitar was made between 1977 and 1980, based on various resources found on the web. It is still completely original.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

I remember the first time I ever picked up one of these Aria Pro II Les Paul’s. I was amazed at the build quality of the instrument. The guitar itself was heavier than any other Les Paul I had ever played before and when I held it in my hands I knew I was holding a solid workhorse guitar that would last a lifetime of playing.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Tokai LS113 GT, Les Paul Gold Top Type Electric Guitar, MIJ, S7319

$1,034.00
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The Anico V humbucker pickups sound super smooth and have a really nice character about them. When played clean through my Ceriatone JTM45 they sound perfect for nice mellow jazzy blues riffs.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

The chrome hardware is still in really good condition with only the pickup covers showing any significant signs of pitting, and as you can see, it still has some of the original gunk left on the pickup surround… lol

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Westone Electra 1980s in excellent shape. No reserve!

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The pots, although a little scratchy at times, still work and still have the original top hat knobs and pointers.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

The poly finish is not over the top either. Although I am not a fan of polyester finishes the finish on this guitar is quite thin so it still retains some aspect of feeling like something made from timber and not plastic… I hate those thick poly finishes on a lot of Fenders YUK!!!

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Collectible PAUL GILBERT owned, used 1977 IBANEZ 59'er Deluxe LP Lawsuit Guitar

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The only thing that lets a lot of these Aria ProII LS-500 models down is the binding. It often generates a small split between the edge of the binding and the body of wood. I have heard that it is quite common for these guitars. You can just see signs of it happening on the horn in this next pic. Although the binding is still firmly in place and shows no signs of it ever falling off, it does look a little unsightly if your a perfectionist like myself.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

The neck joint, although very solid does have a visible join in the finish. That dark thing under the binding in the next photo is a reflection. I saw that in the picture and thought ‘What the…’ then I checked the guitar and it’s definitely not there.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Orville 1997 Les Paul Standard / LPS-85F Electric Guitar made in Japan #GP029

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The neck looks to be made from the same timber as the body, so I would assume it is a Mahogany neck, and based on other information I have found online that would be correct.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

The neck is super straight and the guitar is currently set up with a nice medium height, not too high, not to low… just how I like it. The guitar could probably do with a professional set up and maybe a fret dress but it still plays great for a guitar, that in all likely hood hasn’t, or most likely never been serviced in it’s life time.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

RARE, ARIA PROO11 RS ESPRIT/ VINTAGE ELECTRIC GUITAR

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The headstock has the open book design which originally appeared on their USA counterpart, Gibson. The only branding is the ‘Aria Pro II‘ logo across the top of the headstock and the ‘Standard‘ on the truss rod cover. My other Aria Pro II Les Paul has the ‘LeoPard‘ in gold text where you would normally see the words ‘Les Paul‘ on a Gibson or Epiphone guitar.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

The condition of the headstock is still very good. With only a couple of very minor scratches under the tuning pegs. The gloss black finish still looks superb. The three screw truss rod cover is the original.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

FENDER JAG-STANG FIESTA RED GUITAR Made In Japan

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The tip for the toggle switch is missing and I haven’t had time to source a replacement.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

I just love the look of the top of this guitar. The cherry burst over that maple cap looks so good. I also kinda like the natural looking grain as opposed to the flame finish, it just seems more natural to me. The color of the burst has also aged really well and although it looks quite new in these shots I’ve noticed in different lighting it can look very dark with a real vintage look to it.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Ultra Rare !! Fender Richie Sambora Black Paisley Limited Edition Japan 1996 !!

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The body is what’s commonly known as a multipiece body, which means that it has a laminate top and bottom, but as far as I can tell it has been made from two single pieces, I can not see any evidence of a join where two or more pieces of Mahogany have been glued together to make up the width. So including the Maple cap only three pieces of timber have been used in the construction of the body. The “multipiece” body, along with a few other modifications on the original Gibson Les Paul were introduced during the ECL and Norlin-era (1969–85) according to this Wikipedia article.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

1968 GIBSON LES PAUL STANDARD GOLDTOP GENUINE VINTAGE ORIGINAL EXCELLENT

$17,995.00
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The back of the guitar has a beautiful dark red stain which is just light enough that you can still see the Mahogany wood grain. There are a couple of minor scratches on the back, but in all honesty it is still in extremely good shape. There are zero signs of any buckle rash.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

As I previously mentioned, the back layer of the body seems to be one single piece of Mahogany as there are no visible joins in the timber.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Vintage lawsuit les Paul made in Japan 80s

$399.00
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Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Gibson 1954 Les Paul GoldTop - Historic~Collectible~Original BEAUTIFUL CONDITION

$100,000.00
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The neck join is still solid with zero evidence of the lacquer spiting around the join between neck and body.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Rare Vintage -1968 Mosrite-Silvertone-3 pickups, Slider Volume- Whammy Bar-EXC

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The neck profile is really comfy, and although it is a thicker, rounder profile than my ‘Leopard‘ it really is a great feeling neck. To be honest I was a little disappointed by the neck profile when I first received this guitar, only because I was expecting the same profile found on the Leopard, but after spending a few hours playing it, I really am enjoying this guitar more and more every time I pick it up. Honestly the thicker rounder profile is felling better in my hands than the thinner profile I am used to on my ‘Leopard’

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

The chrome Rotomatic tuners are the originals and are still working, they still feel super smooth and are still holding the guitar in tune. But they are starting to look a bit rough around the edges with some minor pitting in the chrome and yellowing of the inset sticker in the center of the gear housing.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

CARLO GRECO HANDMADE GUITAR TEAR DROP MODEL ARCHTOP BLONDE FINISH. M. IN USA

$10,900.00
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The neck is a three piece with a volute, which is another nod to the Norlin era Gibbos,.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

1973 Albanus cutaway 1 of 12 archtops ever built by Carl Albanus Johnson

$13,995.00
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So in wrapping up I must confess that I am unashamedly a huge fan of these Aria Pro II LS-500’s and in my worthless opinion think that Aria Pro II along with Fernandes have to be the most underrated guitars on the MIJ market. But that’s cool because it means I can still get more of these sweet axes at reasonable prices.

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

This guitar still has a tonne of music left in it and is definitely a players axe, not some collectors prized possession to be locked in a case for the remainder of time. With it’s very few imperfections and it’s underrated market value your looking at a guitar that will serve you faithfully for years to come. I seriously love this guitar!

Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard - MIJ Les Paul Beauty

Gibson 1954 Les Paul GoldTop - Historic~Collectible~Original BEAUTIFUL CONDITION

$100,000.00
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FIRST KRAMER GUITAR #1 OFF ASSEMBLY LINE RARE COLLECTOR GUITAR DOCUMENTED

$50,000.00
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1968 Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold top (#GIE0797)

$29,900.00
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1958 VINTAGE Gibson Les Paul Standard BURST Conversion, PAF's, TONE!!!!!

$24,995.00
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Vintage 1960 Gibson ES-345 FACTORY BLACK FINISH!! Custom Order ES345 ES-355 1959

$25,000.00
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