Mystery SG MIJ copy: Wheel of Fortune edition


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Jan 28, 2013
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Update on this awesome guitar: I noticed this Aria from the 70s for sale on an auction. The serial number is just two digits off from mine, which means Sam Ash was basically just re-branding the same Matsumoku built guitars as Aria, as @Bad Penguin pointed out. Good to know! Here's what that Aria looked like:

[GALLERY=media, 3838]96783072111536JaeS by Szegedin posted Nov 9, 2021 at 10:01 AM[/GALLERY][GALLERY=media, 3837]68923142111536JaeS by Szegedin posted Nov 9, 2021 at 10:01 AM[/GALLERY][GALLERY=media, 3836]21579532111538JaeS by Szegedin posted Nov 9, 2021 at 10:01 AM[/GALLERY][GALLERY=media, 3835]5032852111537JaeS by Szegedin posted Nov 9, 2021 at 10:01 AM[/GALLERY]

When I look at mine closely, it seems like there is a thin top that is not mahogany. Hard to tell. The Aria catalog says 'Walnut or Mahogany.' The chips in the lacquer really show that it is a genuine relic, not some new epiphone.
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I did the mod Stew Mac talks about with wicking superglue under the frets and it makes a HUGE difference. This is the second Matsumoku guitar with a rosewood fretboard I've done that hugely benefitted from this.

Loving the sound of this thing with single coils, now mounted closer together (it almost quacks like a strat!) as you can see in the picture. They are about 82mm apart, whereas a strat middle and neck are 60mm apart. I'm thinking about how to install a more solid bridge to get closer to strat sound. Not sure top-wrap makes a big difference. I might do a through body thing. Any links to how that sounds would be welcome.

Yep well they said "DiMarzio, made in USA." I sold these for a good price, so I basically got paid to take this guitar.

It's kind of the other way around, Matsumoku built guitars for anyone who wanted them. Aria was one of their earliest and biggest brand names, so most of the designs were likely whatever Aria wanted, and other brands got rebranded versions of those.

I'd wager the top veneer is a wood called "Rowan", it looks similar to the veneer on the Aria ES-175:


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