In 1977 “PE series” was born to be flagship original design guitar of Aria Pro II who had produced copy model of Gibson, Fender, B.C. Rich and so on in '70s. Its unique features and incredible high quality was developed by highest level craftsmanship of Matsumoku who was the major partner of Aria in '70s and '80s. Aria’s target was to develop original solution to catch up with American original guitars, even with its unprofitable manufacturing cost. This is very typical tendency of ‘70s Japanese manufacturers, which we appreciate nowadays for their enthusiasm to make good products.
First generation PE was introduced as the new product portfolio called “Proto type Line” in 1977. It had very unique features such as heelless neck joint, curved top and back, original hardware and so on with following line-up.
- PE-1500: Solid Maple curved top &Back body, Brazilian Rosewood “Jacaranda” Fingerboard, wood cavity cover with DiMarzio pickups
- PE-1000: Same feature as PE-1500 but with rose wood fingerboard and Aria original Extra-I pickups
- PE-1000U: PE-1000 with Japan lacquer “Urushi” finish
- PE-1000GC: Gerry Cott (Boomtown Rats) Model
- PE-800: Solid Ash curved top body with Aria Extra VII pickups
- PE-600: Solid Chestnut curved top body with Aria Extra VII pickups
In 1981, second generation PE model “PE-R80/R60” was introduced with improved design of first-generation model such as more reliable hardware etc. PE-R80 has unique 3-layer body (curved maple top + mahogany + curved maple back) that generates unique clearer solid tone than standard maple top & mahogany back body. This 2nd generation model got to be the base of upcoming various PE series portfolio such as "KV" with Kahler Tremolo and Neal Schon signature model etc.
These early generation PE series was almost terminated in 1986 due to the closure of Matsumoku who was the key of Aria original guitar design.
There are some reissues such as PE-1200 in ’88, PE-1500RI in ’99 etc., and PE series is still one of the major line of Aria Pro II now.But as you guys may agree, the original 80s PE is something different, which I love very much.