The enthusiasts for Japan vintage guitars mainly look at the law suit copy models though, there are many attractive features in Japan original guitars made by Aria for instance.
The brand name “Aria” is an anagram of its company name Arai & Co., Inc. that was established in 1956 in Nagoya as the importer of music instruments and scores. Aria started the production of electric guitar in early 1960s mainly for Japanese market where surf rock style guitar instrument band was booming when Guyatone and Teisco are the market leaders. They launched the brand “Aria” and “Aria Diamond”, but due to the conflict of registered trade name owned by Kawai, they had to change it to “Arai” and “Arai Diamond” in ’67 to ’69 until they got the rights of brand from Kawai.
In 1975, they started the brand “Aria Pro II” with copy models of Gibson and Fender followed by copy of B.C. Rich in ‘77. As known the manufacturer of Aria guitars was Matsumoku in Nagano who had high level woodcraft skill as well as strong material sourcing availability. This is the reason why even the copy models of early generation Aria had high quality such as maple one piece neck, solid body (not chambered), fret edge covered binding, Jacaranda Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and so on.
In 1977, Aria launched original guitar portfolio called “Proto Type Line” with PE (Single cutaway solid guitar), SH (Semi acoustic) and SB (Through neck bass guitar) series, which was the kick off for upcoming historic Aria original models such as PE-R, RS, TS and so on.
Making these original guitars was a big challenge for Aria who was not happy with just making a copy of American brands and would be worldwide guitar brand with its original design. So, those Aria originals in early ‘80s have amazingly high quality without thinking of profit. This can be said clearly as the heritage of Japan Vintage original guitars.