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1990s Aria Custom Shop VB-01 Short Scale Violin Bass, Sunburst w/ Piezo & Active EQ, Japan


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Up for sale, a 1990s Aria Custom Shop VB-01 Violin Bass in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original faux leather padded gigbag. Produced in Japan for a limited time during the mid/late ‘90s; this exceedingly rare short scale Aria bass is an amalgamation of upright-flavored aesthetics, with a carved scroll headstock and semi-hollow Hofner-esque body. The unique pickup complement includes a CB-1C humbucker and an undersaddle Piezo pickup with an active 2-band EQ, resulting in a bevy of unique tonalities.

Tonewoods include an arched maple top, mahogany back and rims, and a maple neck capped by a rosewood fretboard. The semi-hollow construction lends this bass an airy acoustic presence, with the inherent articulation of maple and warmth of mahogany, faithfully captured by the stock pickup complement. The CB-1C humbucker in the neck position is akin to a Thunderbird humbucker, delivering ample growl and midrange cut with a broad, rich low end response. The undersaddle Piezo pickup further accentuates top end articulation and clarity, resulting in sound that is remarkably close to an acoustic upright bass. Further tonal sculpting is possible via the two-band active EQ, with stacked center detent boost/cut knobs. This Aria weighs 8lbs 7oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 45-100 roundwound strings, easy-playing action, and accurate intonation.

The three-piece flame maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve, measuring .855” deep at the 1st fret and .960” at the 12th. The 22-fret bound rosewood fretboard features dot inlay, with a block “Aria Custom Shop” inlay at the 21st fret, retaining flawless medium jumbo fretwire. This bass plays cleanly up the 30 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The stock nut measures 1 9/16”, carved from bone for optimal sustain and note clarity. The carved scroll headstock has clover button tuners which turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, and the small serialized sticker is intact on the volute.

All of the electronics function as intended, with the CB-1C humbucker and Piezo undersaddle pickup wired to the stock harness, governed by Master Volume and Tone controls, as well as the active two-band EQ with stacked center detent bass/treble knobs. The EQ is powered by a 9V battery, easily accessed on the back of the body. Hardware comprises the original knobs and the TB-TP trapeze tailpiece, which has clean chrome plating. The saddle is carved from bone, and the saddle thumbscrews have plenty of room left for future adjustment.

The gloss Brown Sunburst finish exhibits a number of small chips and nicks along the back and lower bout perimeter, and just a scant few faint finish scratches on the body. The smooth gloss finish on the neck highlights the dimensional flame figuring that extends along the profile length, with just a few shallow marks on the profile that have no impact on playability.

The original padded faux leather gigbag is included.