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This makes the 7th Aria Herb Ellis I’ve had in my shop. I always jump at the opportunity to add one and I’ve sent them all over the world. They always make for well constructed, great playing archtop with exceptionally good pickups, made by Maxon. This one was made very early in the run, as exemplified by the Gibson style headstock (lawsuit era) and the 12th fret inlay being a split block inlay like the others, rather than having “Herb Ellis” in the inlay.

As expected, this one has nice playability and sounds fantastic. All parts are original and the finish is in excellent condition. The L5 style tailpiece is very nicely engraved and is a really nice touch on this 16 inch archtop. The only significant defect of this guitar is that it suffers from some of the binding rot that is typical of Japanese made guitars of this era (see pics). That doesn’t take away from remainder of the high quality of the Matsumoku construction

One thing that sets apart the Herb Ellis model from most other archtops is the addition of a sound post place under the bridge area, spanning from the top to the back internally. This maintains the hollowbody character of the guitar while giving the guitar increased resistance to feedback. This worked very well for Herb and unlike many other signature guitar models this one was the one that Herb exclusively used during his endorsement period with Aria, meaning that at least publicly he wasn’t seen playing anything else, not even his much loved ES-175 which he had from 1953 until his death.

This guitar comes with a very nice hardshell case. It may be original to the guitar, but I cannot say for sure, as I’ve never seen one like this with a Herb Ellis.


Ships free in the continental US.  Worldwide shipping varies by location.

SOLD - Aria PE-185 Herb Ellis 1978 - Sunburst

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