I am looking at an Aria parlor as a camping guitar. Price is $75. I have never played one before, but it seems like a decent guitar given the specs. I usually don't purchase guitars I plan to keep for myself without playing them, but might take a gamble on this one. Has anyone played one of these before? Thanks for any input.

  • Solid spruce top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 648mm scale length
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Chrome Hardware
  • Available in Natural (N) and Brown Sunburst (BS) finishes

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All those specs are great for a guitar that costs $75, and as long as you have the option to return it if you don't like it, then go for it. But check it out thoroughly within the return time frame for all the usual suspects (neck angle, working truss rod, neck angle, action, decent frets, neck angle, fit and finish, playability, neck angle, get the idea). If the truss rod works properly, and the neck angle is good, it's probably worth the $75. If you are unsure about how to check either, do your homework. Knowing these small tidbits will serve you well.


 I just got one last week on ebay from the distributor. It's in need of quite a bit of fretwork and some setup but,overall, it's a pretty good instrument. Typically of my experience with Chinese made instruments, the finish seem a bit thick but it's not really flawed that I've found. The fit and finish are fine for something I payed so little for.  Setup was not so great but nothing that can't be fixed fairly easily.

I still have some tweaking  to do on the setup but I have it close enough to get a feel for how it sounds and plays and I like it pretty well. I haven't changed the strings yet which I will do before I finish the setup but it still sounds pretty good. It's brighter than I anticipated but, not too bright for my taste. The base isn't the strongest I've heard but it is there. It also produces pretty good volume for it's size. Overall, I think it would make a fine camp fire guitar. It's not going to stand out alot in a group of other players but it would be fine for small groups and sing alongs type of things. 

One thing I still haven't dealt with is that I don't have a case and it turns out that this guitar is a bit longer than usual. The body is 10 in., 8 in., 14 in. top to bottom bout but the length is about 41 in.  I think it's a 25.5 in. scale length with 14 frets at the body. This makes the neck a bit longer that most "parlor" guitars. I did find some cases but I'm cringing at paying a lot more for a case than I paid for the guitar . I might find a bag for it but I really don't like them and want to find something a bit more substantial.  The search continues.

Thank you Both.. Mark and Ned. Ned thanks for all of the information. Before buying the guitar I am anticipating that the bridge will need to be reglued and I am counting on some light fret work and set-up. The lack of case is holding me back, I figure if I search around ebay enough I will be able to find an old beater that will probably require the same amount of work and perhaps will come with a case. I once made a case for a guitar out of cardboard and duct tape. It wasn't pretty, I guess it wasn't all that ugly either....., but was a solid coffin style case and cost me about $15.00 in supplies. They are nice looking and I was leaning towards the burst option, but the finish looks a lot heavier on the burst than the natural. Which did you get? Anyways, thanks again for the input.

My guitar is the burst but it doesn't look like the pictures that Aria appears to have distributed for their advertising. That one has a smaller burst with the top bout completely brown. Mine has the same (sort of odd) orange burst with the brown only about 2 inches wide on the edges. It's OK but in retrospect, I think the natural model may look better because of the bright orange color. It certainly won't get lost in the crowd, anyway. 

I didn't get this with the intention of keeping it. I have a friend that is looking for a "parlor" that may want it but I also have a niece that is interested in learning to play. I haven't sent a guitar to her because she is a small person and I didn't have a spare small guitar until now. It is just about the right size for her and I think it will be a decent guitar to learn on as well. 

I've been thinking that I may have to try my hand at building a case or two. I have a very small parlor that I'm in the process of rebuilding that I have not yet found a case for. It's only about 10 inches wide on the low bout with a 12th fret neck and 23 inch scale. It's pretty small. I wouldn't be too hard to make a coffin case for it  but I'm not too sure about  padding and glue for the contact points inside. I need to do some research. Maybe duct tape and cardboard are in my future too.

Thanks again Ned. I went for it, there was a best offer option so I ended up getting one of the naturals for $60.00. I suppose I could wait until it gets delivered, but am wondering if that is real abalone inlaid in the head?



Ive been watching this thread. I ordered one too. we will have to compare notes when we get them. lets hope for the best i guess.



Will do. Thanks Steve.

That's what I paid for mine too. It looks real to me. At least I can see the joints and even a crack where a break happened when I look closely. It's not perfect but it certainly looks good.

  I noticed yesterday that my guitar has just a bit of a sunken top that appears to be linked to the lack of reinforcement on the X brace joint. At least I can press upward on that point and eliminate the dip.  I'm going to jack it up under the front of the bridge then and reinforce that joint and see how it looks. It's not much of a dip and I didn't notice it until I had it out in sunlight but I might decide to add a bridge doctor just in case.

   I also noticed some small variation in the flatness of the top. Once I saw them, I realized that I could run the palm of my hand across the top from side to side and feel slight bit of "washboard" along the length of the neck. I can't feel anything like this on the inside so I suspect that there was a flaw in their thicknessing process which left some slightly thicker areas the length of the top. It's odd but I don't think it will effect the stability of the guitar or the sound enough to worry about. 

I'll admit that I was a bit bummed when I found this but then I asked myself just exactly did I expected for $60. I've paid more for instruments in pieces so ...  In the end I'm still satisfied that it will make a good playing guitar when I'm finished. 

Mine got here today. Couple of turns on the truss rod and it plays ok. I'm sure ill have to mess with it some more, but my worst fears didn't materialize Truss rod works...neck angle seems ok....even the frets seem ok. I will leave it tuned up for a few days and see if it needs any fret leveling. Thanks for the original post matt or i would never known of this deal.

I agree with Ned, it is a little on the bright side, but i kinda like the sound of it. Mine is natural finish. I ask for natural, but told them it didn't really matter. I'm happy with it. Again Matt, thanks for the heads up on this deal.


Hi Steve. I got mine on Friday, I am very pleased as well. I have a few high frets, but I am mainly a cowboy chords player, so I am in no rush to level them. I got a natural and am very happy with the look and feel. I haven't had a chance to put new strings on it yet, so I am looking forward to doing that. Best to everyone in the Aria club.


Some time has passed, so what's the verdict ?   I still like mine.

Hi Guys , just incase you don't know , Chinese strings are usually TERRIBLE , I do a lot of setups on ebay guitars and it is impossible without some American strings .Thanks for the review , incredible price !


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