Aria AF35

An all rounder that has taken style lessons from Martin's 000 design.

While three of our four guitars are based to a greater or lesser extent on Martin's 000 design, Aria's AF35 pays the most obvious homage. Save for its longer OM-type 650mm scale length, the guitar's 15in-wide size and styling are similar, the latter exemplified not least by the Martin-style script logo on the spade peghead, which is also used on Aria's companion AD dreadnought series.

Cosmetics pretty much echo Martin's Style 28, which means such detailing as multi-ply white/black front binding and soundhole rosette, a wood-mosaic centre strip down the back, and conventional dot position markers along the unbound rosewood 'board.

Style 28 also means rosewood back and sides, though understandably at this price they're laminated, not solid timber. The spruce top is solid, of course, and a good-looking close-grained example it is. The rosewood's outer veneers are nicely chosen too, with predominately straight graining and a pleasing mid-brown hue. The body's gloss finish is very well buffed, with only the merest hint of lacquer build-up around the heel joint of the satin-finished neck: tidy workmanship.

Because of their picker-friendly nature, an increasing number of auditorium acoustics are being offered with wider fingerstyle necks. However, at this semi-budget level where the aim is to attract as many potential buyers as possible, manufacturers tend to play safe, and so we find that the Aria, like all our test guitars, has a regular-width neck with a nut span of around 43mm.

Fingerpickers shouldn't be put off, though: it feels sufficiently airy for those kind of workouts, even though string spacing at the bridge is a little less than the average 55mm. Another facet shared with its rivals is a quite shallow profile, meaning an easy strumming grip too. Fret dressing and set-up are very good, which is a notable feature, in fact, of all the reviewees.

SOUNDS: A common perception of folks is that they have a pretty weedy delivery, but that can't be levelled at this Aria. The voicing is quite robust for its size, and the dynamics are responsive. There's a hint of tonal hardness where, given the rosewood back and sides, there should perhaps be a warmer, sustaining richness, but generally the guitar performs well.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

General build standard.

Cons

Not quite such an expressive sound as others.

Verdict

Fingerpickers shouldn’t be put off, though: it feels sufficiently airy for those kind of workouts, even though string spacing at the bridge is a little less than the average 55mm. Another facet shared with its rivals is a quite shallow profile, meaning an easy strumming grip too. Fret dressing and set-up are very good, which is a notable feature, in fact, of all the reviewees.

Back Material

Laminated Rosewood

Bridge Material

Rosewood

Country of Origin

China

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Fingerboard Radius

16 inch (406mm)

Hardware

Chrome

Manufacturer's Description

Auditorium-size acoustic

Max Body Width

380

Max Rim Depth

104

Neck Finish

Satin

Neck Material

Mahogany

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

20

Nut Material

Bone

Options

Spruce/rosewood AF60 with solid top and back, all-solid spruce/mahogany AF65 - BOTH 3399

Scale Length (mm)

650

Sides Material

Laminated Rosewood

Top Finish

Natural Gloss

Top Material

Solid Spruce

Weight (kg)

1.93

Weight (lb)

4.25

Width at Nut (mm)

43

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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