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Aria made a big splash with its quality Strat and Les Paul inspired models in the '70s - an era when the average lookie-likie was an unplayable crapocaster. The brand continues to make great instruments known for their value for money. The Diamond 380 is the lowest priced guitar in the group, but price isn’t always everything. The Diamond presents itself well.
The Light Candy Apple Red finish is pulled off nicely; the matching headstock adds a nice touch too. The pickups are lacking a little character, but give a vintage soapbar flavour for under £200, and at this price fitting some aftermarket models won’t break the bank. If you enjoy nit-picking (we do) you might argue that a single volume and tone control doesn’t provide enough tonal options.
The inclusion of the two-point vibrato ensures that you can wham away without fear of drifting into coarse tuning problems.
The truth is that the Aria comes out with its penny-pinching gloves raised high. The alder body and two-point vibrato are a steal at this price, making this a truly playable contender in the lower price bracket. So if you’re looking for your first guitar - or perhaps a spare - and you’re sick of generic copies, then this Diamond guitar fits the (relatively small) bill.
Pros: Competitively priced, retro vibe.
Cons: Pickups could be better.