The Guitar Gallery Forums - The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku

Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
It is currently Mon 04 Jul 2022 03:23 AM

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2018 01:33 PM 
Offline
Gallery Friend

Joined: Mon 30 Apr 2018 08:29 AM
Posts: 6
Firstly - sorry if this has been answered before but for the life of me I can't get the forum search to work, and while I've tried to find the info paging through hundreds of posts my brain started melting, so I thought I'd just ask :)

Secondly - I am a new owner of an Aria Pro 2 Wildcat and I've been trying to clarify the history of the various models bearing this name so I can work out exactly what I've got. My first reference was to the specs on this site, however the Wildcat details appear to be incorrect. The linked page has details of 9 models (inc. Wildcat) but only pictures of 7 (no Wildcat) making identification a bit trickier, however it specifically lists the Wildcat as having 2 Protomatic IV humbuckers and a die-cast bridge. Every single picture of a guitar bearing the Wildcat name that I've seen has S-S-H pups and some kind of trem block. This then makes me wonder if the other specs for the Wildcat are correct.

Thirdly, I have seen pictures of at least 3 variants of the Wildcat, that I have very tentatively labelled Mk1 - 3 as follows:
'Mk 1': My guitar has a black finish, a headstock bar instead of string trees, truss rod adjustment at the body via a notched pickguard, controls close together with two screws holding the pickguard by the output jack, and a bold logo on the head reading 'Aria Pro 2 RS Wildcat'.
'Mk 2': Another guitar has a cream finish with black pickguard, the same bar instead of string trees and body-accessed truss rod as my guitar so pickguard also has suitable cut-out, but the pickguard has only one screw by the output jack and the controls are further apart. The logo reads 'Aria Pro 2 RS Wildcat' like mine, but in a non-bold font. The neck plate says 'Made in Japan' like mine.
'Mk 3': Yet another guitar has a natural (tobacco brown?) finish & pickguard, controls further apart and one screw by the output jack like 'Mk 2', but two round string trees instead of a bar, truss rod adjustment now at the head, and a non-bold logo reading 'Aria Pro 2 Wildcat Series'. - unfortunately the pics of the brown guitar don't show the neck plate clearly.
Other than the above differences and possibly slightly different knobs the guitars appear identical - one humbucker and two rails, trem block, same tuners and body shape etc.

So, can any Aria experts please clarify? At some point the control layout was slightly changed (so different pickguards), as was the truss rod access (also so different pickguards) and string trees were used instead of a bar. The logo changed to/from? bold and the name to/from? RS Wildcat to Wildcat series. Any info on when or why these changes happened, or clarification on the apparently wrong specs posted on the RS2 page linked above would be much appreciated.

I will try and sort out an account somewhere so I can upload pics as I can't link to ebay.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr 2018 04:14 PM 
Offline
Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:32 PM
Posts: 3558
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
justageezer wrote:
Firstly - sorry if this has been answered before but for the life of me I can't get the forum search to work...
Not to worry. There was a major database crash here recently and the owner is slowly rebuilding things. One of the items still not working is the search facility. It's frustrating but there you are.

Funny you should ask about the Wildcat. I was looking through my local Kijiji and found this nice looking example: https://www.kijiji.ca/v-guitar/city-of-toronto/aria-pro-ii-rs-wildcat-1984-japanese-made/1351270163?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

The seller pegs it as a 1984 if that helps at all. Not really what I'm collecting at the moment but it does look terrific.

_________________
G U I T A R S : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
M U S I C / P I X / V I D E O S : http://getback.barryeames.com


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2018 04:24 AM 
Offline
Gallery Friend

Joined: Mon 30 Apr 2018 08:29 AM
Posts: 6
Barry wrote:
...The seller pegs it as a 1984 if that helps at all. Not really what I'm collecting at the moment but it does look terrific.

Thanks for the reply Barry, so at least it's not (entirely) my poor IT skills!

Re: the Wildcat in that listing looks like a 'Mk 3', as it appears to have truss rod adjustment at the head as well as wider controls and a single screw by the output jack; unfortunately I can't make out the headstock logo (RS Wildcat or Wildcat Series?) or neck plate text from those pics, but 1984 would be interesting, as mine is possibly also '84 - but a 'Mk 1'.

It's also another example of a guitar with S-S-H pups and a trem block called 'Wildcat' - exactly unlike the specs on the Aria RS2 details page linked in my first post.

That particular example does make me feel quite good though, as mine would seem to be in at least as good condition - and was considerably cheaper :)

Any other info anyone can supply on when / why the design was changed? Is 'Wildcat Series' a different model or an evolution? What was the timeline? I'd love some details!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue 01 May 2018 10:37 AM 
Offline
Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Sat 25 Mar 2006 09:25 PM
Posts: 2936
Location: Grand Absurdity, TX
From one geezer to another, Welcome!

Ahh, the RS line. I still have 3 including my bass.
The Wildcat is part of the RS 2nd run which started in '83 if I'm not mistaken. I don't believe we have documentation on all of the Wildcats here. I only see the Wildcat.
If we had documentation on Wildcat II and Wildcat Plus, it might show what you're seeing.
Wildcat '83 - '84, Wildcat II '85, and Wildcat Plus '86. That very well could be your Mk 1-3.
What is the serial number on yours?

_________________
Quality service since 3:00 last Tuesday


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2018 04:30 AM 
Offline
Gallery Friend

Joined: Mon 30 Apr 2018 08:29 AM
Posts: 6
Hi Jorg, thanks for the reply - I had wondered if it was the II / Plus models, as I've never seen a guitar with 'Wildcat 2" or 'Wildcat Plus' logos, so wondered if they were all just badged 'Wildcat' - or maybe 'Wildcat series' like my 'Mk 3'. As you note there are no specs for those models, and as none of the Wildcats I've seen have twin humbuckers and a fixed bridge I'm not sure there are accurate specs for any Wildcat - I can't find any pictures of one on this site outside the forums here.

Anyway, after much fun and games I have finally found an image hosting site that seems to work with this board, so I've linked thumbnails of the three 'types' below:

'Mk 1' - guitar (truss rod access via notched pickguard):
Image
'Mk 1' - head (bold logo and string bar):
Image
'Mk 1' - back (neck plate has 'Made in Japan' - serial starts with a 5):
Image
'Mk 1' - controls (knobs quite close together - two screws by jack):
Image

Note this (e.g. my) guitar has an aftermarket Ibanez humbucker, but otherwise seems original, with two rails and an ACT2 trem. It needs a bit of TLC, but I'm very pleased given what I paid, even if I no longer have the hair to make this style of guitar look good...

'Mk 2' - guitar (same truss rod access as Mk 1):
Image
'Mk 2' - head (lighter font for logo, still string bar):
Image
'Mk 2' - back (serial seems to start with a 5? definitely says Made in Japan):
Image
Image
'Mk 2' - controls (knobs further apart, one screw by jack):
Image

'Mk 3' - guitar (truss rod access at head):
Image
'Mk 3' - head ('Wildcat Series' not 'RS Wildcat', two round string trees):
Image
'Mk 3' - back (can't read the neck plate!):
Image
'Mk 3' - controls (as Mk 2, further apart than mine with one screw by jack):
Image

Anyone have a flash of inspiration looking at the pics?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2018 10:55 AM 
Offline
Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Sat 25 Mar 2006 09:25 PM
Posts: 2936
Location: Grand Absurdity, TX
I have long speculated that at least one RS model is not 100% Matsumoku. That model would be "The Cat". By serial number, we know they were made in '86 and I know from experience they have a laminated (plywood) body.
Notice your pic of the Mk 3 Wildcat. The body is also laminated. I would bet the serial number on that guitar starts with a 6.
Serial numbers will tell us a lot in this case.
What is yours? Yours is the Olympic White guitar, correct?
I absolutely LOVE that color.
My FrankenCat is that color. Its an '86 The Cat lefty neck on an '83 RS Special V body with controls from an unknown '83-'85 RS like the Black Mk 1 pic but it has 3 way toggle instead of strat style switch. I made the pickguard for it and put the controls where they work best for me.
I don't let my lack of hair stop me from rockin the RS, its a beast. :rofl:

_________________
Quality service since 3:00 last Tuesday


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2018 02:10 PM 
Offline
Gallery Friend

Joined: Mon 30 Apr 2018 08:29 AM
Posts: 6
Mine's actually the 'Mk 1' black example - the pictures don't really do the finish justice, and I was impressed when I first saw it in the flesh, despite some tatty pickguard screws and bridge bolts. The all-black-with-red-logo really gives it an 80's headbangin' stadium rocker vibe, so it may look better in the hands of a (young) dude who looks like a lady, and not a geezer who looks like, well, an old geezer - but it does look good next to my old Vox (and sounds awesome).

I am a little worried that my pickguard may not be original, as I know the humbucker isn't, and it's possible a previous owner did as you have and moved the controls themselves. I plan on stripping it down once I've sourced some replacement parts (e.g. screws mentioned above) and I'll have a look to see if there are old holes in the body. It does look original - but maybe somebody just did a good job... If it turns out the pickguard / control location change isn't from the factory then the 'Mk 1' and 'Mk 2' are the same, bar paint jobs and logo font / colour.

Re: 'The Cat' models, the shop where I got my Wildcat had a 'The Cat' and it was definitely Korean - however I don't think it's the 'Mk 3' as its logo read 'Aria Pro 2 - The Cat' not 'Wildcat Series'. Unless someone knows that that is the name some 'The Cat's were released as? Unfortunately I didn't get it off the rack to check the neck plate as I was hugging my new Japanese baby too tightly...

My serial number starts with a 5 as it appears does the white example so both 1985, which apparently was the year production moved to Korea, however the 'Made in Japan' (and build quality of mine) seem to strongly suggest at least those two were 100% matsu made before the Korea move.
It's a shame the neck plate of the 'Mk 3' isn't legible - I was hoping another RS owner (follically challenged or not) with that guitar would post with details of the serial and any country of origin. I think it's still listed on ebay (at 4 or 5 times what I paid for mine!) so I may try contacting the seller and seeing if he'll pass on any details.

Do you have any info on the original humbucker? I think some of these may have been coil-tapped - or maybe I'm just confused / misinformed. (On this issue that is, rather than just generally confused and misinformed, which I certainly am). As neither my tone or volume controls are push-pull if it was originally coil-tapped then it's likely my pots were changed when the humbucker was, so they may not be original spec either. Is the RS2 details page on this site at least right in the type of humbucker - Protomatic IV?

And having just glanced at my portly moggy basking by the fire (much like myself) it occurs to me that if I replaced 'RS Wild' with 'cheshire' on my logo it would be a far more accurate picture of the owner, and I've certainly been grinning a lot since picking up my new toy :)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2018 05:15 PM 
Offline
Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Wed 02 May 2018 04:46 PM
Posts: 133
Location: Germany
Hi there! Newly registered, tho I've browsed the Forum for a long time.

I also have an RS Wildcat (Mk 1?) with the bar string guide and rail PU's - twin rail at the bridge. I got it from the original owner around '96 in very good shape other than some oxidation on the metal parts and a couple of dongs on the front (no wood showing). Appears to be 100% original, but I haven't been able to verify the color (Deep Red - metallic) and a look-see in the spring compartment shows no sign that it was re-finished. Push-pull on the tone pot and 5-way toggle. Single screw at the jack.

I've always wondered which vintage this pup is. Serial # is 5101741.

I'll upload a photo once I get one onto my confuser.

Other ARIA's:

RSB Deluxe II
MA 30 (1991?)

_________________
Comparing spammers to a pile of organic waste, is an insult to the organic waste.

Uncle Mats ES-500, RS Wildcat, RSB Deluxe, FS-750, Magna MA 30 (non-Mat), TA-61 non-Mat), a Westone limited run/proto Thunder and an OAKLAND (Westone) XI100.

Pete


Last edited by ExFender on Thu 03 May 2018 02:19 PM, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2018 09:40 PM 
Offline
Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Sat 25 Mar 2006 09:25 PM
Posts: 2936
Location: Grand Absurdity, TX
Oh, your is the black one? I dig the red on it as well. I'd be tempted to match the red and paint the edge of the pickguard. :devil2:
I believe some of the Westone's had this?
Your pickguard looks original even though the humbucker is not.
I believe the "The Cat" models are at least part Korean. The quality of the neck far exceeds that of the body so, my belief is the neck is Uncle Mat but the bodies were contracted out. They don'y have "Made in Japan" on them anywhere.
They are definitely not the Mk 3. (I have several theories at how they came about but they all involve cost cutting)
5 serial would be 1985, certainly Matsumoku. So far, "The Cat" is the only model made during the Matsumoku years that I feel are not 100%. All "The Cat" models I've seen have '86 serials.
I can't remember which RS my controls came from but the tone knob pulls up for coil tap. I have Wilkinson pickups in it. They're not bad at all.
I'm not certain but I believe the humbucker would have been an MMK45, whatever name they were calling it at the time.
45s RAWK!! :rockwoot:

_________________
Quality service since 3:00 last Tuesday


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed 02 May 2018 09:46 PM 
Offline
Virtuoso
User avatar

Joined: Sat 25 Mar 2006 09:25 PM
Posts: 2936
Location: Grand Absurdity, TX
Welcome to you as well, ExFender! How long you been lurkin?
Yours would be '85 and I'm fairly certain it would have an MMK45.
My '85 RSB Deluxe 5 is a dark red metallic also.

_________________
Quality service since 3:00 last Tuesday


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group