How to Date an Aria Classical Guitar

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The Aria guitar company--founded in 1956 by Shiro Arai--makes and imports many types of guitars. The classical guitar gave Shiro his start. As a student, and later a teacher, he witnessed the need for quality guitars in Japan. He began by importing classical guitars from Europe. The company started exporting classical guitars made in Japan and now Aria makes and sells guitars all over the world. Finding the manufactured date for an Aria classical guitar may prove difficult. People usually date guitars by the serial number. With Aria, the number system has several flaws.

Look inside the classical guitar’s sound hole for a serial number. If you don’t see one, that means the guitar was made before the mid-1970s. An exact date for these guitars might prove impossible to locate.

Read the serial number. The first numbers of the serial number for the classical guitars built by Matsumoku for Aria begin with the year. For example, a classical guitar manufactured in 1978 will have a serial number beginning with 78 or an 8.

Check for the manufacturing location on the inside tag of the guitar. Aria moved some of its manufacturing to Korea in the 1980s. The Koreans made classical guitars begin with the year and week in the serial number’s first four digits. If the number reads 8932, it would indicate a date for manufacturing in the 32nd week of 1989.

Search through old Aria catalogues for your guitar model. You can find some digitised catalogues on websites. This won’t give you an exact manufacturing date, but you might find the year the company sold that particular classical guitar. When combined with a serial number, this gives you the best chance of dating the guitar.

Contact Aria for assistance. Not all of the serial numbers for Aria classical guitars have a date. After 1987, the dating becomes even more difficult. The company may have information to aid in your research. Provide the Aria representative with as much information as you can about your classical guitar.

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