Mind Your Ps and Js

This well-constructed 4-string takes cues from yesteryear’s sounds, looks, and price tags. The PG Aria Pro II Detroit review.

Recorded direct into Focusrite Scarlet 2i4 into Garageband.
Clip 1: Neck pickup only. Tone at 75 percent.
Clip 2: Neck and bridge pickups blended 50/50 using pick. Tone at 75 percent.



Comfy neck. Easy fret access. Versatility of P/J configuration.

Non-spectacular bridge pickup. Typical 60-cycle hum with bridge soloed.


Aria Pro II





Shaped similarly to the SB basses that found favor with heavy hitters from Cliff Burton to John Taylor, the Aria Pro II Detroit is the company’s latest offering in their new Hot Rod Collection. The ash body’s sunburst open-pore finish gives off a kind of rustic-glamor vibe. The 6-bolt, roasted-maple neck is quick, and the frets atop the rosewood fretboard were dressed cleanly. At a comfy 40 mm, the nut width falls somewhere between a P and J, and easy access to all frets comes thanks to the Detroit’s deep body cut. I didn’t find a single ding or scratch, and all joinery was spot-on.

Plugged in, the 34"-scale Detroit sounds much like it looks: old-school.

Plugged in, the 34"-scale Detroit sounds much like it looks: old-school. I started with the alnico-5 split-coil with the tone flat, and I was greeted with a pretty fat, full, and round sound that thickened and softened to a more mellow Motown-esque flavor as I rolled the tone down. The tone pot has a decent operating range, and diming it got me to a more present and open rock tone while using a pick, without having to touch my amp. I like P/J configurations for versatility’s sake, but I found the Detroit’s bridge pickup to be a little anemic in the bite department when soloed. That said, I like the bit of crispness and high-end clarity it contributes when blended with the neck and the tone dial almost maxed. The vintage flavor, nice build, and approachable price certainly make the Detroit a worthwhile place to visit.

Test Gear: Gallien-Krueger 800RB, Orange OBC212, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4.

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