Here at Seymour Duncan, we are thrilled when a guitar company chooses to use our pickups. We are even more thrilled when that company is on the edge of innovation, offering their own unique ideas in a crowded sea of designs we love, but have seen before. Aristides Guitars is one of these innovative companies. Combining new constriction materials with sculpted shapes gives Aristides Guitars their unique look, and guarantees you haven’t played a guitar quite like this before. While the silhouette may look like a traditional double cutaway guitar, there is lots of innovation going on behind the scenes, which add up to an instrument that is much more than flashy paint and great pickups.
History of the Future
I first played an Aristides guitar at Winter Namm 2015, as the lights reflected off of the sculpted body and caught my eye. I grabbed the guitar off of the wall (I am not sure I was actually supposed to do that), and realized how balanced the guitar was. I played it unplugged, but even in the noisy NAMM environment, I could hear its almost acoustic voice. I did not get a chance to plug it in as there was quite a line for the amps. It was a company I hadn’t heard of, but wrote down the name. Then I found out that it wasn’t new at all.
The genesis of these guitars started in 1995, when industrial engineer Aristides Poort set to design a material with perfect acoustic properties. A tall task, for sure, but by breaking down how sound waves travel through different materials, he was on to something. Many years of research went into finding the perfect cell structure for the unimpeded transfer of sound waves. As a result, he designed Aristides Guitars to have a 1-piece construction of his new material for optimal vibrations throughout the entire body and neck.
What is this all about?
This material Aristides designed is called Arium. While you won’t find this on the Periodic Table, Arium is essentially a combination of many different kinds of resins that form a very open cell structure which vibrate freely in all 3 dimensions. This material is very brittle, so it is combined with an exoskeleton of carbon and glass composites which creates a very stable instrument.
As I can attest, it doesn’t feel like a wood guitar vibrating against your body. It is much more active, and they have a louder acoustic sound than many other electric instruments.
Bring Out the Models!
The Aristides line can be divided into 4 basic guitar models and one bass model. The 010 model is sort of an HSS double cutaway. Offered with a Custom Trembucker in the bridge, an Alnico II Pro Flat Strat rw/rp in the middle, and an Alnico II Pro Flat Strat in the neck, it combines the hard rockin’ humbucker with the more vintage sounding singles in the neck & middle. This may be the most versatile Aristides guitar, as it can get both vintage and modern sounds with ease. This is combined with a 5 way switch and 22 frets and is available in a variety of hot rod-worthy finishes.
The 020 is your classic double humbucker stop tailpiece guitar. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story, because while it shares those traits with many guitars, this is really nothing like anything you’ve ever played. Combining the Jazz neck pickup with the JB bridge pickup, you can easily hear why this combination is Seymour’s favorite. The 020 adds a Graph-Tech bridge and Hipshot locking tuners, and like all of the Aristides guitars, comes with a microchip embedded in the body for identification.
The 060 is a 24 fret model aimed towards modern playing styles. You have your choice of active or passive Seymour Duncan pickups, and a selection of different bridge styles. The compound radius makes shredding and fast riffs a breeze. You can see the blue 060 at the top of this article.
The 070 is their 7 string model, which is available with either active or passive pickups, and with either a hardtail or Floyd Rose bridge. The passive models use our wonderful Pegasus/Sentient set while the active models use our Phase 1 Blackouts.
Their 050 Bass has 5 strings and is available in a trio of colors (black, blue metallic, and aluminium). All 3 colors utilize a Quarter Pounder Jazz Bass set for a punchy, loud & proud tone. It features 2 band active EQ with a true bypass switch. This 34″ scale instrument weighs in at just over 9lbs.
I recently talked to Pascal Langelaar of Aristides Guitars about their unique instruments:
are purely a design aspect of our guitars.