Friends of SD: Aristides Guitars

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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

010-matt-black-trademarkI 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.

Exploded View

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!

010-red-metallic-pickupsThe 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.

Aristides-O2O-Gold-2013-topThe 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.

070WhiteASide2

I recently talked to Pascal Langelaar of Aristides Guitars about their unique instruments:

What problems do traditional wood guitars have that Aristides guitars solve?
Well, the first thing I should probably mention that wooden guitars are of course affected by changes in humidity and temperature, especially for touring artists this can cause problems.
The last thing you want is to worry about the set up of your guitar every single time you open the case before getting on stage.
Our Arium guitars aren’t affected by changes in humidity and temperature at all.
In the past we still used wooden fretboards on our guitars, but recently we fully switched over to a material called richlite, making that there’s now no wood whatsoever involved in the build of our guitars.
Our guitars with wooden boards are already more stable than your average wooden guitar, but with the richlite boards they’re just completely bulletproof.
Apart from that, our guitars are extremely resonant and made out of a one piece construction, this causes a very long sustain and also makes sure that you have a great upper fret access as there’s no neck joint.
Your proprietary material is called Arium. Natural? Man-made? Composite? Can you say?
The core of our instruments is made out of Arium, which is a combination of several resins and microscopic glass bubbles.
What we do is that we build up an exoskeleton in a mold, this exoskeleton consists out of multiple layers including glass fibre and carbon fibre.
It takes about a day to create the exoskeleton (all laminated into the mold by hand), when this is done we inject the arium (liquid) into the exoskeleton.
It takes about a day to harden out and become one piece.
When designing a guitar, do you look to replicate classic sounds or do you go for strive for a certain ‘Aristides sound’?
We don’t strive to recreate a certain sound when we design a guitar.
If I had to describe our tonal characteristics, I would say that our guitars are extremely resonant, have a lot of sustain and a lot of definition on the separate strings, while still maintaining that warm sound you want to get out of a high end electric guitar.
All over the fretboard they’re extremely balanced. You won’t be able to find any dead spots.
We offer a lot of customization options on our current 060/070/080 lines, so that our customers can create the Aristides guitar they want.
For instance, we build 060’s with an APS-2 set that really have a modern strat vibe, but at the same time we can also create a full on metal machine with it, by painting it black and throwing in a set of Pegasus/Sentient pickups.
One of your guitars’ distinguishing marks are the ‘scoops’ that are on the guitar’s face. Is this a design element or does it have something to do with the sound or construction?
The ‘scoops’
are purely a design aspect of our guitars.
Though some of our customers noted that they felt that the scoops made the guitar go faster.. 🙂
Why choose Seymour Duncan Pickups for many of your revolutionary designs? 
Seymour Duncan offers a wide range of quality pickups that work really well in our guitars.
I always feel that our guitars offer a great transparent platform and really show what the pickups were meant to sound like by the company who created them, the quality of Seymour Duncan pickups really shines through in each and every one of our models.
We offer Seymour Duncan’s as our stock pickups in all models, from the more classic sounding SH2-TB4 combo in the 020 to the modern Pegasus/Sentient sets in our 070 and 080 extended range guitars.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3giXZXW2_o
What style of guitar is your favorite?

                 

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3 Comments

  1. They’ve used your pickups exclusively on all models for years and you’ve never heard of them? I’ve never had the pleasure of playing one, but they are beautiful guitars. One day…

  2. Cool stuff…Do they do customs? I like tremolos but I can’t stand the original Floyd Rose with those fine tuners that stick up in the back. I see they have the Wilkinson Trems but I don’t really care for those either, heh. The Gotoh Low Profile Floyd’s are my favorite, or the Gotoh 510.

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