Re: NGD : '84 Aria & Czech Dean
I was initially interested in the Aria as I believe MIJ guitars are the best on the planet. Having no prior experience with this brand, I was blown away at how flawless the craftmanship has held up after 29 years. The Ash body is simply beautiful.
The COIL Tapping feature adds a distinctive tonal advantage for RHYTHM/LEAD transitions in high gain situations and the PHASE SWITCH (only activated when the pick-up selector is in the middle) gives an ultra cool EFFECTS type clean sound kind of like a phaser on low settings might. Ultimately this guitar has one of the best necks I've ever played. I can see myself buying every 80s MIJ ARIA guitar I come across from this point forward.
They're apparently hand-made and this has the potential to be one of the finest metal axes I've ever owned. The set-up was sub-par, but with lowered action, intonation and possibly a pick-up swap, this guitar rips. I hate to change the stock PROTO pick-ups as they're actually quite wonderful and SUPER HIGH OUTPUT, yet articulate at the same time, I would not be surprised if they weren't hand wound. I give this instrument a near flawless rating.
Now. The Czech Dean.
My friend had compared the European Deans to their USA Counterparts; I scoffed at the idea. That's like comparing Korean imports to their USA brethren... it's just impossible to do as the gap in quality is far too wide.
However... in a sentence : This Czech Dean E'lite is the finest guitar I have ever played. I am not a fan of the body style. I had no intention of buying this guitar initially either, but after playing it unplugged for 30 seconds, I quickly gave my friend an extra $50 for the Dean for being the finest guitar I have ever played and with the best sustain and tone on any instrument I have ever owned.
Ran through my Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 100, it reeks of Priest "The Sentinel"-type tones. A powerchord will literally sustain for minutes. I have never played an instrument this well-made.
I currently own an ESP Standard M-II maple, which to me was the holy grail of electric guitars. I regard Ibanez Prestiges and high quality Gibson guitars will equal reverence as well.
I don't know what it is about this Czech Dean but it sounds and plays, no exaggeration, so much better than any other guitar I have ever owned that I doubt I will ever sell it. It was made in 03 which to my limited knowledge was the last year of Czech production. I have read these guitars were hand made.
It seems to me like whoever put this together did so with the mentality that they're going to craft the ultimate metal weapon to rival all others.
In closing, both of these guitars play better and SOUND better than my ESP M-II (my reference point); the Dean is nicer than any Gibson, ESP, or Ibanez guitar I have ever owned and I paid $200 for it.
If you see a Czech Dean or 80's MIJ Aria, BUY IT!!!!!!!