just posted my RB 100 clone for sale .check it out banjohangout.org/classified/77423
Very interesting. I've never seen that type of Aria Gibson copy. Clearly later than the original early 70s not-quite-Gibson copies with the Kasuga peghead shape and multiple ovals flange holes. Your asking price seems reasonable -- especially since you can't buy anything comparable new at that price.
I never saw one before either. Maybe it's a counterfeit Aria clone of a Gibson. That would be rare indeed :-) I'm so tempted to pull the trigger just to see and hear the thing. Very cool looking.
Fiddle cut headstock and Gibson-style flange suggests late 70s. The "engraved" armrest is consistent with Kasuga-made banjos. Rim appears to be same multi-ply as 1970s Kasuga instruments. Generally light weight. More like plywood.
In the early 70s when Kasuga made the Aria and other branded versions of the bowtie inlay banjo, they also had a model with dot inlays, an even simpler peghead, friction tuners and matte finish (aluminum?) hardware. I can't remember if that model lacked the tone ring.
Just as the Aria bowties got upgraded and replaced by true Masterclones in the mid-to-70s, I'm thinking this is simply a little-known model from that same period that was a copy of the RB-100. An upgraded version of the entry-level Aria bluegrass banjo. No telling from the photo if it has a rod tone hoop or if the head bears directly on the rim.
Description says hoop. Gary is certainly an experienced seller, so I would trust that.
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