« Decent pickups, solid construction »Published on 08/30/21 at 04:24
Bought used from a musician, don't know the manufacturing year but I would guess around 2009-2010. It's got a solid alder body and 22-fret maple neck with Rosewood fingerboard, bolted into the body. We have your typical Strat setup with 3 single-coil pickups, a tremolo hardtail bridge and 5-way switch. No other fancy features, it's pretty much designed to get you playing as quickly as possible. The neck is a little fatter than I expected and has a rough satin finish. It's a little raw and unrefined.
Sound — 7
Suited my blues and classic rock style fine, the sound was a little thin and treble-y. But it's loud and could be played clean or dirty without issue. Played it through a Marshall combo. I didn't use any effects with it and just cranked up the gain a little when playing AC/DC, Hendrix, etc. It's not a noisy guitar. You can get a wide variety of sounds, although I wouldn't play Metal or anything too heavy. The pickups really are basic but considering the price on this guitar they're good value for money.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was not set up by the previous owner. I needed to adjust the truss rod several times to get it right, as well as changing the strings. Wiring and finish were all fine, there are no complaints. The hardware is just ok and holds well. Overall the finish was fine for the price point, for a budget guitar I never expected much anyway. But it feels solid and put-together enough for you to start playing your first riffs. It's a no-nonsense finish and anyone looking for something different would be ill-advised.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I would use this as a second live guitar, or rehearsals and home practice. Reason being the sound quality could be better but it's unbeatable at this price point. Durability is fine. It's dependable and looks ok. I have fun using it and it has never let me down. I still own it, I actually prefer it over the Squier Bullet as it's got a little more personality. It's great feeling and sounding for the price, and will be a good introduction for someone starting out. It will do the job just fine for you.
Overall Impression — 7
The underrated Aria STG-003 isn’t as popular as the Squier Bullet or Affinity alternatives, but the reliably basic quality is on par with those models. It sports decent pickups, good construction and a nice neck, which is a little thicker than on most Strats. It’s a good guitar to start on, although you would not gig with it as is. Despite this it’s quite reliable, so if you can find one used at a good price then do go for it. The pickups are warmer than the Squiers, which is good thing. You could upgrade the pickups longer term.