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Aria Mega Metal six string

Article from Making Music, January 1987


If you looked hard enough and asked nicely, a Mega Metal prototype was to be found at the British Music Fair. In between times the body shape has had a few angles rounded off here and there resulting in a range of three guitars which bears a family resemblance to Aria's Cat series. Unlike the Korean Cats, Mega Metals are Japanese made.

Stage I K-pi (Kahler pinging system?) carries all the outward signs of current fashion — that headstock; wide flattish neck with seasonal looking position markers like fallen-over, sliced-in-half Christmas trees; whammy system etc. At first glance you might think £439 a mite much to fork out for a one pickup instrument. However, closer inspection reveals one or two features and an overall level of constructional quality that go a long way towards mitigating that price tag.

First is the active EQ. Powered by two 9V batteries hidden away in a rearbody recess, the system is very straightforward. It simply comprises a mini-toggle active/passive switch linked to the single tone pot which has a centre detent position. Wind back from this and you boost the bass; twirl clockwise and up go the trebly bits. In passive mode the tone pot has no detectable effect beyond the centre position — intentionally I'd wager — because if you switched over to active with it wound right up, then along with a belt of treble would come a substantial increase in signal strength which would have previously-set input levels of any signal processors in line between guitar and amp clipping like crazy.

Even so, the EQ dispels any lingering prejudice that one pickup means one sound. Stage I has lots. To start with the humbucker itself has a nice clean, warm but unmuddied, open tonality which, when treated to an active kick up the bum, retains those qualities. The bass boost is rich rather than boomy; the treble oomph kept within sensible limits and usefully single-coilish in character. All tonal settings respond extremely well to FX, especially distortion, making the guitar deserving of its Mega Metal handle.

The Kahler tremolo was predictably wonderful — even if the bar could have been an inch or so longer and less obtusely angled — and the Stage I benefits by being (apparently) the first mass production guitar fitted with that same manufacturer's one-touch locking nut. Clever little device this, employing three cammed latches bearing, at once, onto adjustable wedge-shape shims and the strings so locking them tight. A flick of the latch and you're all set for string changing and master tuning.

In action, Stage I sits very well under the hands. The neck has a fairly shallow, evenly rounded section which should suit mitts of all shapes and sizes and the whole instrument, with its quite narrow-waisted and not over heavy body, tucks in comfortably on the strap.


Don't pass Mega Metal Stage I by just because it's not brim-full with pickups and fancy features. It earns high marks in the areas that really matter, its sound capabilities go way beyond the style of music the name suggests it was designed for, and it's a guitar you'll very quickly feel at home with. Suddenly, £439 doesn't seem such a high price to pay. And if you really can't do without those other two pickups you could always cough up another fifty quid or so and buy the Mega Metal Stage 3 K-pi. Gotcha!


PRICE £439
BODY Basswood (probably)
NECK Maple
PICKUPS One Humbucking
TONE Passive/active cut & boost
TREMOLO Kahler Flyer
FINISH Gloss lacquer
HARDWARE Black and chrome
COLOURS White, Black, Burgundy

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Publisher: Making Music - Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

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Making Music - Jan 1987

Gear in this article:

Guitar > Aria > Mega Metal Stage I K-pi

Gear Tags:

Electric Guitar

Review by Jerry Uwins

Previous article in this issue:

> Ultraboxes

Next article in this issue:

> Technically Speaking

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