Aria Pro II “Cat Bass”

I bought this bass out of the junk pile at Hames Music (a section where they displayed the junk that people had traded in). After selling my Alembic in the great Florida debacle of 1991, I was trying to find some way to re-capture that Alembic sound that I missed so much. This bass was how I’d hoped to do that.

I bought an Alembic Activator p-bass style pick-up, with the idea that I’d rebuild this bass and put that pick-up on it. I figured that was the next best thing to an actual Alembic, right? It was a desperate measure, I admit. I replaced the tuning keys, bridge, and strap pins, and put in the Alembic pick-up, but didn’t finish it. I was still planning to match that pick-up with a Jazz style Alembic Activator.

This was never done. Getting my Alembic Spoiler back in 1992 rendered it a moot point.

The bass just sat in a corner from then on out. At some point I gave it (still unfinished) to my friend, Kevin Galloway, so that he could have something to play as he was learning. Kevin had it for years. The entire time he had the bass, it didn’t work. I mean, you could play it. But the pick-up wasn’t wired. Hell, it didn’t even have any pots or knobs on it. I gave the poor guy an unfinished piece of shit.

I finally decided that the bass needed to be completed. I got it back from Kevin for that purpose, intending to give him back the finished bass for a Christmas present that year. That was in 2003, I think. I still have it. Gods, I’m such a slack-ass.

After I got the bass back from Kevin, I replaced the Alembic pick-up with a set of Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound pick-ups, put in a three-way selector switch, had the bass wired with new volume and tone pots, topped those off with my favorite knobs, and had the bridge set up properly. After all that, I was almost willing to call it an instrument.

As it is now, this bass is a big improvement over the abandoned piece of crap I originally bought. At least now it can be played (it was practically unplayable before). It sounds damned good, too. Except for missing a cover plate for the back, I’d say it’s finished. Finally!

I don’t really know how to get in touch with Kevin Galloway right now. I haven’t heard from him in years. Now I don’t have his phone number or mailing address. But if you know him and see him, tell him I still intend to get the bass back to him. He always claimed that it was on loan, that he wouldn’t accept outright ownership, but that was never my intention. It was a gift. I never meant to take it back.

I assume Kevin is still living in North Carolina. Since I’m living in Florida now, tracking him down will be problematic, to say the least. But I haven’t given up yet. If I ever find out where he is again, I’ll pack up this bass and ship it to him When it arrives, this Cat will have stories to tell.

Hopefully it’ll still have a few lives left.


“You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.”

– Proverb


Completed:
1986
Purchased:
Late 1992
Body Wood:
Maple
Neck Wood:
Maple
Fingerboard:
Rosewood
Pickups:Seymour Duncan
SPB3 P-Bass
SJB3 Jazz
Electronics:
Passive
2 volume
1 tone
Model:
Cat Bass
Purchased:
Hames Music
Gaffney, SC
Price:
$150
Strings:
Rotosound
Swingbass 66
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bassus_play
10 years ago

Hello, I got a Aria Pro II Wildcat Series, made between ’85-’86…do you know for shure your Cat has a maple body? I’m thinking that it could be an explanation for the huge tone mine also have 🙂

Dmitry Kaminsky
Dmitry Kaminsky
3 years ago

I am interested. Is this bass still available?

Dave Bellefleur
Dave Bellefleur
7 months ago

Hi

I have the same bass, almost exactly. The only difference is I have one volume knob. My input jack is where your furthest knob is (the one furthest from the neck)

Yours looks like in beautiful shape. Heavy, ain’t she? Mine’s like 9-10lbs. Couldn’t get over it’s tone. Bought it in 1990, had it ever since. Been rough on her.

I have to replace the neck on mine. Gonna see if I can find another bass to swap the neck.

I have stock pickups and I just may switch up to new pickups at some point and put a lining in the electronics bay to dampen the noise. I still have the backplate, but I had to use larger screws… the wood dried up. I’ve used larger screws for the strap posts as well.

But I gotta start with replacing the neck. Got a crack going through 3 of the tuning key holes. One more bump could break her.

Hope you can find your buddy and send it to him.

I’d be interested in it if you don’t. I wouldn’t use yours for parts in this case, what would be the point, I’d just put my backplate on it

Cheers