So the major downside about Japan is that there’s some pretty extreme humidity swings that in theory should make guitar stuff a nightmare. I haven’t been too bothered, but I also have been wondering for some time if I’d notice any appreciable benefit from a composite instrument. Yada yada yada, now there’s an Aristides! Anyone whose familiar with my NGDs knows that I don’t like to get rosey eyed, overstate things, and I’m not much into hyperbole (in the non-OT SSO sections at least). But Aristides builds a pretty much perfect guitar. I guess this one is the fourth one I’ve experienced before, and as far as craftsmanship, finish work, fret work, I haven’t noticed a single thing off. I have a couple other guitars/brands I could say this about, but they don’t make guitars in the $3k range (I guess this is more $4k, but that’s mostly what color you choose). Hat’s off to Pascal and the guys there. Obviously it’s the blueberry chameleon marble finish. Looks amazing, and photographs really well. In person I think the angle of the guitar in relation to your eyes is just not as extreme and the chameleon effects tend to be over-emphasized in photos. Some parts of the marble, especially around the knobs, are a bit coarse (essentially low res / paint drip looking), compared to the really fine hatching on the back and upper horn, so I feel like there’s still some potential for improvement, but it’s really cool as is. I think I probably prefer the sparkle burst stuff over this though. The pickups are M6s. I’ve wanted to try this for FOREVER. About as good as I had ever hoped for. I know they’re pretty aggressively voiced and I was worried that they wouldn’t feel great to play, but I dig it. They don’t seem like a particularly versatile set though, so I could see them not being the best choice for something like this guitar, which in theory covers a scale length close to an LP, to a typical Daemoness-y type 7-string. Regarding the shape/scale, also positives. The shape is great. It may have the best 24-fret access of all my guitars — you can really be right up there and not even realize it. If there were more frets, something like 28-30 fret access on this guitar would feel like 24 fret access on a strat. The scale’s pretty comfortable (25" - 26.1"). Given the pickups I can’t get much “sweetness” in the high-end (in terms of sound), but playing more classic rock type stuff is comfortable. And I think the low scale is pretty good. For M pickups, the 070S would have probably been the right choice. Some arium thoughts. I had been hands-on with @Jonathan20022 many Aristides earlier and had general positive impressions of the build and finish. Tonally I thought they sounded like Alder, and sounded good. Many months have passed and based on some internet discussion, and shop vids showing how they were made, I wanted to check out a few things. First: rigidity. You know how with most guitars you can strum something, and pull back a bit on your fretting hand, and perceive a slight bend to the notes? Not here. Maybe The Mountain could do it, but using my usual pressure (and maybe a bit more), the next remains completely stiff. In fact, the more I played around with it, the more I’m starting to think this is a defining characteristic. There’s simply less “give” in every aspect of playing. Now that I’m looking for it, it’s a cool feeling. It's easy to overlook how much movement is actually going on in a typical guitar during play. I’m not sure I agree with any talk of resonance or acoustic loudness. It’s on the loud side, sure, maybe a hint louder than my Suhr (which is one of my louder ones), but nothing significant. In terms of resonance, there is no appreciable difference between the two. What I do notice is a much longer sustain of what is essentially “the note”. Where I think most of my guitars, and certainly the ones I have setup right now, decay and fade out, the Aristides is noticeably stronger. I think it’s a double-edged sword: there’s something musical about the decay and the harmonics present in the Suhr, but there’s also something technically appreciable about having a note sound strongly and for longer. Like imagine the guitar was a digital instrument, and it played exactly when, and for as long as, your fingers were on the board. An Aristides is a little bit more in that direction, IMO. I previously thought the base tone was Alder-ish, but I have to revise that. It’s more different than I remember, not from alder, but wood in general. I guess Alder would be the closest wood I’d choose to describe it, but the overall experience is probably more different from all my guitars collectively, than it is to the alder ones I used to own. Anyway, that’s my take on it. My wood guitars aren’t going anywhere, but my interest in guitar construction and tone and sustain is almost academic, more than it is practical. As a tool, I think an Aristides is one of the best options out there, and seem to be very consistently putting out instruments that are essentially flawlessly made. Only real dig is not at Aristides, but in buying this used I asked the seller if it had inlay. He said “no inlay”. But in fact it was “yes inlay” I despise 12th fret inlays and passed up tons of good Aristides deals solely because I wanted the blank board, but after paying import fees and shipping, I’m kinda stuck. Literally could not see it in like the 20 pics I saw prior to it arriving here.