Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Aristides Guitars FAQ. Here you can learn about our unique production process & dedication to building guitars to the highest standard possible. Wondering where Aristides are made? Are Aristides guitars worth it? How long does it take to build Aristides instruments? What’s a Stroopwafel? You’ve come to the right place. If you don’t find your answer you are welcome to contact us directly.
Learn more about Aristides material, design & manufacturing:
Aristides instruments are made out of a proprietary material called Arium. Research on Arium began in 1995, when a team of scientists at Technical University Delft sought to study the structural & acoustic properties of premium woods & develop a material that combines all of their strengths but with even more resonance, sustain, & durability. You can learn more on our Story page.
Aristides guitars begin their life in a mold, where a dedicated luthier spends 8 hours carefully layering topcoats, glass fibre, carbon, & more to build a rigid exoskeleton before Arium is carefully distributed throughout for perfect composition of a resonant “core.” This one-piece construction contributes to the extreme sustain, consistency, & durability of Aristides instruments, but that is only the beginning. Once the curing process is finished, an intense amount of labor by our skilled guitar builders is required to deliver a complete instrument including precision sanding, routing, fretwork, finishing, & much more. You can learn more on our Production Process page.
All Aristides guitars are proudly made in The Netherlands at our dedicated facility in Haarlem, just outside of Amsterdam.
We pride ourselves on making exceptional guitars, which also happen to have the benefits of our proprietary material & construction method. You will feel right at home with our comfortable C-shaped neck & sleek body contours, but you’ll notice a difference when you hear the balanced sustain, feel the amazing fret access of our near non-existent neck “heel,” & realize you haven’t had to adjust your guitar in months! Arium’s tone is based on dampening as few frequencies as possible for a very full & balanced sound that produces big lows that are tight & present highs that aren’t icy. Aristides are not really comparable to carbon, aluminum, acrylic, or other composite guitars. Our customers describe the sound as “wood but more.”
Over 15 years! Though research on Arium began in 1995 & some early experimentation was done with Arium instruments over the years, Aristides was founded in 2007 & has exclusively produced guitars made from Arium to the highest standards ever since.
One of the key benefits of Aristides guitars is increased sustain. This is due to the proprietary material Arium, the one-piece exoskeleton + core construction, & the attention to detail we take when crafting our guitars. Customers often tell us “it’s like I don’t have to work for sustain anymore.” You will also notice a very balanced sound when notes ring across the entire fretboard, rather than a single high or low resonance dominating the sound.
Aristides guitars are nearly unaffected by shifts in climate. We say “nearly” because while our instruments are much more durable than wood guitars, some situations can still be pretty extreme. The truss rod will rarely require minor adjustments due to prolonged temperature shifts, the fretboard is resistant to major shrinkage/expansion & fret sprout, & the guitars are even resilient to being knocked around in their cases on planes or in trailers. That being said, please take as much care of your Aristides as possible, as you would with any other beloved instrument, & it will serve you well for years to come.
Not if you order an EverTune! Jokes aside, while our guitars have fantastic tuning stability, you will still have to occasionally tune up throughout your playing sessions like any other guitar. Stability, as always, relies on a proper setup & quality strings.
Maintaining your Aristides is the same as any other guitar – you just won’t have to do it as often! Aristides guitars do have truss rods for neck relief adjustment, & you can adjust other setup specifications as normal on the hardware itself. We simply recommend wiping your guitar with a microfiber cloth after playing to preserve your hardware. If your Aristides is seeing heavy stage use & you notice it getting a little dirty, we prefer Dunlop Formula 65 Cleaner & Polish to clean the body. Regular usage of a fretboard conditioner such as Dunlop Formula 65 Fingerboard 02 Deep Conditioner during string changes is recommended to keep your playing surface smooth.
Aristides guitars weigh a normal amount, generally 6.8-8.8lbs depending on string number, finish, & hardware choices. However, our ergonomic headless guitars are purposefully designed to be lightweight. Aristides H/0 models can weigh as little as 5.3 pounds!
Aristides Raw guitars receive their color directly on the exoskeleton during the construction process. The surface is then treated with a special nano-coating to seal the instrument for durability & playability. This allows for both a lower cost & a shorter lead time! A model name ending in ‘R’ (e.g. 070SR) denotes a Raw finish. Check out our Finishing Process page to learn more.
Learn more about Aristides custom options & specifications:
Aristides Guitars’ flagship neck profile is a comfortable slim C with a 1.65″ (42mm) nut width for 6 strings. We also utilize various compound radii per model. We find this to be a “Goldilocks” neck profile perfect for guitarists of all playing styles. We take great care to keep the neck comfortable for our extended range guitars, & our T/0 model features a slightly thicker neck for players who enjoy a fuller feel.
We recommend customers order Aristides guitars with their favorite pickups they are already familiar with, because you will simply experience that sound “& more” in our guitars. Aristides guitars are equally well-suited to passive & active pickups, as well as humbucker & single coil pickups. We do have a custom-calibrated set of Bare Knuckle Pickups humbuckers designed for Aristides which you can order for a versatile sound that works well across different rig setups & genres of music. We are also more than happy to guide you through all of your options to make sure your custom guitar is perfectly suited to you if you’d like to get in touch with us directly. You can also check out our YouTube channel where we are building a library of pickup demos in our guitars.
Aristides Guitars offers Painted finishes in beautiful gloss, satin, solid, & patterned colors, as well as solid-color ‘Raw’ guitars which have a colored exoskeleton for a lower cost & shorter build time. Learn more on our Finishing Process page! Whether you’re looking for our classic Dutch Orange, our unique Marble finishes, or any of our famous Aristides custom paint jobs, you can find examples in our Gallery.
You can order a left-handed version of our flagship model, the 060, right now! It’s called the 060L. We are working to expand our left-handed options in the future.
Due to the one-piece nature of our instruments, small spec changes involving the body itself can be challenging. This is because something like a reverse headstock would require all-new molds just for that one specification, & we have to prioritize where our research & development is focused to best serve as many guitarists as possible. That’s why we focus on extreme levels of customization elsewhere on our guitars such as hardware, electronics, custom finishes, custom inlays, & more. That being said, we can share one secret… a baritone Aristides six string will be coming in the future.
We are working diligently to expand the Aristides Instruments lineup with new models & body shapes as we complete new designs that offer something fresh & live up up to our rigorous standards. Our headless guitars, as well as our 22 fret, thicker neck T-Style model are great examples of this. Our lineup of new Aristides 4, 5, & 6 string multiscale basses are available for early pre-order & will be debuted at NAMM 2024. A singlecut option may or may not be available in the future…
While there have been some True Temperament-equipped Aristides guitars produced as custom one-offs in the past; due to logistical reasons & the variety of scale lengths we use, we are not currently offering this specification on our guitars.
Learn more about how to order an Aristides:
Aristides guitars are custom-made to your specifications. You can submit a build request using this order form, which guides you through your choices step-by-step. Please feel free to do this even if you are not ready to order, because one of our team members will respond to you to answer any questions you have about our guitars or the ordering process. Once you are ready to order you pay a deposit, with the remainder due upon completion, prior to shipment. We take great pride in Aristides customer service, & along the way you will receive pictures documenting progress on your build. We can also tailor setup specifications, tuning, & string gauge to your exact preferences so your dream guitar is ready to play right out of the case. You can also keep an eye on our Reverb store – we occasionally prepare extra builds for immediate shipment so you have an opportunity to skip the wait!
Aristides Guitars currently ship worldwide, please get in touch with us to check first if you have any questions or think there are special circumstances that may prove difficult.
Handling taxes on an Aristides Guitars purchase is quite simple. If you live within the European Union, we collect 21% VAT when you pay us for your build. If you live elsewhere in the world, you are responsible for any taxes/duties due upon receipt of your instrument. This varies per country, so please check your own local rules for a percentage estimate. We ship with FedEx, who will provide customs brokerage for you once you complete & send them a form we provide. FedEx will bill you for the duties upon delivery.
The short answer is that our guitars don’t carry a warranty of any kind & that’s on purpose. We feel warranties often exist to give manufacturers & service providers an “easy out” whenever they want to charge for or deny future services or repair work. We prefer to build relationships with our customers & work directly with them to find solutions in the rare case that any issues occur. We even regularly ship parts to help customers who purchased used Aristides guitars. So while we do not offer a warranty per se, rest assured we have every intention & desire to help if a problem pops up!
Reviews? Artists? Wallpaper? More Aristides FAQs:
Aristides guitars are played by a huge variety of recording & touring artists across genres. We have a great appreciation for working guitarists playing our guitars & they are essential to our process, all the way back to day 1 with Adrian Vandenberg testing our original 010 model. Many features now standard on Aristides guitars such as multiscale designs, EverTune compatibility, & more stem from artist feedback. Check out our Artists page for a non-comprehensive list of musicians using our guitars & what they have to say about Aristides.
We focus exclusively on making the best guitars possible for our customers, so we have not devoted a lot of time & money to sending out guitars for reviews. For now we rely on our friends sharing their Aristides experiences in forums, on YouTube, & more. That being said, you can find some great examples like our friend Robert Baker playing an 060R prototype, or you can join our Facebook Community Group to ask other players about tone, playability, options, & more.
While only you can answer that question for yourself, we are betting that once you play one – you will think so! We are proud that Aristides guitars are not “expensive” relative to many boutique wood options, in fact Aristides are much more affordable than some of the most popular custom guitar companies. We build our instruments to the highest standards possible & then set the best price we can based on that. We understand that this is still no small cost of course, & this is why we also offer our Raw guitars for a lower cost option. We also attend as many guitar shows as possible such as NAMM, & welcome visits to our factory so that you have an opportunity to play an Aristides for yourself.
Please use any & all photography on our Gallery page as an Aristides wallpaper for your devices!