Don't get me wrong, Orvilles are great guitars, and I found them all to be made much better than their USA counterparts, but they all lacked the unique feel andplayability that has earned Greco, Tokai and Aria Pro II their growing stellar reputations.And also, don't judge an Orville by whether it has "by Gibson" on theheadstock or not.The Aria trademark has always reflected high production quality, and currently there has been more emphasis on stylish designs (such as the Fullerton guitar series, or in bass designs such as the AVB-SB).The Aria company has produced instruments under their Aria/Aria Diamond/Aria Pro II trademark for a number of years.While somewhat confusing, you can determine where your Orville or Orville by Gibson guitar was made, the year it was made, and even the month it was made,by looking at the back of the headstock.There were 5 different methods used to date Orville and Orville by Gibson guitars and two factories involved withbuilding them, so I've developed the simple chart below to assist you...*F = Factory: G, J & K beginning the serial numbers denote that is was made by the Terada factory: the "G" ink stamp means the guitar should have Gibson USA pickups, and "J" for Japanese pickups.
This is a boldstatement, I know, but when you compare these guitars to early Greco, Tokai and Aria Pro II clones, they just come up a little short in the mojo and vibedepartment.
This is the most useful part for people looking at buying an Orville, Orville by Gibson or Epiphone guitar.
My overall judgment is that, while these guitars are of higher collectible value to guitarists because of the affiliation with, and use of the name, Gibson, this byno means is a testament to it being a better instrument than other brands.
made to high standards as well, these brands often hand-carved their necks to feel different and finish options were not pinned down to onlya few standard options, so to ensure each guitar had a different feel, vibe and even tone, since they all used so many different types of pickups.
The Orvilleseither had the Japanese low-quality humbuckers or the Gibson USA humbuckers, so the tone was not as varied.
It wasn't until 1986 when Yamano Gakki took over the distribution of Gibson (and Korean-made Epiphone) guitars in Japan, and later in 1988, decidedto expand their lineup of guitar models, that things really got rolling for the Orville and Orville by Gibson brands.