This is the time of year when musicians begin salivating, as the annual NAMM Convention is set for this coming weekend -- Jan. 24 - 27 -- in Anaheim. One of the items guaranteed to be turning some heads is the new Aria Pro II Cliff Burton Signature Bass, designed with the consent of the late Metallica bassist's family and bandmates.

The instrument is a replica of the Black 'n Gold I bass that Burton played while performing with Metallica. The bass will make its debut at the NAMM Show, which takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center. The bassist's father, Ray Burton, will be on hand at the Aria Guitars booth (Hall E) to officially introduce the instrument on Friday (Jan. 25) at noon.

This tribute bass comes with a seven-ply maple walnut neck with a neck-through, heel-less neck design. It has the same headstock with the patent statement on the front and Cliff Burton's authorized signature on the back. In addition, each of the tuners are handcrafted out of brass and gold-plate. The neck has a 34-inch scale with 24-frets and the fingerboard is made of rosewood with cat eye and mother of pearl inlays. Those who purchase the instrument may take advantage of the Aria MB-V passive pickup, single tone and volume control and a 1-Dual Sound Mini-Toggle Switch.

Burton's father, Ray, stated, "What a beautiful instrument and a wonderful tribute to Cliff. The first year Cliff was with Metallica he played a Rickenbacker guitar that he purchased in 1982. He loved his guitar, but he did not feel it was a strong enough instrument to withstand the rugged treatment of the daily rigors of heavy metal touring. Early in 1984, Cliff was treated to an Aria Pro II bass guitar. He really liked it and therefore did not seek any other bass to play. He told me it was strong and ideal to play. I never heard a discouraging word about his Aria bass guitars. To give testament to his preference, he had several of them at the time of his death."