Aaron bought one of my first guitars ever exported to the North America – a VSOP Classic that I had sold to Westwood Music in Los Angeles.
A few years later I exhibited at NAMM for the first time and contacted Aaron. We ended up hanging out in Hollywood – eating sushi at the Miyagi’s on Sunset Strip and had a beer (might have been two.. or three…) at the Rainbow Bar & Grill. Good memories! We’ve been friends ever since.
Many years later, in 2016, I exhibited at NAMM once again. We were also right in the middle of constructing a whole new website, and I wanted to use this opportunity to interview Aaron so we could make a mini-documentary of him into a series we were having compiled for us by Smak Film. I couldn’t unfortunately bring along my film team from Finland, so for this one episode I had to improvise a little…
Then, out of the blue, Mika Tyyskä flew in to save the day! Or… to tell the truth… he had flown to LA with me cause he was our demo player that year at NAMM. Luckily he agreed to be hired as my camera guy so I could focus to do the interview with Aaron. What a cool filming session it turned out to be. Watch the outcome below, right on this page!
Ah – one more story from the same trip memory lane. Aaron had been kinda thinking of buying a guitar from my NAMM 2016 collection, but by the time he arrived to the venue, my guitars were all sold out. A bummer!
On the last day of our stay, he asked me if I maybe had some interesting guitars available in Finland. I had one. I showed Aaron a photo of a blue Art Infused Mojo Grande, with artwork by my daughter Juno Ruokangas. Aaron was fascinated by the special looks of the guitar, but had never played a Mojo Grande – so after I returned home, I shipped the guitar to him for testing.
A week later I got this text message: “Wow. The guitar is gorgeous, plays like a dream and I’m already in love! It is amazing and you can never have it back!!!”. Case closed, ha!
As an engineer and session musician, Aaron has worked with artists like Britney Spears and Dave Koz, Beck, Rod Stewart, The Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20, and Lyndsey Buckingham.
Aaron has toured twice through America, Europe and Asia with Hanson as a guitarist and keyboardist. His live performances could be seen on Late Night with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Good Morning America, The Today show, Ellen Degeneress, and Craig Kilbourne.
Aaron’s lengthy career as a composer and session player has resulted in contributions to hit television shows including Royal Pains, The Closer, Nip/Tuck, Glee, Rizzoli and Isles, Blacklist, and NCIS:LA. His featured guitar work can be heard on motion pictures including Iron Man, Monsters vs. Aliens, Open Season 2, Real Steel and Horrible Bosses 1 and 2.
Today, Aaron Kaplan is the driving musical force behind ARK Music, building on his success as an independent composer, producer and musician.
It means a lot to me that Aaron has chosen my guitars to his toolbox. He is one of those hard working musicians that you wouldn't perhaps know by name, but you've most certainly heard his playing - like in the score music of Iron Man -movie or other film & television work he's been doing for ages.
"The Ruokangas VSOP is one of the finest and most versatile guitars that I’ve played. The quality of craftmanship is unparalleled and the ultra-clean electronics are perfect for sessions where avoiding noise is an important factor. The immense amount of tonal variation make it the only guitar I need for sessions and gigs. I will be playing my VSOP for many years to come!"
- Aaron Kaplan