Now here is something very cool, and very small! It measures just 28" end-to-end, almost a foot shorter than a typical electric guitar. The Hondo Chiquita achieves its compact size by using a short-scale of just 19" which feels like you're playing a regular full scale guitar with a capo on the 5th or 6th fret. The Chiquita weighs just over 4 pounds - incredibly light.
The design was originated by Mark Erlewine (Austin, Texas) with some input from Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) in the early 1980s. The aim was to create a short-scale electric guitar that could be taken as carry-on luggage onto a bus or plane. Mark made these in his shop, and also licensed the design to Hondo from 1981 to 1985. Unfortunately, Hondo discontinued the Chiquita in 1985 and these guitars have now become quite rare.
Hondo was a collaboration of IMC -- International Music Corp (Fort Worth, Texas) and Korean manufacturer Samick Musical Instruments. Their Chiquita guitars were production-line made coming from Samick's guitar production facility in Korea (opened 1979). Hondo Chiquita guitars have an "H" on the truss rod cover. The bodies are a three piece, neck through design. Several different colors and styles were made, including models with switchable double-coil and single-coil pickups.
Michael J Fox played a yellow Chiquita in the opening scene of "Back to the Future". You may recognize it as the guitar he used to blow up Doc's amp in the opening sequence!
Despite its low-cost manufacturing, the guitar is very high quality. It has a neck-through design, a nice Schaller bridge and the original DiMarzio distortion humbucker pickup. There's no tone control though you can back down the volume from 10 for a slightly cooler sound. Otherwise, it's crunch all the way.
Since it uses heavier gauge strings (.013 - .056) you're able to get a very good tone out of the guitar and can still play in standard tuning. The Chiquita sounds great for both rhythm and lead, even if the compact scale can take some getting used to, especially higher up the neck.
This guitar is in collector-grade condition, with just the smallest of marks on the stunning original finish, and it comes with the original soft case and even a period-correct strap (see the 'more pictures' link below to view the detailed photographs). It will provide both the collector and the working musician with a lot of fun coupled with surprising performance and collectability.
Sold to Marty