The 1983 Hondo Chiquita Travel Guitar

1983 Hondo Chiquita Travel Guitar

My 1983 Hondo Chiquita Travel Guitar
My 1983 Hondo Chiquita Travel Guitar

The Hondo Chiquita - A Fun Travel Guitar

This Hondo Chiquita Model, travel guitar was purchased new in 1983. I saw it hanging on the wall at the Hollywood, California Guitar Center store, and I remembered seeing ZZ Top using one in a video on MTV. I believe the price I paid was $135.00 with the soft-padded travel case with shoulder strap.

I plugged it into a Marshall 4 x 12 stack in the back room and cranked it up! This little gem was loud and proud. It features one DiMarzio Distortion Humbucking pickup mounted at the bridge. It only has a volume control and the instrument cord jack and that's it.

Due to the short scale fretboard and neck design, even though it has 23 frets, you need to tune the guitar from the key of 'E' up to the key of 'G', three half-steps. In this way the intonation and tuning are maintained, due to the shorter scale length of the strings.

This little gem has been around the world with me and it just gets better with age. The guitar featues a candy-apple-red finish that is very high quality. The massive chrome bridge assembly holds the six strings in perfect alignment. The strings wrop over the tailpiece and are secured with the standard ball-end.

Hondo printed the recommended string guages on the back of the headstock between the tuners. You can achieve a thick, full-sized guitar sound from this little beauty if your strings are on the heavier gauge side of selections.

Here is the recommended string list:

E or 1st .013 / .330

B or 2nd .017 / .432

G or 3rd .022 / .560

D or 4th .036 / .916

A or 5th .046 / 1.170

E or 6th .056 / 1.423

With only a volume control you don't get anything but crunch from this arrangement. Interesting they printed numbers around the diameter of the volume knob. Who is going to need this level of detail, just turn it up and leave it at 10!

The guitar came with a soft-padded travel case, with a shoulder strap and one zipper pocket with sufficient room for a spare pack of strings, guitar cord, picks and a cleaning cloth.This case is still in great shape after over twenty years of use.

The short scale also means that the strings can be bent easily, and if you're not careful, you can wrap the strings over the top of the neck if you bend them too far.

Overall this is a cool little gem I travel with all the time, it's sound is good, plugged into a headphone amp like the Tom Scholz 'RockMan' or a small amp-modeling pedal with headphone jack.

Check out the photos below,and leave me a comment if you know any more history about these little guitars. Respectfully, Nicholas

Back of Headstock with Recommended String Gauges!

Back of headstock with printed recommended string gauges
Back of headstock with printed recommended string gauges

Chiquita Body detail

Chiquita Body Detail
Chiquita Body Detail

Headstock Tuners detail

Headstock with Tuner Keys detail
Headstock with Tuner Keys detail

Pickup and Bridge Volume Control detail

Pickup and Bridge with Volume Control detail
Pickup and Bridge with Volume Control detail

Chiquita Back View

Back view of the Chiquita Travel Guitar
Back view of the Chiquita Travel Guitar

More by this Author

  • The Schwinn Unicycle Hub
    2

    The 21-inch Schwinn Unicycle - Circa 1983 This is my 21-inch Schwinn Unicycle. I purchased it new in 1983, after selling the original 20-inch model I received as a gift at the tender age of twelve years old. ...

  • The 1960's Hobie Alter Skateboard
    22

    In 1964, surf legend Hobie Alter teamed up with the Vita-Pakt Juice company to create Hobie Skateboards and their first skateboard the 'Hobie Super Surfer'. I received one of these beauties for a gift in 1964. I...

  • The Casio Midi Guitar Model MG-510
    90

    Here is an interesting guitar from my collection. Casio made these guitars to try and capture some of the sales of electric guitars, coupled with MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface functionality built-in. ...


Comments 23 comments

chris allison 7 years ago

I also have one of these guitar that I got back in the early 80's.

I have had it stored or on Display, but rarely Played...

Do you know of any value??? Thanks, Chris Allison


nachase 7 years ago

Chris,

Last time I checked it was below $10.00. They were mass-produced, and the size was the chief reason for their demise. A regular guitar is just as easy to transport as this little guitar, but hey, I enjoy playing mine, as long as I remember to tune it up 3-half-steps to G to keep it in tune and intonantion!

Respectfully, nachase


Ray 7 years ago

I just purchased one of these and it is supposed to be an erlewine model,not a hondo.Do you know how to tell the difference.I cant find any info on this.

Thanks Ray


Nicholas Chase 7 years ago

Ray,

Did you purchase this guitar from a dealer, eBay or a private party?

If you go to www.Earlewine.com (or Google Earlewine Guitars ), you should be able to enter the Serial Number from your guitar and search for your Model's details.

Thank you for leaving your comment!

Respectfully, Nicholas Chase


Ray 7 years ago

Hey nick. I have tried pages of google searches and erlwine.com and any info that I would know for sure it was an erlewine with no luck.I havnt found anywhere that I can put in a serial #.Do you know of any distinctive marks,features or branded info on the guitar that would give me the answer.

Thanks again Ray Also I purchased it on ebay and he claims that it is without a doubt an erlewine.When I asked for some help on verification,he said that if it was a hondo that it would say hondo on it but I dont think that is true


Nicholas Chase 7 years ago

Ray, your concern is noted.

If this guitar says Earlewine on it, it may have been a Model produced after Hondo was sold / closed down. If the guitar plays well and you feel the price was fair, no problem. There is a REAL GUITARS website in San Francisco,

http://www.yelp.com/biz/real-guitars-san-francisco

If you send or email them a series of small .JPEG photos, front, back and closeup of the neck and any serial number you may find, they will be able to authenticate the guitar for you. They did this once for me no charge on a Fender Stratrocaster electric guitar.

Respectfully, Nicholas Chase


Nicholas Chase 7 years ago

Ray, your concern is noted.

If this guitar says Earlewine on it, it may have been a Model produced after Hondo was sold / closed down. If the guitar plays well and you feel the price was fair, no problem. There is a REAL GUITARS website in San Francisco,

http://www.yelp.com/biz/real-guitars-san-francisco

If you send or email them a series of small .JPEG photos, front, back and closeup of the neck and any serial number you may find, they will be able to authenticate the guitar for you. They did this once for me no charge on a Fender Stratrocaster electric guitar.

Respectfully, Nicholas Chase


Jojo 7 years ago

Nice guitar!!Hey, if the price is below $10.00 for a guitar like that, I'll give $20. I paid $75 for one of these www.sixseis.com they really rock!!

Cheers..


Jojo 7 years ago

Sorry:

Nice guitar!!Hey, if the price is below $10.00 for a guitar like that, I'll give $20. I paid $75 for one of these http://www.sixseis.com they really rock!!

Cheers.. Yeah!!


vince 7 years ago

do some1 know were i can find one??

thanks

vince


Donovan A 7 years ago

If you are looking for a used Chiquita Travel Guitar keep an eye on EBay and only buy from EBayers with great reputations - 100% rating is preferred. Or, get one from Erlewine Guitars. They still make them.

There was a request for additional info on these Chiquita Travel Guitars. The design was originated by Mark Erlewine (Austin, TX) with some input from Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top). Though Mark made these in his shop (and still does), he licensed the design to Hondo from 1981 to 1985. Hondo was a collaboration of IMC – International Music Corp (Fort Worth, Texas) and Korean manufacturer Samick Musical Instruments. They marketed some of the strangest-looking instruments under the Hondo name. Their Chiquita guitars were production-line made coming from Samick's automated guitar production facility in Korea (opened 1979). Hondo Chiquita guitars have an “H” on the truss rod cover. The natural finish bodies were a three piece, neck through design. Have not found info on the tone woods, but they appear to be Maple or Bass wings with a mahogany center/neck. Fretboard appear to be rosewood. Pickup configs were: two (2) pickups - single coil (neck) and Humbucker (bridge) with a 3-position selector switch; and the standard - a single HB pickup. The finish on the Hondo made Chiquita guitars was polyurethane over natural or paint. The Hondo Chiquitas came with a mini-amp - cheap, but had an enjoyable raw tone if you like that sort-of-thing. There was also an option for a nice, leather-type rectangular case with rounded edges with a well designed form fitting interior that the amp also fit in. The Erlewine models are better built, more desirable and more valuable than Hondo's production models. Though, the Hondo's rock too.

For Vince who is looking for the source, Mark Erlewine (the original Chiquita designer) still makes these guitars in Austin, TX. As of Aug 20, 2009 - $565, with gig bag $607, HSC $667. (512)302-1225

I am a guitar collector and have an early Hondo model, natural finish and am thinking about a new, custom, Erlewine version. Hope this helps.

Donovan


Mike 6 years ago

What type of dip-shit would say these are $10 guitars? I can't even eat at Burger King for $10. I will pay $200 for one of these any day.


Bossco 6 years ago

There's a Chiquita posted on Eugene Oregons craigslist right now for $1200.00!!! The guy (or gal) is misrepresenting it as an original Erlewine!


Street454 6 years ago

Michael J. Fox also played a yellow version of the Chiquita in the opening scene of Back to the Future.

BTW...the bridge is a Schaller bridge. I have a 740 Deluxe that I put Duncan Designed pups in and with the tobacco burst, it is a very pretty guitar! Mark


Nicholas Chase 6 years ago

Hey Street54,

Thanks for your comment. This hub has generated a great deal of interest.

I was just playing this guitar through a Digitech GSP-21 Pro rack module with the upgraded voice chip. Even though this box is several years old, it is infinetly programmable, so you never run out of sounds to experiment with.

I may have to write a hubpage on this box and my other effects boxes if there is an interest?

Let me know, and keep on bending those strings!

Respectfully,

Nicholas Chase


Tomas 6 years ago

It's still hard for me to distinguish the difference between both models. Could anyone tell me if this is a Hondo or an Earlewine?

http://www.masoportunidades.com.ar/aviso/4727996-m...

Thanks,

Tomas


man leo 5 years ago

I bought mine cheap in Lisbon/'83 (they were there since '80[?]nobody gave a shit, then I read the Rev Billy G got 'Bad & Nationwide' w/ 1, so...).It's probably a Hondo.Red,chrome hdw.Black plastic, bell shaped T-rod cover(3-screw).Unbound neck.Tweed case & lil amp.Crappy cord & tuning gears.Non-trem strat-type bridge.It's probably not worth much since I modded it (I'll NEVER sell it, though; It's really well travelled!): Good tuners, strapbutton at the body's low corner,George Benson neck p.up,schaller concentric pot (2 vols=no selector needed, but still no tone pot). Strings: a 014" TRICKY set. It's going to get a P90 bridge + proper nut. so yes: Bad & Worldwide!!


man leo 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Chase, thanx 4 posting my prev comment.

To MY view, 2 design points I'd humbly like to suggest to improve this guitar w/out major redesign:

1)The 3 last frets are unplayable for most hands, so if removed & fingerboard made smaller,neck p.up at the end of it would sound even bigger = closer to a normal scale [...& some rosewood saved!];

2)Headstock excess weight could be removed (ex:plastic -instead of metal- buttons on the tuning gears)for added playability.

Small scale guitar motto: «It's not like the guitar has been shrunk - it's YOUR HANDS have grown bigger!»

(P.S:So Nick, if U happen to start a fan-based campaign on this & it reaches Mark E., don´t forget to tell him this Man Leo should get one FREE improved Chiquita!).

Other details could be pointed out, but will wait 4 feedback. Thanx again.


Werner 5 years ago

Hi Nicholas,

Wow, she's a thing of beauty - what a wonderful little guitar. I love its design.

I first saw one of these in the Back To The Future movie, back in 1984 and I fel in love with it so much that I even tried designing my own, to try and have a luthier building me one "lookalike". Never went through with it though.

I just saw one of these going off e-Bay for $720 which is a shame, I could only watch it slip away from my hands, as that is more than I can afford - yours was indeed purchased at a bargain price...

I see that these are still manufactured but I can't figure it would be for anything less than the e-Bay one. Sniff...


Lynne 3 years ago

I had an original in the case with the reciept from 1982. I sold it at my garage sale for $175.00!! I should have listed it on eBay.


Newmeister 2 years ago

I bought mine about 13+ years ago for $100 in Austin. My Chaquita was an Erlewine and I took it into Mark and showed it to him and he told me that it was from a run that was imported from Germany for Musicians Friend in the mid 90's when they where listed in the catalog but like the previous 80's Hondos, he had licensed out.


Pharmf752 2 years ago

I think you have remarked some very interesting points , appreciate it for the post. daekgcd


Pharmd667 2 years ago

Thank you for every other informative blog. The place else may just I get that type of info written in such a perfect means? I've a project that I'm just now working on, and I have been at the glance out for such information. cbecgba

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working