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The 1983 Hondo Chiquita Travel Guitar
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