1980’s Hondo Chiquita
The Hondo Chiquita travel guitar was designed by Mark Erlwine in the early 1980’s with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Mahogany through neck design with rosewood fingerboard and a humbucker DiMarzio pickup.
This Chiquita guitar must have had some fun travels in its 30 odd year old life. How many places its visited we can never know, but its amazing to think about its travels and where it’ll go next!
Guitar features: Made in Japan / mahogany body and through neck and rosewood fingerboard with MOP-style dot markers / Single DiMarzio humbucker bridge pickup / Single volume control / Hardtail bridge with string through body ferrules / New 13-56 (recommended gauge) strings
Designed in 1978/79 by Mark Erlewine and then followed by some input by Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) in the early eighties. The aim was create a short scale electric guitar that could be taken as carry-on luggage onto a bus or plane. Mark made these guitars in his shop and then licensed them to Hondo from 1981 to 1985. The Chiquita from this period is now quite rare. Despite its small size, it was designed to be a quality instrument. Also made famous in the opening sequence in the film, Back to the Future, where he turns up Doc Brown’s amp to the max, strikes a power chord and blows himself across the room!
Condition is pretty good, with only a few blemishes and dings on the body and headstock. Heavy strings are recommended (13-56), and a new set is fitted to the guitar. Plugged in it surprises you by its big warm tone. The mahogany neck through body and DiMarzio pickup show their class. It measures just 23″ end to end, and with a short scale of 19″, it’s like playing a regular full scale guitar with a capo on the 5th or 6th fret.
So, are there any issues? Other than the odd paint scrapes, it’s a solid guitar. The frets appear to have quite a lot of life left in them, as it plays cleanly up and down the neck. I believe everything is original from the research I’ve done on these elusive guitars! If you want a travel or small practice guitar, it’s a great little instrument that has a nice slice of history to it and definitely a cool factor.