I have always loved cheap guitars for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is the tolerance standards during manufacturing are not as strictly adhered to as in the big guitar companies. This personifies each guitar to have it’s own sound and play-ability. That is why I have sometimes been seen with two guitars that are generally the same make and model. They make appear to produce the same sounds when in fact they do not at all.
There are some guitar companies, however, that did not shortcut or compromise manufacturing. These companies made it big on the seen in the 1970’s and were known for manufacturing copies of the popular US made guitars that were of pretty decent quality and were quite affordable. This period of time was known as the Lawsuit Era.
Hondo made some amazing guitars and some that were not so amazing. The bodies were generally made of layers of plywood but had extremely durable paint jobs. The result was that many of the guitars had poor sustain and the electronics such as pickups lacked in power and were noisy.
This is a guitar from the 70’s era and is a replica of the Fender Stratocaster. This guitar has been through a lot of wear and tear. Right now it does not use the original pickguard and pickups but rather uses a Fender pickguard with a Seymour Duncan Performer in the bridge position and 2 Made in Mexico pickups in the middle and neck positions. I do still have the original pickguard and pickups to put in at a later time. Also, the original tuning keys have been replaced. Also to note is that I blocked the wah wah bar so that it would not move. I found that the guitar would not hold a tune if the bar is moved.
This guitar has some significant battle damage. What is interesting the most is the paint and finish. These guitar have what like to refer to as an M&M candy coating, which means that the finish is so good and so tough that it practically holds the guitar together. I have never had an expensive guitar that can take the beating of a Hondo or a Lotus guitar, Never! In parts of this body the paint is cracked or chipped away and you can see the thickness and the overall ruggedness of the overall finish.
This particular guitar has been used in live performances and recordings. It is probably the lightest guitar I own and it also has one of the worst sustains. But, with the proper effects pedals in place that deficiency can be easily rectified.
Some guitarist will call this a beginners guitar. I do not know if I can go with that or not. In fact I hear many guitarists say that even the First Act guitars you see in Walmart are beginners guitars. Well that would depend. See, I would never recommend to a beginning guitar player to purchase one of those guitars unless it was professionally set up. Once that happens then the learning guitarist will likely not experience the frustration and discouragement. No, I recommend those guitars for seasoned players that want a one-of-a-kind sound that challenges them.
This guitar I would not separate with. It is uniquely mine and has a special sound and purpose.